Yes, I know. I'm a little late with the thought. But last night, as I was trying to get to sleep because I had to get up earlier than usual today, I was thinking about the parks, and crowded times, and all of a sudden thought about New Year's Eve 1999.
Yes, we were there when the clock/calendar changed from 1999 to 2000. And wow, what a crazy adventure!
The first trick was to get a room at that time. Luckily we lucked out in the DVC lottery earlier in the year and were eligible to make a reservation.
New Year's Eve morning came and we headed for the bus at about 7 a.m. The Magic Kingdom bus driver told us that our trip might take 20 minutes, or 3 hours -- there was just no way of knowing what the day and crowds would be like!
The trip was a little longer than normal, and in we went. By 10 a.m. that morning, MK was full and closed to other guests. We had already planned that once we went in, we wouldn't leave. So now, what to do?
Our basic plan was to do attractions that we ran across with fairly short lines, just to pass the time. We did manage to ride a few things, and did low-line attractions like Carousel of Progress -- which was also great because you could sit for awhile. The TTA was also handy for a rest!
Mostly we just meandered around, trying to fill up what would be an 18-HOUR park day!
Now food was interesting. Because the park was full, every restaurant, counter and cart had pretty long lines all day. Our philosophy quickly became "eat whenever a line is not huge, even if we weren't hungry"!
After lunch, we really blew it by heading towards Splash/Thunder, and ended up in a huge, solid mass of wall to wall bodies, with no clear "lanes" to get out of the mass. It was a little uncomfortable, since I'm short and a tad claustrophobic. When we finally worked our way out to the edges of the mob, we headed back to the Tomorrowland side of ML and never left it again!
By late afternoon, people were laying on benches, on planters, anywhere there was a flat spot. We spent some quiet time on the path between Toon Town and Fantasyland.
Finally, darkness set it, another five hours passed and we were finally at the countdown. It was interesting to see that most cast members had flashlights, since no one was sure that all the computer systems were really going to properly change over to Y2K and not shut down whatever they were running.
But, the countdown was smooth, the lights stayed on and the cash registers still worked! And it was now a new century.
So, at about 12:15 a.m. a ton of guests starting heading out. Needless to say the hub in front of the castle was also gridlocked for awhile. We stayed over in Fantasyland, and I made a point to buy something so I could get my first cash register receipt with "2000" on it. That was cool!
Eventually we headed back to the hotel, crashed and got back to "normal" park days for the rest of our trip.
We're glad we did it -- we'll always remember where we were when the calendar changed to the new century!