Last Saturday, I had one of the best nights of my life. It was literally that fun. I went for the food, but stayed for the movie… . Or wait did I go for the movie and stay for the food. Either way, I was happily stuffed by the end of the event. Mix a little Johnny Depp with a great meal, awesome snacks, and fun friends & well, it’s perfection.
The World Premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides was held at Disneyland on Saturday, May 7th, 2011. A few months back when Disneyland announced they’d be selling a limited number of tickets to the event that benefited the Boy & Girls Clubs of America, I immediately knew what I was getting my husband for his birthday. There’s nothing wrong with giving a gift that both parties benefit from, right? Besides 100% of the profits went to charity AND it was tax deductible. Win, win.
When the big night finally rolled around, we checked into our room at the Disneyland Hotel, got ourselves all spiffed up, and met up with some friends to check in and get our “credentials.”
The pick up area was organized alphabetically by last name.
The credentials were full of information; they included our seating assignment, a schedule of the night’s events, our dining area, a map, and a list of rides that were open both before and after the movie.
In preparation for the premiere, Adventureland, Critter Country, Frontierland, & New Orleans Square were closed in the late afternoon as these were the areas where the event was actually taking place. The rest of the park remained open, but did close early, after the black carpet arrivals were over.
Thousands of fans were able to hang out on the provided bleachers that lined the Black Carpet route to get a glimpse of the arrivals. Some of these folks were said to be waiting in Downtown Disney as early as Friday night to get the best spots on the bleachers.
Walking the black carpet was a wild experience. Before this, I had never been to a movie premiere and walked the carpet, red or black. The route went down Main Street, to the right around the “Partners” statue of Walt & Mickey, in front of the castle and through the gates of Frontierland. It then continued through Frontierland and ended just in front of - you guessed it – The Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
The first thing I noticed walking down the carpet were the lights; it was SO bright. There were a ton of cameras and people cheering. Everyone got cheers, famous or not. After I realized that this was going to be a completely wild scene, I thought I’d better savor every moment. I then became as snap happy as the people in the bleachers. instead of taking pics of stars, I was taking pics of them!
We arrived a bit early, long before the cast members, so we didn’t see any A-listers at this time. We did run into Pirate Mickey & Jack the Monkey from the Pirates movies, which pretty much made my night.
Jack was totally the best dressed on the black carpet.
Disney also hired special pirate performers for the night. I spoke with one of them at length and he was hysterical. He told me that since they were not Disney employees, they didn’t have to watch what they said about the guests. He then went on to insult a few starlets and tell me some cheesy pirate jokes (“Why didn’t the pirate buy the corn at Disneyland? Cause it was a Buck-an-ear”). It was actually a very funny conversation. These “outsider” pirates were all up and down the black carpet.
There were pirates on stilts, pirates juggling, pirates singing, pirates on giant cannon balls, pirates in balloon ships, pirates telling jokes, literally pirates everywhere you turned.
What I thought was super cool about this was that they interacted with both the people in the bleachers and the people walking the carpet.
With all of the entertainment and photo snapping, it actually took us quite a while to walk the carpet.
I REALLY wanted to walk the carpet later so I could see the cast, but I also wanted to eat. Plus I knew I’d be arrested for accosting Johnny Depp and I didn’t want to end up in Alice’s Room (aka Disney Jail). (Yes that is what it is called and yes it exists. I know this because my sister went there in high school, but that is a story for another time.) As soon as we walked into Frontierland, we noticed that all of the concession carts were open.
We also realized that no one was collecting money. You know what this means? All of the popcorn, churros, cotton candy, frozen lemonade (both regular and strawberry) and other frozen treats you could eat!
No joke, look at this woman happily passing out churros. Freakin’ heaven!
We grabbed a churro and headed to The Golden Horseshoe for dinner.
Depending on your credentials, there were six different places to dine. Each location served the same meal, this was just a way to keep people organized and spread out.
Locations included the French Market, Blue Bayou, Riverbelle Terrace, The Golden Horseshoe, Hungry Bear & Cafe Orleans. Our location was The Golden Horseshoe.
When we arrived we immediately decided that we needed to weasel our way into a better place. They were providing the typical Golden Horseshoe entertainment, which was both annoying & loud this evening. It was also very hot and dark in there.
So, we got our food and ended up sitting in the lovely outdoor seating of the Riverbelle Terrace. This was awesome, because we could continue to watch the arrivals pass us by as we ate.
The dinner buffet was quite tasty. It included a variety of pirate themed foods. I had the green salad, which was a bit blah.
The potato salad which was very good (loved it with sea salt).
The chicken breast was very moist. I also savored a giant heap of mac n’ cheese, which was by far my favorite dish. Warm cheesy goodness.
There were five people in our group and between all of us each dish was sampled.
We all cleaned our plates, but I think the overall opinion of the food was that it was more about the atmosphere and event than gourmet food.
The food was good, but definitely not the best meal I’ve ever eaten at Disneyland. After all, to cook for that many people is a daunting task. It was sort of like fancy cafeteria food.
After dinner I filled a plate with tasty treats.
The English Trifle & Dundee Cake was my favorite. It was fresh fruit layered with cake and custard. So yummy.
I also tried the United Kingdom Apple Pie (yum!).
And sampled the Special Pirates Logo Caribbean Cookie Doubloons (also yum!) and the British Burnt Cream (more yum!)
Let the Memories Begin
After dinner we cruised around to check out the scene. All of the main Disney characters were out and dressed as pirates.
There were three different photo locations where you could take photos and later pick up free prints from the photo pass stations. Sadly, I did not realize this until after the event, but luckily, I had two empty memory cards on my camera and two charged batteries! The amount of photos I took was ridiculous.
We also checked out the World Premiere of the new X Box Game: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. There were X Box consoles set up where you could play the game. The area also included a life size Captain Jack Sparrow made of Legos. Pretty cool.
There were 6 different attractions that were open before the movie started: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, & Jungle Cruise. Before the movie we rode Pirates, which featured a special Blackbeard effect (replacing the Davy Jones fog) and Haunted Mansion. We were able to walk right on to both rides. After the rides, arrivals were still happening. Most of our party went to their seats, but I forced my hubby to go back to the black carpet with me for a hopeful glance of Johnny Depp. We saw lots of people come through, even Penelope Cruz.
I heard the screams for Johnny, but alas, he was whisked away and never made it the entire length of the carpet. So sad for me.
We then made our way back to the enormous theater that was built for the premiere. The screen is the first outdoor theater to show a 3D movie. It was constructed on the Rivers of America just for this one night.
The seating featured a stadium style arena and every single seat had a great view.
Before heading to our seats, we had to check in our cameras. Each of us was handed a souvenir tub of popcorn and a full sized bag of Pirates of the Caribbean themed Pirate Booty.
There were also drink stands where you could pick up a bottle of water or soda.
The 3D glasses we were given to wear were by XPAND, some super fancy new 3D technology that was pretty amazing.
Snacks in hand, we made it to our seats, which were to the left of the stage right in the middle of the Dancing with the Stars posse. Cheryl Burke was right behind us & Master P and Romeo were in front of us. Romeo even told us he’d write us a check if we voted for him. Unfortunately he did not ask for our addresses, so I don’t know how that would have worked out.
A cover band dressed as pirates were playing top 20 hits; we heard their versions of the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and more. I thought they were pretty horrible, but everyone was in such a good mood that most people just danced along with them.
At about 9:00, a bit later than scheduled, the lights dimmed and it was time for the movie to start. Before the movie actually started though, we were introduced to Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Rob Marshall, actors Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Ian McShane, Keith Richards, Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Sam Claflin. This part was really exciting. Finally, I got to see Johnny Depp. Even though it was from afar, it was fantastic. I am not embarrassed to say that I screamed so loud for him my throat was hurting for a good part of the evening.
Our seats had a blankets on them, which was a good thing because by this time it was starting to “heavy mist.” Not quite rain, but really thick mist. I was so worried it was going to start pouring, but nope — just on and off mist for most of the movie. Kind of a bummer, but it didn’t affect the the movie quality or experience. We just left a little damp.
As far as the movie goes, I don’t want to ruin it for you. However, I will tell you this. Keith Richards is amazing; he really makes the perfect pirate. I also loved the addition of Blackbeard & the chemistry between Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp was awesome.
Another tip? Seriously beware of the mermaids. They are hot, but they will also rip your face off. The first film in the installment is my favorite, and On Stranger Tides comes in as a close second. FYI, there WILL be a Pirates 5. Be sure to watch until after the credits.
After the movie, we were treated to fireworks, and the selected park areas remained open until 1:00am.
We left the theater to ride some rides. On our way out people were standing around passing out treats! Would you like a Mickey Bar? Ummm, yes please! How about a frozen banana or a fruit bar? Yep, I’m still in heaven…
After a treat break, we rode Big Thunder Mountain, hit Pirates of the Caribbean again, and then ended with the longest Indiana Jones run ever. Since it was the end of the night, they let us ride 3 times in a row without getting out of the vehicle.
We were some of the last people to leave the park. As we walked down Main Street to exit, the bleachers were empty and cast members were already removing the decor.
Talk about a night to remember.
This one goes down as one of the best in the Heather History book.