Disney always throws the best parties, and over Memorial Day Weekend they threw the best party yet: a Monstrous Summer All-Nighter to celebrate the upcoming Monsters University movie! What better way to celebrate Mike & Sulley's college days than with an All-Nighter, right? Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort were open for 24 hours, from 6:00 AM on Friday May 24 till 6:00 AM on Saturday May 25.
I was at the Disneyland Resort that week to see the premiere of Mickey and the Magical Map, so I decided to join the fun and see how long I could last. Even though my college days are long gone, I like getting into the parks early to avoid the long lines anyway, so I arrived at the park gates by 5:45 AM. The plaza between Disneyland and DCA was already filled with bright-eyed, eager parkgoers (no doubt fueled by coffee, Red Bull and god knows what).
The energy kept building until the countdown to opening, led by Mike and Sulley, as fireworks exploded and the gates opened.
Cast members lined the streets to high-five all the early birds as they started their 24-hour day. It is kind of an endurance event, after all, so I thought it was really cute that the cast members were showing their support. The greeters were not just park employees; there were people from accounting, legal, and everywhere else around the Disneyland Resort.
After the initial rush, the parks quickly settled in and resumed their normal weekend operations, with a special touches here and there to remind everyone that this was no ordinary day at the Disneyland Resort. Cast members were handing out special buttons to everyone who entered the park. Other buttons with different monsters on them were handed out at the parking lots, to congratulate parkgoers for commuting.
People were snapping up special Monstrous merchandise, particularly the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter T-Shirt, featuring Mike Wazowski and the slogan "It's Eye-mazing! I was there and did not bat an eye!"
Other Monstrous Merchandise included:
- Mike One-Eye Glasses
- Monstrous Mickey-Ear Hat
- Sulley Ear Hat
Yes, that's a Sulley caramel apple I'm holding! There were various special food offerings available only during the 24-hour event, like these 24 Hour Cupcakes.
I know these Mike Wazowski caramel apples, Mike Wazowski cake pops and Sulley caramel apples were introduced to celebrate Monsters University, but I'm not sure whether they were sold only during the All-Nighter. They are so adorable, they should be sold every day!
Additional special Monstrous Dining offerings included:
- Monster Nacho Dog at Award Wieners
- Eye Scream Sundae at Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream
- Monstrous Open-Face Turkey Sandwich at Flo's V8 Cafe
- Monster Bacon Double Cheeseburger with Fried Onion Ring at Taste Pilot's Grill
Monsters University was definitely featured front and center. Throughout the parks, stores and special kiosks were selling Monsters University merchandise: shirts, hats, plushies, toys, you name it. My favorite was the cuddly Sulley Pillow Pet!
The street corner just across the Hyperion Theatre (where Disney's Aladdin - a Musical Spectacular plays) now looks like a scene straight out of Monsters University. Guests can see the outside of Mike and Sulley's dorm. I love the little details -- the blue bushes, the soccer ball in the upstairs window, the monster bikes parked on bike racks, the Monsters U crest on the sidewalk, even the banners on the lamp post.
I couldn't resist having my photo taken in front of such a prestigious edifice.
Unfortunately Sulley must have been in class that morning; when I returned, he was hanging out but the line to pose for photos with him was too long, so I had to snap this photo from a distance.
In the afternoon I watched the Pixar Play Parade and noticed that instead of the usual Monsters, Inc. float, the parade is now headed by a Monsters University float, with monster cheerleaders on the side as well as Roz, the administrator for Scare Floor F at Monsters Inc. (who is presumably a Monsters University alum?).
The celebrations continued well into the night, and the park stayed crowded the whole time (the last time they did an all-nighter, One More Disney Day, to celebrate the 2012 leap year, the park had reached capacity by 11pm, but this year I think they managed the crowds better by restricting regular annual pass holders and cast members). By midnight, I was feeling like Cinderella. Wandering around by yourself can only be so entertaining. I decided 18 hours -- 6AM till midnight -- was enough, and headed to my hotel room.
So this is how I started my day, and this is how I ended it -- dying to sleep. But it was totally worth it; I wish I had had the energy (and the company) to keep me going for those last 6 hours! The 2013 All-Nighter was a great experience and I would totally do it again! Hopefully I'll last the whole 24 hours next time :)