I had the great pleasure of attending the cast member-only "Family Holiday Party" at Disneyland on Monday night. One of my best friend's parents work on Main Street- his dad drives the fire engine, and his mom works in the Emporium. So he invited me to come that night to the park!
The park closed to guests at 6 pm. and re-opened for the event at 7 and lasted until 1 am. The esplanade was quite crowded but things went smoothly and we got inside the park with relative ease. We had toys to donate to the Toys for Tots, and they gave us a commemorative pin! Once inside the park, there were several cast members handing out candy canes. Main Street was alive with more modern-day Christmas music playing- quite a noticable change over the more traditional area music that normally plays, but I appreciated it in this context- and the parade lights were flashing instead of their typical steady-burn. Our group got a complimentary photo with Belle near Carnation Plaza, then we filled out a postcard and signed giant chess pieces that will be sent to those active in the military and the navy over the holidays. We were starved by this point, so we bought chicken at the Plaza Inn- for cast members, prices were 35% off!
After that, we lined up along the street for the Christmas Fantasy Parade. I guess the only downside to the party was, this was the main entertainment- no fireworks, no Fantasmic. Oh well. Anyway, what happened next more than made up for that. While we were waiting for the parade to begin, this guy in a black jacket with an American flag on the sleeve and a baseball cap was walking down the street, and I recognized him- It was Matt Ouimet! I only knew who he was because I've seen pictures of him- he could easily have been mistakened for a guest in the crowd. I leaned forward to see his nametag- yup, there it was!- and he caught my eye and came up to me and asked if I was having a good time. I said yes, thank you very much, and then he said he liked my hat- I was wearing my santa hat- and I thanked him again.
Space Mountain had the longest line of all of course- and though it broke down briefly and the lights came on in the loading station, the problem was taken care of quickly. The rest of the park was sparsely populated though most of the attractions were open!
Overall, a great night. I just wished it could have lasted longer!