2014 marked the first year The Disneyland Resort started hosting “anniversary parties” for Annual Passholders that had passes set to expire in the near future. The purpose of these events is to thank the APs for purchasing a year of Disney magic, and to also encourage them to renew their pass by showing them unique experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t get without being an AP. I believe this celebration was targeted towards people whose passes were expiring in April.
With my pass expiration date being at the end of March, I qualifed to receive an invitation-by-mail (addressed to “The Spear Family” and not to me individually) with instructions on how to register for this anniversary event. For those of you with APs expiring around the same time, but didn’t know anything about the event, here’s a tip – if you’ve ever opted-out of ANY (and I truly mean ANY) communications from the Walt Disney Company, whether it’s email or mail, they will cease to send me you any information about special events and only send you correspondence regarding your pass renewal. If you’d like to double-check or change your communication preferences, you can make changes for your Communication Choices by clicking here.
On Monday night, I attended the first of two AP Anniversary events, themed as ‘A Royal Celebration‘. While I had the opportunity to register up to 5 fellow APs with me, I only had my husband to take along with me for this event, so we completed the registration online at the designated time and opted for the February 23rd date.
Upon arrival for check-in, our passes were scanned and we were given a wristband for the event. As a takeaway gift, we were given a magnet for the new upcoming live-action “Cinderella” film and a map of the festivities. Since the event was after-hours (Parks closed at 8pm), our wristbands ensured that we were part of the celebration and could stay until the clock struck midnight.
Now on to the event! I’m not particularly fond of waiting in line for characters, but there were plenty of special character meet and greets (with lines stretching as long as 90 minutes long!).The Disney Villains were among the most popular, featuring obscure characters like Prince John and fan favorites Cruella De Vil and Maleficient. My friend Andy and his friends took on the line and were able to snap some fun pics that I am sharing here today. Other meet and greets included Disney princesses (Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, Belle and the Beast, Aurora and Prince Philip), as well as other Disney couples like John Smith and Pocahontas. Of course Mickey and Minnie, and Donald and Daisy were decked out in royal garb for the festivities.
There were incredibly short lines for all the major attractions throughout the Parks, and all Disney PhotoPass downloads for the event were offered free-of-charge to AP attendees. I walked right up to the Mad Tea Party spinning teacups, a ride that usually garners long waits. It had been a long time since I had been on it and this special event set the stage for a magical evening!
DJ Wendy was turning tables at the Fantasy Faire, where Lady Tremaine and Cinderella’s step-sisters Drizella and Anastasia were keeping the crowd occupied.
While massive lines formed around the Park for character meet and greets and the Royal Celebration Dance Party was underway at Fantasy Faire, the band Tomasina was entertaining guests over at Tomorrowland Terrace.
This event was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of short wait times, get photos with not-often-seen characters, and also enjoy a quiet, relatively empty Disneyland Park. There was also a special showing of Fantasmic! for APs at 9:30pm, and many took advantage of the opportunity to watch the show with less crowds.
Personally, I spent the evening walking down Main Street and snapping photos and enjoying the scenery without feeling the rush of an every day visit. I look forward to hearing what the other AP Anniversary events will entail, as well as the future Annual Passholder events that aren’t necessarily for expiring passes.
Want to find out when the next Annual Passholder event is? Make sure that your pass is registered to your Disneyland account and that you’re following the Disneyland Annual Passholders Facebook page and @DisneylandAP Twitter account!