Mickey Celebrates D100; castle; fireworks; night
  • On Jan 15, 2024
    Shonette from OH Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We’ve discovered we’ll be in DL during the last two Grad Nites. To avoid the most crowds (but also accomplish the most) would you go to DCA on an off party night even though we can’t arrive until noon OR go to DL for a full day on a party night?

    Greetings, Shonette, and welcome to planDisney!

    It's a pleasure to see you here and thanks so much for coming to me with your question! I'm really excited to see that you have a summer visit to the Disneyland Resort from all the way over in the Buckeye State. I once spent an entire winter in Cincinnati and, aside from the shock of the cold (I'm a California boy through and through), it was a great time!

    Disneyland Resort Grad Nite is a treasured tradition among Southern California families and many consider it a rite of passage as high school seniors move into the next chapter of their lives. However, it can impact overall crowd levels throughout the day, so let's come up with some strategies for you to avoid the crowds and get as much done as possible.

    • In order to be as flexible as possible, I would recommend purchasing the Park Hopper option for your tickets. If you find one Park is particularly congested, you'll have the option to hop over to the other.
    • I would recommend visiting Disneyland Park for a full day on a Grad Nite. If you look at the ticket tiers for grads, only the most expensive option allows access to Disneyland Park. That might limit the number of grads visiting that particular Park and they will inevitably migrate over to Disney California Adventure when their party begins. I would definitely recommend making Rope Drop that day. You can fit an incredible amount into the morning before it gets more crowded!
    • For visiting Disney California Adventure, I would recommend visiting that Park on an off party night if you can manage. An off party weekday would probably be the least crowded that week. 
    • Utilize Single Rider Lines when possible. Also, keep in mind that Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! in Disney California Adventure has a Buddy Pass system for two Guests.
    • Despite the additional cost, consider Genie+ in order to bypass the standby queues whenever possible. This will save you a lot of time over the day and, as an added bonus, all Disney PhotoPass pictures will be free to download. It might not as cost effective on your late arrival day, however. 

    Once you have your Theme Park Tickets, be sure to also secure your Park reservations. And don't forget that you may make your dining reservations 60 days prior to your visit! Summer is a wonderful time to visit and as a child, I fondly remember that no summer vacation was complete for me without a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth!

    Fun Fact: The first Grad Nite at Disneyland was held in 1961 and drew a crowd of over 8,500 students across 33 different schools. Performers for the night included Benny Goodman, Annette Funicello, and The Elliott Brothers (they were also known to perform at Date Nites at Disneyland as well). 

    I hope I was able to provide some useful information for you, Shonette. It would be my pleasure to help you if you have any further questions, so feel free to write back anytime. I'd love to hear from you again!

    Wishing You a Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow!
    -Al

thumbnail image for Al

Meet the Panelist: Al, California

Ahoy there from the heart of Steinbeck Country in central California! I've been visiting the Disneyland Resort since childhood and fell in love with the sense of absolute immersion that the Imagineers have achieved. My favorite attraction is Pirates of the Caribbean because where else can you go from a California day to an evening boat ride in the bayou with "salty old pirates"? I'm a veterinarian and an all-around Disney geek and enthusiast. I'd love to help you plan your next Disneyland trip! Learn More About Al

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