Okay! We got back yesterday and I'm finally in my office "working hard" and have time to post some more details comments and afterthoughts... I posted a lot the night of DAH, but I figured a summary and overall timeline would be useful... This post will be text heavy and then I'll post some pictures in a following post.
BACKGROUND: I have an AP and we have gone a few times in the past year. We did DAH last year on March 2, 2017. When they announced DAH for this year, I decided to make a trip just for it. I loved it that much last year... My wife said she was Disney'd-out (wha!?!), so I convinced my younger brother to join me (his first Disney World trip).
OVERALL: I loved it. My brother loved it. It was amazing. It is seriously the most fun I have ever had in Magic Kingdom. I heartily recommend it to anyone, it's an experience that you cannot get any other way.
On Friday we did Animal Kingdom in the morning (9am-1pm) and then took a quick break back in our resort (Poly). We took the boat over to MK and arrived around 3:15. I asked the CM at the Passholder entrance about lanyards and he had no idea what I was talking about. I told him there was an after hours event that night and he seemed genuinely clueless and said to ask Guest Relations. I walked to GR, but the line was out the door (and then some), so I decided to look for another CM near the gate. I found another who had no idea what DAH was. So weird! Then I found a CM wearing plaid and holding an iPad. They said we had to come back at 7pm and that they would not have lanyards out until then. Boo! So off we went to do a few rides (space, tea cups, small world, pirates and jungle cruise). It was now about 6:30, so I decided we would head back to the gate. It was a bit difficult crossing all the fireworks traffic, but they had the backstage area by the first aid station open and that helped a ton. When we got to the gate there was a pretty long line that I didn't want to wait it. I thought exiting and re-entering was totally silly. So I went up to a CM wearing plaid (the ones who are ready for ticketing problems, not the main gate checkers) and said "we used other tickets to get in, but I'd like to get our lanyards". She brought a CM with an iPad who checked our bands and gave us the lanyards. Success! I didn't have to exit the park! Now we were at the gate and hungry, so I mobile ordered us some footlong coneys from Casey's. The line was INSANE, so mobile ordering was essential. They were ready before we got there (yay!) and we scarfed them down.
So now it was about 7 and I knew I wanted to start in Fronteirland with BTMRR. So I thought let's do Country Bears. It was deserted and AWESOME. We then called our significant others (so I could talk to my kids). We played around in fronteirland (shops, shooting) and walked over to BTMRR around 7:40. The standby was 10 mins so we did BTMRR via standby. After that it was 10 till the fun, so I chatted the CM in the FP line about DAH. He said we could go ahead and get in the FP line (yay!), so we rode BTMRR again. After that ride it was 8pm and DAH officially started. Right at 8pm, they closed the standby line at BTMRR and only let those with lanyards into the line starting at 8pm. I saw many people turned away (and many people asking what DAH was and how to get tickets). We then rode BTMRR another 4 times, during the fireworks. I personally think BTMRR with fireworks is incredible. After a total of 6 rides on BTMRR, we did Haunted Mansion. Then we stopped for snacks. The line was LONG, but I wanted snacks for our walk to Tomorrowland, so we waited. This was right around 8:30 in a cart outside of HM. We each got a Mickey bar, a coke, and shared a popcorn. We had eaten most all of it by the time we walked to space mountain, though the Mickey bars are not so enjoyable when stuffing one's face with one, haha. (much better when relaxing on a park bench watching the crowds, but not doing that on DAH night!). For what it's worth, we passed three snack carts with no one in line on the way from HM to space mountain. You win some, you lose some.
At 8:45PM we got to space mountain and it was deserted. Literally walk-on. Both sides were open (alpha and omega) and you could pick either. I'll post a picture of the "queue" in the next post, but there was no stopping to wait whatsoever. We did space mountain 5 times in the span of maybe 30-40 mins? I didn't keep great time records, I'm piecing the timeline together based on phone pictures, texts to my wife, and my Dis posts... ha. The entire time it was walk on and awesome. Though my body was angry at me by the last couple rides. =). We then did Astro Orbiter, a DAH must (IMO). MDE was saying 50 minutes wait, but clearly the wait times are not correct. We walked right into an elevator and only had to wait for the current ride to end. We got on quickly and did Astro. I love that ride at night. We did tea cups spinning as fast as we could and then stopped at an empty snack carts to get a water and strawberry bar (healthy, haha). Next onto fantasyland and my plan for riding 7DMT several times...
We got to 7DMT around 9:40. Last year I was able to ride 7DMT ~5 times in a row (in about 30 mins total) at this same time... But this year, the line was LONG. I first was stumped why the main queue was open and not the FP line. It took us a little over 30 mins to ride 7DMT. I guess for what it's worth, I did get to experience the main full queue with a 30+ minute wait -- I have only rode 7DMT via FP previously. Still, I was a bit annoyed and decided I was not waiting another 30 minutes to ride again... This was the first ride we saw any wait and I was totally shocked at how many people were there. Clearly everyone stayed in NFL... After 7DMT, we did Pooh. Then we did the carousel (yup, two ~40 year old men riding the carousel alone!). Then I made my brother meet the princesses (all 4 of them) because I wanted the pictures. We didn't chat them up much, but the pictures are awesome! Rapunzel/Tiana was quick (5 mins) but we arrived during a break for Cindy/Elena and that took 15 mins. After the princesses, we did Peter Pan. Then we did talking Mickey and finally walked around Main Street doing photo pass photos and exploring with no crowds.
We were at the castle at 11pm and walked out at that point. The transportation back to the Poly was a total mess. The monorails were not running and the resort ferry was not either. So we were told to take a bus. In hindsight, should have taken a ferry to the TTC and walked from TTC to Poly. The bus to Poly was shared with WL, FW, Contemporary, and GF. The line was enormous. We waited ~30 mins for a bus. Luckily, Poly was the second stop after CR. I guess I was not thinking clearly and I remember reading posts about this last year, but the bus was not a good choice. I did try to get a Minnie Van from the time we were walking from the gate and the whole time waiting in line, but none were ever available.
Ride summary (DAH only, starting at 8pm):
- BTMRR x 4 (all walk on)
- Haunted Mansion (walk on)
- Space Mountain x 5 (all walk on)
- Astro Orbiter (walk on)
- Tea Cups (walk on)
- 7DMT (30 min wait)
- Pooh (walk on)
- Carousel (walk on)
- Tiana / Rapunzel (5 min)
- Cinderella / Elena (15 mins)
- Peter Pan (walk on)
- "Talking" Mickey (5 mins)
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was amazing. I loved it. I would do this on every single Disney trip if it were available, without any hesitation. The ONLY lines we encountered all night were at 7DMT. And that line was, admittedly, crazy. But even riding 7DMT just once, it was a great night. If you really care about riding 7DMT over and over, I would suggest doing EMM in addition to this. And get your 7DMT fix at EMM and skip 7DMT at DAH. I didn't like the idea of any ride taking 30 mins of precious DAH time. The crowd levels outside seemed very low and the park is as empty as you will ever see it. We were there midnight Saturday (the day after) and the crowds were probably 10x or more what they were at DAH. There is nothing else like it.
(sorry for this being so long)