24 hours in the Magic Kingdom. That was the challenge Walt Disney World put on its guests from 6 a.m. Friday, May 24 through 6 a.m. Saturday, May 25. The park would be open for an entire day, nonstop, in an event dubbed the “Monstrous All-Nighter” to kick off Monstrous Summer, a season celebrating new attractions in the parks and the release of Monsters University in theaters. On the west coast, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were also open 24 hours.
And I made it. While I felt a bit like Roz by the time it was all said and done, I had so much fun and would do it again in a heartbeat.
There were many one-day-only activities taking place throughout the day, and almost all of them tied in the “monstrous” theme, making it difficult to escape the MU spirit. It all felt celebratory, though; at no time did I feel like Disney was shoving promotions for the movie down my throat. Instead, it felt like a natural, well-executed theme to give the all-nighter a jolt of enthusiasm. The fact that MU is a sequel definitely helped in this regard. Had this been an entirely new film, the day’s theme would have felt force-fed. However, since everyone already knows and loves Mike and Sulley, the theme was a smart one. Everyone was simply happy to be part of this very special day.
Throughout the event, Mike and Sulley made appearances in several shows they are not normally part of, like the Welcome Ceremony, Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, and Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party. Tomorrowland really pulled out all the stops. By day it was an MU dance party, and by night it became an outdoor viewing for Monsters, Inc. as well as a meet & greet location for Mike and Sulley in their college gear. Many guests came dressed as monsters to commemorate the occasion.
A pint-sized Sulley watches as the real Sulley leads Disney characters in opening the Magic Kingdom at 6 a.m.
Merchandise also heralded the day’s celebrations. New, furry Sulley mouse ears were available, as were exclusive dessert treats. There was a Sulley cupcake, a Mike ice cream, and even a Randall frozen drink, all available for one day only as part of Disney’s ongoing Limited Time Magic campaign.
A handful of lucky readers of the official Disney Parks blog even attended an advanced screening of Monsters University (but, alas, I was not quick enough to score tickets).
Other, non-MU events included meet & greets with classic characters in their pajamas, a DJ in front of Cinderella Castle, and a 1 a.m. showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade (not gonna lie, that was surreal).
Mickey and Minnie wave goodbye in their pajamas as the 24 hours conclude.
Beyond the Monstrous All-Nighter, other MU tie-ins (which we reported on last month) have begun to surface in Disney’s theme parks. The school Student Union is now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where many fun details can be gazed upon while waiting to meet Mike and Sulley. At Disney California Adventure, the pair can now be found outside MU dorms, and a school pep rally leads the daily performances of the Pixar Play Parade (complete with all-new characters from the film… including the scare pig!). Check it out:
Video by SoCal Theme Parks 360.