I don't know how much time I have, because we had surprise plans to go to the temple, and Steve could be here to pick us up at any second. But not a whole lot happened on Leap Day anyway, so maybe I still have time to finish this.
As you may or may not know, for Leap Day, Disneyland and Disney World decided to be open for 24 hours straight, from 6am to 6am. I don't remember when or where he heard it, but Gaston heard somewhere that they were going to start letting people line up to get in at 10pm the night before. He couldn't believe anyone would do that, but we've spent enough time in the world of fandom to know better. Still, we didn't feel the need to press the matter, since the truth would be revealed on the morning of February 29, and, as we're not too set on being the first ones in, especially on a day when the only special event is the fact that the park is open longer, we were happy to stick with the original plan of spending the night in the hotel and going to the park when it opened.
Unfortunately, when I was setting the alarm on my phone, I forgot to change the pm to an am, so it didn't go off when we wanted it to. Fortunately, Gaston did get up at the right time, and we managed to get ready to go fast enough that it wasn't a huge problem. We didn't get to the park before 6, which is a little sad because apparently they shot off a few fireworks right then, but we've seen fireworks, so we think we'll be okay.
We decided to get to the park via Downtown Disney (as opposed to the parking lot tram), but we didn't make it past the Jamba Juice before we ran into the line. Frankly, we were a little disappointed that the line wasn't longer, but we did get there a little late, so maybe it would have been longer if we'd showed up on time. It was sufficiently long to prove our theory that the park would not, in fact, be empty just because it was 6am. People are suckers for big events, after all. (And in fact, that's probably the only reason we were there ourselves.)
The line moved quickly and it wasn't long before we got into Main Street, which was fairly packed, but not jammed. There were Disneyland cast members lining the sidewalks, wearing Mickey Mouse gloves (the big ones with four fingers) to high five all the people who were brave enough to show up in the wee hours of the morning. They were all wearing work clothes, as opposed to more costume-type costumes, so we think they were all from the midnight to 8am shift that normally takes care of park maintenance, gardening, window dressing, and all that neat stuff that makes the park seem magical despite never seeing anybody there to work on it. Oh! and we got buttons that say "One More Disney Day," to commemorate our being there on such a special(?) day.
We went to Frontierland first, because Big Thunder was the only big ride we hadn't hit the day before (well, that and Splash Mountain, but...), but it wasn't open yet, so we went on Pirates instead. That's about when we discovered that they were filming a very popular TV show at Disneyland that day, but it's a show we don't care for, so we decided to ignore it. (By "we," I mean Athena and me; Gaston made sure to get pictures once the cast showed up, to show them off to his coworkers.)
By then, Big Thunder had opened up, which was great because Big Thunder is really pretty in the morning, and after we went on that, we went to Fantasyland, because Gaston said something about how we went on everything but Big Thunder the day before, and we were like, "Actually, we didn't. In fact, we didn't go on a single ride in Fantasyland." We didn't realize that by "everything," Gaston probably meant "everything we care about," so he probably took our comment to mean we were upset that we didn't go on any rides in Fantasyland. In reality, we're just a little too literally minded, and so we get a little contrary. But we were happy to get to go on Fantasyland rides now that we had the chance, especially because early morning is also an excellent time to go on Dumbo and Casey Jr.
After that, it was time for the longest wait we'd had in the last two days: breakfast. Not that the line itself was long--just that it was moving veeeeery sloooowly for some reason. So by the time we got our pancakes, they were cold. Ah well. That'll learn us to try eating breakfast at the same time as everybody else.
We had all determined that it would be for the best to get out of the park pretty early on, so that and the approaching check-out time at our hotel told us it was time to leave. First, we checked on Main Street to see if they had any commemorative merchandise for the event, but all they had was a t-shirt that said, "I took the leap and didn't sleep--pulled an all-nighter at Disneyland park." Or something like that. We opted not to buy any, because it would have been a lie.
Then it was back to the hotel for check-out, and then the long drive home. This time, we all miraculously had enough stamina to keep up a conversation the whole time, so it was a little nicer than usual. And we got to see a big, beautiful rainbow as we drove north. All in all, it was a pretty good time.
The next day, at Thursday Night Activity, we talked to somebody who didn't go to Disneyland on Leap Day, but follows a bunch of Disney blogs and stuff. He told us that as the day went on, things got so crazy that the freeway leading to Disneyland was almost literally turned into a parking lot, and the park had to close the gates at about 10pm because it was full to capacity. We are so glad we got out when we did.
Today I'm thankful for getting to be a tiny part of a semi-historical event, getting away from the event before it turned miserable, getting to see a rainbow, getting to go to the temple last night, and the cute baby giraffe on our calendar.