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Planning a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth? You may want to consider picking your dates based on specific Disneyland events! While the parks are delights unto themselves and reason enough to visit, the Disneyland Resort offers a ton of fun year-round events that may just be the cherry on top. Our frog family gets an extra leap of excitement during these special events. It's also good to know what events are hoppening when you visit, because they can influence Disneyland crowd levels. In this guide to Disneyland events in 2019, we've included a few of the more popular "unofficial" events as well, since they impact crowd levels.
Guide to Disneyland Events in 2019
Three Kings Day - Jan. 3-8, 2019
When Christmas season has come to a close, there is still more to celebrate in the new year. The 12th day of Christmas is celebrated in Mexico and South America. At Disney California Adventure, you can celebrate Three Kings Day with decorations, coloring, creating a custom jeweled crown, listening to stories or trying traditional treats such as Rosca de Reyes cake.
Get Your Ears On - A Mickey and Minnie Celebration
Come celebrate 90 years of magic with everyone’s favorite couple. The party kicks off Jan. 18 with “Mickey’s Mix Magic,” a park-wide dance party with a projection show that includes music, lasers and, on select nights, fireworks. The projection show takes place on Main Street U.S.A., on water screens along Rivers of America and at “it’s a small world.” Mickey’s Soundsational Parade returns Jan. 25, with Mickey leading the parade on his new float. Chip ‘n’ Dale will arrive with a giant birthday cake. Be sure to check out Mickey and Minnie’s new colorful celebration outfits. All good things must come to an end, and this party ends June 6 (with special foods ending May 27).
Lunar New Year - Jan. 25-Feb. 17, 2019
The Lunar New Year Celebration is a multi-cultural event that includes food, authentic performances and your favorite Disney characters. This event takes place at Paradise Gardens inside Disney California Adventure. Colorful lanterns and other decor welcome you, while hanging banners written in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese wish you a Happy Lunar New Year. You can join the time-honored tradition of writing wishes of good fortune and happiness for your friends and family; receive customized Chinese calligraphy and brush art; color; do free crafts; and purchase some traditional Lunar New Years treats. You can find delectable Asian meals at Paradise Garden Grill, or try a sampling of Asian cuisine from the Luna New Year festival marketplace kiosks.
Most years, there is a six-minute nighttime water show before World of Color each night — Hurry Home — Lunar New Year Celebration, featuring Mulan and Mushu. World of Color is under refurbishment, so we're excited to see if it returns!
Lunar New Year is a well-attended event. The lines to greet characters can get quite long, so hop in line early (by 11 a.m.) for the shortest wait in meeting characters (such as Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale, Mulan or Mushu) dressed in their Lunar New Year’s best. In 2019, you can meet the Three Little Pigs in honor of the Year of the Pig! You do not want to miss the New Years procession, led by Mulan and Mushu. There are several shows throughout the day. The best place to watch is right in front of the Jumpin’ Jellyfish attraction. This shady spot will offer you a front and center view of the colorfully costumed dancers, dragon, drummers and characters.
Super Bowl and the Day After - Feb. 3-4, 2019
There are no special Disneyland events for Super Bowl Sunday, but it tends to be a significantly more crowded day. Depending on the location of the Super Bowl and the team that wins, there can be a Super Bowl Parade the day after the Super Bowl (sometimes they go to Disney World). When Peyton Manning announced he was going to Disneyland to celebrate the Denver Broncos' victory in Super Bowl 50, many thousands of fans flocked to the park to celebrate too. The day after the Super Bowl may affect crowd levels and park entertainment for the day … or not. There is no way to plan for this, but there is usually an announcement right after the big game. If you are in town the day after the Super Bowl, you might want to take these factors into consideration when planning your itinerary.
Valentine’s Month - Jan. 22-Feb. 18, 2019
In 2019, as part of the Mickey and Minnie celebration, these two Disney sweethearts hope you’ll join them in a celebration of love. Embark on a special scavenger hunt throughout Disneyland Park. You can purchase a map and stickers and search for hidden valentines that Minnie has left for Mickey. You can usually find Valentine’s Day balloons in February, and this year will also feature Mickey and Minnie shaped foods ad Valentine-themed items.
Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts’ Nite – Feb. 7
Disneyland After Dark events are special parties that take place for four hours after the park closes. You can meet Disney characters, find fun photo opportunities, dance and ride the rides with short wait times. Sweethearts’ Nite requires a separate ticket, which can be purchased through the Disneyland website. Hop quickly. Tickets are $99 and went on sale Nov. 28, 2018. The event is from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., but guests can enter as early as 6:00 p.m.
MARCH, APRIL AND MAY
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival - March 1-April 23, 2019
This is a California foodie's paradise and one of the top Disneyland events in 2019! Taking place each year during March and April, the event offers guests the chance to partake in delicious food and wine offerings every day, plus special workshops, classes and experiences on the weekends. Tad and Lily loved participating in Jr. Chef with Goofy, and we loved the free treat that came with the free experience. Guests can visit Festival Marketplaces, themed around different tastes and drinks of California, and reserve their seats at premium experiences with famous chefs. You’ll also encounter special character meet and greets, including opportunities to meet some rarely seen characters like perhaps, Clarabelle Cow or the Country Bears. Good news! The World of Color is expected to be back March 1, 2019, just in time for the Food & Wine Festival. (Pssst … you can reserve the World of Color Dessert Party starting Feb. 22, 2019!)
New Orleans Square Mardi Gras - March 5, 2019
While it's always festive inside New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park, the attraction gets decorated even more for Mardi Gras. New Orleans Square gets festooned with beads and masks, and the restaurants offer themed foods and free beads for guests to wear. The real party is happening at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, where you can enjoy Mardi Gras decorations and a special menu that includes Fat Tuesday specials, including colorful Mardi Gras Bread Pudding and some discount drinks. You can always put on your Mardi Gras Minnie Mouse ear headband and celebrate Mardi Gras year-round by eating the New Orleans-inspired foods inside Disneyland and trying to catch beads when the bands play in New Orleans Square. You can also hop aboard the Mark Twain and maybe even meet or dance with characters from "The Princess and the Frog!"
Disneyland After Dark: 90s Nite – March 7, 2019
Are you ready to get your grunge on or channel your inner Spice Girl or Backstreet Boy? Are "The Lion King," "Aladdin," "Pocahontas," "Toy Story," "Mulan" or "Beauty and the Beast" your golden age of Disney movies? Then get a special ticket that will transport you back to the 1990s. This nostalgic after-hours party will celebrate Disney films of the era and feature special meet and greet with rarely seen characters. The event features an exclusive "Disney Afternoon" After Dark fireworks show! You can ride rides with short waits, stroll down the "Disney Afternoon" Avenue and dance for hours to your favorite 90’s tunes (rocking your mauve lipstick and overalls, or your Gwen Stefani plaid ensemble.) Time flies, so buy your tickets from the Disneyland website quickly before they disappear like a long-gone decade. Tickets are on sale now and run $99 per ticket. The event is from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., and guests can enter beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Mini Gay Day - March 2, 2019
Gay Days at Disneyland are traditionally held in the fall around the first Saturday in October, but there is a mini Gay Day casual meet-up in March. This is not an official Disney event, but it can affect crowds, and you’ll see a number of rainbow-colored Disneyland treats. Expect to see folks wearing red shirts in celebration!
Egg-stravaganza - April 5-21, 2019
Hop over to the Disneyland Resort for the biggest Easter egg hunt around! Egg-stravaganza is a fun but low-key scavenger hunt that sends guests scurrying around the Disneyland Resort to find hidden eggs during April. Guests purchase a map and stickers and record their finds by placing the corresponding egg sticker on their map to represent that location. Returning your map to a redemption location is a rewarding experience. Keep your eye out for the Easter Bunny meet and greets during this season.
Dapper Day - April 14, 2019
Some of the "unofficial" Disneyland events in 2018-2019 and beyond are the best. There are two Dapper Days each year at Disneyland. Guests dress up in their vintage, “Disneybound” and Sunday best to pay homage to the way guests used to dress when Disneyland first opened in the 1950s. These events are unofficial and independently organized, but they do affect crowds. Read our coverage of Dapper Day from a few years ago. The Dapper Day Expo is at the Disneyland Hotel on April 13 and 14, 2019, but the official day in Disneyland Park is April 14.
Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble - April 30 or May 1, 2019
Disney California Adventure is getting its first Disneyland After Dark party, which takes place for four hours after the park closes. You’ll need to buy a separate ticket for this private party of heroic proportions. The event will propel you into the past, present and future of Super Heroes. You can meet some your favorite characters, take advantage of special photo ops, dance the night away and enjoy popular attractions with shorter lines. Annual Passholders can buy tickets starting Feb. 19, and tickets go on sale to the general public Feb. 21, 2019. Make like Dash and race to get these tickets if you don’t want to miss this party, because the last few Disneyland After Dark events sold out quickly.
Bats Day - May 5, 2019
You can expect to see guests dressed in goth, steampunk, Halloween, rockabilly and more for Bats Day. Bats Day, like Dapper Day, is independently organized and takes place usually in May. This event always makes me long for my frog goth phase. There have been rumors that Bats Day organizers may be ending Bats Day in 2019, but Disneyland still has the date posted, so that’s something to watch. You bet this frog squad will show up all in black!
Grad Nites May and June 2019
Throughout May and June, you may see daytime crowds surge with high school seniors in both parks for local high school grad night celebrations. After 9 p.m., the parties move to a location in California Adventure, but Grad Nite celebrators may be in either park during the morning and throughout the day. You can check the Disneyland Calendar up to six weeks in advance to find out which days have Grad Nites in 2019.
"Disneyland Forever" - Returns June 7, 2019
The much-loved nighttime extravaganza fireworks and projection show from Disneyland's 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration returns for an unknown length of time.
“The Lion King” Celebration - June 7, 2019-TBD
Come celebrate the 25th anniversary of “The Lion King” with a traveling troupe of storytellers who will engage guests through story, song and dance. You can honor the spirit of Africa through crafts, music and more. We can already feel the love tonight!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge - Now Open
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is open for guests with park tickets and reservations to enter the land until June 23. Beginning June 24, guests no longer need a reservation. The only way to get a reservation through June 23 is to book a hotel at one of the three Disneyland Resort properties. A same-day reservation for Oga's Cantina* and to build a lightsaber* at Savi's Workshop can be made at 7:00 a.m. through the Disneyland app or online.
*Reservations are required for the lightsaber experience and to Oga’s Cantina.
Soarin' Over California - Now-Aug. 31, 2019
Back for a limited time, Soarin' Over California returns to Disney California Adventure for the summer. Swoop in for a nostalgic ride that takes you on a journey through the Golden State. Glide past the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite Valley, Malibu and more. Mmmm ... I can smell the orange groves already!
4th of July
Disneyland Park celebrates America's independence during July 4th with red, white and blue decorations, special eats and drinks, and "Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky." This can be one of the busiest days of the year. Disney California Adventure also has some fireworks in a patriotic salute before World of Color.
Disneyland’s Birthday - July 17, 2019
"To all who come to this happy place; welcome." Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955. Every year on this anniversary the park celebrates Disneyland’s Birthday. There are special souvenirs available on that day, and some people choose to dress dapper for the occasion. You may expect a birthday cavalcade or other form of entertainment with many Disney characters at points throughout the day. Some people try to attend every year despite the crowds. Even though Disneyland does not actively promote this day, everyone seems to be hopping in droves to the park to join this birthday party. If you plan to attend this day, arrive early and expect typical summer crowds.
The Disney Gallery Presents Happy Haunts Materialize
The Haunted Mansion turns 50 this summer. Enjoy a display of artwork with stories behind the creation of the Haunted Mansion at the Disney Gallery in Disneyland.
AUGUST, SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
Main Street Electrical Parade - Aug. 2-Sept. 30, 2019
This classic parade of twinkling lights, favorite characters and familiar music will be making its way down Main Street for a limited time this summer.
Haunted Mansion's 50th Anniversary After Hours Event - Aug. 7-8 or Aug. 8-9, 2019
Welcome, foolish mortals, to a celebration of 50 years of the Haunted Mansion "Retirement Unliving" at Disneyland Park. Happy haunts are materializing for this after-hours event, a so-called "under the hill" soiree that occurs during the graveyard shift from 1 a.m to 4 a.m. inside the park. Check-in and shopping get started earlier at the Disneyland Hotel. You can dig up some commemorative estate merchandise and enjoy character encounters, special entertainment, photo ops, sips and savors, rides and supernatural surprises. Critter Country, New Orleans Square, Frontierland and Adventureland attractions will be open for this 13th hour event that takes place after the park closes. Tickets go on sale for this very limited event on Thursday, May 23 at 10 a.m. Pacific. "Hurry back" to this link for more details and to purchase tickets. Note: Only one ticket per reservation.
CHOC Walk in the Park - Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019
The CHOC Walk is a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. It takes place at Disneyland and greatly affects crowds, especially for morning arrivals. It can even switch up the early entry park order for the weekend. It includes free parking for participants, plus the ability to buy discount park tickets (5 tickets per wristband). For more information visit the CHOC Walk in the Park site.
Plaza de la Familia — Sept. 6, 2019-Halloween
Plaza de la Familia celebrates the Disney-Pixar film “Coco” and the bonds of family at Disney California Adventure. Taking place at Paradise Gardens, this celebration features Mariachi music, delicious Mexican foods, a Tree of Life interactive photo exhibit, wing photo walls, free coloring and crafts and The World of Coco exhibit. Face painting is available for a fee. The highlight is “A Musical Celebration of Coco” — a show that features dance, storytellers and original songs from “Coco,” along with an amazing puppet performance from Miguel and some dancing skeletons.
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort - Sep. 6-Oct. 31, 2019
Halloween is a big-time affair at Disneyland Park, with plenty of decorations, entertainment and other goodies that typically take place mid-September through Oct. 31. Main Street, U.S.A. is turned into a pumpkin festival with hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins on display. You can gather with some of Disney's biggest villains along with other favorite Disney characters for meet-and-greets — in costumes, of course! Jack Skellington and Sally are popular over by the Haunted Mansion, and Cruella de Vil stalks about Main Street and near the park entrance. Guests can enjoy the seasonal entertainment plus special eats and drinks. There are also seasonal overlays to some of the resort's very best rides, including the Haunted Mansion Holiday hosted by Jack Skellington. The Halloween Screams show is now a projection and special effects show that will light up Disneyland park most nights of the Halloween season. The show will be enhanced with fireworks on select nights.
Disney California Adventure has gotten into the spirit. Haul-O-Ween in Cars Land has the residents of Radiator Springs dressing in silly costumes and decorating their homes and shops. Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween and Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree are two ride overlays in Cars Land. Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission Breakout! also gets a Halloween overlay, becoming Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters after Dark after 5 p.m.
Disneyland Halloween Time festivities are included with regular park admission! We've got a full guide to Halloween Time, so be sure to check it out!
Oogie Boogie Bash - Select Dates During Halloween Time
On select nights during Halloween Time, Disney California Adventure plays host to the new Halloween Party — the Oogie Boogie Bash. The whole family is invited to dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat throughout the park. The party takes place on select nights in September and October. There are also character encounters with Disney villains and photo-ops with other Disney characters and Pixar pals. You can dance some of the night away at dance parties and take in the new Word of Color, Villainous! Hop over to our post on Oogie Boogie Bash for more screaming details.
Gay Days - Oct. 4-6, 2019
Gay Days is an independently organized, multi-day event that typically takes place in the fall. There are off-site events and parties associated with Gay Days Anaheim, but there are also days when attendees hit the parks. Participants wear red shirts. This independently organized event can affect crowd levels. You can read all about Gay Days here.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
Dapper Day Fall Soiree - Nov. 3, 2019
The second Dapper Day event of 2019 takes place Nov. 2-3, 2019. The Saturday event includes an Expo at the Disneyland Hotel, where you can find all your dapper duds. The actual Dapper Day in the park is Nov. 3, 2019.
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort - Mid-Nov. 2019-Early Jan. 2020 - Dates TBD
Like Halloween, Disneyland goes all out during Christmas. The parks transform into a winter wonderland from mid-November until early January. This is one of the biggest Disneyland events. Sleeping Beauty Castle is alight in sparkling icicles and thousands of shimmering lights. Snow falls nightly. Beautiful Main Street U.S.A. is decked out in fabulous holiday decor. Across the way at Disney California Adventure, Buena Vista Street and Cars Land are decorated as well for the Festival of Holidays, which offers many festival booths with tasty treats and musical selections representing several cultures. Festival of Holidays runs through January 8, 2019. There is a nightly Christmas tree lighting on Buena Vista Street, as well as a special holiday World of Color (although World of Color is under refurbishment). You’ll want to join Mickey, Minnie and the Three Caballeros at the Disney Viva Navidad! Street Party. Two Cars Land rides receive holiday overlays: Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl have exciting holiday songs.
Back at Disneyland, Jack Skellington's takeover continues at Haunted Mansion Holiday. The "it's a small world" overlay is the merriest cruise that ever set sail. Once the sun goes down, the façade turns into one of the most beautiful holiday lights displays you'll ever see…be sure to catch the ceremonial lighting and projection show each evening. You'll definitely want to stay for A Christmas Fantasy Parade and the Believe…in Holiday Magic fireworks show! Santa Claus greets guests in both parks. There is no hard-ticket Christmas Party like Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, and all of the Christmas festivities are included with regular admission. You can read more about it in our guide to Holidays at Disneyland.
New Year's Eve at the Disneyland Resort
The Christmas festivities continue through early January. If you're planning to visit around the New Year, you definitely want to stay for the "Ring in the New Year" fireworks spectacular! There are usually two fireworks shows (around 9 p.m. and just before midnight). California Adventure usually offers a dance party, fireworks and a New Year's Eve countdown as well, although this is not confirmed for 2018. New Year's Eve is one of Disneyland’s most popular days to visit either park, so follow these tips for spending New Year’s Eve at Disneyland to get the most out of your visit.
Our guide to Disneyland Events in 2019 is never really complete. As new events are announced and others receive official dates, we'll add them here. Check back often to see what's hopping all year round. We're a pretty lucky Frog Family in that we're able to visit the Disneyland Resort often. Visiting is never routine, but knowing that there are outstanding special events throughout the year means that there is always a new experience waiting for us.
Thanks for reading our guide to Disneyland Events in 2019. It's always a great time to visit the parks, but especially with so many terrific Disneyland events. Have you visited during any of these events? Share your memories in comments below. Have a question about any of the events? Ask away!
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Related: Guide to Disneyland Halloween Time