Large crowd puts damper on grad night

DOWNEY - After tossing caps, the graduated seniors of Downey and Warren boarded rowdy school buses for Grad Nite, held at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim on June 18, to be herded like cattle, thoroughly patted down, and finally allowed to enter the amusement park and enjoy the festivities."I loved Grad Nite, I thought it was awesome," said Downey graduate Stephanie Sanchez. "My friends and I went from ride to ride, and then we would pass through the dancing areas, and dance through, and go on to other rides, and we stopped and ate for a while and then went on more rides." The security split the sexes and caused many people to become lost from their parties due to the harsh shoving while in large crowds. Once the graduates and their belongings were inspected they entered the park, which was booming with music and overflowing with people. "Most of my time was spent looking for my friends because we got split up upon arriving," said Warren graduate Gabriel Zepeda. "But other than that, I only went on [Space Mountain] because all the (lines for) other rides were very long." For those that would have rather danced the night away, there was a solution. There were five stations set up around the park that provided a variety of music to fulfill any preference. At Sleeping Beauty Castle, KIIS 102.7-FM's KLUB KIIS Dance Party and Honda's Grad Nite Explosion! promised to play "the hottest Top 40 and R&B tunes," and "ignite the nite" and was undeniably the most crowded area. In Frontierland at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, the DJs from107.1-FM KSSE presented Club Super Estrella with Salsa, Samba and Latin pop music. At Rivers of America, Verizon Jump Street had professional break dance crews and hosted a contest to win a phone. In Fantasyland, at Small World Mall, Power 106-FM Hip-Hop Club underwent and was almost as crowded as KLUB KIIS. Tomorrowland Terrace hosted the Coca-Cola Zero TLT Dance Club-where admittance was so tight a line formed-and grads were able to sample Coca-Cola Zero and dance to Techno House remixes. "I would have danced if the dance floors weren't so packed and I wasn't as tired," said Downey graduate Anais Cotaya. Although most of the rides were open, in Fantasyland Snow White's Scary Adventure was closed, and many of the other smaller rides closed at 5 a.m. rather than 6 a.m. like the rest of the park. What made this visit to Disneyland special were the fact that it was, indeed, a true celebration, and one that the Class of 2010 was able to share together. Not many people can say that they watched the sunrise from King Arthur's Carrousel in Fantasyland as Sanchez and Cotaya did. The excitement of being at the Happiest Place on Earth until sunrise was enough to keep the grads from becoming heavy-footed and droopy-eyed.

********** Published: July 1, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 11