Recap of Our First Meet-Up at the Disneyland Resort

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

This past Thursday night we held our first meet-up at the Disneyland Resort offering an after-hours experience themed after Toy Story Mania! Fans lined up early, and not even an unusual light drizzle could dampen their spirits. Upon checking in each of the attendees received a goody bag with some Toy Story Mania! treats and the rare Disney Parks Blog pin. Disney California Adventure park was closed for part of the evening, but not for our meet-up! Attendees were escorted into the Park for the first of many stops.

Toy Story Mania! Meet-Up

The first stop was a group photo with Lotso and Woody at the Hollywood Backlot Stage. Disneyland photographer and blog author Paul Hiffmeyer organized the meet-up crew into a one-of-a-kind shot with the stars of Toy Story 3. (If you’d like the full-size version of this photo click here.)

After taking this photo, attendees headed to the Animation Academy for a behind-the-scenes look at concept art that was created for the new game at Toy Story Mania! Kevin Rafferty, Senior Concept Writer from Walt Disney Imagineering, shared how he and his team came up with the ideas for the new game and also showed art for games that didn’t make it into the attraction.

Toy Story Mania! Meet-Up

After the presentation, Kevin answered a slew of questions about the attraction and his long history working on Disney Parks attractions around the world. For those who couldn’t make the meet-up, we took questions from our Twitter followers and tweeted Kevin’s answers live.

To cap off the night, attendees were treated to a look at what the Park is like after hours and had a chance to test their skills on Toy Story Mania! (by the way, who got the highest score?)

I’m excited to report that some of our guests traveled from out of state and Northern California. Kat Ogletree and her son, Taylor, left their home in Monterrey, California at 7:30 a.m. in order to make it to the meet-up in time and told us “it was well worth the drive.” Here are Kat and Taylor just before riding Toy Story Mania!

Toy Story Mania! Meet-Up

As I said that night, I really enjoyed meeting and speaking with many of you and connecting your faces with comments you’ve left here on the blog. Your enthusiasm and contributions help make this blog and events like the meet-up a success.

Thanks to all those who RSVPed. I hope to meet many more of you at meet-ups in the future. Please stay tuned to the blog for the latest.


  • Me and my daughter loved this event. We felt like VIP’s.
    Thanks again and we are looking forward to the next event.

  • SO how do you get notified? I didn’t hear anything about a meet-up and I’m on your facebook list. I don’t tweet and I hope that’s not the only way you can get “in”!

  • We will be watching for the next meet-up. We wish we could have made it, but there wasn’t enough notice for us to get the time off. πŸ™ We had really enjoyed listening/talking to Mr. Rafferty at the D23 Expo in September so I know everyone would be in for a treat!

  • This sounds amazing! How do I find out about the next meet? I would love to attend. I am a Premium AP holder and live in Northern Ca but I would totally make it a priority to fly down there for any and all events! Thanks for doing this-just sorry I missed it!

  • hi Heather,

    Thanks for stopping to take a picture at the end and also, thank you for putting such a wonderful event together! My sister and I had a blast and while the ride is awesome and the pic was fun, the best part was having a chance to talk to an Imagineer!!! PLease extend my thanks for Mr. Rafferty coming to talk! =D

  • It was a great Meet-Up!!! It was a lot of fun to meet fellow Disney Fans (some from quite a distance might I add) and getting a chance to Kevin Rafferty. I’m looking forward to the next Meet-Up opportunities! Maybe the Imagineers of World of Color? lol! 8(|:-D)

    PS- Heather, the picture I took with you wasn’t saved! I guess I’ll have to meet you again next meet-up. lol

  • We had a great time at the meet-up! A friend and I drove up from San Diego, and it was worth the drive (plus it was an excuse to leave work early – so that’s win-win). Can’t wait for the next one!

  • How about one at WDW???

  • Dang I am here and wondered what those lines were for…..wish I investigated! They kicked us out for “Grad Night” Just got my Annual pass for the first time ever and plan on returning every other month πŸ™‚ Look out Disneyland! hahaha

  • Thank you for a wonderful time Heather and Kevin. It was a true Disney California Adventure…full of fun and excitement. Kevin was a delight and the new games were fun,fun,fun ! Something we will remember for a lifetime. Very Awesome..thanks again Heather for all your hard work! Hope to see you at the next meet-up !

  • Thanks! My son and I had a great time. Kevin was so nice and patient. Some people in line with us had come from Arizona for the meet up. Once again thanks for everything.

  • oops I meant to say “won’t put off a fun day”

  • I really wish I could have made it in, I guess I didn’t RSVP in time. But at least my question that I twittered was answered! πŸ™‚

    Sounds like it was a very cool event.

  • Heather, that looks like so much fun! I tried to register, but it was already filled up by the time I got to my computer! I hope you’ll do another one of these events in the future, and make it bigger so more of us can go and show our Disney Parks Blog pride!

  • Thank you everyone for making this possible. My wife and I had an amazing time. Even though her score was higher than mine πŸ™‚ we felt like kids again. We will see you all soon and ready for the next meet up.

  • I can’t speak for the other millions of Disneyland fans who would’ve liked to attend this, but on behalf of the 950,000+ annual passholders who didn’t get a chance to go I’ll say… Looks like it was fun! Maybe the next event will be a little higher capacity!

  • Oh, Heather, is there any way we can get an 8×10 glossy of this photo? It’s a great way to remember a really fun event! I printed it out from the page, but it’s really small.

  • Hi Heather, It was nice meeting a fellow Long Beach resident. This was the first time I rode Toy Story Mania. My rookie score was 75K. Will have to go back and improve on it. Enjoyed Kevin Rafferty’s behind the scenes presentation. Looking forward to future meet ups. Great job!!!

  • #9 – Thanks again Heather and friends!! Please keep us in the loop for any other happenings! For us driving up from San Diego, it was definitely worth all that “rush hour” traffic to get up there for it!

    We look forward to the next event!

  • Wish we could have gone, I had everything ready…I will for sure go to the next one though!

  • I was sad I could not make it! My daughters choir concert was that night. But I got my equally Disney fanatic friend to go. So I was able to hear about it as she was experiencing it. Can’t wait for you to do another so I can go.

  • I missed it! πŸ™ I was actually at the park on Friday! Hopefully I can attend one of these in the future, looks like a lot of fun!

  • We had a ball! Thanks again Heather! We can’t wait to make another trip! Now that we know that it’s long but still doable and maybe we won’t put a fun day at our favorite family destination!

  • I am new to commenting so maybe I missed it, but how can you go to one of these meet ups?

  • I had a fantastic time. It was a great event! I can’t wait for future meet-ups.

  • i had a great time! thanks, heather, for putting this on. i can’t wait for the next one.

  • I wish I had made it. The first tweet was not clear about what the event was and it seemed it was a repeat of the D23 meet up the same night at the resort. so I missed out on RSVP-ing

  • We had a great time thank you again. I will be sure to be at the next disney meet up.

  • Dang look at us! So much fun and I believe I got my highest score ever on Toy Story – 153,200! Not as big as some people but I’m very proud of myself!

  • Thanks again for the wonderful experience Heather, and i look forward to attending more meet ups in the future!!!

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