Jeff Reitz takes Disneyland trips to a whole new level as he has visited Disneyland every day since 2011.
When the 45-year-old Air Force veteran is not at Disneyland, Reitz does administrative work for the Long Beach Veterans Association Medical Center. Reitz said his fame came as a surprise because his daily visits did not begin as a serious commitment.
“It started as a joke between friends, fueled by a Disney commercial,” Reitz said.
The commercial advertised an additional day for the following year as part of the leap year. Reitz and his friend, who were both unemployed at the time, decided to use the annual passes they received as gifts to go to Disneyland every day of 2012.
“It helped keep things positive for us. Instead of just moping around at home in your pajamas about being bummed about being out of work, it kind of forced you to get up and get out of the house,” he said.
Reitz has built up a collection of Disney souvenirs, including T-shirts, pins and mugs. He has collected over 1,600 pins and traded them with people around the world. Rewarded for his dedication to Disney, he got to sleep in the Dream Suite above “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
After having gone over 2,000 times, Reitz said he continues to return to Disneyland for a simple reason: fun. With over 23,000 followers on Instagram, Reitz has been documenting his daily visits to the park since July 18, 2012.
“You listen to the music, you have fun on the rides and it puts a smile on your face. That’s one of the reasons why I still do it — that smile helps refresh you and by having an annual pass, you make the best use of the money,” Reitz said.
Returning to the same place every day for years can garner attention. For Reitz, this is something new. He said people come up to him on an almost daily basis asking for pictures.
“When I first started this, I never expected anything like that to ever happen,” he said. “Sometimes I still don’t know how to handle it because to me, I’m kind of just a general guest.”
He said this attention began on the 170th day of his visitations, after the media caught wind of his routine. Since then, he has been able to meet a vast range of celebrities, including Adam Sandler, Jack Black and Vince Vaughn, and has witnessed the 60th anniversary television special.
From the seasonal decorations to visiting the recently reopened World of Disney, Reitz said he enjoys seeing the changes taking place and the “different touches of magic” that have been added. This New Year’s Eve will be the start of Reitz’s seventh year of daily Disney visits.
“I think Disney means a lot to a lot of different people and I’ve chosen this way to experience it and I think it’s helped me to learn a lot,” he said.