Couple tries for year of daily Disneyland visits

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- It seems like a dream as flighty as Tinkerbell and as quirky as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Yet a Southern California couple have passed the halfway mark in their quest to visit Disneyland every day this year.

"We joke around that we're here more than the cast members are," Jeff Reitz said Tuesday.

Reitz, 39, of Huntington Beach, and Tonya Mickesh, 45, of Lake Forest were both unemployed when she came up with the idea of becoming Magic Kingdom marathoners, Reitz said.

As annual passholders, they could go to the Anaheim theme park and its adjoining California Adventure as often as they wished. So they decided to go all 366 days in the leap year, beginning on New Year's Day.

The idea was to "put a smile on our faces instead of sitting at home and being bummed out about being out of work," Reitz said.

A Disneyland pass that would grant a visitor access every day of the year costs $649, according to the park's website.

Mickesh now has a full-time job but Reitz said she still joins him in the evenings. They celebrated her birthday there this past weekend and on Sunday passed day 183 -- the halfway mark.

Time again, the couple have strolled down Main Street, goggled at the fireworks and laughed at quips on the Jungle Cruise. They often meet up with park-loving friends and have even given directions to lost tourists, Reitz said in a telephone interview.

"I still get a charge," he said.

"I've been going in the afternoon and evening," Reitz said. "Last night I was just going to go for three or four hours and I ended up shutting the park down."

His favorite ride is the Matterhorn Bobsleds, although he said new cars are a tighter squeeze for his 6-foot-2 frame.

"I joke around that I basically have to fold my knees over my ears," he said.

Reitz said he still finds out new things about the Disneyland and California Adventure parks. He hasn't even eaten at all the restaurants. Although he has had temporary jobs, the former Air Force firefighter and administrative office worker is currently unemployed and Reitz said he cannot afford some of the fancier fare, such as the $22 cheeseburgers at the Carthay Circle Restaurant.

Reitz said he needs to find employment, though, to afford a new annual pass at a higher price when his current pass expires on Dec. 11.

His dream job, he said, would be working at Disneyland. But for now, he's happy being a constant visitor.

"We are fortunate to have such ardent fans and happy to be such an important part of Tonya and Jeff's lives," Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in an email to The Associated Press.

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Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com