Due to a last-minute change of a family member's availability to attend, I was invited by the family of a good friend of mine to the cast member (and family) exclusive party at beautiful charming festive holiday Disneyland, for the second year in a row!
We brought some Toys for the Tots, for which we were given a cute little pin of baby Mickey playing with a toy truck.
The party started at eight. Plenty of people showed up, but it was less heavily attended than what I remember last year, perhaps because it was a Monday.
I appreciated the carolers out in front singing "Go Tell It on the Mountain," and once in Main Street (after accepting several candy canes from the greeters) the atmosphere felt a lot different than normal park guests encounter. Obviously it would be a little out of context for the standard guest to have the parade lights flashing on and off and "Feliz Navidad" blasting over the speakers, but it sure got me in a partying mood.
I was also very pleased to see *GASP!* Ed Grier on the property, as well as Robert Iger, greeting with guests and posing for photos beside the tree. I didn't stop to chat - just getting a glimpse of them was enough. Especially Ed.
Anyhoo, included is the opportunity to take a picture with a Disney character, so we went over to the extended Star Tours line to get our shots with Stitch. Our time with the character was brief of course, but it was memorable nevertheless. It reminded me that somehow, for several visits now, I haven't taken the time to have much interaction with the characters. More on that later...
Basically, the whole park was up for grabs. My friend and I were delighted to visit Space, Buzz, the Astro Orbitor because we were sad no one was riding it, and the same for the Mad Tea Party, It's a Small World Holiday, Pirates, and took advantage of the 35% CM discount for barbecue plates at the River Belle Terrace, all within two hours.
Then we watched the Christmas Fantasy parade because the holiday party really isn't complete without it, and furthermore, being both trumpet players ourselves, my friend and I always get a kick out of the toy soldiers.
While we were waiting for his folks to ride the horse-drawn carriage down Main Street, we meandered into Disneyana (a common habit of ours) to look at all the stuff we are not rich enough to purchase. While we were in the painting room at the back, who should show up but the Mad Hatter. It's no surprise that he took great interest in the paintings of the teacups from the attraction, and he pointed out the framed animation cell of the Cheshire Cat, although he scoffed at the outrageous price tag and remarked that he could just visit him in Wonderland. What fun the characters were that night! We spotted Mary Poppins and Bert on Main Street as well, playing with children.
And nearing midnight, we left the park and headed home, commemorative ornaments in hand!
In short, a splendid time was had for all. I was kinda disappointed that I couldn't get a sneak preview of
Rockin'RockIt Mountain. Ah well, I can wait a month. Lights on would have been cool too...