Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 'Pirates Fans First' Event

Last week, I learned from Trent of Pink is the New Blog that I won the a pair of tickets to 'Pirates Fans First', a special event held at the Disneyland Resort on Monday, December 13, 2010. Fans who attend this event got an exclusive first look at the new trailer for Walt Disney Pictures "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" in 3D. Along with this special viewing, fans were allowed to enter Disneyland before opening hours, were sworn to the "Pirate's Oath" in a ceremony by the Columbia sailing ship, was first to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and attended a special Pirates after-party where there were lots of pirates, food, prizes, gifts, and special guests. Being a huge Disneyland geek and a fan of the movies (and Captain Jack Sparrow), you can imagine my reaction when I found out I won this contest! Squealing, jumping, and bragging does not even cover how excited I felt! To make this experience 10x better, my Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow-loving sister was free to go with me since she finished her finals and medical rotations. Let the adventures begin!

Checking Into the Event
(Super early Monday morning at approximately 5:00am)

My sister and I are fortunate enough to live less than five minutes away from the Disneyland Resort so we did not have to get up earlier than necessary. We made our way to the Downtown Disney parking area and attached ourselves to the end of the line filled Pirate-fans. The early morning weather was cold and dark; luckily we were bundled up in our coats. Because we were planning to stay at the park after the festivities, we packed an extra set of clothing in the car so we can change into when the weather warms up later. Fans were allowed to attend this event dressed in pirate costumes, but Cindy and I opted for simple pieces that are associated to the pirate attire-- stripes and tall boots. Good thing I didn't bust out in my quasi-pirates costume because some of the attendees were decked out in the most amazing (and professional) costumes! Right behind us in line are a group of 18 professional pirates, who were invited to the event to help create the pirate atmosphere. They are the funniest and rowdiest group of people! It is amazing how they are able to stay in character the whole time!

(It's hard to see, but this is the line for the special event.)

(Professional pirates! They were right behind us for we were entertained while standing in line.)

While in line, we had fun watching all the press and media (KIIS FM, Yahoo, OC Register, KTLA, and various bloggers) run around interviewing people, videotaping fans, and taking pictures of the attendees in costume.

After checking into the table around 6:15, we received a special t-shirt and complementary hot drinks while we mingled with the Cast Members aka CM Pirates. I took this opportunity to take a lot of pictures with the fun props set up right outside of AMC 12 here at Downtown Disney.

(Posing with our event tags and complimentary shirt, and yes that is a size small.)

(My hot chocolate/decaf coffee was delish!)

It was still dark so my poor camera was not able to capture everything in detail. At about 6:30am, we were allowed find our seats inside one of the largest theaters at this AMC location. (I am going to leave out the complicated and truly unorganized manner in where they located, and later gave back, our cell phones and cameras.)

Viewing the Exclusive 3D Preview
While waiting in our seats, CM pirates kept us entertained with songs, joke, and good ol' pirate fun! My sister even spotted Director Rob Marshall walking around amongst fans, asking them why they are fans of POTC. He was a really nice guy and loves hearing what fans have to say. My sister had a fantastic question to ask him, but sadly she never got her chance.

Because I have no pictures from this moment, you can read about Rob Marshall and his unveiling the trailer from today's event. (Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog)

Manny from 102.7 KIIS FM was also there to give report to live to Ryan Seacrest's morning show. After a fun pirate costume contest, being aired live on KIIS FM, and words from Rob Marshall, we were finally going to be the first to watch the exclusive 3D trailer. It started off with a small behind-the-scenes introduction of Pirate-mania, which included clips of Walt Disney and his ideas behind building the POTC attraction, and the journey and success of Jack Sparrow through the first three movies. After this fantastic intro, 3D glasses were put on, I sat there in awe for 2:28 minutes because this movie looks so awesome! If you haven't seen the preview, you can view it on Yahoo's Blog. This movie takes Captain Jack on a whole new adventure with a slew of new characters, including mystical creatures such as zombies and mermaids. Because it is not connected to the previous three movies, I know that the plot of this movie will be original, clever, creative, and fun! It reminds me a lot of the first POTC movie. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush are the returning stars from the previous movies, but who can not notice the beautiful newcomer to the crew, the talented Penelope Cruz. With this great of a cast, I am really stoke to see the movie, which is released May 20, 2011.

Pirate's Oath and Riding the POTC Attraction
After viewing the trailer, we made our way through Downtown Disney and into Disneyland. We all received complimentary one-day park hopper tickets so we can enjoy the park afterwards. Being Annual Passport holders, we wanted to focus more on the events than the park so we were in no rush to speed through everything just to get to the rest of the resort. As we made our way down Main Street towards the POTC attraction (and feeling quite important with my POTC tag), Cindy and I quickly grabbed fastpasses to the Indiana Jones attraction to save for later. Yes, we like to think in advance! I say smart-thinking on our part! (Disneyland Tip: Fastpasses do not expire. The 'Return Time' on the FP is a recommended time to come back, but you can use FPs anytime during the same day just as long as it is after the time listed.)

(Cindy standing in line to enter the park before it opens.)

All the fans and press/media gathered in front of the POTC attraction, where we found the Columbia sailing ship has been invaded by jolly pirates. After some song and dance, we were asked to raise out left hand and take the Pirate's Oath, which was a fun idea. Cindy and I decided to make another "smart" move: since everyone was standing facing towards the Columbia ship on the Rivers of America, we made sure to stand at the very back of the crowd are the first to ride the POTC attraction. I will never wait more than 15 minutes for this ride because I am a spoiled AP-holder.

(Cindy is not sworn into the pirates ways of life.)

(Fun group of CM pirates singing and dancing away.)

(Just a few of the media and press.)

After a fun group photo and interviews by Sam Rubenstein from KTLA (can you spot us crazy fans in this interview?), they allowed us to ride POTC before the rest of the park. As a child, I used to LOVE this ride because I was a big chicken and the two waterfalls were considered thrill rides for me. I dearly remember going on this over with my parents and sister during our annual Disneyland trips and there were times my sister and I would ride POTC four or five times in a row while waiting for Fantasmic to start. Ah, the memories. Cindy and I managed to pushed our way through the crowds and got on one of the first boats for POTC. We screamed at the top of our lungs during the waterfalls, squealed when the cannonballs splashes water on us, giggled at Jack Sparrow sightings, and sang loudly along with the merry pirates (although my best POTC as to be with large groups of MWers... good times).

(Super gorgeous and really tall CM Pirate!)

(Glad to be one of the first to ride POTC among the group.)

"Pirates Fans First" After-Party

Again, with our Disneyland knowledge, after POTC, we quickly ran to Splash Mountain to grab some more FPs for later use, then joined the Pirates after party, which was located in the "festival" area behind Big Thunder Ranch. These area brings back memories of the old "Festival of Fools" show from back in the day. I have to say I am VERY impress with the pirate-themed decor!

When I walked into the after party, I felt giddy, hungry, and excited all at once! The place was decked out in pirate decor, delicious foods and drinks were available (all-you-can-eat... yes!), and pirates were roaming around everywhere!

My sister and I were starving by now (approximately 9:00am) and joined the breakfast buffet line, which included a variety of pastries, assorted fruits (I went for the strawberries and pineapples while Cindy is more of a melon girl), scrambled eggs, bacon (yum!), sausages (eh), and potatoes (loved!). We had the choice of hot drinks, juices, and water, which were all set-up and served in a fancy-schmancy manner. No soda, boo. Haha. I love event planning and the whole set-up of this after party was festive, greatly themed and decorates, and organized! The staff and Cast Members were constantly removing empty plates from our tables, refilling our drinks, bringing out fresh trays of foods, and entertaining up with one-on-one pirate conversations, dances, and song!

(I spy Pirate Sam Rubenstein from KTLA 5.)

There was one pirate that Cindy and I have been waiting to meet: Captain Jack Sparrow.

(Cindy, Captain Jack, and myself)

This ability to imitate Jack Sparrow was very close to perfection (although my favorite was at Magic Kingdom in WDW... the Project Runway guy). Charming, flamboyant, cunning, and smoldering (my new favorite word because of Flynn Rider from Tangled), I thought Jack Sparrow was wonderful at the event and was definitely the highlight of the party!

(Cindy with her #1 pirate!)

After overeating, we decided to ham it up for the camera and had some fun with the amazing props and decor around the arena.

(Commemorative pin... and guess what? I'm a Pin-Trader! Score!)

After the After-Party Fun @ the Parks

The event ended at 10:00am, which we headed out and enjoyed the rest of the day at Disneyland and Disney California Adventures. Some fun includes riding Monster's Inc., Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones (my favorite ride), Astro Blasters aka Buzz Lightyear ride (got my all-time high at 120k), Big Thunder, and the always dependable Monorail for taking us to and from our car for outfit changes throughout the day. Also took pictures with several characters, saw my favorite show of all-time, Aladdin the Musical Spectacular (Aladdin: so-so, Jasmine: on point, Genie: fab, and Jafar: thumbs WAY down). Here are some quick highlights from the rest of our fantastic day:

(The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar movie.)

(Pooh actually posed in this photo for us!)

(Lisa & Cindy aka Chip & Dale)

Overall, great bonding experience with my best friend, my sister Cindy. It was truly an amazing event and I was so glad to be a part of it. Thank you so much Trent for allowing me the opportunity to attend this! Don't hesitate if you need to send someone out for future events! Haha!


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