During the annual 24-Hour Party, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Disneyland & Disney California Adventure are open for 24 consecutive hours from 6 am until 6 am! Despite being a holiday weekend, Memorial Day is not too busy. This 24-Hour Party falls on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, making it the perfect time to take a long weekend trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland. (Note: the 24-hour party has yet to be confirmed for 2016 as of April 3, 2016, and there’s some speculation that it’ll occur in June this year.)
We are biased. I’ve made trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World for every one of these parties. I love them. Not everyone does. Several readers have written to us sharing their negative experiences, so your mileage may vary. 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 the “One More Disney Day” 24 hour event or last year’s Memorial Day Walt Disney World Trip Report. Even if you’re not going, there are some pretty photos from the events! This post was originally written for the first party, and it has been updated for each of the 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 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.
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 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.
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 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. We will be posting live updates during the party 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!
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 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!
Unlike last year, this is not going to be to be a 24-hour version of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up. These parties draw Disney fans, making it the perfect time to Disneybound. When planning your outfit, 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.
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 outfits.
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 24-Hour Party sometime in the distant future, it won’t be a 24-hour event,” it’ll be “an epic 72 Hour Disney Party,” and we’ll have stayed in the park for all 72 of them, battling 0 degree temperatures, snow, sleet, hail, and rain, as we experienced every single attraction 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! 😉
Did you do One More Disney Day or Monstrous Summer, and if so, did you enjoy them? Are you doing the 24-Hour Party this year? If so, please share your thoughts and plans in the comments!