Leap Day at Walt Disney World – Part 1 (24 Hours at Disney Begins)

March 1, 2012

seeing screens of empty boats coming down Space Mountain at Disney Leap Day 2012
Every screen at Splash Mountain’s picture preview area showed completely empty boats. Empty.

In case you missed it, Walt Disney World was open for 24 hours to celebrate leap day. I took that as a personal challenge to stay there the whole time.

We got to Disney before the sun came up. First ride of the morning – Splash Mountain.

We stood where you can see the boats coming down the drop. Here comes one! Empty. Next one. Empty. Third boat. Empty! That’s right – empty boats, one after another.

We walked right onto Splash Mountain with no wait. No one even got in our log when we were getting out.

Once Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) was open, we headed on over there. The feeling was that if Magic Kingdom was staying open until 6am, we should take advantage of other parks as much as possible during the regular day.

Aurora playing with the musical wall outside the Haunted MansionOriginally, I thought, “Oh, if Disney is open for 24 hours, wouldn’t it be cool if we could try to hit every ride in every park?” (I think it’s possible that I just heard a few of you say “HA!” to that preposterous idea. Right on with that reaction, because it is kind of a ridiculous thought.)

Though I do think that it’s maybe possible to make it happen if you have meticulous planning, incredible physical endurance, and luck on your side… (This may have to be a real goal for a future leap day…)

In the ghost town that was Magic Kingdom during the early hours, I thought, “Wow, I suppose it maybe could be possible to ride every ride today.”

I didn’t even get close. In fact, I didn’t even get close to hitting every ride in Magic Kingdom alone.

I thought I’d be hitting rides every 5 minutes starting at about 2am when everyone else cleared out. (That idea was completely incorrect. More on that later.)

Around lunch time, Wendy and Marty headed back to the house to do some work and take naps. I went over to Epcot and kept going strong. (Well, kept going at least.) I visited all the countries in the World Showcase, getting my little paper teddy bear stamped in each one.

Aurora posing with some friends at the entrance of Walt Disney World in the middle of the night/beginning of the Leap Day Celebration 2012I also adored spending time in the area after the Journey Into Imagination with Figment ride – the place with all the stuff that asks you to explore your imagination.

One cool thing there was this huge memory game wight light panels stretched across a wall. A stranger ended up taking the bottom half, while I took care of the sequence at the top. It was awesome working together with a random person. We actually did pretty well.

I love anything in Disney that reminds me to keep my mind open and think differently. My favorite things in Walt Disney World by far are those that remind me to dream, or those that teach me something about great dreamers from history. It’s an inspiring place.

After all of that, while Epcot was closing, it was time to go rock Magic Kingdom ‘til the sun came up!

On the monorail, a group of people and I were joking, “Wouldn’t it be funny if so many people came out for leap day that the park was at capacity, and we couldn’t get back in? Hardy, har, har, har.”

part of the crowd to get into Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World on Leap Day 2012
Only a small part of the crowd waiting to get in

As the monorail passed Magic Kingdom, we literally, audibly gasped because of the humongous crowd waiting to get in.

We ran down there, and were able to get in the park. But it was crazy! At that point I couldn’t even hear myself think. First off, I’d been at Walt Disney World for about 17 hours already, but mainly because there were people everywhere. Every. Where.

Did I survive the final 8 hours? (I probably did, since I’m writing this blog.) Definitively find out tomorrow!

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