Disneyland introduced a new perk for Annual Passholders this month, putting on two evenings of private parties at no additional cost to Passholders. All that was required was obtaining an advance reservation. Tonight's party happened to coincide with our oldest daughter's birthday, so a private party at Disneyland sounded pretty perfect!
The party ran from 8:00 to midnight, and it was an absolutely marvelous evening which was extremely well-run. We arrived before the party started and obtained wristbands. Once 8:00 rolled around, only guests wearing wristbands were allowed on the rides, and the daytime guests filtered out of the park.
In the last year or two there have been some complaints that guests without wristbands were allowed to participate in the after-hours Halloween parties, which require a separate paid ticket, but there were no such issues last night. Cast members were diligent about checking wristbands throughout the evening.
Main Street, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland were open for the length of the party, with most rides in those areas operating. A number of restaurants and shops were also open for the party.
I can't remember the last time we went on so many rides in a single visit! Lines were short, and some rides were even walk-ons. We managed to ride half a dozen rides in the first half hour of the party!
Best of all, there was a special nighttime presentation of the Soundsational Parade. We were sitting in front of Town Hall, and that part of the park was so empty it was almost like we were enjoying our own private parade. Our daughter was wearing a Disney birthday button, and numerous parade cast members wished her a happy birthday as they passed by.
Later in the evening the floats were brought back onto Main Street, and guests could pose for photos next to the floats with parade cast members. There was also a presentation about the creation of the parade at Tomorrowland Terrace. (We missed that part, unfortunately -- we were having too much fun on the rides at that point!)
MousePlanet describes last week's party, saying the event followed the business maxim to "under-promise and over-deliver." That was certainly the case. The entire evening felt similar to a D23 event and was a very nice "thank you" to Disneyland's most loyal guests. We hope this is a new trend and that we can look forward to more such events in the future!