I've posted this story on a few other forums today, but thought i'd share it here. I havent said much on these forums, but found it a nice place to come whilst researching and putting my plan into action.
I last visited Disneyland in 2008 with my girlfriend Trish.
It got me thinking, and for most of 2009, I set about planning a trip of a lifetime, back to Disneyland.
I started my planning by going straight to the top. I contacted Jay Rasulo (the then, CEO of Disney Parks & Resorts). He put me in touch with the Disneyland Resort Operations Manager, who approved my requests and introduced me to the VIP Guests Services Hosts. Together we planned an awesome surprise trip for my partner.
In July, I announced to everyone that I had won a competition which included an expenses paid holiday for two to spend NYE '09/'10 at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim. In actual fact, there was no prize. It was all part of an elaborate plan, mainly to ensure my partner, Trish was able to get annual leave and travel at a busy time of year. It became more than that, convincing many of my fellow themepark staff at Movieworld -- sorry to burst everyones bubble.
With a trip to HKDL to give myself a Disney fix in between, the year flew by and before long it was time.
December 30, 2009
Believing everything was part of the prize, Trish and I set off.
On our arrival at LAX we were met by a 12-seater stretch limo and transferred to DGCH.
At the hotel we were met by Max, one of the Resort VIP Coordinators. Who welcomed us, checked us in, gave us a welcome package from Mickey n Minnie, which included photos, merchandise, tickets, dinner reservations, and a specialised itinerary for the next few days.
Max told us, he had upgraded our room to a Pool/Park view suite.
And gave us $500 Disney Dollars to spend at the resort.
We spent the afternoon spending hundreds at Downtown Disney and also checked out the latest Disney release The Pricness and the Frog (2009) before heading back to the hotel.
We had dinner at Napa Rose. Best food ever -- and definitely a repeat stop for anytime we head back to Anaheim in the future.
December 31, 2009
An early start for us. At the park by 6:30am. As part of our "prize winning status" we had been preselected to officially open Disneyland for the last day of 2009.
Inside with the other Magic Morning guests (most of whom ran straight to the Plaza to secure spots for the midnight fireworks!).
All decked out for the NYE parties tonight.
Photo Pass. Something noticably absent at HKDL.
We made a point of stopping at every photographer we saw. As part of the prize winning itinerary, Disney had given us a complimentary Photo Pass CD, so we could take home all the photos of our holiday.
We headed to Small World Holiday where we met our first Magical Moment guide, Mike.
He made sure we got a private boat for a tour around the Holiday themed attraction (although it wasnt too hard; there weren't too many people there at 7am!) Disneyland's Small World is much better than HKDL, and it was nice to see as last year it was down for the holiday re-fit.
Our next stop was the Character Breakfast at the Plaza Inn. Disney's way of ensuring we both got many photos with the characters without waiting in queues on what is their busiest attendance day of the year.
After breakfast, we went back to Fantasyland to reconnect with our guide, Mike. He took us past the barriers into an unoppened Toon Town.
Where he had organised a special photoshoot with our hosts Mickey and Minnie.
So far all was going to plan, and Trish was pretty excited.
Before saying goodbye, Mike gave us a handful of complimentary Attraction Readmission Passes so that we could ride anything we wanted to, all day, without waiting in lines.
8-) Thumbs up Disneyland! Busiest day of the year, lines exceeding 4hrs, and no waiting for us!
We spent the morning using some of the passes as ride hopped our way from Toon Town to Adventureland.
Next stop, ROA.
Where we saw Tiana's Showboat Jubilee.
Glad I had seen the movie last night, so that this actually made sense.
The Mark Twain looked great all done up in colours.
Last year, we saw the filming of 2008's ABC Christmas Day Parade, so Mickey's A Christmas Fantasy Parade wasnt such a new thing for us.
Much of it was similar.
Although these didnt make an appearence in 2008.
Decent character suits. Definitely not in Oz.
A little late, its NYE, not Christmas Eve.
We had a private ride of the Lilly Belle scheduled, but unfortunately got crammed in with a bunch of other Disney enthusiasts. So didnt get any decent photographs to show for it.
We spent the afternoon using up more of our readmission passes.
We had dinner reservations overlooking the water at Blue Bayou before meeting another Magical Moments guide, Kevin.
Kevin took us to the Disneyland Dream Suite.
Best seats in the house for Fantasmic!
Shhh... its starting.
Not living so close to Disneyland... my 5th viewing of the show, and this still doesnt get old.
No Murphy!?! :cry:
So we came all the way from Australia to see the latest addition and she doesnt even show up!
I was a bit disappointed, but quickly realised that the reason I had planned the whole trip was upon us.
I proposed to Trish as Tinkerbell spread pixie dust across the finale of Fantasmic!
Unbeknown to her, my parents (her's couldnt make it) had been hidden away in another room of the Dream Suite. As Kevin brought out refreshments, he announced the 4 glasses and welcomed them from hiding.
We celebarated, whilst watching the fireworks from the balcony.
He then took us inside for our own private tour of the suite.
Dream Suite Tour Part 1 - [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaM-LN83wII"]YouTube - Disneyland Dream Suite NYE '09 [Part 1][/ame]
Dream Suite Tour Part 2 - [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GymEz2YS-L0"]YouTube - Disneyland Dream Suite NYE '09 [Part 2][/ame]
Dream Suite Tour Part 3 - [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z04bW1TgVYc"]YouTube - Disneyland Dream Suite NYE '09 [Part 3][/ame]
Afterwards, it was back out on the street to wait alongside 70,000 other guests for New Years.
It was standing room only in Main Street USA.
January 1, 2010
Officially the first Disneyland Resort guests of 2010! 8-)
Butt loads of fireworks.
NYE Countdown - [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTLkaAVnVAk"]YouTube - NYE Disneyland 2010 Countdown[/ame]
We spent New Years day at DCA. It was still kind of busy.
Despite the fact that the whole "prize winning" cover story had been blown. Disney still came to the party, giving us more Magical Moments, more readmission passes, reserved seating for Aladdin, a private talk with Crush and more suprises for the next 2 days.
We did have to wait the 2hrs for Toy Story Mania though.
Finally got to see this construction in real life. Luckily we were here in 2008, the week prior to the lake being drained. Simlarily, I was glad it had been refilled to some extent.
It was good to see in person. I was surprised that [Link to unauthorized site removed]'s construction pics dont really do the scale of it any justice. It was unfortunate this couldnt have been ahead of schedule. I guess I have another excuse to come back in mid 2010.
Paradise Pier all done up since our last visit.
Still no Cars. Another reason to come back!
I've always liked DCA at night.
All done up in pretty lights.
More parades. (NB: Streets All Star Parade back home is definitely NOT a parade!)
Last time I saw DEP was during its first Disneland Resort run 11 years ago.
As with most things Disney, its definitely got the ability to stand the test of time.
Smee picked out my camera all the way down the street. When he got to us, he waited and waited and waited for me to take a picture -- even the small things make Disney magic!
After DEP, we rushed back to Disneyland to catch the next performance of Fantasmic! Apparently proposing during the finale makes you miss the rest of the show! No complaints from me however; After all, I wasnt coming all this way and not seeing a dragon (and Pete's just didnt cut it).
We did some of this on the way...
And still made it to ROA by the end of the fireworks. Just in time for the snow...
Murphy decided to show up...
Let's see bugs bunny do this!
Got some shots of the finale this time too.
January 2, 2010
Back for our final day in the parks.
First off, a quick trip through DCA from the hotel, for some photos.
Then over to Disneyland for some more Magical Moments.
We met our next guide, Neil, who guided us around Tomorrowland, showed us all the Disney secrets and Hidden Mickeys on Nemo, then took us for a ride in the drivers cabin of the Monorail.
...with his staff's hand made "Just Engaged" signs.
After touring Tomorrowland, and getting another handful of readmission passes for the day. Neil introduced us to Grandma Pat, a lovely old staff member from Fantasyland who shared many stories of her favorite rides in her magical land, as well as parading us around Fantasyland whilst announcing our recent engagement to everyone around.
We cut the day short to head back to the hotel, as I had moved up our flights by a day to meet work commitments back in Australia.
Everyone we met at Disneyland was happy and helpful. It is truely a magical place.
I say the same thing everytime I visit any Disney park. They just know how to do things right. We have no comparison down under -- and desperately need a scaled back disney property here.
As a guest from halfway around the world, all I did was ask about sharing a magical moment at Disneyland... they took my request so seriously, they went so far as to have me believing my own coverstory, that I had indeed won a Disneyland Holiday!
Everyone was friendly and keen to stay in touch whenever we visit again. So needless to say, a west coast stopover might be necessary on the honeymoon!
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC82HDKnA-Q"]YouTube - Disneyland Engagement[/ame][ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAicrdLq3RM"][/ame]