Considering a visit to Disneyland for Easter? This post will provide info and tips for Easter (and spring) in the parks concerning special entertainment, crowds, and more. It goes with out saying that you can have a good time any day of the year at Disneyland and Disney California, but during the Easter season, you’re guaranteed an egg-stra good time! That’s a bit of an eggs-ageration, but I couldn’t pass up the eggs-travagant pun there. Okay, sorry, I’ll stop.
Actually, unlike some other major holidays, Easter is sort of a blip on the radar at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. In fact, aside from minor entertainment that’s offered in the spring, you are probably better off avoiding the Easter season, as it’s also the Spring Break season, which means the parks are busier than normal. For 2015, it’s also “Refurbishment Season” at Disneyland, with the park getting ready for its 60th Anniversary kicking off in May. This means there are walls all over the place, and many popular attractions are not operating.
If you’re a local, already booked a trip, enjoy crowded times of year, or otherwise are super into Easter or meeting rabbit characters (Disney has a surprising number of them), here is what you’ll need to know about an Easter visit to Disneyland Resort…
In terms of entertainment, the main thing you’re looking at for Easter is “Springtime Roundup” at Big Thunder Ranch. Note that the name here is SPRINGTIME Roundup, not Easter Roundup, so this isn’t Easter per se nor is it exclusive to Easter. For 2015, Springtime Roundup runs March 20 – April 12, April 16–19, and April 23-26. Thereafter, it runs weekends (Friday – Sunday) through June 7. On these dates, it runs from 10:30 am until 5:30 pm.
The big thing here is meeting Mickey & Minnie and the bunnies of Disney (plus Pluto with bunny ears). Each character does a 20 minute set, then rotates out, then returns at the start of the “Bunny Hop.” Let’s take a quick look at each of the characters, along with tips.
Roger Rabbit is Mr. Popularity here. With his spunky and playful attitude, it’s no surprise, but that’s actually not why he’s so popular. It’s because he doesn’t come out any other time of year, and Disneyland locals are pretty into rare characters.
In the middle of the day, lines can be quite long for Roger Rabbit. Fortunately, with the 10:30 am opening, it’s possible to focus on attractions at park rope drop, and then rope drop Big Thunder Ranch for a minimal wait for Roger.
Mickey looks (as the kids say) hella fly with Minnie looking radiant in their Springtime finery. If they attended the Kentucky Derby, I envision them wearing these outfits (plus a crazy hat for Minnie). Lines also get long for Mickey & Minnie, so head to them immediately after Roger Rabbit–skip the characters in the middle.
Pluto rotates with Mickey & Minnie; he’s a fun character to meet, but doesn’t draw quite the crowds.
Other characters will draw lines, but mostly from completionist guests who get in line for them because it’s convenient. You’ll hear a lot of “who is that?” for them.
Mr. Easter Bunny (I’m not sure if his official name includes the “Mister”, but you must give respect to anyone wearing a tophat) is a rare character, but not a particularly popular one here.
Here’s Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh. Expect minimal waits for him. Rounding out the crew is White Rabbit; I was surprised that his wait was so short when I met him…I thought people were crazy for anything Alice in Wonderland? Note that all of these “minimal wait” remarks are for first thing in the morning. If you go at 2 pm, you’ll find waits for every character.
If you’re especially rad (or, more likely, have children), you can decorate ears before meeting the characters and wear those in the photos. Other arts and crafts are available here for kids.
The whole Big Thunder Ranch area is decorated with flowers, eggs, and other spring & Easter flourishes, making it come alive with a sea of pastel colors. It looks really nice.
In between meet & greet sets, the characters will do the “Bunny Hop” and a couple of other dances. The audience is invited to participate, and it seems like 50% of the kids in attendance love this, and the other 50% are totally confused. The dances are fun, but definitely aimed at kids.
The other highlight here, I think, is the egg decorators.
These artistic Cast Members paint eggs with various Disney characters and the like, and put the eggs on display. This occurs throughout the day in the view of guests. Pretty cool.
Some of the decorations remind me a bit of Michael’s, Homegoods, or some other little arts and crafts store, but I think that’s sort of the idea. The event is held at a country ranch themed location, so a bit of quaintness works.
For me, the real highlight here is the Disney Performing Arts groups that appear throughout the day on stage. These are local school groups that Disneyland invites to perform, and the ones I’ve seen are very talented.
Typically, the groups play music from Disney animated classics with their own twist. I sat and listened to the group above play medleys of songs from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and several other films. The audience loved the performances (although I’m guessing many people there were their parents, so not exactly unbiased). I think it’s great that Disney invites these groups, and I can only imagine how exciting it is for the kids to perform in a theme park.
The only other Easter offering that might interest you is the “Disney Egg-stravaganza” (their pun, not mine) held at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. From March 27 – April 5, 2015, you can participate in a hunt for special hidden eggs themed to Disney characters. Maps and stickers can be purchased for $5 in both parks. Whether you complete the hunt or fail miserably, when you’re done you can redeem your map for a prize. More details about this are on the Disney Parks Blog.
Since you’ll be back there anyway, head into the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo to meet the two new baby goats, Bianca & Bernard. They’ve only been out for a few weeks now, and they are a lot of fun. Bernard is a bit of an escape artist, as any respectable goat probably should be!
Oh, and one final note on entertainment…if you’re into meeting the “Rabbits of Disney,” make sure to check the Times Guide at Disney California Adventure for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He wasn’t invited over to the Springtime Roundup (I hear rumors he and Mickey are still beefin’), but he does meet year-round on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure. This is currently the only place you can meet him (he doesn’t meet at Walt Disney World at all).
As hinted at above, from the perspective of crowds, the weeks around Easter aren’t the best times to visit Disneyland Resort. You have a confluence of factors at play: the ‘brutal’ winters of Southern California are coming to an end, with temperatures in the high-70s instead of the low-70s. Joking aside, this is a prime time for people in actual cold weather states to want to head west and escape the cold.
Although schools in California stagger their Spring Breaks to a degree, many occur the weeks leading up to and after Easter, meaning the parks are busier than normal during the month or so that envelopes Easter. Easter week, in particular, is bad since so many schools have that week off. In fact, it’s one of the busiest weeks of the year and is a general madhouse.
If you haven’t already planned a trip and are just reading this because you’re thinking of going for Easter, my recommendation would be: don’t. All of the special entertainment can be experienced during less busy times in late April or early May. Instead, consult our When to Visit Disneyland post to determine a good time of year to go.
Whenever there’s a holiday, people invariably ask “where should I eat for [insert holiday]?” as they assume there will be special menus. Outside of Thanksgiving, there really isn’t a whole lot of “special” food offered. Disneyland will probably have some Easter-decorated cupcakes and other snacks, but most restaurants will not have special menus.
There are two exceptions to this: PCH Grill (Paradise Pier Hotel) and Storyteller’s Cafe (Grand Californian Hotel) which Disney has indicated will have special buffets (their exact words are “an enchanting holiday feast”) on Sunday, April 5, 2015.
My guess is that this just means there will be some ham, eggs, and maybe some special desserts those days. Honestly, unless you’re super into Easter, I wouldn’t bother with these meals (we haven’t). Neither restaurant is all that highly regarded, and this seems like the thing Disneyland Resort probably offers to satisfy all of the requests for special Easter dining. If you want a nice Easter dinner, my recommendation would be to skip these “enchanting feasts” and go for a nice meal at Napa Rose. You can order something that is a traditional Easter food there and have a much better meal.
Overall, I recommend checking out the Easter/spring entertainment if you’re already going to be at Disneyland Resort or are a local, but unlike the Halloween and Christmas entertainment, I would not recommend actually scheduling a trip around it. There’s simply not enough of substance to justify it. There’s no parade, no fireworks, no special attraction overlays. I’m not complaining about that, as I don’t view Easter as a major theme park holiday like Halloween or Christmas, so literally anything is appreciated. These are nice little touches that Disneyland offers to keep the parks fresh and locals wanting to visit time and time again, but for casual visitors, the problem with this time of year is the crowds. If this stuff does interest you, get the best of both worlds by planning a weekend visit for early May (or in 2015, late May so you can see the 60th Anniversary, although that also means heavy crowds…but in that case, the crowds should be worth it).
For actual Disneyland trip planning tips and comprehensive advice beyond these Easter tips, make sure to read our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
Have you visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure for Easter? What did you think? Was the entertainment worthwhile? Were the crowds overwhelming? Your feedback is half the fun! If you have any other comments or questions, please feel free to post those, too.