Disneyland Resort Celebrates Los Angeles Lakers and MVP Kobe Bryant With a Victory Parade

D065378003.JPGCelebrating the best in basketball, the Disneyland Resort saluted the 2009 World Champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday with a victory parade down Main Street U.S.A., in Disneyland park. Kobe Bryant, MVP of the recent NBA Finals, smiled and waved to fans as he rode on a float to represent the Lakers in the special, celebration parade.

Some favorite Disney characters joined the magical parade as Disneyland guests cheered for the Lakers and their 15th NBA championship. The Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic to win the title in a “Fairytale Series” that matched up teams located near Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

“It’s like a dream come true to be here and celebrate at Disneyland, coming down Main Street U.S.A. with all the fans cheering,” Bryant said after the parade. “It’s a tremendous honor to represent my team.”

The presidents of the two Resorts, Ed Grier at Disneyland and Meg Crofton at Walt Disney World, made a friendly wager on the NBA Finals. On Thursday, Meg Crofton fulfilled her pledge by donning a pair of Lakers’ purple and gold Mickey Mouse ears and walking down Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Each of the Resorts also turned the lights of their respective castles to the team colors of the Lakers and the Magic, in celebration of the historic pairing. Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland park was glowing with Lakers purple and gold during the NBA Finals and will stay that way through Thursday night.

“I heard there was a little competition with Disneyland and Disney World and we won,” Kobe Bryant said, “so our colors are staying up a little bit longer.”

Two of the many Lakers fans at Disneyland on Thursday were selected to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds with Bryant after the parade. David Guerrero and his son Jonathan, 4, of Pomona, are Annual Passport holders and they came to Disneyland in their team jerseys to celebrate the Lakers’ World Championship.

“They just picked us out of the crowd and said, ‘Do you want to ride the Matterhorn with Kobe?’ I’m shaking, this is so exciting,” David Guerrero said as Jonathan jumped up and down. “In Southern California, being a Disney fan and a Lakers fan, it just goes together and that’s why we wanted to be here today.”

The Disneyland Resort victory parade provided yet another reason for dancing in the streets as Disney Parks asks guests, “What Will You Celebrate?” in 2009. Guests are celebrating birthdays, graduations, engagements and more at Disney Parks and they are utilizing an unprecedented offer good throughout 2009 – the opportunity to visit a theme park at Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort free on their birthdays.*

The summer of celebration continues at Disneyland Resort with special vacation offers and Summer Nightastic! The exciting, after-dark entertainment includes a new fireworks spectacular, “Magical,” starring Dumbo the flying elephant; Tinker Bell’s “pixie magic” in “Disney’s Electrical Parade;” and sensational new characters and special effects in “Fantasmic!” Residents of Southern California can purchase the Summer Fun Pass and visit the parks on three days for $99.** Guests who pay for a three-night vacation package get an extra two nights free for arrivals through September 26, 2009.+ For details, visit www.disneyland.com and www.disneyland.com/summer.

Pictured: Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers cheer during the 2009 NBA Championship Victory Parade and Rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on June 17, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)