Pictures of New Year's Eve 2009 at Disneyland!

Always a highlight for nerds like me - park maps made specifically for, and only for, New Year's Eve 2009. ;D

Here's what the area in front of the castle looked like at 3:43pm. Everything you've heard about insane crowds on New Year's Eve is true. There really isn't a way to overhype that. But those who know what they're doing know what to do when, roll with it, and even insane crowds aren't really a problem. I had my blanket down for about an hour prior to when I took this. Best word of advice I can give to anyone thinking about doing this is join your party with a few others ahead of time. Set up all your blankets next to each other, and guard the area in shifts. Get all the food you'll need before 4pm, bring games, and the time passes quickly. For me it was relatively painless, and I never gave a locker a thought (even though they were all gone by 10am).

In the daytime, the light towers for the DJ'd dance party area in front of the castle was already set up and waiting for night to fall. There were a few other areas in Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure to have a staging area for New Year's.

Here's the stage in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle that you'll see was used later on that night.

This staging area was set up in front of "it's a small world" as the area near there was turned into a similar dance party area for the last 3 hours of 2008.

This is the area set up in Disney's California Adventure in front of the faux sky/skyline facade next to the Hyperion Theatre. Not pictured are staging areas set up in Disney's California Adventure in Pacific Wharf and the Hollywood Studios area of Hollywood Pictures Backlot (near Monsters Inc and MuppetVision), and in Disneyland in New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland Terrace.

Even though the most popular place to be was obvious in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disney did set up multiple places in both parks to accomodate the massive crowds and their desire to ring in the new year at the Disneyland Resort. Even Plaza Gardens was swingin' with Doc Anello and the Swing Machine.

Also always a highlight of New Year's Eve, free hats and horns! Even though they never change the style from year to year, they make for fun, free souvenirs, and how often can you get that from any day at Disneyland?

Soon night fell, and the area in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle was jumpin' with DJ Clark's "Club Disneyland". The music selection was 80% Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers, with some retro dance tunes from the past 4 decades sprinkled in. Even though it was all PG-13, I'm still not a fan of a 'club' atmosphere.

With the light towers continually flashing, the castle followed suit creating something that looked to me like straight out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (I'm such a nerd! )

We were saved from the club for a brief time by the last Holiday Magic showing of 2008.

I figured since I'm never in this spot for the fireworks, I should take some pictures while I have the chance.

Cynthia Harriss may have made quite a few mistakes, but she also was the primary creator of making Sleeping Beauty Castle a part of the nightly fireworks presentation. We can curse her for the pathetic original state of DCA, but have to credit her for that.

My favorite part of Believe in Holiday Magic - CASTLE EXPLOSION!!!



The big finish...

...and the flash ending blinds everyone, including my camera.

Of course its traditional for Disneyland to end a holiday season fireworks show with a frozen castle...

...and snow! (Which my friends and I renamed "snoap" )

Then "Club Disneyland" returned and would reign for the next 2.5 hours until the countdown to midnight finally came. Unfortunately, during that time, heavy fog decided to roll itself in. Looking back towards the front of the gate, you can barely see Main Street!

Fortunately the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus was broken up periodically by Mickey, Minnie & a spokesperson who would come out, recap 2008, talk about the coming year and the new Celebrations promotion. They would just never stand still enough to get a decent picture! :P

The final still photo is look back down Main Street, which, thanks to the fog, can hardly be seen. The giant Christmas Tree is totally lit up and my camera barely saw it. Crazy fog, and it blocked any New Year's fireworks completely from view.

So that takes care of the photos and brings us to the final countdown to 2009. If you missed the video above, here's another window for ya:
YouTube - New Year's Eve Countdown to 2009 at Disneyland