Disneyland Resort is kicking off summer and their banner 60th anniversary year with an epic 24-hour party in May. Beginning at 6 a.m. May 22 and ending exactly 24-hours later, this event has become an annual tradition for many, and special touches for the anniversary year will make it more noteworthy. We’ve got some tips from 24-hour events past because this isn’t only fun for 20-somethings, but for those of us a wee bit older, too. Last year we left the kids at home (with grandparents), which was awesome!
The 24-hour event starting off the Diamond Celebration will feature the premiere of the three nighttime shows designed especially for the anniversary year. Disneyland will host two of those special nighttime performances, which are the Paint the Night Parade and the Disneyland Forever fireworks show. Paint the Night Parade is much like a modern, environmentally-friendlier Main Street Electrical Parade with over 1.5 million LED lights . The light show continues during the Disneyland Forever fireworks show when guests will be immersed in the show as special effects take over the store fronts on Main Street, the Matterhorn, and the facade of It’s a Small World and the Fantasmic water screens. Not only will there be no bad place to watch the show, but the show can change depending upon where guests stand, potentially making it different every night. California Adventure will have a special World of Color themed “Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney,” which will be led in filmed sequences by Mickey Mouse and Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse, taking guests through the history of Disneyland Resort.
The 24-hour celebration isn’t only for die-hard Disney fans. It’s a fun and totally unique experience, which only gets better each year. Last year, we were in the park the day before the event, then the day of the event and we found the 24-hour event felt less crowded and the parks were easier to navigate that day. Maybe people were pacing themselves, but we easily did almost all of the rides in Disneyland within a few hours of the opening, well before lunch time.
Here are our suggestions for 24-hours at Disneyland and California Adventure:
- Get there at the start! The parks opened at 6 a.m. and we arrived into the main area between the parks by 5:30 a.m. By that time, there were hardly any lines for California Adventure and reasonable lines for Disneyland. The Disneyland lines grew longer, but then newcomers lined up at California Adventure. Neither park had lines that were overwhelming. One key thing is that we didn’t shower, just jumped out of bed and got dressed because we returned to our rooms for a break mid-day. This was a great plan except for the fact that many people in line were dressed up in character (no masks allowed) and they all looked Instagram-ready. I felt pretty grungy in comparison.
- Have a plan. Aim to ride every attraction? It may be possible. We did almost every ride in Disneyland by 11 a.m., skipping only the teacups (no dizziness!), Splash Mountain (no wet clothes!), and one other that I cannot remember. Had we been driven to do them all in both parks, I think we could. Even if you don’t aspire to ride every ride, always decide ahead which ride are most important and make those a priority. Don’t forget to get FastPasses.
- Bring a back up battery charger. Your phone won’t last the event if you use it often and of course, you’re going to use it often.
- Use your camera on your phone – don’t bring a regular camera. It’s too heavy. The bulky camera may seem okay at first, but soon, you’ll feel like a hunchback dragging that weight around.
- Go light – even that backpack will make you ache.
- Special food – don’t miss it, even if you buy snacks for later. Last year we bought Maleficent-themed treats and even took a few home.
- Bring an empty water bottle. You can fill it up with filtered water at the parks, saving money on drinks.
- Bring Advil and Band Aids. No explanation needed.
- Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel? Consider a pool break during the day. We went back to the Grand Californian to shower and take a break, which helped give us a second and third wind.
- If all else fails, each park has a Starbucks to help you stay awake!
Photo courtesy of Disneyland News