At 10 a.m. on May 24, I sent out a tweet: “Today, Disneyland is open for 24 hours. Challenge accepted.” Twelve hours later, by the time the spectacular fireworks display over the Sleeping Beauty Castle was coming to a close, we had had enough.

“I just feel like going to bed,” my six-year-old daughter said. “Please?”

Sigh. Challenge failed.


We headed back to the hotel through a crush of human bodies, as a capacity crowd inched its way out of Fantasyland and into the rest of the park, to begin enjoying a night of rides and revelry.

A six-year-old and an eight-year-old, going strong all day, just couldn’t take another step.

Did someone say nap?

We put the little ones to bed, changed into pyjamas and set the alarm. We would return to the park around 2 a.m. in our PJ’s—that was what we had decided would be the ideal way to celebrate Disney’s Monstrous 24 Hour event, designed to kick off summer. A few hours of sleep, and we’d be back out there to enjoy the Monster’s Inc.-themed festivities.

The lines would be minimal, the air would be blissfully cool …

When the alarm went off, neither kid stirred. The adults weren’t much better.

We checked the Disneyland MouseWait Social Wait Times FREE app that reveals wait times at the most popular rides. It was unchanged from the afternoon; more than an hour at Space Mountain and Indiana Jones. The hoots and hollers from outside our hotel window indicated that revelry was still taking place at a daylight pace.

And that was where our 24-hour adventure ended.

We knew that we’d be better off leaving the overnight party to the teens, and tackling the park fresh the next day.

As I drifted back to sleep, I had no regrets. We’d be back at it in the morning.

Sure enough, the next day we heard that park had been as busy overnight as it would have been on a summer day.

I hope Disney repeats the Monstrous 24 Hour event next year. It’s a great idea for families with older kids and teens—and especially for the 2013 grads who had special access to some of the popular rides like Radiator Springs Racers.

I’d still like to try it again, especially the wearing PJ’s part (I saw plenty of celebrants doing just that as we made our way back to the hotel.) I just need to get to the “nap” part a little earlier in the night. Maybe next year.