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Robert Niles
Editor

Disney 24-Hour Party Crowds Lead to Frustration at Disneyland (*With Updates)

Published: May 22, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Update 3: (7pm) While it appears that Disney is officially keeping California Adventure open, access to it is extremely difficult, with clogged roads, closed parking, and large crowds in and around the esplanade. Disneyland is closed to all guests and expected to remain that way until at least 10pm, when the parade and fireworks will have concluded. We recommend watching the live feed online or read our reviews of the new events:

Update 4: (11:30pm) Disneyland remained closed as midnight approached, even though reports from inside the park suggested moderate to light crowd levels.

The official @DisneylandToday Twitter reported no more parking spaces anywhere at the resort as of 10pm, and crowds continued to mass outside the bag check areas. Cast members were heard saying to guests that the park's president had ordered Disneyland kept closed to entrants for the remainder of the event, though this could not be confirmed.

* * *

(4:09pm) Two Disney theme parks at the same resort never have hit capacity at the same time. But we might be close to that historic first at the Disneyland Resort.

At about 1:50 this afternoon, Disneyland closed to new entries, due to the crowds of visitors at the park for the start of the Diamond Celebration and the 24-hour day.

Disney began sending all guests seeking to enter the parks for the first time today into California Adventure instead. With massive after-school and after-work crowds expected to hit the resort in the next few hours, cast members are facing the possibility that both parks will have to close to new visitors, which could set off a chain reaction of traffic jams in the area as incoming visitors have nowhere to go.

We've heard that the Mickey and Friends parking structure closed temporarily earlier today, and Disney is saying that access to the garage is "intermittently available." Fans have crammed the esplanade between the two parks.

At the original "One More Disney Day" 24-hour party in 2012, Disneyland hit capacity in the early evening, creating traffic jams thoughout the area as fans tried to cram into the resort. (California Adventure closed at 8pm on that day, compounding the capacity problem.)

Needless to say, if you're not already at the Disneyland Resort and were thinking about visiting, may we suggest that a visit later in the weekend might be a better idea?

Update: (4:35pm) As of 4:15, Disneyland is closed to re-entry by returning guests, as well as to guests seeking to enter for the first time today.

Update 2: (5:30pm) While DCA remains open, officially, good luck getting to it. Disney's parking people in the old RV lot at the corner of Harbor and Bell now, which is pretty much the last nearby lot Disney has left. Cast members have been telling guests in the esplanade that Disneyland readmissions might start around 10pm. So if you're not already there, stay home and watch the livestream.

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Robert Niles
Editor

Raptor Encounter Invades Universal Orlando's Jurassic Park

Published: May 22, 2015 at 3:51 PM

Universal Orlando today introduced a new Raptor Encounter attraction in the Jurassic Park section of the Islands of Adventure theme park.

Raptor Encounter

Consider this a more, uh, action-oriented version of the old Triceratops Encounter that Universal used to offer guests in this land. This Raptor is no gentle "plant eater," slumbering while guests take photos. Universal's Raptor roars and lunges, intimidating even as he entertains. Take a look, via Universal's promo video:

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Robert Niles
Editor

Vote of the Week: It's Party Time at Disney!

Published: May 22, 2015 at 7:46 AM

Disneyland hadn't even closed yesterday before crowds starting lining up outside the park for the start of today's 24-hour party to celebrate the start of the resort's 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration.

Starting the Diamond Celebration
Kicking off the Diamond Celebration, at Disneyland before 6am this morning. Photo courtesy Disney

It's become a Memorial Day weekend tradition, with the 24-hour parties at Disney's parks here in Southern California and at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida. While Disney World's celebrating the start of another "Frozen" Summer with its event, the bigger news is in California, where Disney executives from both coasts have gathered for the 60th birthday kick-off.

We reviewed the media premieres of the resort's three new shows this week — World of Color - Celebrate!, Paint the Night, and Disneyland Forever — and the public will get its first chance to see those shows tonight. But that's not all that's happening at the resort. Disney's programmed a slate of special events, including a Mary Poppins movie sing-along in the Main Street Opera House at 6pm, 10pm, 12:45am and 3:30am, showings of Guardians of the Galaxy in the Tomorrowland Theater at 10pm and 3:30am, and The Avengers in that theater at 12:15am.

If you are in any of the Disney parks today, please tag @ThemePark in your Twitter photos, and we'll embed the best of them in this post.

And on the east coast...

Disneyland is live-streaming its party, in case you can't make it and want to follow along.


Please tell us in the comments about your theme park plans for the weekend. Thank you to everyone who's been following along as we've traveled all over the country to bring you coverage of all the attraction premieres over the past month and especially in the past week.

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Matthew Gottula
Writer

'Disneyland Forever' Takes Fireworks to Dazzling New Heights

Published: May 22, 2015 at 7:15 AM

Over the past two days I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the premieres of all three new nighttime spectaculars for Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration, but the one I’m about to describe for you is the crown jewel of them all.

Disneyland Forever
Photos by Robert Niles

“Disneyland Forever” isn’t just a fireworks show – it’s a full-fledged multi-media extravaganza using multiple park landmarks as its canvas. It’s fireworks on steroids, and it left me in complete sensory overload. There’s just far too many things to focus on at once, and I can’t wait to see it again from different areas of the park, as the show is designed to offer something different to see depending on where you’re located. For this show, I was standing in the northern half of Main Street USA, adjacent to Candy Kitchen.

The show opens with a bang when over 50 hidden spotlights from all over the park join together to form a magnificent multi-faceted diamond high in the sky. Then, the really good stuff begins. Projected imagery on the Main Street buildings allow orange trees to magically grow, and narration explains that over 60 years ago in this very spot, you would’ve been walking through an orange grove, just like Walt did when he first visited the site that would later become Disneyland. This was very moving for me, and a perfect way to start the show.

Orange groves

When I heard that projected imagery would be used heavily in “Disneyland Forever,” I was concerned it might come off as a cheesy gimmick, as it was for some of the park’s previous offerings using similar tech (the lackluster “The Magic, The Memories and You!” comes to mind). I needn’t have worried – in fact it stole the show, and anything from dancing monkeys to pink elephants to psychedelic beehives dance along in perfect sync to the music, without the slightest hiccup or distortion. The imagery itself is bright, beautifully rendered and is seamlessly integrated with the shapes of the buildings. At times it isn’t clear where you’re supposed to be looking, and more than once I had to consciously reorient myself to the fireworks exploding overhead, but it’s so clever and fun, I didn’t care.

More Disneyland Forever

“Disneyland Forever” explores several classic and contemporary Disney stories by taking us to their environment in new and imaginative ways, and always with a song. Inflatable seaweed rises up on top of the Main Street buildings during “Under the Sea”; chimney sweeps dance on rooftops and sing “Step In Time”; Nemo swims above Sleeping Beauty Castle towards the Matterhorn, reimagined as Mount Wannahockaloogie, complete with an erupting top; snow that smells like cinnamon falls overhead as Elsa belts out “Let It Go”.

Under the Sea

The music is magnificent, and each scene transitions perfectly to the next. I couldn’t help but sing and dance along in spite of myself, even while rubbing shoulders with a crowd of rather stiff reporters, not to mention show creator Steve Davison, Disneyland President Michael Colglazier, Disney COO Tom Staggs and other important people were in attendance that evening. Hey, what’s the point if I can’t have a little fun?

“Disneyland Forever” is feast for the eyes and the senses. It left me stunned and in awe, it gave me goosebumps and feels, but best of all, it’s insanely fun. It’s far more than a fireworks show has any right to be. When Walt created his park, he knew you have to give the paying public more than they expect, and that’s 100 percent true for this show. It’s the perfect kiss good-night to a fun-filled day at Disneyland.

Editor's note: Video to come!

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Matthew Gottula
Writer

Disneyland Recharges its Electrical Parade with Paint the Night

Published: May 22, 2015 at 1:12 AM

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Robert Niles
Editor

A New Yeti Moves in on Disneyland's Matterhorn

Published: May 21, 2015 at 6:21 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

First Look at Wizarding World of Harry Potter Merchandise from Universal Studios Hollywood

Published: May 21, 2015 at 1:00 PM

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Matthew Gottula
Writer

World of Color – Celebrate!: A [Somewhat Spoiler Containing] Review

Published: May 21, 2015 at 1:58 AM

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Samantha Glavin

Wicked Cyclone Storms into Six Flags New England

Published: May 20, 2015 at 7:45 PM

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Russell Meyer
Writer

Laff Trakk Debuts at Hersheypark (*Updated)

Published: May 20, 2015 at 7:44 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Now in 3D

Published: May 20, 2015 at 6:24 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Six Flags Magic Mountain Makes the Old New Again with Twisted Colossus

Published: May 20, 2015 at 2:19 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

An Insider's Look at Disney's New World of Color - Celebrate

Published: May 19, 2015 at 10:28 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Universal Studios Hollywood Promises Wizarding World of Harry Potter News on June 2

Published: May 19, 2015 at 1:08 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Six Flags Challenges Disney, Universal at Their Own Game with Justice League: Battle for Metropolis

Published: May 19, 2015 at 11:01 AM

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Jacob Sundstrom
Writer

Where to Eat: Dinner at Epcot's Restaurant Marrakesh

Published: May 18, 2015 at 9:12 PM

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Robert Niles
Editor

An Insider's Look at Disneyland's New Parade - Paint the Night

Published: May 18, 2015 at 12:01 PM

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John Ramey
Writer

Weekly Top 10: The Things That Theme Park Employees Block Out While Working

Published: May 18, 2015 at 8:31 AM

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Robert Niles
Editor

An Insider's Look at Disneyland's New Fireworks Show - Disneyland Forever

Published: May 17, 2015 at 3:24 PM

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Rick Bridger

Attraction Spotlight: The San Diego Zoo

Published: May 17, 2015 at 10:58 AM

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Robert Niles
Editor

Getting Ready for Disneyland's Diamond Celebration

Published: May 16, 2015 at 11:36 AM

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