Back in May 2005 we took our very first trip to Disneyland with our almost 3-year old princess. It was meant to be a one time trip, but since we were planning on being there for over a week, we purchased an annual pass for $199 each for Don and I with the AAA discount. Ashley was still free. Fast forward 7 years, the same pass is now $750 a year each, and, no, we do not have one.
Our first trip coincided with Disneyland celebrating its 50th anniversary -- a celebration that lasted for 18 months before becoming the 18-month Year of a Million Dreams.
Our early trips revolved around the characters' schedules -- especially Alice and the Mad Hatter. Back in those days the characters played games. Team Wonderland would play hide and seek in Town Square against Team Neverland. Later in the day they would play Red Light, Green Light and other classic games. They also went on rides with the kids. Of this fun, the only one that still continues is Musical Chairs at 2:30 in Coke Corner. The Mad Hatter leads it with Alice's help while the piano player accompanies. Of course, our favorite days are when Ragtime Robert is playing the piano. At times other characters come and join the fun. We've seen everyone from The White Rabbit to Cruella DeVil to Chip and Dale play the game. You just never know who will be there to play. They don't sign autographs during the game, they just play.
As each player loses (er...becomes an unwinner) they are invited to tell a joke or sing a song or dance or something. It is so predictable that prior to the trip Ashley and Don work on jokes for the Mad Hatter. This year's best joke "Why did the traffic light turn red?" "You would, too, if you had to change in the middle of the street." That was a favorite. Another, "which tea is the Mad Hatter's least favorite?" "M-Tea, of course!" (empty) Ashley aims to get out so she can skip the final round.
There is rarely a true winner as the last round includes the Mad Hatter ordering "keep your eye on the chair." The piano player plays and the Mad Hatter, Alice and anyone else around moves the chairs, or Alice leads the kids on a wild path through Coke Corner. In the end, they announce it was the white chair with the red seat -- of which there are many. A TIE is then declared (by the Mad Hatter who holds his tie as he makes the declaration). In the more than 100 times Ashley has played since 2006 (we didn't know about it on our first trip or two) she has only won a couple of times. One time the prize was a map in German that the Mad Hatter found earlier in the day. Another time the prize was a pack of sugar, another time it was a tea bag.
It has become a staple that we play almost every single day of every trip. Friends know that they can find us if they pop by "chairs" at 2:30.
This article was about to be about our entire trip to Disneyland, but has since morphed into a trip down memory lane about musical chairs. Let's continue the trip.
Our first rounds of musical chairs were played at the Plaza Pavilion (which later became the Annual Pass Processing Center, and is now the bake shop). Our very first rounds of musical chairs did not include a piano player since the piano player was out (I think this was just before Ragtime Robert was hired and they were down a pianist). Instead we hummed. It was to the extent that Don and I did not believe they actually had a piano player. It was lovely up there because it felt more like a stage.
A couple of times the Mad Hatter has been unable to attend. Alice would lead it, but it wasn't the same. One time Burt (from "Mary Poppins" led it).
There have been a few times that Musical Chairs has not happened on our trips, such as the day they filmed the Christmas Parade and it was mass chaos on Main Street. On those days, we feel as if something is missing.
It is the best character interaction. If you are ever at Disneyland, I highly remember checking out 2:30 Musical Chairs. If you time it right, you'll also hear some great piano playing.
Quick note: this only happens at Disneyland. It does not happen at Walt Disney World or Tokyo Disney.