What started out as a joke and a way to pass time turned into a world record for one huge fan of Disneyland.
Jeff Reitz has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the most consecutive days visiting the southern California theme park, a streak that ended at 2,995 visits, or more precisely 8 years, 3 months, and 13 days.
The streak began in 2012 and came to an end in March 2020 when Disneyland closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving him 5 days shy of his goal of 3,000 days.
Started On A Whim
Now 50, Reitz began his streak when he found himself out of work and in possession of gifted annual passes to the park.
“It started as a joke between friends when Disneyland announced they were giving an extra Disney Day when they announced the Leap Day 24-hour event in 2012,” Reitz told GuinnessWorldRecords.com.
“We decided to use Disneyland as a positive as we were out of work and had annual passes that had been gifted, so it was a source of free entertainment.”
After 2 months, a local reporter took note of his efforts, and about halfway through the year, the Orange County Register and Associated Press wrote about the effort, taking the story national.
Reitz said that’s when the quest became real.
“I was getting contacted by newspapers and radio stations from around the globe asking for interviews,” he recalled. “Then I started having guests in the parks stop me for photos and autographs.”
Documenting The Effort
As part of the adventure, Reitz created an Instagram account (disney366_) to chronicle his visits. He always began each visit with a check-in to document the streak.
The visits would vary from day to day. Sometimes he would walk around the park and take photos, and other days he would ride several attractions. Some visits he would stay in just one section of the park.
He always made time for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the attraction, along with the Matterhorn Bobsleds, he considers his favorite.
“I would usually take a walk around the park,” he said. “I enjoy photography so I was always watching for images to capture that I could post to share.”
Disney officials took note of his progress through the years. After 1 year, they presented Reitz with a gift basket and certificates of honorary citizenship.
After 2 years, they gifted him a free dinner, and on day 2,000, they gave him a backpack.
The honor from Guinness World Records is his latest accomplishment and one he is happy to have and share with friends and family.
“I have only told a few people, since it was a surprise to me even, but I believe everyone is going to be very happy and proud that I have earned the recognition that most everyone thought I should have gotten,” he said.
It’s also a record most likely never to be broken.
“You learn a lot during the time it takes to achieve such a record, like time management and finances in order to be able to have a life and do more than just one thing,” he said. “Even to hold a full-time job required me to keep close tabs on the park calendar along with my own to be sure I could make it into Disneyland before it closed when they had special events.”
As the Seattle Times points out, however, Disney’s new rules make the effort virtually impossible to accomplish.
Since the park reopened post-pandemic, reservations are now required each day to enter, even for pass holders. The park also limits the number of reservations anyone can have at one time, and can also block out dates when officials feel capacity has been reached.
Annual pass holders are also blocked during the busy Christmas holiday season.