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4 Reasons Why Disney Cancelled One of its Most Popular Events in 2016

One of the most popular events at Disney parks in recent years has been the 24 hour day. Begun in 2012 as a limited-time “one more Disney day” promotion (celebrating the extra day during 2012's leap year), this celebration went on to become quite the fan favorite at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, with guests showing up every year to check out exclusive merchandise, enjoy unique entertainment and of course party all night long at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

However, much to the chagrin of fans who enjoyed this annual tradition, it looks like Disney will not be holding this event this spring, at neither Disneyland Resort nor Walt Disney World. While Disney hasn’t officially commented about why they cancelled this event, there are several reasons why a 24 hour day at Disney just wasn’t possible in 2016. 

1.The event was too popular in 2015 at the Disneyland Resort

Last year’s 24 hour day at Disneyland resort coincided with the kickoff of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration (including the debuts of the new World of Color show, Disneyland Forever fireworks and Paint the Night parade), which made this 24 hour day way more popular than normal. As a result, Disneyland park flooded with guests early, and closed to new entrants around 2:00PM, and blocking re-entries about three hours later.

Though phase closures are nothing new at a Disney Park (especially during special events), as crowds filled the esplanade during last year’s 24-hour day event, Disney mis-managed the flow of guests through security checkpoints on either side of the plaza, effectively blocking guest access to Disney California Adventure, which was still technically open even as Disneyland park was closed.

The resulting chain reaction created a massive backup of guests that went all the way down Harbor Boulevard. Although the crowd eventually dissipated, managers panicked when they saw the afternooon crowds and put a complete halt to admissions for 13 hours. Even as guests left in droves following the Paint the Night parade and Disneyland Forever show, Disneyland remained closed to new guests until around 2:00AM, which led to quite the outcry from fans in the days following the event, especially as photos surfaced on social media of a sparsely-populated Disneyland while entry was still being denied to those waiting outside.  

While its unlikely that an event in 2016 would attract the same kind of crowds, Disney probably doesn’t want to remind guests of 2015’s fiasco, and since there’s nothing specific to celebrate at Disneyland this year, it seems like an opportune time for this park to skip the 24-hour event.

2. The event wasn’t popular enough in 2015 at Walt Disney World 

Image: Disney

While crowds packed the parks at Disneyland Resort in 2015, the opposite was true at Walt Disney World. 2015’s event at the Magic Kingdom was relatively low-key, with only a few event-specific merchandise items for sale, a couple of special events to promote the new Tomorrowland film and a small number of extra entertainment options during the late night and early morning hours. 

As a result of the rather low-key nature of last year's event, guests didn’t exactly show up in droves. Wait times around the park remained light, and as the evening hours arrived, the park virtually emptied, with a few thousand guests essentially having the run of the park as the 3:00AM and 4:00AM hours passed by. 

Image: Disney

While this event has been a blockbuster for the Magic Kingdom in the past, 2015’s event just didn’t have that same spark that previous Walt Disney World events have had, which might be why Disney is opting to take a year off in 2016.

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There are 36 comments.

I hope that DL brings in a few EMH nites for annual passholders.

I'm a Florida resident passholder and was at the 24hpur event. We got there around 5 pm and it was getting busy. Around 10:30 there started to thunder a lot and lightning was getting bad. All the out door rides were shut down. Cause we live in Florida we know not to stay outdoors, others not from here I don't think really know what was going on. We decided to leave around 11pm. We got stuck in from of Caseys and everything was dead locked. People were trying to get out,?the lighting at this time was bad, the popping sound it makes was scaring many people, especially the kids. Some people were starting to panic and starting pushing to get out of the park. People were tripping over strollers it was horrible. And at the same time guests were still coming into the park. We were then rerouted behind the buildings of Main Street so we could leave the park. It was our worst experience ever at the Magic Kingdom. I'm glad we didn't have our two little girls with us. This was an event we always did with our oldest daughter which I'm going to miss.

can you direct me to where this announcement was released? I can't find it.

I think they should bring them back. went to the 24 hour event in 2015 for the kick off of the diamond celebration and stayed until they closed at 6 the next morning. of course I got there at 4 in the morning the day of the event and was in the park by 4:25am. so yes we stayed for more than 24 hours in Disneyland. did not leave the park that day. not even to park hop. so yes I hope they bring it back in 2017 because I would love to go again for another 24 hours straight.

All these cuts but the prices are increasing on a much regular basis. I would be fine if things were already in place and prices were justified but things haven't happened and the prices are increasing very rapidly. I understand folks will say, well they are in the process of doing improvements, in the process, not inclusive at this time. You have Hollywood Studios that has so much closed but yet the price remains the same.

I went to the first couple at WDW Magic Kingdom, but only half the time--from 6PM to 6AM. Even that was exhausting. Still, I'm glad I experienced it. In that amount of time, and with so little guests in the wee hours of the morning, it was possible to do just about everything and then get bored, so what I would like is for all four parks to be open for 24 hours.

I can't find it anywhere else stating that the day is cancelled. Has anyone received official word on this?

https://twitter.com/disneylandtoday/status/710913369310674945

From the official in-park Disneyland twitter account.

:( Too bad...

I say bring them back

I personally think due to Disney's upped up security, they won't be doing these events anymore. Costumes are the least likely thing.

Think about it. It already takes much longer to get in the park with its new system and add the immense crowds to that and you've got a managerial disaster.

I think Disney sees these events as rather unsafe in terms of what's happened in recent news.

The first year or two at WDW, cast members were allowed to go into the event on their main entrance pass which really helped attendance numbers. Remember, WDW has 63000+ cast members! The last couple of years, cast members were blocked out of the event which must have greatly effected park attendance numbers.
Staffing cuts are indeed being felt across WDW property to help the over budget Shanghai park which is set to open in June 2016.

I hope it js brought back me and my sister went to the 1st one and had a blast!!!!! We were planning on going last year but it was to short of notice. So we were hoping this year it would have happened for leap year sadly no. Then we thought maybe in may. But now i read this. But upside.... now i have more time to save up

Magic Kingdom was far from low crowds last year. The wait for Space Mountain was still 60 minutes at 3:30am and the crowds were packed partying away at the dance parties. Even when we left at 6am there were still long lines for transportation to leave.

Agreed. They shut down so many rides overnight that the ones that remained open kept really long lines. The lines at 3am were about the same as they were at 3pm because half of the rides were closed.

Where are you getting your information? I haven't found anything to support it...when did this information come out?

sooooo outraged that they aren't having the 24 hour even this year... I've been looking forward to attending this year's event and every event to come as I had the opportunity to go to the 60th last year. I can't even express just how disappointed, sad and angry I am about this.

I am just curious where you are getting this information that it is officially cancelled. I definitely believe it isn't happening for May since no announcement has been made yet (and it was already announced by this time last year), but this article is saying Disney cancelled it and you appear to be the only website actually stating this.

For Elena & the others asking where TPT is getting their information from, saying they can't find an official announcement, etc, check out this tweet from the Official Disneyland in-park twitter account last week:
https://twitter.com/disneylandtoday/status/710913369310674945

The tweet says "There are no plans to have a 24-hour event at this time." It says nothing about the 24-hour event being officially cancelled for 2016.

This is not true. I was at Disney this weekend and I saw this and was upset, I started crying. The cast members noticed and asked me what was wrong. They talked to 3 suits and a bunch of other cast members. They said that this website was not endorsed by Disney and that this article is untrue. I plan to call tonight as well. Me and my best friend have saved up so much and worked so hard on our costumes.

As someone posted above:

https://twitter.com/disneylandtoday/status/710913369310674945

It appears to be an official Disneyland twitter account to me.

I'm sorry that you're disappointed, a lot of us are. But not everything that we want is practical or can be pulled off without causing others to be disappointed as well. If it's going to result in a lot of unhappy experiences for guests like in 2015, what will cause the LEAST disappointment? There's a lot that goes into these decisions and we have to trust them to make the hard calls.

Hope you can use those costumes in the fall for the Halloween stuff!

Hey I think this article is honestly really cute. I called and talked to a Disney worker face to face the day this article was posted and they said they haven't heard anything. Please don't post stuff like this making people cancel their plans and freak out when it's your assumption and not true. Hope you have a great day. Thank you!

I went to this a few years back when the theme was Monsters inc and I was so excited. I remember leaving being very disappointed because there was no monsters Inc merchandise or ANY extra entertainment going on at all. I didn't know what I was looking for but i thought there would be something going on. I couldn't find Monsters shirts or any specialty merch. I went again a following year and I left thinking i would sit the 24 hour events out from now on because it was awful.

I've gone to the 24 hour events for the last two years with friends, and this should have been the third. We have been talking about it for a while, and, of course, when I come to look for any announcements, I see this. Thanks for ruining that weekend/tradition for me, Disney. I guess I'll just go spend a regular day there.

I do not believe too much in "coincidences" so to have Magic Kingdom/FL cancel their annual 24 hr event may be directly related to the fact that promoters of GAY DAYS at Disney MOVED their standard APRIL event to the last weekend in May - when Disney normally scheduled their 24 hr event. I believe Disney wants to avoid the mixing of gay days and "all nighters". I've been to Disney during GayDays and as a passholder and married woman with four children we've really never had any issues until last year.

Some of the group shirts worn were very crude for my children to be seeing, i.e. woman wearing "I'm a vaginterian" tees, and men displaying PDA that is inappropriate at Disney for everyone and anyone. A group of three young 20 year old males made some very strong advances toward my oldest son in line for the Thunder Mountain in front of my younger son. He was polite in his refusal to join them for the rest of the day but still I saw it spoiled his day.

I really believe the 24 hours event was canceled for preventative measures. So sad....

..."and men displaying PDA that is inappropriate at Disney for everyone and anyone"....sorry but straight folks don't own simple public displays of affection. My husband and I are near our 60's, grew up in Southern California and though we live in Las Vegas today we are annual pass holders who make very frequent 4 day trips, spend tons of money and enjoy the wonderful memory making experiences that Disneyland affords us as WELL as straight folks. And so we do hold hands, and we feel young and romantic again just like YOU do...and we don't need gay days to enjoy each others company. Trust me. There are plenty of straight folks at Disneyland that are so over the top with THEIR public displays of affection that they should just go get a room. Your post is insulting and disrespectful of couples like my husband and myself who have been together for 23 years and deserve the same respect that you have as somebody who loves Disneyland as much as you do and probably for the same reasons.

To bring Gay Days in as a reason Disney may or may not have the 24 hr event is unreal and just wrong.. I've been to Disney on Gay Days and regular days with my family. I've never had a problem with any of the other people whom most were families just ike ours there to have a good time. How moronic and disrespectful of you to bring that into the conversation.. I've been approached by many straight guys saying crude and disgusting remarks to me because I'm large breasted, I know that's NOT one of the reasons Disney may not have the 24 hr events. They're cutting costs... Management is nowhere to be found during these events, leaving regular employees to deal with rude guests. Both my kids work at Disneyland and DCA ()Disney's CA Adventure) during 24hr events.. Poor planning on disney's part for over crowding has much to do with unruly guests. Cast members are left to fend for themselves as managers go hide in meetings. Oh they do bring them back donuts after being gone for 4 hours at a time. My daughter was spit on by guests who were unhappy about the lines they had to wait in and how Disney routed them in the park.. It had nothing to do with Gay Days.. Poor planning on Disney management is the problem.. Take it from someone who knows from insiders.. Don't speculate please..

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

I was at gay days a few years ago and just like any group that gets together there are always some that do things they should not. I've been on other days and straight people have done things they should not.

Well that's too bad. My favorite part of the 24 hour event was watching the webcams that would be online during the event! They were very cool to watch every year they were online, but it looks like it won't happen this year! :(

My wife and I went last year to kick off the 60th. We have season passes.
It was chaos. Very crowded. We had meal reservations in both Disneyland and California Adventure. Barely got back into Disneyland at 4;45 PM from lunch at DCA.
After the second Paint the Night Parade the park thinned way out. Between 1AM and 2AM we rode 5 major rides around the park. No lines at all. Then we tried to get back to DCA for the special World of Color and were told that we wouldn't be allowed back into Disneyland the rest of the night. Tired of the BS I asked why and was told it was because the park was at capacity. When I pressed for who said that, because it was empty, I was told a supervisor. So I told them to get that supervisor over to talk to me immediately. The supervisor refused to talk to me because she knew she was lying about park capacity, but she knew I was ready to go postal on her for being so stupid and incompetent and that I would probably take it way up the chain. A few minutes later the gates reopened and people got back into Disneyland.
Disney management blew it big time and they know it. They couldn't handle the crowds, stranded thousands of families with part of the family inside Disneyland and part unable to get back in after leaving to take small kids for a nap at the hotel. They probably know that they are incompetent to do better this year. Gone are the magic days of people management and moving from point to point that Disney was the master of. The bean counters and desire to make every square foot of the park make money has ruined the ability to easily move people around the mess.
Cancelling this is probably a good thing, even though many will miss it.
By the way, they maxed out BOTH parks at one point so nobody was really having fun in either park until some of the people started leaving. About 4 they started shutting down some of the rides. A 100% failure that I'm sure they don't want to even have the possibility of repeating again. The article mentions 3 new things, but there were actually 5 new things between the two parks.

I'm an annual PH at Disneyland/DCA. The 24-hour day sounds good in theory, but as some have pointed out, is either too difficult for the staff to handle or more to the point, a reminder of the mini disaster that occurred last spring. Still, I think they should stage it again for those who embrace it. Perhaps, they have learned from their mistakes.....I want to see a return of the bands at Tomorrow Land terrace and Mad T Party band at DCA. Great source of entertainment for those like me who can only ride the rides for so long. The bands are dearly missed!

"It had nothing to do with Gay Days.. Poor planning on Disney management is the problem.. Take it from someone who knows from insiders.. Don't speculate please.."

I know "insiders" too - plenty. Living here in Central FL for nearly 50 years you work at the parks or you know plenty who do. Truth is they don't know why it was canceled either - not even parade managers or retail purchasers. But - what they DO KNOW is the "training" they rec'd in preparation for the upcoming LBGT coordinated Gaydays has given them every indication that it is the main reason for Disney/FL to stop it's annual 24 hr event. The ever growing "boldness" has given Disney plenty of headaches with other guests and even some cast members. Disney has even warned cast member of some shirts, banners and hats that may be rather crude but are LBGT group sponsored and will probably be worn on that Saturday. I do not feel that I've speculated at all - I feel I am using common sense.

It's no secret that how the LGBT community is perceived can be relevant to what part of the country you reside. Disneyland is in Southern California. The Disney corporate culture emanates from there as they are based in Burbank. Disney Corporation was the FIRST major corporation to offer health benefits and other corporate benefits for same sex couples. To their credit they have been on the cutting edge of equality for ALL of their employees. My husband is a former cast member from the 80's and still has many friends from that era who have long term careers with Disneyland. I do appreciate that California and Florida share many of the same values in 2016. But it's not always been that way. Disney's decisions to make cuts to certain projects or expand any projects are not based upon whether or not gay folks are holding hands in the park. They are based on economics. I'm only sorry that there are some people that could still have issues with couples like Robert and myself. Our Disneyland experiences have only made a ton of memories for us over the years. The idea that we offend you saddens me. I'm just happy that things have changed. I've lived to see dreams I never thought possible. And I give companies like Disney a lot of credit for making my dreams come true by being there first.

I was really surprised when Disney started having the 24hour events in May. I was at the first one for Leap Day 2012 & I figured that they'd continue with that tradition of having the 24hour days ONLY on Feb. 29th -- in other words, only having it every 4 years. This would have kept the "uniqueness" of the event intact.

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