I was walking up to the main gates around 8:30 - I was meeting a friend and luckily she got off the monorail at almost the same time, so we were able to find each other in the growing crowd!
There was a 40th banner on the train station to greet us! The area between the turnstiles and the train station was completely full, they had just stopped letting people in. We queued up by a turnstile close to the center, so we could still see the opening show!
CMs were handing out buttons! My friend and I totally squealed when we got ours. :)
The area behind us quickly filled up -- there were so many people! But everyone was so excited, and happy -- you almost didn't mind the crowds, they just added to the festive atmosphere. lol, and it was nice that we weren't running for any rides -- we were just going to mosey down Main St. and grab a spot to watch the 10 AM ceremony from.
"Good Mornin'...Good MORNin'!" The mayor mentioned the 40th anniversary, but otherwise it was the same old welcome show.
As soon as there was room they started letting more of us in, and we funnelled slowly under the train station. The main reason it took awhile for everyone to get in was because everybody wanted one or two of these:
The special maps were a fun touch -- they had the ordinary park map printed in them, but also the original park map from the 1971 opening. There was also a listing of the special events going on: really just the 10 AM ceremony, a special fireworks finale, and then locations selling the 40th anniversary merchandise. There were also some artist meet and greets.
Not the best photo, but I was trying to get a shot of the line at the bakery...it already stretched out the door and along the street! There were supposed to be special 40th anniversary cupcakes on sale, but the CM's outside the door said they wouldn't be out until 11. So that line was just the hungry hoards getting breakfast!
Everybody was heading for the hub to get a position. First we had to figure out what was going on though! After cross-examining several cast members, it seemed that there was going to be a procession down Main St., and that it would split at the hub, half would go round one side, half the other. We decided to go right, to the east of the castle, and try to grab a spot where we could see some of the procession and the castle stage.
Doesn't that castle look glorious? :) It was only just 9, but we got in our spot and stood and waited! Ironically, although the park was full, I bet all the rides were really quiet for that first hour or so! Everybody was getting in position to watch the mini parade and ceremony!
While we were waiting we noticed there were people sitting up on top of those little awning things (lol, I have no idea what they would be called!) on either side of the castle. It looked like they were part of the crew, controlling lights of something -- but that would be a pretty awesome spot to sit and watch from!
The area around the Partners statue in the middle of the hub was completely blocked off, and right before the procession began a bunch of press people (lucky ducks!) were led in to the spots in the middle.
At around 9:40 the Main Street Band came out and played some tunes to entertain us. Then at 10 the festivities really began with the mini parade! There was music from old parades and shows and the characters of course!
We picked the right side to wait on! Mickey and Minnie, Pluto and Goofy, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Rapunzel (and their attendant princes!), and plenty of others all came around the right side of the castle. Donald and Daisy, the chipmunks, Snow White, Aurora, Tiana et al walked around the other side.
It was so hard to get pics -- for the most part I was just holding up the camera and guessing!
Rapunzel and Flynn (or Eugene!)!!! I really wish Flynn was still out greeting with Rapunzel in the parks...he's kinda cute! ;)
Mary Poppins and Bert (and Clarabelle Cow back behind those balloons too!). That fellow in the red shirt was one of the ones carrying the signs with the logos for old anniversary celebrations. I got teary eyed when they played "Remember the Magic" from the 25th anniversary -- my family's very first visit was that year, and we loved that parade. I still know all the words. Yeah, I was totally singing along.
It's Peter Pan - and Cap'n Hook too!
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather going by!
Even the performers from the welcome show came along. (Side note: I LOVE their costumes. I so wish I could have one like that!)
As soon as the characters and procession were all out of the street, they let the crowds move into the street, so everybody was pressing forward -- we actually wound up a lot closer to the castle and the center!
I took waaaaayy too many pictures, but I figured you guys would enjoy them!
The two "Disney ambassadors" and hosts for the 40th anniversary celebration came onstage to get the party started. The one guy at the podium in this pic had an awesome voice and awesome hair. I have a good voice and great hair, and I would LOVE to be a Disney ambassador. Seriously, how do you go about getting that job?? lol! ;)
Meg Crofton came out to speak a few words.
My nice camera has a wide angle lens, which is why these shots aren't very zoomed in! Anyway, this is the president of the Magic Kingdom. He also came out to speak a bit - he talked about how he had worked at the Haunted Mansion on opening day. "If you got into the Haunted Mansion for an A ticket instead of an E ticket 40 years ago - you're welcome!" lol!
Cameras and crowds behind us!
Soon it was time for the finale. The Dapper Dans came out to lead a sing-a-long to "When You Wish Upon a Star" which ended in....