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
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.
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.