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It’s that time of year! The return of Grad Nite at Disneyland theme parks! High school students are graduating and Disney is hosting Disneyland Grad Nites. Every year, Disneyland park hosts Grad Nite events to honor high school graduates. During Grad Nite, the kids get exclusive access to an after hours party held in Disneyland California Adventure park.
Every year, I get messages from people who realized their Disneyland vacation is over a Grad Nite and they’re worried it will affect their vacation! Feeling panicky because you’ve realized your trip is happening during a Grad Nite? Stop it! Don’t freak out! Everything will be fine. I’ve got your complete Surviving Grad Nite At Disneyland Guide!
Grad Nite Info
Grad Nites are held at Disney California Adventure on select dates. You need a special event ticket that school groups can purchase through special Disney youth programs. There are special ticket prices and several ticket options available to graduates. Some Grad Nite tickets give kids access to just California Adventure. Some give them access to both parks via park hopper tickets.
Normal operating hours are different on Grad Nites. World of Color will be shown at 9:00pm(usually). After the show, California Adventure will be turned over to the graduating teens for this popular event and all the other guests will be asked to leave.
During this rite of passage, senior groups will enjoy dance parties, graduation gear, themed food, There will also be exclusive Disneyland Grad Nite merchandise. Local high school seniors(and some students from out of town) gather to celebrate a final night of high school memories.
Grad Nite will be held on the following dates in 2022:
Grad Nite Crowds
Both parks will see higher crowd levels on Grad Nite dates. However, it’s still doable. I promise. I’ve got lots of tips to help you handle crowds here. The parks will start getting noticeably more busy in the afternoon/evening as the high schoolers for their Disneyland resort Grad Nite experience.
I’ve attended Grad Nite at Disneyland a time or two and have been pleasantly surprised. In my mind, I was sure the parks would be over run by packs of wild, disrespectful teenagers who were hell bent on turning my beloved Disneyland into some kind of drunken, drug filled rave. I have an active imagination. I like to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Anyway, it was nothing like that at all! All the kids I saw were kind, respectful and well behaved. Of course, they were excited to be participating in Grad Nite celebrations, but they weren’t causing any trouble. The parks were more crowded, this is true. Because we had a good plan and followed my tips it was completely manageable.
Grad Nite Tips
1. Arrive early! Teens like to sleep in. Get to the parks for rope drop. You can read all about rope drop here along with tips and strategies here. This way, you get all your fun in before they arrive.
2. Use Genie Plus! I know it costs extra, but use if you can. I’ve got info on Genie Plus here. This will be your best friend on a Grad Nite. You need to maximizing your time and Genie Plus is a great way to do that.
3. Download the Disneyland app before your trip. Then, you can use your mobile device to check wait times, see the entertainment schedule and mobile order food.
4 If you have a park hopper hit California Adventure first. Grads with park hoppers will most likely hit Disneyland first because they will have the run of California Adventure later that night. When it starts feeling too crowded, skip on over to Disneyland! You could also call it a night since you arrived early and beat the crowds.
5. Book a hotel that has a great pool with my partners at Get Away Today. Ditching the crowds for the pool is always a good idea! Plus, they have discounted park tickets!
6. If you don’t have a park hopper consider spending the full day at Disneyland if you want to stay past 9pm.
7. Have a good attitude. That will take you a long way. Be patient and flexible with the kids all around you.
8. If you notice a teen who isn’t behaving in a suitable manner, notify a cast member. They can help you.
I hope these tips help! Surviving Grad Nite at Disneyland isn’t that hard. I’ve never had a bad experience at a Grad Nite. Even though it was a bit more crowded, I still thought it was the happiest place on earth. I’m really happy that Disneyland chooses to honor the grads with this exclusive private party experience. Let me know if you have any questions!