OK, I specifically spent the day at the parks yesterday, first off, needed to be at the Press event for the newest Anaheim/OC Walk of Stars honoring the Yorba family at 10 AM, got there a bit early, and got some Anaheim GardenWalk photos first.
After the Press Event was over around 10:30 AM (handled by the City, which owns the sidewalk) but had Disneyland officials and CM's present, as the event took over the 15 minute lot. (Anaheim Police were allowing cars to stop on the road to drop off people, with a marked off lane and police officers controlling the area). So Disney had to tell folks walking to the park to avoid the area.
I headed to DCA first, mainly to get some shots of Toy Story Mania, as I usually get afternoon shots, and the sun position is better in the mornings. A lot of folks won Dream Fastpasses, and a few people won Pin Lanyards and Dream Ears, but no After Hour passes. Spent a couple of hours in the park, but the lines were basically non existent, Soarin' was a walk on, so was Mulholland Madness, the Sun Wheel, Screamin' was a one train wait, and they were running 2 trains. The Noon "Drawn to the Magic" had 8 people watching it at the beginning (and one of the performers did make a joke about it). Then I headed to the GCH for construction photos, walked back through DCA and walked much of the area, still no After Hour passes being handed out. (And I knew that Tuesday would be an "After Hour" event, as they had to schedule CM's to work the additional hours, as mentioned by myself and Al Lutz at another website to let locals know about the chance to attend the event).
Next was off to Disneyland, you can now see the new elevator building for the Dream Suite, which is a separate Green Tower that attaches the the original building with a bridge, to allow folks to walk under it. The Mark Twain was having its boiler cleaned. Tom Sawyer Island was having its dirt pathways repaired and repacked, and the Tea Cups had the metal spindles installed on the platform, but still no tea cups but didn't see any After Hour passes being handed out there either.
So back to DCA, started to walk the areas again, saw the After Hour Passes around some people's neck (it was a lanyard with a credential) in the Hollywood Backlot area, finally figured out they were handing the out at Turtle Talk with Crush, but just missed the last one being handed out (saw the Dream Patrol in white vests walking away), headed around to the west side of the park and saw another set of White Vested Dream Patrol CM's walking off-stage near the Orange Stinger, and then finally figured out there was a team handing them out at the Maliboomer exit, so I got one after riding, but wanted another one for Lisa, who was at work. So I walked back around the park, including Pacific Wharf and the Sunshine Plaza, then back by GRR and Bathroom Row. Got back to the Maliboomer, and they still had plenty of After Hour passes, so rode it again (and there was never a wait other than the current cycle) and got a second lanyard. Then since it was so slow, I got a third, which ended up being offered to a friend.
By this time, I was sick of the parks, and since I knew I was coming back, walked over to the Anaheim Convention Center to get some photos of the area that might be converted into a new hotel and more meeting space, plus some of the NAMM signage. Then checked out both the Hilton and Marriott lobbies, then back to the parks, walking through the Jolly Roger Hotel area for more photos (another hotel that might be razed for a new set of hotels). Headed to Disneyland first this time (around 5 PM), just to check crowd size and see if the Mickey Floral was working yet (The lights are the responsibility of the Entertainment Dept, and they haven't finished the programming yet). At around 5:30, headed over to DCA, checked up the Hollywood Backlot Stage area, where they placed a "Welcome Dreamers" sign and setting up a laptop computer on a stand on stage, so 2 folks could "DJ" the pre-event.
Lisa and my friend Mark finally show up at the Main Turnstiles at 5:59 and a lot of seconds, and were the last 2 folks allowed inside the park. Headed back to the Pre-party area, which you had to show your credential to enter. The purpose of this was to be able to clear out the park, and to get the "regular" guests to leave.
During this time, some of the crowd danced and relaxed around the stage. They handed out 2,000 Lanyards for the event, and I would say at least half showed up, but clearly not all. (!,000 to 1,500 is my guess).
At 6:30 they let everyone out of the area, with the announcement that the park would close at 7:30. Seemed like everyone headed to ToT, and once we saw the line, decided to head west. While walking over there, we saw more than a few folks opting to leave the park thru the exit (I presume they thought the event would be more than just an extra hour of riding). I think the only place to eat that remained open was Taste Pilots Grill, didn't see any shops open, and some places, like Disney's Animation were closed.
Ended up riding Mulholland Madness, no line, and they let us ride twice without getting out of the vehicle. Next was the Sun Wheel and the swinging cars. Then off to Screamin', in which many cars were only partially full. Since we took our time (and I was taking photos), it was getting close to closing. So we decided to do Soarin' instead of ToT, since it was closer. Good choice, we were on the last cycle of the night (they only had one side operating), and only 5 people on the attraction, so they didn't even bother with the outer two seating sections (they turned them off), so it was an amazing ride, with nothing to block your view (we were all on the top row, and the CM placed us in the middle of the row). It was a nice way to end the day.
On the way out the exit, 4 CM's stood at the exit and wished us a good night.
So, as a one time thing, it was interesting, but if I was a regular guest with a ParkHopper, it maybe wasn't the best thing, the only parade of the day at Disneyland was at 7 PM, so you needed to pick one of the 2 events. It also doesn't take into consideration the plans of the guests, as there is no way to plan for it. They might have a dinner reservation somewhere, need to meet family and friends, etc. when you are told only about 3 to 4 hours before the event happening. And what if only some of your party gets a lanyard? The Dream Team handing out the Lanyards at the Maliboomer refused to hand out any to those who did not want to ride, you HAD to exit the attraction to get one. (But if you really asked, you could find out that you could walk thru the queue, then "chicken" out at the last second, when they would send you out the exit, and then you would get a lanyard.) But the Dream Team kept it a big secret, and you had to ask the "right" questions to get the answer, it upset more than a couple of guests.
There are 5 more events planned for DCA, 2,000 guests for each one, and 6 at Disneyland, which will be 3,000 guests per event. (Basically one event a month, and as I understand it, always weekdays for operational reasons).
Of course, photos are coming at the link below, but I am still uploading as I type, they should be up in the next couple of hours.