My mom offered to put EZ to sleep at the hotel so we could sneak off to Disneyland for a few hours that Sunday night. Monday morning our whole family would be going over, but we thought it would be fun to sneak in to see Fantasmic and sneak around holding hands. Matt had officially been hired as a Disney artist for only 30 days and most days, you could still find us giddy about the whole thing.
We walked to the entrance hand in hand with wide eyes as we approached the gate, employee I.D. in hand. The man scanning Matt's card was very sweet, and when he handed us our tickets he enthusiastically said "Ah! CM! Chief Mouse!" (when really CM means "Cast Member.") The whole experience was unreal to walk in free of charge. We rounded the corner and stopped to take in Main Street and the giant Mickey pumpkin. Halloween season had just begun, and there were villains milling about the entrance as well as a line to meet Mickey and Minnie! We headed toward Critter Country through Frontierland, sauntering slowly with huge stupid grins of course, to see if we could find a nice view for Fantasmic. We even snuck in a ride on the Haunted Mansion since we had some time!
I saw an opening on the back row of a standing section and we parked ourselves there to wait for the show. Matt saw a VIP sign and decided to go check it out. He talked to the woman there and asked if there were any special seats for Cast Members, but she said unfortunately not. She then proceeded to ask him where he worked (assuming it was the park) but when he responded with "the Salt Lake Studio" she immediately went, "Oh! A studio! Let me see what I can do." Matt retrieved me from the standing section only to be led to the front of the VIP reserved sitting section!! It was incredible!!! We sat next to a small birthday party of Club 33 members and smack dab in the center of the waterfront. The staff members treated us like royalty and the show started minutes later. We both teared up a few times during the show because we just felt so lucky and grateful to be there (both physically at D-land and also metaphorically "there" at Matt's new job). But when that riverboat full of all the characters waving at us floated past at the end of the show, I lost it. Huge tears rolling down my face because I just felt SO MUCH. And it really was freaking magical. The characters and good overcoming evil and Mickey and fireworks and VIP and studios and churros afterward...! It will not be a night I ever forget because those feelings were so good. Matt and I clutching each other and crying happy tears because we just felt it all. And on our way out of the park, we bought EZ his first pair of ears!
Matt's dad text that night saying "This is a dividend day, enjoy it!" and I can't shake how perfect that describes it. Hallelujah for dividend days! I keep those two entrance tickets in my wallet so every time I open it I can think of that night. It sometimes surprises me how often it still makes me smile.
(We just got back from another trip, but I had to write about last year's perfect evening before I dive into this year's. The magic!)