In this episode the DisGeek crew talking about the launch of the Diamond Celebration 60th Anniversary and the 24 hour party.
Two days before the 24-hour kickoff party for the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, Disneyland hosted a merchandise event where people could pre-order certain items for the 60th Anniversary. Some things were exclusive, while others were offered as pre-sale to the big hullabaloo on May 22nd. You can view the complete catalog here: Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Merchandise Event catalog. The cost to attend was $100 per person.
Now, before I get into my full experience, many people might ask, “Why would someone pay money to spend even more money?” The answer would likely vary from those in attendance. Some folks are out to make a quick buck on eBay, while others were there as a once-in-a-lifetime spending spree. As for my wife and I, it was a matter of exclusivity, comfort, and convenience.
Anyone who’s attended a 24-hour event at Disneyland can tell you that it gets jampacked. Given that this particular occasion was to celebrate the 60th Anniversary, we anticipated the crowds would reach capacity quickly. As such, our goal was to get the things we wanted without having to wait in 1-hour+ lines.
Arrival and Registration
Registration for the Diamond Celebration Merchandise Event started at 7:00 am on May 20th. It was held at the Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall. As Southern California residents, we opted to go a bit later to avoid traffic. This decision turned out to be a smart one as the drive was smooth all the way to the hotel.
Upon entering the Exhibit Hall at around 10:30 am, we were shown to the registration table. They had everything lined up and ready. The majority of attendees had arrived much earlier, so there was no waiting whatsoever. We were presented with a bag full of information, vouchers and some high quality swag as well.
The information packet contained all the particulars about the event including the itinerary, guidelines, silent auction process, and a list of newer merchandise not shown in the online catalog. We also received a lanyard with an event pass. This pass was absolutely stunning and attracted a lot of attention. My wife and I got second looks while walking around Disneyland during the three days of our stay.
There were also vouchers to obtain four different perks. The first was a PhotoPass to get a free commemorative picture. Second was a pin trading card, which you could use up to six times per guest. The third was for a treat, which was to be distributed the following day (May 21) at 1:30pm. Lastly was a voucher to obtain an “Exit Gift.” This was redeemed at the end of the final day after the “Dreamers and Doers” Panel Discussion at the Magic Kingdom Ballroom.
As for the swag, let me just say that the $100 we spent per person was easily worth the items we received. There were two gifts inside our bags: an exclusive pillow and Arribas Bros crystal paperweight. As of the date of this writing, the pillow was selling for $100 on average through eBay. The crystal had a starting bid price of $120. If my wife and I sold both, we could at least double our money.
Upon reading that they included a pillow, one might assume something cheap. This is not the case. The pillow is crafted really well and its front design emulates the first admission ticket to Disneyland. Flip it around to the back and it has Walt Disney’s famous quote: “To All Who Come To This Happy Place, Welcome!” As you can see by the pictures, the detail is outstanding and is absolutely perfect for any home.
The Arribas Bros crystal paperweight is a thing of beauty. This high quality piece is etched with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and the words “Disneyland Resort 60 Diamond Celebration” with the date of the event: May 20-21, 2015. In my opinion, this alone merited the price of admission.
One of the first things we did after registering was go to the event store. Some of the limited edition items had not sold out and there were other things available that we wanted to pick up for friends and family. Many people were in line, but nothing close to what we encountered on May 22nd. We saved a ton of time by buying stuff at the event store.
The merchandise pickup area for pre-sale items was smooth. We only waited about 10-minutes before having a cast member get our bags of goodies. Everything was packaged up nice and neat. The only issue was the inspection of certain high-dollar goods such as paintings and cels. This caused a slight delay, but wasn’t really a big deal.
A number of artists were on hand to sign their works. This group included Manuel Arribas, Tyler Dumas, Susan Foy, Dana & Melanie Harvey, Hiko Maeda, Tim O’Day, Cody Reynolds, Javier Soto, Kurt Raymond, Tim Rogerson, and Adam Throgmorton. As you can tell, there were a lot of artists missing. Nevertheless, it was nice that these people made time to autograph their respective pieces.
Pin Trading and Silent Auction
Event coordinators set up a pin trading area inside the Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall. Dozens of tables were available so people could sit down and relax. It was also an opportunity to inspect your newly acquired merchandise. The décor was done up quite nicely. There were projections all around the room and in the back was an arrangement of vintage Disneyland ride vehicles.
Speaking of the rides, the display was quaint. The list of attractions being represented were Autopia, Space Mountain, Matterhorn, and a open truck from Main Street, USA. All in all, it was a nice touch.
As for the projections, a feeling of warmth came over me to see Disneyland icons all around the hall. The signature image was Sleeping Beauty Castle with fireworks. It was cool how they used higher intensity yellow lights to symbolize an explosion. Space Mountain, Mark Twain Riverboat, it’s a small world, Jungle Cruise, Tarzan’s Treehouse, and Star Tours were all depicted.
Each corner of the room had a pin trading station. Boards were displayed containing a variety of pins you could exchange up to six times using the aforementioned voucher. Some of the pins were really nice, while others were not so great. There were a number of Walt Disney World pins, which I didn’t expect or desire. In any case, the selection was good and they exchanged the boards at various intervals. This provided an opportunity to find something you really wanted.
In a surprisingly delightful twist, my wife and I discovered the boards each had an unique pin that came with a special gift. We had gone up to one and I noticed a design for the “Village Haus” restaurant. My wife selected it and the cast member told her that she chose the winner. This particular pin came with a commemorative box from Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary. We were very happy and made our experience much more memorable.
To the side of the trading area was a display of merchandise for the silent auction. A number of rare and unusual goods were on display. Unfortunately my camera was having issues and I do not have photographs. Nevertheless, the things on display included a complete set of Diamond Anniversary pins, unique Vinylmation dolls, leather purse, and other works of art. We didn’t bother placing any bids as the prices were geared towards the 1-percenters.
Disneyland Resort Ambassador Program Panel
Besides it being Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, this year also marks the 50th Anniversary of the Disney Ambassador Program. To honor this unique occasion, they had a special Disneyland Resort Ambassador Program Panel at the event. Basically, it was a number of past and present Disneyland ambassadors who spoke about their experiences. Two current ambassadors played host and on the panel were seven former cast members who worked at the resort dating back to the 1960s. In fact, one of them (Connie Swanson) actually interacted with Walt Disney in person. Everyone had interesting tales to tell, but Connie had the most interesting stories because of Walt. I was able to shoot video, which you can watch below:
This panel discussion took place at the Magic Kingdom Ballroom. There were four opportunities to see it, which was convenient. Each of the ambassadors brought pieces of the past to display. It was like walking down memory lane. It was wonderful to see the uniforms, memorabilia, pictures, and other mementos showing how Disney spread its brand across the globe during the past five decades.
Like the pin trading area, the ballroom was illuminated with fabulous projections on the walls. It was really cool to see all the artwork of the Disneyland Ambassador Program. Each decade had its own individual style. The stage was nice, but pretty straight forward. Just nine director chairs, two tables, a blue curtain backdrop and a cutout in front.
“Disneyland Dreamers & Doers” Panel Discussion
The highlight of the merchandise event was the “Disneyland Dreamers & Doers” Panel Discussion. It took place toward the end of the second day at 5:30pm and lasted an hour. On stage were a number of Disney luminaries who shared their experiences working at the Happiest Place on Earth. The following is a list of people shown in the picture below (from left to right):
- Tom Morris (WDI, Imagineer)
- Stan Freese (Talent Booking and Talent Director, Disneyland)
- Marilyn Magness (Director Creative Entertainment)
- Tim O’Day (Moderator, Author)
- Kim Irvine (WDI, Art Director)
- Don Dorsey (Production Consultant)
- Shari Allen (Mickey Mouse Club, Mouseketeer)
- Bobby Burgess (Mickey Mouse Club, Mouseteer)
Before the discussion began, the Dapper Dans came out on stage and sang. This was a fun surprise for audience members, including myself. It was truly delightful to see them perform. In the video below, you can watch them go through a variety of musical numbers paying homage to Disneyland attractions. As you can tell by the reaction, everyone thoroughly enjoyed this spectacle.
Tim O’Day had moderated the panel discussion. He asked each person about their history working for Disney. I won’t go into detail of the whole affair, but here are a couple of questions posed: “What does Disneyland mean to you” and “What is your proudest moment?” To see video of them answering, you can check out the following clips from the Parks and Cons YouTube channel:
Once the “Disneyland Dreamers & Doers” Panel Discussion ended, the audience was greeted outside the Magic Kingdom Ballroom with their Exit Gift. The final voucher was exchanged for a bag containing a Mickey Balloon popcorn bucket. It was totally awesome to get one of the most highly sought after souvenirs of the Diamond Celebration. My wife received a red one and I got a blue bucket. This meant we only needed the purple version to complete the trifecta (which we purchased the following day).
So, was it worth it?
The answer to this question is completely subjective. Looking at it from an economic perspective, a price tag of $100 per person is rather steep. However, the swag alone can easily sell for double the amount on eBay if so desired (although we will be keeping ours). Plus, if you factor in all the pre-sale exclusive merchandise, a person could potentially make a handsome profit.
Furthermore, I’ve been to another merchandise event in the past (Mahaloween 2014) and wasn’t sure if it was worth the cost. Having said that, I firmly believe the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Merchandise Event was an absolute value by comparison. The two panels were both entertaining and informative. My wife and I had a great time at each. Moreover, we saved a ton of time by avoiding lines to purchase items at the 24-hour kickoff on May 22nd. There were only a few specific things we couldn’t get during the two days.
If someone were to ask whether or not to attend a merchandise event, I can only say that this one was well worth it. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences and may it be helpful the next time you consider going in the future.
This episode the DisGeek Crew discusses the latest news coming out of the Disneyland Resort. Daniel recaps Star Wars Celebration, and we react to to Star Wars – The Force Awakens emotional new trailer and we also have a listener email.
Disney Official Press Release:
Guests May Sing Along with Resort Music Groups, Choose a Dazzling Anniversary Souvenir, Enjoy Sparkling Beverages and Special Treats, and Discover New Magic on Select Attractions
The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will touch every aspect of the guest experience, beginning May 22, 2015. As guests enjoy the spectacular, new shows highlighting the celebration, they’ll also encounter brilliant décor, special entertainment throughout the parks and countless opportunities to amplify the Diamond Celebration fun with food, beverage and souvenir offerings.
Guests Invited to Join the Entertainment
In addition to the “Paint the Night” parade, immersive “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular and new “World of Color – Celebrate!” shows, opportunities for guests to become part of the musical magic of Disneyland will be found throughout the resort.
- At Disneyland:
- Guests may join a daily Diamond March-Along up Main Street, U.S.A., with the Disneyland Band and Disney characters in their sparkling, new Diamond Celebration costumes. The cavalcade concludes with a Diamond Sing-Along at Town Square in Disneyland Park.
- Also on Main Street, U.S.A., the Dapper Dans quartet will invite guests to join Diamond Sing-Alongs, while the Straw Hatters band will encourage Diamond Dance-Alongs. Every musical group across the Disneyland Resort is incorporating special Diamond Celebration moments into its shows.
- At Disney California Adventure Park:
- Guests may Dream-Along with Mickey Mouse and the Red Car News Boys, as Mickey shares a whole new song about his vision for the Happiest Place on Earth. When the Five & Dime arrive on Buena Vista Street, guests will be immersed in a joyous Dance-Along with Dime, Goofy and the boys.
- Mad T Party returns to Disney California Adventure beginning May 22, as guests are invited down the rabbit hole to experience the Diamond Mad T Party, a nighttime entertainment party inspired by Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” motion picture.
- The Mad T Party main stage will feature a live band, performing contemporary and classic rock favorites as well as newly mashed-up Disney tunes given a rare Mad T Party twist. When the band isn’t onstage, the White Rabbit DJ takes over and plays the latest, hottest dance tunes.
- Also for Mad T Party, the Hottest Deck in Town dance crew will perform their high-energy show with a new look at a new location, the Hollywood Backlot Stage.
- Diamond Mad T Party guests will also play interactive games, take photos or just chill out with a cold drink from the Drink Me Bar or Chiller truck. A new photo location combines the fantastical spirit of the Mad T Party with a tribute to Disney’s past.
Dazzling Merchandise and Souvenirs
Disneyland fans and collectors desiring a beautiful Diamond Celebration memento will find plenty to excite them at Disneyland Resort merchandise locations. More than 500 merchandise items will be available, including apparel, accessories, art, collectibles, headwear, home décor, jewelry, pins, souvenirs, toys and more.
- Headwear will include a Diamond Celebration ear hat, Minnie Mouse rhinestone-embellished headband, and youth and adult baseball hats. Also being introduced from the Diamond Collection is a crystal-encrusted Minnie Mouse headband and Mickey Mouse ear hat.
- Home Décor items will include frames, snow globes, mugs, a dinner plate, dessert plate, trivet, napkin, drinkware and bottle topper, as well as a beach towel, throws and pillow.
- Toys will include an array of plush, a fashion doll, a Diamond Celebration truck hauler, train set, playing cards, puzzles, Sleeping Beauty Castle playset and more.
- Open and limited edition pins, trading accessories, boxed pin sets and framed pin sets will be available.
- Collectors also will be interested in limited release, limited edition and crystal embellished Vinylmation.
- Art & Collectibles will include notable brands such as Precious Moments, Lenox, Highland Mint and Arribas Bros. Over the course of the celebration, fans will find artwork by Dave Avanzino, Disney Design Group (Costa Alavezos, Tyler Dumas, Susan Foy, Caley Hicks, Alex Maher, Randy Noble), Liana Hee, Ink & Paint artists, Brian Jowers, Lisa Keene, Jerrod Maruyama, Kurt Raymond, Tim Rogerson, SHAG, Javier Soto and The Thomas Kinkade Studios and Gregg Visintainer, among others.
- Made with Magic: Newly designed Diamond Celebration ear hats, wands and paint brushes will light up to accompany the big, new after-dark shows.
Diamond Celebration Food and Beverage
The Disneyland Resort is filled with a variety of popular dining options. For the Diamond Celebration, some new specialties will join the classic favorites, served in colorful Diamond Celebration souvenir containers.
- Special Diamond Celebration Cupcakes will be found at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café (lemon flavored) in Disneyland and the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café (orange flavored) in Disney California Adventure.
- Appropriately sparkling for the Diamond Celebration, a Pomegranate Silver Sparkler, topped with lemon-lime foam and garnished with silver flakes, will be served at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland.
- At the Lucky Fortune Cookery in Disney California Adventure, a special Lucky Fortune Tea will feature mango, pineapple and passion fruit flavoring.
- Exotic new Diamond Celebration beverages will also be available at Disneyland Resort hotel locations: a Longboard Lemonade at the PCH Grill in Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and a Wild Raspberry Rapids Lemonade at White Water Snacks in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
- Diamond Celebration Crisped Rice Treats, Caramel Corn and Cotton Candy will be available at select locations in the parks.
Select Attractions Glisten with New Magic
Disneyland Resort takes pride in keeping the guest experience sparkling and fresh, restoring and refreshing attractions on a regular basis. As the Diamond Celebration debuts, several attractions closed for renovations will reopen with some exciting changes.
- At Disneyland:
- The Hatbox Ghost, which appeared in the Haunted Mansion for a short period around the time the attraction opened in 1969, will materialize once again when the popular Mansion reopens to guests this spring in New Orleans Square. Guests will discover the ghost just before they descend into the cemetery, where the Hatbox Ghost performs an eerie trick.
- Matterhorn Bobsleds will reopen for the Diamond Celebration with new special effects. The Abominable Snowman, more exciting and ferocious, will appear in new and animated ways. A new scene will reveal some lost treasure the Snowman has been hoarding inside the mountain.
- Also reopening in May is Peter Pan’s Flight, featuring new special effects that make this classic and beloved attraction sparkle with new life. In a reimagined nursery scene, the Darling children have discovered the magic of flight as Tinker Bell flits overhead, sprinkling them with Pixie Dust. Guests will marvel at moonlit London Town and Never Land will glow in beautiful new ways.
- At Disney California Adventure:
- Grizzly Peak is expanding into the former Condor Flats area with new building exteriors, landscape features and more. A new quick-service food location, Smokejumpers Grill, opened in March, 2015, inspired by the brave men and women who fight wildfires in the California forests. When the entire area reopens on Friday, May 15, lush pine trees will bring cool areas of shade to the expanded Grizzly Peak, making guests feel as if they have been transported to California’s High Sierras. Soarin’ Over California will reopen with updates to its screen and projection system, bringing a visually enhanced experience.
###About the Disneyland Resort
The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and the reimagined Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, recently renovated, 975-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” fun. For information on attractions and vacations at Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents.
Disneyland Resort Public Relations
We are getting closer and closer to the big 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration at Disneyland! One of the big new additions is, “Paint the Night” a sort of Main Street Electrical Parade 2.0. We’ve seen video of this parade in Hong Kong Disneyland but we are looking forward to seeing this in person at our very own Main Street here at Disneyland!
Here is the original Disney Parks Blog post:
Opening May 22 as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the spectacular new “Paint the Night” parade will feature some of the most innovative floats, vibrant costumes, dazzling special effects, unforgettable music and energetic performances ever presented at Disneyland Resort.
The Entertainment team has been working around the clock to get the “Paint the Night” parade ready for its big debut. Today, we’re pleased to offer you a glimpse at one of our performer rehearsals with the Fiber Fairies from the opening unit and the Cars Crew, who join Mack Truck and Lightning McQueen. Once everything comes together, these talented performers will become an integral part of the show.
The music for the “Paint the Night” parade, a bit of which can be heard in the video, features the wonderful tune, “When Will I See You Again,” by the band Owl City. The song gives a great, contemporary sound to this new, state-of-the-art nighttime parade. And when you see “Paint the Night” in person, be sure to listen closely. You may just hear some musical surprises woven into the soundtrack!