Disneyland in 2024: The top Disney events and festivals to plan for

If you're drawn to Disneyland for its special events, it just got a lot easier to plan a 2024 vacation.
Sally French
By Sally French 
Updated
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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For the first time, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, has released its entire lineup of special events and limited-time festivals for the coming year at once, allowing vacationers more time to build their budgets and plan their trips.

For the first time, Disneyland Resort released the dates and details of limited-time and seasonal events throughout 2024. (Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)

Here are some of the highlights coming to Disneyland in 2024, sorted by date (scroll down for more details on each event):

  • Jan. 11 through Jan. 14: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

  • Jan. 23 through Feb. 14 (select nights): Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts' Nite

  • Jan. 23 through Feb. 18: Lunar New Year.

  • Jan. 30: Pixar Place Hotel opening.

  • Feb. 2: Magic Happens parade returns

  • Feb. 17 and 24: Celebrate Gospel.

  • Feb. 22 and 23: Anaheim Ducks Days.

  • March 1 through April 22: Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival

  • March 5 and 7: Disneyland After Dark: Disney Channel Nite

  • March 22 through April 14: Wondrous Journeys will run

  • April 5 through June 2: Seasons of the Force (a Star Wars-themed festival).

  • April 16 through May 9 (select nights): Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite

  • April 26 through Aug. 4: Pixar Fest.

  • May 24: Nighttime show Fantasmic will return.

  • June 18 and 20: Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite

  • Aug. 23 through Oct. 31: Halloween Time.

  • Aug. 23 through Nov. 2: Plaza de la Familia (a celebration of Día de los Muertos).

  • Nov. 15 through early 2025: The holidays begin here. 

The launch of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is also expected sometime in 2024. The log flume-style ride will be a remake of Splash Mountain, but this time centered around the 2009 movie “The Princess and the Frog.”

Chicken Xiao Long Bao at world-famous dumpling house Din Tai Fung. (Photo courtesy of Din Tai Fung)

And at the Downtown Disney District, the outdoor shopping and entertainment center neighboring the theme parks that doesn’t require a ticket to enter, new restaurants are set to open in 2024. That includes Paseo and Céntrico, which serve Mexican cuisine, and Din Tai Fung, a Chinese restaurant famous for its soup dumplings and noodles.

The top Disneyland events in 2024

Here are some key Disneyland events, sorted in order of date:

Jan. 11 through Jan. 14: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland's Half Marathon weekend is back. It's four days of fitness-related activities, including a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. There's also a big expo with tons of vendors.

New this year: This weekend is set to feature a brand-new offering to runDisney events at Disneyland Resort, which is an early morning yoga from inside Disneyland Park. Attendees will partake in a 5 a.m. yoga class, which will have a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Jan. 23 through Feb. 14 (select nights): Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts' Nite

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland After Dark is part of the theme park's lineup of separately-ticketed, themed evening events. The first in the series for 2024 is called Sweethearts’ Nite. In addition to giving attendees access to the rides with wait times that are typically shorter than usual wait times, the after-hours parties also include one-of-a-kind festivities that you'll only experience at the party.

For Sweethearts' Nite, that includes unique projections on the castle and other focal points, a ball where you can dance alongside Disney prince and princesses, and a royal cavalcade, which is essentially a parade.

The parties also feature limited-time food options. This one is set to include fried heart-shaped ravioli at the Cafe Daisy and a shortbread cookie churro with strawberry cheesecake dipping sauce.

Jan. 23 through Feb. 18: Lunar New Year

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

As it’s done in years past, Disney California Adventure Park will host Lunar New Year celebrations, this time ringing in the Year of the Dragon. Expect an influx of Asian-inspired food and beverages for sale, as well as a procession (basically a mini-parade) themed to “Mulan.”

Jan. 30: Pixar Place Hotel opening

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Pixar Place Hotel is not exactly a new hotel, but rather an extensive overhaul of the hotel formerly known as the Paradise Pier Hotel. Rooms feature nods to Pixar Animation Studios, like lighting reminiscent of the Pixar Lamp and pillows inspired by the Pixar Ball. The hotel's centerpiece, found in the lobby, is a massive version of the iconic Pixar Lamp balancing atop its ball.

Also on the ground floor is a new restaurant, Great Maple.

Feb. 2: Magic Happens parade returns

"Magic Happens" parade returns to Disneyland on Feb. 2, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

Magic Happens is a daytime parade at Disneyland featuring music by Todrick Hall. The parade debuted on Feb. 27, 2020 with an incredibly short-lived run given the theme parks closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It only finally returned in February 2023, but went on hiatus in October 2023 to make way for "A Christmas Fantasy Parade." It'll come back (again) on Feb. 2, 2024.

Feb. 17 and 24: Celebrate Gospel

Over at Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theatre, two gospel concerts will be held, blending performances by popular musicians (Marvin Sapp on Feb. 17 and Tasha Cobbs Leonard on Feb. 24) with local choirs.

Feb. 22 and 23: Anaheim Ducks Days

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

A two-day celebration within Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure Park will celebrate the Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club’s 30th anniversary in an event set to include appearances by team players.

March 1 through April 22: Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

This annual event puts the spotlight on food with cooking demonstrations and pop-up food stalls that serve small bites that tend to be a bit more creative than your standard theme park meal. Additionally, Soarin’ Over California, which is a version of the ride known as Soarin', will run for a limited time during the festival.

March 5 and 7: Disneyland After Dark: Disney Channel Nite

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland After Dark is part of the theme park's lineup of separately-ticketed, themed evening events. The second in the series for 2024 is called Disney Channel Nite. In addition to giving attendees access to the rides with wait times that are typically shorter than usual wait times, the after-hours parties also include one-of-a-kind festivities that you'll only experience at the party.

For Disney Channel Nite, that includes a "High School Musical" pep rally, plus karaoke and Disney Channel trivia activities.

The parties also feature limited-time food options. This one is set to include mini banana burritos and tropical banana punch at Red Rose Taverne, plus chili cheese loaded nachos, and s’mores donut skewer from Café Daisy. 

March 22 through April 14: Wondrous Journeys

“Wondrous Journeys” nighttime spectacular returns to Disneyland from March 22 through April 14, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort)

Wondrous Journeys is a nighttime show that uses focal points in the park, including Sleeping Beauty Castle and the buildings on Main Street, U.S.A. to provide the backdrop for customized projections. Originally created as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company in 2023, the show also includes fireworks and other lighting effects.

April 16 through May 9: Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Not long after the Disney Channel Nite is another Disneyland After Dark event, this one themed to Star Wars. This one will run concurrently with Season of the Force, which is a festival that daytime park visitors can experience as well. Expect tons of Star Wars merchandise and food.

April 26 through Aug. 4: Pixar Fest

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Pixar Fest puts the spotlight on all things Pixar throughout the resort, including limited-time decor, menu items and merchandise. The first Pixar Fest happened in 2018 and included a Pixar-themed fireworks show and Pixar Shorts film festival. It has only happened in intermittent years in between, but it’s set to return in April.

New this year: Disney plans to bring back its Pixar-themed fireworks show called “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” at Disneyland Park, but when it returns there will be new scenes. It’ll also roll out a new parade at Disney California Adventure Park called “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!” and offer character meet-and greets with characters from some of Pixar’s newest films including “Elemental” and “Turning Red.”

May 24: Fantasmic will return

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Fantasmic is a nighttime show held on the Rivers of America in America. After a fire broke out during a showing in April 2023, performances ceased. But more than a year later, it'll return.

This time around, there will be new special effects. In addition, a "Peter Pan" scene, which was replaced with a "Pirates of the Caribbean" scene, will once again return.

June 18 and 20: Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite debuted for the first time in 2023, and it's coming back in 2024.

The separately-ticketed, themed evening event will run during two nights of Pride month. In addition to giving attendees access to the rides with wait times that are typically shorter than usual wait times, the after-hours parties also include one-of-a-kind festivities that you'll only experience at the party.

For Pride Nite in 2023, that included country line dancing at the Golden Horseshoe.

Aug. 23 through Oct. 31: Halloween Time

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Halloween Time is a massive event for the Disneyland resort, as almost every corner gets decked out in autumn decor. That includes a charming pumpkin festival on Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. Some attractions get Halloween-themed overlays too. Most notably is the Haunted Mansion, which temporarily becomes Haunted Mansion Holiday, themed to "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Also part of Halloween Time is an after-hours, separately-ticketed evening Halloween party called Oogie Boogie Bash. Held at Disney California Adventure Park, it'll run on select nights in fall 2024 and offers trick-or-treating around the park.

Aug. 23 through Oct. 31: Plaza de la Familia (a celebration of Día de los Muertos)

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Running concurrently with the Halloween festivities is a celebration of Día de los Muertos. The festival recognizes Day of the Dead, which is a holiday to remember loved ones that have passed. At Disneyland, there will be decorations in and round El Zócalo Park.

Over at Disney California Adventure Park, the festivities lean on the film "Coco." That includes storytelling and singing based on the film, plus meet-and-greets with the film’s main character, Miguel.

Nov. 15 through early 2025: Holidays

(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Not long after Halloween ends, the winter holidays at Disney begins. Details for 2024 are limited, but in 2023 the winter holiday festivities included a lights display on “it’s a small world” and Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle.

Seasonal entertainment included A Christmas Fantasy Parade, “Believe … In Holiday Magic” Fireworks, and World of Color – Season of Light. Over at Disney California Adventure park, the Disney ¡Viva Navidad! celebration is a fiesta showcasing holiday traditions from Mexican and Brazilian cultures.

Disney also uses the holidays to lean into limited-time food offerings, including Mickey-shaped gingerbread. Churros hit on pretty much every possible seasonal flavor, including gingerbread churros, chestnut churros, chocolate sugar churros with peppermint dipping sauce, mint chip churros and sugar plum churros with marshmallow dipping sauce.

Why getting the entire Disneyland 2024 calendar now is such a big deal

The news of Disney releasing its entire event lineup follows a similar change announced earlier in 2023 that visitors can now make theme park reservations as far out as 180 days in advance — an increase from the previous 120 days.

That change makes it easier for travelers to plan and pay for their next Disneyland vacation, particularly those who plan months in advance. (Planning early is generally considered a best practice in travel.)

The Incredicoaster is a roller coaster at Disney California Adventure themed around Pixar's "The Incredibles" (Photo courtesy of Disney)

After all, the lack of notice in previous years was sometimes frustrating for planners. For example, when the inaugural Pixar Fest kicked off in April 2018, dates were only announced six months in advance. For international visitors with a penchant for Pixar, a good airfare deal may have already passed.

According to flight alerts website Going, the best airfare deals are usually found one to three months in advance for domestic flights and two to eight months in advance for international tickets. By knowing what events are happening throughout the year, Disneyland fans now have more time to subscribe to flight alerts so they can take advantage of deals within those critical booking windows.

The increased notice might also give travelers who tightly budget more time to save for a vacation — and perhaps even to apply for a travel credit card. For people who time credit card applications around vacations to take advantage of increased spending rewards or introductory offers, the previous announcement window may have been insufficient time to maximize credit card rewards.

Having a calendar for all of 2024 should make it easier to plan (and budget for) a Disneyland vacation.

Other ways to save on a Disneyland vacation

Disney is running a few ticket discount promotions, including:

  • Tickets for kids as low as $50: Disneyland Resort theme park tickets for children ages 3 to 9 are being offered for as low as $50 per child with a special 1-day, 1-park ticket for dates between Jan. 8 and March 10, 2024. 

  • Tickets for Southern California residents as low as $75: Southern California residents who purchase 3-day, 1-park-per-day tickets can visit on select days between Jan. 2 and June 2, 2024, for as low as $75 per day.

If you can’t take advantage of those ticket offers, you can still do Disneyland on a budget.


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