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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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Comments

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.

"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.

In reply to by Ana B. (not verified)

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'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!

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.

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