View Full Version : Grad Nites this week- May 16,17,18

05-18-2012, 03:35 PM
Just wondering how crowded the parks have been (wait times etc...) this week Wed, yesterday and today. Disneyland changed the structure of Grad Nite this year and instead of the park being closed all night for Grads only, they get a one day park-hopper and are in with the general public all day (with a private dance party and showing of Fantasmic after closing).

What kind of impact is this having on the day for others?

My school decided to take the Grads to Magic Mountain last night because it was for students only and much easier to chaperone. We couldn't figure out how we could chaperone students effectively in with the general public and going between parks at Disneyland.

05-18-2012, 05:28 PM
There have been many unintended consequences with this.

Lines are substantially longer, even to the point where people commented that if they had known that Grad Nite was being handled this way this year, they would have come a week or two earlier. We had to go to Disneyland on Weds. to renew our annual passes and we ate Dinner at PCH Grill and I overheard several families mentioning this. Apparently, the lines were getting really bad at most attractions, I overheard something about 80+ minutes for Jungle Cruise. I honestly don't know if that was an exaggeration or not, as we never went into the parks that day.

We went a couple weeks back after work to meet up with some friends and the park was empty, of course they were having computer problems that day, so there is some debate as to why it was as empty as it was, but overall it was dead.

The Toy Story lot has the last bus leaving EXACTLY at park closing and if you aren't on it, you have to walk, even if you were in line for the shuttle from what we were told.

The lines for the parking structure trams were substantially longer than normal, due in part to the fact above and in part to the fact that all Gradnite parking was placed there.

There were more security checkpoints open, but there were being a lot more thorough with their searches.

Now, you might question why Disneyland would make this change, I have to admit that I loved my Grad Nite, but I can understand the need to change it.

By doing this, they can limit what is open after 10:00 to one side of the park, meaning fewer CMs. They end up not needing to spend as much in overtime. Security isn't as much of an issue, I heard last year it took some buses as long as 3 hours to get the OK to let their students off the buss, as they were searching the buses individually. This way, the students go through the security checks the same way that everyone else does. I would also imagine that they may have even said, we are not allowing anyone in after 10:00 PM.

As for the chaperons, I have never understood the need to chaperon students once they have graduated High School. I would make it clear that they are on their own and if they break any laws or get into other trouble, the school will not defend them in anyway. In addition, they would be responsible for their own transportation.

05-18-2012, 11:23 PM
We went into the parks last night to watch world of colour. We had fast passes for soaring and it looked like there was a line out the door for the fast passes, so we didn't even bother...we walked over to tower, and it was an 80 minute wait...we had fast passes here also, but passed them along and went to line up for the show...we have found the crowds to be pretty bad this trip, especially wednesday in the day and Thursday night....:sad2: Definately tons of grads everywhere....

05-18-2012, 11:32 PM
*sigh* and its only going to get worse as the weeks progress:headache:....when we first started talking about thoughts in regards to how the change in grad nites were going to affect crowds, I knew that it was going to get bad the farther into may we got and from everything we are hearing it seems that unfortunately I was right on the money...:sad:

05-19-2012, 12:07 AM
I just got home from DL. I never went to DCA this time, but DL was fairly crowded. All major rides were 1 hour+ wait time. I spent the morning at PFF and meeting Merida, and the afternoon at the Jamboree and watching the parade, where it seemed the grads were staying away from. There were just huge groups of kids everywhere though. I left early because it was too crowded.

05-20-2012, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone - goof information! It will help as we plan for next year. Our students really enjoyed Grad Nite at Magic Mountain as most of the rides were about 20 minutes so they got their fill. Last year at Disneyland the wait time was 1 to 2 hours for everything so the students only rode 2-3 rides all night.

05-21-2012, 02:46 AM
Ack... One of our two days at Disneyland next month is on Grad Night. Thanks for the thread. Now I can mentally prepare for that day.
We went on a Grad Night in 2010 and the only way we were affected was that a Magic Morning was cancelled and one night the parks closed early. This year sounds like its going to be a whole new ball game!

05-21-2012, 11:04 AM
Three of our four days are grad nights!! We are trying to get prepared for large crowds due to the opening of carsland and grad nights! Hopefully we'll still have plenty of fun...

05-23-2012, 01:50 PM
Took my family of 4 to Disneyland 5/16 and 5/17 and DCA 5/18. All of these were grad nites. Having been to Disneyland two previous times at off-peak times, the crowds compared favorably--they weren't bad at all and most of our wait times were between 0-10 minutes, with probably an average of under 5 minutes. We followed the Unofficial Guide 2-day touring plan (A), which meant we did our major touring in the morning (making sure to get there well before the park opened), grabbing Fastpasses all along the way. We took a hotel break from around 2-4 each day, and then returned to ride favorites again. In the evening the Fastpasses were usually necessary. Our longest wait was when the kids wanted to go on Peter Pan in the evening. We went during a parade, but the wait was still about 20+ minutes.

In terms of the grads, they really didn't show up in any kind of numbers until late afternoon and evening. Most seemed to head for the big thrill rides--Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, California Screamin'. On Friday 5/18 there was a 120-minute wait for Tower of Terror around 7:30 p.m. We had Fastpasses that we'd picked up earlier and were on in under 20 minutes. Same for Screamin'--a 90 minute wait but using the Fastpasses we'd picked up right after our first morning ride, we got on in under 5 minutes.

I will say that some groups of grads we saw in line for Space Mountain and Tower of Terror were quite loud and rowdy--lots of whooping and hollering. The cast members didn't seem to do much about it.

06-19-2012, 05:21 AM
I think we just lucked out. Going to D/Land in may 2013 Luckily our three days are between grad nites.

We will be going Sun Mon Tuesday the Grad nites are Saturday before and Wednesday Thursday and frid after we leave.

I assume the grad nite fokls only buy tickets for their day so the days in between should be OK crowd wise.

Visiting from Australia so cannot change dates.

Info would ber appreciated

06-19-2012, 06:19 AM
Can anyone tell me the grad night dates for 2013? I only just booked my trip 10 minutes ago and just saw this post. We are going 8th-14th May.

06-19-2012, 08:07 AM
Can anyone tell me the grad night dates for 2013? I only just booked my trip 10 minutes ago and just saw this post. We are going 8th-14th May.I don't think the dates get set until the fall. And for 2012 after they set dates, they added more dates as time went on. So whatever you might find now or in a few months is subject to change.


06-19-2012, 09:34 AM
We were there last week and except for our last day, in which we were leaving, all of our nights were Grad Nights.

Normally my strategy is to do a lot of rides after the first Fantasmic and fireworks as the park normally begins to empty. Not on Grad Night, the park stays full, crammed full of Grad Night teens. By then, all the Fastpasses are well gone. Even after the fireworks, Indy was over and hour, Star Tours was 50 minutes and all the major rides had long, long waits.

Even in the afternoon (and maybe this was because school had ended for many) the park was full of unsupervised teens.

Next time, we are coming end of August, early Sept when schools are back in session and there are no Grad Nights.

Didn't see or encounter any bad behavoir, but the crowd level was definitely a big turn off for us.


06-19-2012, 10:21 AM
The rumors are that Gradnites will change back to being an after hours only party next year, but will move to DCA and that there is a very strong chance that next year will be the last year for Gradnites out here.

Of course it could be possible that they will simply not have Gradnites at all next year as well, but we just don't know yet.

06-20-2012, 03:00 AM
Can anyone tell me the grad night dates for 2013? I only just booked my trip 10 minutes ago and just saw this post. We are going 8th-14th May.

Unfort dates are May 2013 9/10/11 15 16 17 18 so you are going to cop big crowds 9th to 11th should be ok on 13 th and 14 May

We booked for Sun Mon Tues 12/13/14 so we should be right. Maybe you could change your dates slightly.

This annoys me what are disney trying to do get more customers or something LOL Once lines are more than 30 minutes I lose interest

We plan to go to Universal on 16th 17th so hope there is no promotion.

(PS went to new Harry Potter ride in the "SLOW" season sept 10 in Florida 1.5 hour wait !!)

PS we cannot book online for disney accom 2013 yet BOO !!!

06-20-2012, 05:12 AM
Thanks for the updates, I just rebooked flights and will arrive 2nd May and fly home 13th, so squeezed some extra time in allowing a trip to Vegas maybe :cool1: