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Disney’s theme parks are clearly addictive – just ask these two passionate fans

Two unrelated fellows from different sides of the U.S. have set some truly remarkable records that prove their love for all things Disney.

Is it possible to have an addiction to Disney?

One visit to Disneyland, also known as the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ and you could easily be forgiven for wanting to return…who wouldn’t?

But one man has taken that notion to an unheard-of level, to the point where he set a Guinness World Records mark for the most consecutive visits to Disneyland.

Anaheim local (you’d have to be) Jeff Reitz went back again and again, and again, every single day, for eight years, three months and 13 days for a total of 2,995 consecutive entries to Disneyland Resort California.

In an interview with USA Today following his inadvertent achievement, Reitz said he wasn’t trying to set a record but just didn’t know when he would stop.

After Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida announced in 2012 that both parks would open for 24 hours straight on February 29 due to the Leap Year, Reitz and his friends came up with a challenge to visit Disneyland every day that year.

“A couple of us were unemployed, but we had the annual passes that had been given to us as gifts – birthday, Christmas and such – so we decided to go for the challenge and use it as a positive,” Reitz said.

“It forced you to get out of bed instead of moping about being out of work at the time.”

Jeff Reitz visited Disneyland every day for more than eight years straight.

In case you’re wondering, Reitz hasn’t been unemployed since starting his Disneyland marathon, finding a job in 2012 but still making time to go to the park each day.

“I'd get up. I'd drive 15 miles to work [and] spend my eight hours [at work]”.

“Then I'd drive 15 miles to the park, and I'd have my fun. I'd spend on average of about three to five hours a day there.”

Amazingly, Reitz fit a visit to Disneyland into other activities in his schedule, which sometimes included visiting other theme parks.

“Not only was I going to Disneyland, but there were times I'd hit Disneyland and then I'd go to the San Diego Zoo or SeaWorld or Knott's Berry Farm.

“Or even to do Disneyland and then Magic Mountain or to go out to Palm Springs and go hiking up on the Tramway.

“It was never about spending the entire day there," Reitz said. “It's just about making a visit.”

How did it all end? Had it not been for the pandemic and Disneyland literally closing its doors in March 2020, Reitz might still be going today…

Nathan Firesheets visited every Disney park worldwide on consecutive days.

And while the thought never crossed his mind about earning a Guinness World Record, it was the famed book that reached out to him on Instagram and eventually bestowed the award to him.

Reitz kept his game focused on just the two Anaheim parks – Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park – but another Disney tragic has etched his own record.

Atlanta man Nathan Firesheets set himself the task of going on every single Disney theme park ride worldwide in one holiday.

That’s 216 rides across 12 parks in four countries on three continents – comprising California, Florida, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai.

The mission was carefully planned and came with its own #DisneyGlobalRideChallenge hashtag.

Firesheets was an experienced Disney veteran before he began and had a strategy. He knew how to get every ride done in one day at each park, prioritising the busier rides, maximising the FastPass system and most importantly, being there early.

Despite all the hoops he had to jump through, including getting a Covid test to enter China, limited flight availability and some parks not being open every day, Firesheets said he relished the challenge.

“I'm an engineer, so I love the logistics and problem-solving aspects of it,” he told USA Today.

Another perk was the cost. Firesheets’ DIY marathon ended up costing US$12,000 (AUD$17,870) compared to more than $100k to do the same thing if booked through Disney.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 3 April 2023

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