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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California


Leap Day Sparks Major Sales and Celebrations

From Disneyland to Chick-fil-A, everyone is getting in on the Leap Day revelry.

It rolls around once every four years, bringing an extra 24 hours of proposals, celebrations, and sales in its wake. Now Leap Day is upon us once more, and Los Angeles is embracing it.

Disney World is joining in on the Leap Day festivities by staying open for 24-hours. (Photo Courtesy AP)
Disney World is joining in on the Leap Day festivities by staying open for 24-hours. (Photo Courtesy AP)

Leap Day is actually nothing more than an astronomical anomaly. Though the calendar year is 365 days long, the actual time the Earth takes to rotate the sun is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds, or 365.2422 days. So what to do with the extra time?

Before the days of Julius Caesar, the year was 355 days long, and there was an extra month of 22 days every two years. This was too complicated for the Roman emperor who simplified the process to the leap year tradition we know now.

The reason that Leap Day is in February and not December is quite simple: when the tradition was initiated, February was the last month of the year.

So now, over 2,000 years later, we are given an extra day, February 29th, to be celebrated in its rarity.

And celebrations there are! The most notable taking place at Disneyland in Anaheim and Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Florida, participating in the “One More Disney Day” campaign.

For the first time in history the parks will be open for 24 hours straight, opening their gates at 6 a.m. Wednesday and closing at 6 a.m. Thursday. Attendees, who started lining up 10 p.m. Tuesday, are given free limited edition leap year buttons (the first 2,000 guests got mouse hats), an additional Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at 10 p.m. and a special showing of Fantasmic at 1 a.m.

In addition to rides, parades, and shows, Disney guests get to engage in meet-and-greets with Disney Characters decked out in their pajamas, and listen to assorted musical performances until five in the morning.

Lucky Leap Day visitors currently at Disneyland are adding to the buzz with Tweets about “Modern Family” filming at the park.
Though it is “the Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland is far from the only place celebrating Leap Year.

Chick-fil-A is giving away free Chick-n-Minis at participating stores from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Subway is giving away a free cookie with every purchase, and Staples is having a 29 item sale, giving discounts on everything from paper towels to printers to desk chairs to laptops.

Verizon Wireless is getting in on the sales too, with an online offer of $100 off of their best 4G LTE devices.

Online shoe and clothing emporium Zappos has a very special offer for customers who shop in these 24 hours, an extension of their 365 day return policy to 1,461 days. They want to give, “indecisive shoppers the luxury of four years to decide if they want to keep or return an item.”

That would take shoppers exactly to February 29th, 2016, the next time we will see this special holiday. For those who can't decide just how to spend the extra day, look here for 24 ideas, one for each hour.

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