Disneyland Resort cancels Grad Nite events for 2021

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer

The Disneyland Resort has announced that it will not host Grad Nite events in 2021.

In an email sent to school coordinators and in a message posted to the Grad Nite website, Disney said that "recently released state guidelines related to theme parks put us in limbo," and said the company is "unable to move forward with Grad Nite 2021."

Last April, with the theme parks recently closed and no clear information about when they might reopen, Disney was forced to cancel the 2020 Grad Nite events scheduled for May and June. By taking this move now, Disney is giving schools time to begin planning an alternate graduation celebration for their students.

Disneyland says, "We look forward to celebrating your students in years to come."

Grad Nite was first held at Disneyland in 1961, and has been a rite of passage for graduating seniors in Southern California and beyond for decades. The event was originally a private overnight party inside Disneyland park that started hours after the park closed for the day. That event had strict rules for participants and enhanced security to keep the party safe and sane. 

In 2012, Disneyland changed the format from a private nighttime party to a mix-in event, with school groups able to arrive during regular park hours, and then stay for a shorter private party after Disneyland closed. In 2013, the after-hours party moved over to Disney California Adventure, where grads could enjoy the new Cars Land, and watch a private showing of the then-new World of Color show.

Walt Disney World also began its own Grad Nite event in 1972, but ended the offering in 2011 citing the difficulty of scheduling the event amid increasing spring attendance at its theme parks.