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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 annual and one-time 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 and 2020, we've included a few of the more popular "unofficial" events as well, since they impact crowd levels.
Guide to Disneyland Events in 2019
Before we jump into 2020, here's a look at Disneyland events through the end of 2019.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2019
Mickey's Mix Magic with Fireworks - Nov. 1-3, 2019
This popular nighttime extravaganza with a rockin' soundtrack by DJ Mickey, lasers, special effects, projection and fireworks bridges the gap in the weekend between Halloween Screams and Believe ... in Holiday Magic fireworks shows.
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 - Nov. 8, 2019 - Jan. 6, 2020
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.
There is a nightly Christmas tree lighting on Buena Vista Street, as well as a special holiday World of Color. 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. The celebration wraps up with Three Kings Day Jan. 3-6, 2020.
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. 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.
Guide to Disneyland Events in 2020
Let's jump ahead to 2020. There are some new and exciting changes to come in 2020 that do not have any predicted dates yet.
Avengers Campus - TBD 2020
An all-new "MARVEL-ous" land is coming to Disney California Adventure in 2020. The land takes over the former Bug's Land space and features Spider-Man and other Marvel characters. You can expect a new immersive ride, in which you can sling webs like Spider-Man. The Pym Test Kitchen will be the exciting eatery in the new land. Avengers Headquarters is set to open at a later date.
Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway - TBD 2020
All aboard! The first-ever Mickey-themed ride is rolling into Mickey's Toontown some time in 2020. You'll be transported into the zany cartoon world with Goofy as your engineer.
Here's a month-by-month guide to all of the other Disneyland events in 2020. Keep hopping back! As new events pop up, and dates are announced, we'll continue to keep this list updated.
Three Kings Day - Jan. 3-6, 2020
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.
Opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance - Jan. 17, 2020
This new, long-awaited ride opens in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in early 2020. Join the Resistance in battle against the First Order!
Lunar New Year - Jan. 17 - Feb. 9, 2020
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 Year treats. You can find delectable Asian meals at Paradise Garden Grill, or try a sampling of Asian cuisine from the Lunar 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.
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 to meet characters (such as Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale, Mulan or Mushu) dressed in their Lunar New Year’s best. In 2019, the Year of the Pig, the Three Little Pigs joined the New Years procession, led by Mulan and Mushu. There are several shows throughout the day that celebrate with colorfully costumed dancers, a dragon and drummers. The year 2020 is the Year of the Rat. We can only hope that characters from "Ratatouille" make an appearance.
FEBRUARY, MARCH AND APRIL
Super Bowl and the Day After - Feb. 2-3, 2020
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, 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 - TBD
In 2019, Disneyland introduced Valentine's Month as part of the Mickey and Minnie celebration. We fell in love with the Valentine scavenger hunt and hope they bring it back in 2020. In 2019, you could purchase a map and stickers and search for hidden valentines that Minnie left for Mickey. You can usually find Valentine’s Day balloons in February and Valentine-themed food and merchandise items.
Magic Happens Parade - TBD in Spring 2020
An all-new parade will make its way down the Disneyland parade route in spring 2020. Mickey and pals kick off the daytime parade. You can expect colorful floats and costumes themed after both new ("Moana" and "Coco") and classic ("Sleeping Beauty") Disney characters.
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival - Feb. 28 - April 21, 2020
This is a California foodie's paradise, and one of the top Disneyland events in 2020! 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 love participating in Jr. Chef with Goofy, and we all love the free treat that comes 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 musical entertainment and special character meet-and-greets, including opportunities to meet some rarely seen characters. You can do some shopping in 2020, with a new line of festival-themed headwear, apparel, decor and cooking gadgets. The Sip and Savor Pass returns for all guests in 2020!
New Orleans Square Mardi Gras - Feb. 25, 2020
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!" Look for special menu items at Cafe Orleans. This is not a big event at Disneyland.
Mini Gay Day - TBD
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 - TBD (usually held the few weeks leading up to Easter)
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 can 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 19, 2020
Some of the "unofficial" Disneyland events in 2019-2020 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. The Dapper Day Expo is at the Disneyland Hotel on April 18 and 19, 2019, but the official day in Disneyland Park is April 19.
MAY AND JUNE
Bats Day - May 3, 2020
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 usually takes place 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, but it's still happening in the park (the events that occur outside the park are cancelled). You bet this frog squad will show up all in black!
Grad Nites - May and June 2020
Throughout May and June, you may see daytime crowds surge with high school seniors in both parks for local high school Grad Nite 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 host Grad Nites in 2020.
Grad Nite dates for 2020 are:
May 8, 9, 15, 16, 20, 26, 27, 29 and 30
June 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12 and 13
Fourth 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, 2020
"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. You may be able to take picture holding birthday signs. Some people try to attend every year despite the crowds. Even though Disneyland does not actively promote this day (except on large anniversary years), 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.
CHOC Walk in the Park - TBD (was held 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. the event 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). The 30th anniversary walk will be in 2020!
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort - Sep. 6 - Oct. 31, 2019 (2020 dates TBD)
Halloween is a big-time affair at Disneyland Park, with plenty of decorations, entertainment and other goodies that typically take place mid-Sept. 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 in New Orleans Square. After they leave for the day, you can meet characters from the Haunted Mansion. Cruella de Vil and the Queen of Hearts stalk about Main Street and near the park entrance. We've spotted Maleficent and the Evil Queen near the castle, too.
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 is enhanced with fireworks on select nights.
Disney California Adventure has gotten into the spirit, too. 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. (4 p.m. on party days).
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 — Oogie Boogie Bash. The whole family is invited to dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat throughout the park. Some of the treat trails are themed after villains and have a live villain to entertain you as you gather candy. The magical Villains Grove is a delight. The party takes place on select nights in September and October. You'll enjoy character encounters with Disney villains and photo-ops with rare Disney characters and Pixar pals. You can dance the night away at dance parties and take in the new World of Color — "Villainous!" show. Hop over to our post on Oogie Boogie Bash for more screaming details.
Plaza de la Familia - Sept. 6 - Oct. 31, 2019 (2020 dates TBD)
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 chance to meet Miguel. 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.
Gay Days - Oct. 4-6, 2019 (2020 Dates TBD)
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.
Thanks for reading our guide to Disneyland Events in 2019 and 2020. 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!
Related: Best Time To Visit Disneyland
Related: Guide to Disneyland Halloween Time