Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party Planning Tips

Dreamy Sunrise Over Cinderella CastleBefore we traveled to Walt Disney World the week between Christmas and New Year's, which is notoriously the busiest week of the year, a lot of people asked us whether we were crazy. Yes, of course we are, but that had nothing to do with our decision to visit during that week. The decision to bear those brutal crowds was made easy for us thanks to the extended operating hours and impressive New Year's Eve fireworks shows. And although we're not fans of large crowds (I'm betting not many of you have


During the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Disneyland & Disney California Adventure will be open for 24 consecutive hours beginning on May 23, 2014 at 6 am until 6 am on May 24, 2014. This is an extension of the “Disney Side” promotion (it’ll likely be promoting Disney’s Malificent, too) and since the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party falls on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, it’s the perfect time to take a long weekend trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland! Disney has released some details about the party, which you can read here.

We participated in the events of “One More Disney Day” (the 24-hour Leap Day event in 2012) and Monstrous Summer (the 24-hour Memorial Day party in 2013) and both were a ton of fun. They were also great, unique opportunities for photography. This is not a hard ticket event, so a normal, single day ticket will entitle you to visit the parks for the full 24-hour party!

Based upon our experiences at the parties, here are some tips for enjoying these special events if you’re going to be Walt Disney World or Disneyland, and also some tips for those of you watching the fun from home! While this planning guide is a great primer, if you want a better idea of what to expect during the 24 hour event, I strongly encourage you to read our trip report from 2012′s “One More Disney Day” 24 hour event. Even if you’re not going, there are some pretty photos from the event! This post was originally written for the first party, and it has been updated for each of the two parties since.

Also, check out our general Disneyland Trip Planning Guide and Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide if you’re not a “regular” at either park for more general planning tips. With that said, here are our Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party tips!

1. Take Photos!

This is probably a no-brainer, right? Well, more specifically, take photos of things most guests wouldn’t normally see. It’s rare for Disneyland and Walt Disney World guests to be able to photograph a sunrise, and most guests also aren’t in the parks at 3 or 4 am to take photos, either. Take advantage of these opportunities and grab some unique photos. Photograph the sunrise from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority or over the castle! Grab a photo of the clocks on Main Street at 5 am! Get shots you normally couldn’t get (for photo ideas from past events, check out my Disney photos).

If you’re using an iPhone or other camera phone to take your photos, I highly recommend downloading the free Snapseed App. It’s really the only app you need for editing photos on the fly at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.

If you want more tips, check out our Disney iPhoneography Guide for tips on using a smartphone to capture moments in the park. If you’re more serious about photography, check out my Photography Guide for tutorials, equipment recommendations, and more.

Disney 24-Hour Party Food

2. Dine-it-Up!

Many restaurants in the parks will be offering special menus, test items, and foods that were long-ago retired, and after the smash success of these special menus during One More Disney Day and Monstrous Summer, we expect even better (and more) options for the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party. With some many delicious menu items, you actually won’t have enough time to try everything!

Restaurants will be open until fairly unprecedented hours, so avail yourself of the opportunity to have a Dole Whip in the middle of the night and eat at a table service restaurant after midnight! We have so many different foods on our “want to try” list that I suspect if we eat them all, we’ll gain around 38 pounds each! For our restaurant suggestions, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.

Pete and his dragon, Elliott, in the Main Street Electrical Parade! For more MSEP photos, visit: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/main-street-electrical-parade-disney-world-photos/

3. Share!

I’m not big on constantly using social media when in the parks, as I already spend enough time taking photos, and I want to actually experience the moment I’m experiencing, not document and share it, but the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party should be a really fun opportunity to share the fun with others at home who weren’t crazy-enough to book a last minute trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland when the event was announced on New Year’s Eve. I expect that a lot of people will be experiencing the events vicariously through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media (I know that’s what I’ve done for the past two D23 Expos!), so have some fun with them!

On Twitter and Instagram, Disney will have an official hastag (likely just #DisneySide or maybe #RockYourDisneySide), so find out what that will be and tag all of your posts with that hashtag. Some websites are even planning on covering the entire event in fun ways! Plenty of Fan Pages on Facebook also will likely be sharing, so try to determine in-advance who is going to be there, and subscribe to their updates or “Like” their fan page. Sarah will be probably be posting live updates during the Rock Your Disney Side All-Nighter on Twitter @DisTouristBlog, on the Disney Tourist Blog Facebook page, and on Instagram. If you’re going to be posting updates from Disneyland or Walt Disney World, please feel free to post links to your blog or social media accounts in the comments to this post!

Sunrise over the Disneyland Main Street, USA Train Station at the end of

4. Bring the Right Supplies.

If you’re going to be Tweeting and Facebooking the day away, you’re going to need juice, or at least an outlet. During “One More Disney Day,” we saw a lot of people standing around just using outlets in the park. This looked absolutely no fun, but we didn’t have to do this, because we brought an external battery for charging our phone on the go. This is probably the best piece of advice in this article–spend the $20-40 on a nice external battery; it’s worth the money, as standing around charging your phone at Walt Disney World or Disneyland is no fun. Make sure you have plenty of memory cards and batteries for your camera, too. Beyond batteries, come prepared for all types of weather.

Why not throw a $.99 poncho in your bag for peace-of-mind? Bring some protein bars and vitamins to keep you energized. From what I’ve gathered from various television commercials, there is this amazing product on the market called 5-Hour Energy that gives you a boost without any “crash.” What a miraculous invention! ;) For other things you should bring, check out our Disney packing list.

6. Experience the Un-experienced!

Ever done every ride in the Magic Kingdom in one day? Ever experienced Tomorrowland Transit Authority once every hour for twenty-four straight hours? Ever done Splash Mountain at 3:59 am? What about Haunted Mansion at 4:59 am? Have you seen Fantasmic at 1 am? What about Captain EO at…errr…let’s just skip that one all together. The point is that being in the park overnight affords you all sorts of crazy and unique opportunities to say “I did ________ at __ am!” The photo above is a pre-dawn photo I took of Sleeping Beauty Castle. One of my favorite experiences on “One More Disney Day” was just standing in this tranquil spot in the early morning after all the craziness had subsided, waiting for the park to close. When the clock finally hit 6 a.m., the remaining guests on Main Street cheered loudly, and it truly was one of those “chills” moments, as we had all managed to stay in Disneyland all night long.

Only crazy Disney fans would find joy in such bragging rights, but if you’re reading this, chances are that you’re a crazy Disney fan! So do some crazy-things about which you will someday be able to tell your kids or grand-kids. Even if you don’t plan on staying in the park for all 24 hours, there are a lot of fun things you can do that are unique to the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party. If you know you won’t be able to make it all 24 hours, we recommend going for the overnight portion, as it will be the most unique. Participate in the many meets taking place in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Have fun!

Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party

7. Wear a Costume!

Since the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour party is themed to heroes and villains, Disney is encouraging guests to wear costumes to the party. Basically, it sounds like it’s going to be a 24-hour version of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and wearing costumes to that party is a big part of the fun. (As is seeing the costumes other guests have created.) Since this event will attract super-fans, we expect it to be like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on steroids in terms of costume-quality (although May weather and the party’s duration might limit some of that).

When planning your costume, remember that this event is occurring at the end of May, which in Florida is a notorious time for hot and humid weather. In other words, that heavy coat of fur that your Beast costume has may not be such a good idea. (Trust me, it wasn’t even in October!) While you will probably see a lot of guests in complex and really creative costumes, unless you have a specific costume in mind that you really want to make, simpler and lighter is better as far as costumes go, especially if you plan on staying all 24 hours.

A popular costume Sarah wore previously that we’ve shared on here is the “Cute Minnie Dress” costume (here’s more info about what she’s wearing). This is the type of thing we recommend going for: inexpensive, lightweight, and pretty conducive to a FULL day in the park. Thrift shops and eBay are great places to find inexpensive costumes. If you do decide to go the other direction and get a nice costume, there are numerous online stores specializing in unique costumes. And again, eBay is also a great place to hunt down what you need for a more involved costume.

Rock Your Disney Side All-Nighter

Obviously, this isn’t a free for all. Some basic common sense rules apply to the costumes, most concerning vulgarity and pretending you’re an actual meet & greet character. Disney lists the full rules here.

A day when the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure are all open for 24-consecutive hours doesn’t happen very often, so if you’re considering going, DO IT! Trust us, it’s a lot of fun. You may experience heavier crowds than normal and longer waits, but the experience and ambiance of the parks more than makes up for the crowds. It’s something unique that you’ll remember for a long time.

I know that when I tell our kids about the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party sometime in the distant future, it won’t be a 24-hour event,” it’ll be “an epic 48 Disney Party,” and we’ll have stayed in the park for all 48 of them, battling 0 degree temperatures, snow, sleet, hail, and rain, as we experienced every single attraction at Disneyland 48 times each. By the time I get a chance to tell my grandchildren the story, you better believe that it will include my fighting a T-Rex with my bare hands and riding Splash Mountain with ALF. Half the fun in these types of events is the memories and stories you can later tell, and like any sage adult, I will embellish the heck out of all my stories! ;)

Your Thoughts…

Did you do One More Disney Day or Monstrous Summer, and if so, did you enjoy them? Are you doing the Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party? If so, please share your thoughts and plans in the comments!

468 ad

63 Responses to “Rock Your Disney Side 24-Hour Party Planning Tips”

  1. Andy says:

    I read on touring plans that city hall @ MK has a free device check to charge all your batteries. Just bring the charger and they’ll give you a claim check!

  2. Randy Crane says:

    I’ll be in Disneyland and tweeting as much as I can (from my non-smartphone) @Belgarion42.

  3. Melissa Sue says:

    We will be live blogging One More Disney Day at http://www.mouseonthemind.com/liveblog/. We’ll have three+ bloggers in WDW, one in Disneyland and two aboard the Disney Fantasy!! Please follow along and share with your friends!!

  4. Jason says:

    We’ll be posting updates and periodic livestreaming beginning 2/28. Follow us on Twitter @planthemagic and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/planthemagic

    Looking forward to sharing the fun!!

  5. Michael says:

    You guys who are going should check out The Photographer’s Ephemeris. They have apps for android & iPhone and it tells you the direction and altitude of the sun and moon at any time of day. They also have a free desktop program you can use. Figure it might help plan out those sunrise shots at Disneyland.

    http://photoephemeris.com/

    (I also posted this comment on the ISO5571 page, but figured I’d post it here as well)

    • Jason says:

      Michael, that’s a great site! Thanks for sharing. Will be posting pics shot in WDW from @planthemagic if you’re interested. Going to experiment shooting everything on my iPhone 4s to see how far I can push the technology. Should be interesting!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yep, TPE is an excellent tool. It helped me plan some Disneyland shots for this trip!

  6. monica says:

    Are you planning to attend, if so which park?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I booked a hotel room at Disneyland as soon as info about this leaked over a month ago (knowing prices would go up), but part of me wants to switch it to Florida…so not really sure at this point.

      • David says:

        On kind of a side note, I really think it’d be cool if you added a calendar on this site to inform us of when you’ll be taking trips to Disney World and Disneyland. It’d add a layer of excitement if I knew that I was going on vacation the same time as you and Sarah and could bump into both at any moment on the TTA or just taking photos of Spaceship Earth!

      • monica says:

        We are going to be in Walt Disney World. Would love to run into you guys if you switch to FL, we love your pics and blog! Keep us posted on where you end up going!

  7. Matthew says:

    Now I have to convince my family to to do this for my birthday? Great. I dont think they’ll last the night.Thanks for writing the article cause without it, I wouldn’t have known it was happening. :)

  8. Kathy Eribarne says:

    you lost me at #4 wen you recommended bringing 5 Hour Energy drinks. Energy drinks are dangerous to many and should be avoided.

  9. Abby says:

    Tom, what were the crowds like the day after OMDD? We’re booked at the GCH Saturday through Tuesday. We boked knowing it was a holiday weekend, and that Monstorous Summer was most likely happening, but we’re headed home from Aulani and I couldn’t resist extending our trip by a few days! I’m hoping the crowds will be lower on Saturday than they normally would be because so many locals and visitors will be exhauted from Friday. What do you think?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It was dead the day after OMDD. Completely dead. However, that was a weekday in February, and this will be a holiday weekend. I’d expect Magic Kingdom to be lighter than normal, but don’t expect everything to still be a walk-on. It’ll still be reasonably busy.

  10. We will be there too tweeting away! I rented a lens for this trip so I am pretty excited to use it at off times. See you guys there, thanks for the tips!

  11. mitch says:

    Why must I have important meetings scheduled on the exact day that Disney decides to stay open for 24 magical hours?? My Disney Side is going to be in Queens when it should be in Cars Land at 3 a.m. Ohhh well =)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      On the plus side… do you know how cold it is in Cars Land at 3 am? I was FREEZING last year! Southern California nights, even in the summer, are not especially warm.

      (Just trying to make you feel better–of course it’ll be awesome and well worth the cold.)

  12. Michael Mallozzi says:

    Do you need special tickets to get in to this event?

  13. Evelyn says:

    Going to Disney Florida for March break can you tell me if anything is happening that week. March 8 to 14.
    Will be with three of my grandsons no parents yippee

    Thanks.

    • Lauren says:

      The flower and garden festival will be going on at Epcot, which also includes some special food kiosks and music. And at the Magic Kingdom a new daytime parade is debuting on the 9th. Have fun! Oh and if your grandsons are baseball fans, the Atlanta braves have spring training at Disney, that’s just another idea if you want a non park to relax.

  14. We had already planned a vacation to WDW (my kids’ first) for that weekend-Tues. Luckily, my 4 kids are all 10 and up, because, we found out afterward we started planning that it will be Star Wars weekend, and now this. I am excited, but more that a little nervous that we will all be worn out for the rest of our vacation, with this on the first day :-p Lol, well, hope to see you there, love your blog and photos!
    Quick tip-we were able to book rooms at Art of Animation under their 30% off spring vacation package-maybe there are still some available?

    • Lauren says:

      Yes, if anyone is interested, there are some rooms with the spring discount available. First thing I checked when I heard about the event! :)

  15. Paul Moeller says:

    Just curios Tom, how is it there is rarely a crowd in your pictures except when you want them to be there.

  16. Connie says:

    We are booked at Disney World 5/21 to 5/26. We were planning to go to Magic Kingdom on 5/22 and 5/24, and on 5/23 to Hollywood Studios. Do you think the park crowds will be “lighter” for us if this event will be on 5/23?

  17. Matt says:

    So are you going the Disneyland Resort or WDW?

  18. AHenry says:

    Two weeks ago, I had already planned on going to Orlando Memorial Day wknd. My sister and I are huge Disney fans all the way from VA. I was at work doing my normal stroll through on twitter when I saw the trending twitter topic…and it made that much realer…that I had to go experience this 24hr event just because! Super excited. Flying in May 23rd that morning, so I won’t get to magic kingdom until 1pm. Going to dress up and live the Disney dream lol.

  19. Michael says:

    Never got an answer, do you need any special ticket for the 24 hour party or just use a regular admission.

    • Beth says:

      Only a regular ticket is needed – no special ticket. That is one thing that makes this event so special getting 24 hours on a regular day ticket.

  20. Kimberly says:

    Going to Disneyland for this event and just booked our hotel. This is the first time I have been able to go to one of these events and can’t wait.

  21. Missy says:

    I’m super motivated to try out this 24 hour event but very anxious that I won’t make it through the entire thing without a quick nap… I can’t afford to book a resort so have made reservations at my usual off site hotel, which does not offer transportation to/from the park. Any idea how risky it is to leave the parking lot and come back again? My fear is that I’d go back to the hotel for a nap and not be able to get back into the park =/

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Are you looking at Disneyland or Magic Kingdom? If Disneyland, you might have issues. You should be fine at Magic Kingdom, though. I don’t believe they hit capacity last year.

    • BJ says:

      Last year during the 24 hour event at Disneyland, the park never hit capacity. In 2012 it did, but encoder really came close to hitting capacity. I was there 21 hours in the park and honestly it didn’t feel like a holiday weekend.

      • Alexa says:

        I went to the Monstrous Summer 24 hr day last year at WDW. As to be expected, it was very crowded throughout the day. However, right around 11pm after one of the fireworks shows, too many people were trying to get in and out of the park at the same time, to the point where it became STAND STILL traffic for around an hour. And I was stuck back by Cinderella’s Castle for most of that time. Definitely not good news for people with claustrophobia issues. I cant confirm if they actually reached their technical capacity, but they were more crowded that I could ever imagine (and I live in FL and go all the time). This is not to turn you away from going (Im even going back this year), rather just a warning for if you leave the park and try to get back in at a later time.

  22. Missy says:

    Sorry I forgot to mention we’ll be at Magic Kingdom. Thanks so much for the response… we go all the time (live in Jacksonville) so I’m thinking of spending a few early morning hours there then spend the afternoon napping at the hotel to prep for a longer stretch through the night. Besides just staying open 24 hrs are there any special/extra shows or parades to mark the event?

  23. Heidi says:

    If we arrive after midnight does that count as a ticketed day for Friday or Saturday? I am wondering if it would be a Saturday entry and then we could go to Epcot later on with our park hopper on the same day ticket.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I would check with Disney. If I recall correctly, last year the entire event was considered “Friday.” I’d definitely check before going, though.

  24. Tara says:

    Thanks in large part to your Blog, I have convinced my husband we HAVE to Rock Our Disney Side in May! Can’t wait for Disneyland in two months! 24 Hours is going to be AWESOME.

  25. Donna Wilson says:

    My family and I will be in WDW, Magic Kingdom, for the 24 hour event! I can not wait. Haven’t decided whether we’ll dress up or not, but I will definitely be toting a camera, my iPhone5 and external batteries. Love to snap pictures in the Parks, but most of all I want that sunrise picture!

  26. Brittney J. says:

    Thanks for the great post!
    I’ll be there with my family! First trip ever with the whole family, since we’re so spaced out in age (7 kids, 35 down to 10 yrs old). We’re going from May 16 – 24… We were just going to do 6 days at the parks but when the 24hr day was announced again in February, we added the extra day since it actually falls on my sister’s 26th birthday! (Plus it seemed depressing to be traveling home on her birthday when such a fun day would be going on in the park…)
    Can’t wait for the whole trip, but especially the 24 hour day. :)
    I love the tips on photography–does that app work well for taking pictures of the fireworks? I haven’t had much luck with iPhone pictures of fireworks–they mostly turn out blurry…
    :)

  27. Steph says:

    This will be my first time attending the 24 hour party and I’m super excited. I wanted to know if they would let me back in if I leave the park around 10 pm and he’d back in around 3 am? Would they allow me to enter and leave throughout the 24 hrs.?
    Thanks :)

    • Allie says:

      As long as the park isn’t filled to capacity, and you have a hand stamp or annual pass, you can come and go as you please I believe

  28. Shelby says:

    My husband and I had to cancel our honeymoon trip to WDW last year (reading your blog has helped to curb some of my disappointment). We decided yesterday to take a whirlwind 4 day trip to attend this event!! We are so excited. Your photos and blog are amazing, keep the magic alive!! Its nice to know there are Disney geeks around my age still out there!! It would be fun to run into you guys if you are in FL for this.

  29. Carrie says:

    Attending Rock Your Disney Side at Magic Kingdom. My biggest MUST is being there at rope drop. Staying at ASM. Will I get there early enough taking the first resort bus to get a good viewing up front for opening ceremony or should I take an earlier taxi?

  30. Ashley says:

    Hi, I’m LOVING your blog and it’s beautiful pictures and attention to detail! I just went on my first real Disneyland (and DCA) vacation in March 2014 and I had such a bad ‘happiness withdrawal’ when we got home that I planned a trip for May 19-22nd, which I now realize will be right before the 24 Hour Event. I’m wondering if you have an idea of how busy the park may be for the days leading up to the 24 Hour Event? Do most people start their vacation with the 24 Hour Event? Have you ever seen the attendence at the parks the day before a 24 Hour Event? Thanks for all the awesome advice! I especially appreciate your Tokyo information and pictures, and just as you warned, I’m already considering a trip to Japan!

  31. JBird says:

    I’ll be there looking forward to meeting everyone! Tweet/insta me @Phoenixspirit

  32. Scott says:

    Hey Tom we will be at WDW. Are you guys heading to DL or WDW? If WDW shoot me an email and maybe we can meet and and say hi.

  33. Vee says:

    So happy I found your site. You answered so many questions. Planning to attend with my husband, leaving our 11yr and 6yr old with grandma. Celebrating my 40th bday!!! Most think its a silly way to celebrate such a momentous bday….but if you’re reading this, you totally get it…..its a Great way!!! Can’t wait!!!

  34. Vee says:

    Tom, forgot to ask, does everyone wear costume? Just curious if that is required in order to attend. Thanks.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You are not required to wear a costume in order to attend. I’m guessing 50%+ of guests will not wear costumes.

  35. adri says:

    How early should I get to the park? I was thinking like 4am. When do they begin selling tickets??

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You should definitely buy your tickets *before* the morning of the event. As for when to arrive, depends on whether you’re visiting Disneyland or Walt Disney World. One hour in advance for Disneyland, 30 minutes for Walt Disney World. Have fun! :)

  36. Paige says:

    So a quick question about the 24 hour day at disneyland. We’re planning on going early friday morning and staying until late afternoon, then going back to the hotel to rest for a few hours before going back for the night. If we leave and get our hands stamped will we be able to get back into the park at 6 or 7 at night? how does that work if the parks are at capacity? will it be any easier to get into california adventure compared to disneyland?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>