Walt Disney World has announced that it will end its annual Grad Nites events after 2011, blaming increasing attendance at its theme parks during April and May.
The Grad Nites events enable graduating high school students to party late into the night at the Magic Kingdom, and are private parties accessible only to students from a select list of schools. While this year's events will take place as planned on April 29- 30 and May 6-7, Grad Nites will be discontinued at Walt Disney World from 2012. Disneyland will continue to offer its version of the celebrations.
The news marks the end of a long-running tradition at Walt Disney World, with 2011 being the 40th year that Grad Nites have taken place at the resort. In place of the private parties, Disney will instead offer discounted $55 single-day theme park tickets for school groups on a year-round basis via DisneyYouth.com.
As well as allowing late-night rides on the Magic Kingdom's major attractions, 2011's Grad Nites events will also feature themed dance parties, live musical performances by major acts and special fireworks shows. The Disneyland Resort's version of the events will take place on May 12, 19, 26, and June 2, 8, 9, 16. School groups can apply online for tickets for both the Walt Disney World events and the Disneyland Resort events.
Graduating students in Florida hoping for a late-night theme park celebration can still attend Universal Orlando's Grad Bash 2011. The event spans both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, and features live concerts, dance parties and karaoke. This year will see performances from major acts including Jason Darulo, with the events due to take place on April 15, 30 and May 6, 7.