Experiencing One More Disney Day – Part 1

By Ryan Pastorino on March 5th, 2012   |    Posted in:  Articles   |    3 Comments

So I’m finally recovering, but still enjoying the high following my 24-hour+ experience at Disneyland for One More Disney Day.  I have spent the past few days editing my photos and I can hardly contain my excitement.  I had one goal that day and that was to capture sunrise at Disneyland, an opportunity that is extremely rare…perhaps a once in a lifetime experience for most of us.  I succeeded in catching sunrise, although I had my doubts when I arrived at 5:00am to a line 10,000+ deep.

When it was announced that Disneyland and Magic Kingdom would be open for 24 hours on Leap Day, I knew I wanted to be there for the unique experience of being there all night and early morning for the sunrise.  Originally I had no intention of spending the full 24 hours inside the park.  I figured it was just another day at the park until after midnight.  But as the event approached and I saw how popular this day was becoming, I feared there was a risk of the park filling to capacity.  So, to avoid having my experience ruined by not being able to get in if I showed up late in the day, I decided it was best to get there from the beginning and stay in the park for the long haul.  I had been looking forward to catching the second sunrise, the sunrise on March 1st.  After looking up the time for sunrise I realized we may not get that chance because the sun was to come up after park closing.  So the decision was made to get there for the first sunrise and stay the entire 24 hours.  I met up with my friends Gregg Cooper and his son, Justin who were to be with me the entire length of this journey.

Being in the park for sunrise was such an amazing experience.  As we entered we saw news crews at the entrance and Town Square and we were greeted by Cast Members lined up the entire length of Main Street flashing their smiles and waving their (Mickey) hands.  The hub was the first destination for every photographer and for the first two hours, we jockeyed around each other and park guests to shoot every possible angle of Partners and the castle.  As the sun rose higher and higher, the light just kept getting better and better.  Disneyland couldn’t have dressed the hub any better for the occasion.  The flowers around the Partners statue and the blossoming trees created a scene I describe as photography heaven.  Looking back, I wish I had ventured away from the hub.  I should have taken advantage of the unique opportunities presented at various locations around the park.  But with Partners and Sleeping Beauty Castle being such prominent icons, I focused on them entirely.  Oh well, I’m still happy overall with what I captured.

Once the clock struck 9 the rush was over.  Now we had entered the normal operating hours.  For us that meant the next round of unique photo opportunites wouldn’t come until well after midnight.  After filling almost half of my memory on the first two hours alone, I was ok with taking it easy on the photography for a while.  We still had over 20 hours ahead of us.  That was both exciting and terrifying!

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 where I’ll discuss my experience throughout the day and overnight hours!



  1. Tom Bricker   |   Mar 5, 2012

    If it was a mistake to stay in the hub for the bulk of your shooting, I think it was a mistake that almost ALL of us made. I mean…how could you NOT stay there. LOOK AT THOSE COLORS!!!

    SO glad we switched our trip to Disneyland. We had a much more beautiful day than WDW, and it was great seeing you all out there!

  2. Gregg Cooper   |   Mar 5, 2012

    What a great experience we had! I am still a little wasted after 24 hours straight, and you realize we really never rested, except for when our cell phones and cameras needed a re-charge! Yes, my feet will never be the same…Since I was one of the few that walked away from the Hub at sunrise, and had some nice photo opps in Tomorrowland, it can also be argued that I missed out on some nice Castle and Partner shots. By the time I photographed SBC, the light was no longer magical…Well done on that photo from Carnation Plaza Gardens with the bridge!
    It will take me 4 years to get ready for the next one!

  3. Katie Marino   |   Mar 5, 2012

    Sounds like it was such a great day, Ryan! Can’t wait to see more!



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