My wife and I were some of the ones lucky enough to score tickets to both the El Capitan Theatre Pirates 4 midnight premiere (which to get tickets, you had to wake up at 3am like 3 months ago and tickets sold out in less than an hour), and we also were among the people who won the Star Tours Preview event on the Disneyland blog contest. Other than cast members, we were the first group of riders.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
@ Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
12:00AM (Midnight) - May 20, 2011
Thewifey and I drove down to Hollywood from Bakersfield at around 9:30pm Thursday night and arrived at Hollywood Blvd. at around 11:30pm just before the premiere. We were already kinda tired from a full day on Thursday, which was worrisome, seeing as how we were going to have to see the premiere, then drive to Disneyland, be at the registration at 4AM and then wait to ride Star Tours at 9AM, sheesh.
Anyways, the show began with the usual house organist playing Disney tunes. I actually thought his Haunted Mansion was amazing, it was creepy. He ended with the obvious Pirates of the Caribbean theme song.
Then a local radio DJ and another girl led a costume contest(it's funny how many weirdos show up at these things, haha) as well as gave away a bunch of prizes.
The show began with a lightshow, big pirate skull thingy on stage and exciting music. And before the movie began, they did the usual confetti burst all over everyone, with what looks like pirate coins. I stashed a bunch in my shirt pocket, ha. Movie was good, not as good as the others, especially the first in the series, but not bad. Acting was slightly cheesy, and Blackbeard was lame. Unfortunately, the air conditioners in the building were not as low as desired, and we were kinda hot and uncomfortable. I dozed off a few times; I better rent the movie when it comes out to fill in the gaps. We then moved onto our next event, Star Tours.
Finally got around to uploading a couple pictures of our booty from the Pirates 4 Premiere, so here ya go:
2 confetti pirate coins that were showered over us in the theater
A pouch that said ""Pieces of Eight", and inside there were 2 actual real metal coins, very nice, authentic-looking.
Star Tours Preview Event: First In The Galaxy
@ Disneyland's Tomorrowland
Check-in 4AM-7:30AM - May 20, 2011
We raced back to the car, which was parked at the Kodak Theatre parking structure, and quickly hopped onto the 101 and then the I5 heading towards Disneyland. We parked at the Toy Story lot across the street, as apparently it opened at 3:30AM.
We arrived at the East Esplanade just after 4AM and were greeted by this cool sign:
My wife snapped a quick photo of me in front of the main sign, although I look like death, being awake almost 24 hours by that time:
When we got in line, which was about 4:10 or so, there were already about 150 people in front of us, which wasn't much considering they were expecting close to 2400.
Here's our day park tickets, which we (as annual passholders) didn't need, gave to a nice looking couple waiting in line at the ticket booth to buy their own. They seemed very grateful.
At one point, I went to the bathroom, which was the one by Guest Services on the west, and as I passed the Disneyland entrance, I could tell it was a Grad Nite, which was annoying.
Anyways, hours later, around 7:00, the brought us through security and lined us up in a queue by the stroller/wheelchair area.
This guy in line reminded me of Patton Oswalt:
Then around 7:45-ish, they begun ushering us through the entrance and down Main Street, which was way cool because it was before Magic Morning Hours and the park was totally empty, short of some workers.
Tomorrowland area looked pretty cool at this time.
Some media filming our journey:
Cool sign, that made feel special:
Sign inside, everyone was taking this picture:
Waiting just outside of our Star Speeder, exciting!
Exiting the ride there were staff like making sure we didn't take our time leaving because it could get backed up, although they were handing out cool shirt pins, documenting our stint as the first average park goers to experience the ride, other than Disney staff.
The ride was great. Smoother, better graphics, and cool destinations. As we were leaving though, there was a plethora of camera men and reporters asking people questions and whatnot. I snapped a few photos of this:
.....and then it was over. Geez, we were so tired, it's the first time I ever went to Disneyland and was gone by around 9:30AM. We were so half-asleep that we forgot to go ride Priates to see the new Blackbeard effect. Ah well, we went to Alberto's to get some Mexican and then drive home. I let my wife sleep on the drive, but I was falling asleep the whole way back. It was scary. I kept having to pull over at places and sleeping for 10 minutes here and there. Finally got back to Bakersfield, and caught up on sleep.
Overall, wonderful trip. Saw a lot, met some interesting people, saw a great movie, was a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event for Star Tours, yet the lack of sleep was hard. Anyways, hope you enjoyed.