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Walt Disney World cancels Grad Nights after this year

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Published: March 9, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I'm sorry, was it something I said?

Walt Disney World announced today that it is ditching its annual Grad Nights for high school seniors, after this year's events. Grad Nights will continue at Disneyland in California.

(And by the way, I know that Disney calls its event "Grad Nite," but as someone who once taught writing to college students, I just can't bear to go there. So it's "Grad Nights" when I write about these events, okay?)

Disney's offering the excuse that increased attendance at the parks in April and May is making the Grad Nights too difficult to schedule, which I believe. With Disney's continued push to convert more of its visits to on-site stays, with more hotel or Disney Vacation Club guests, those on-site visitors resist the shorter park hours that Disney needs on days when it schedules a Grad Night.

Disney instead is pushing $55 one-day theme park tickets for school groups, for schools that which to continue sending their soon-to-graduate to Disney World. (Those tickets are available throughout the year, actually. More info on that and other Disney school programs is online at disneyyouth.com.) You'd lose the special event feeling, however, since you'd no longer be in the park with just other kids your own age. But a trip to Disney World on even a "normal" day is still a nice way to celebrate.

I can't help but think that all this really is my fault, though, after ratting out Smokey McPuff and his buddies earlier this year. So to Florida's high school juniors and younger students, I apologize. I'm sorry that you're losing this special event.

But I do hope that you'll enjoy your evening at Hogwarts, instead.

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on March 9, 2011 at 3:19 PM
Thanks for ratting us rebellious youngsters out, Robert. Might as well be Theme Narc Insider.
From Anthony Murphy on March 9, 2011 at 7:07 PM
Well, I think its pretty clear why its going away......

I think a majority of Disney's deaths have been during Grad Nights. Most of them, though, were also the person's fault!

From 141.248.3.2 on March 10, 2011 at 9:17 AM
LOL @ "Smokey McPuff." I'm glad cast members are doing this job when times like this roll around. The social values of the rest of society seem to have gone to hell but at least in Disney it's good to see a tight ship is still run. Well done.

Sorry to see Grad Ni(gh)t(e) go but times are changing and each generation seems to be just a bit more trouble than the one before it. jack Lindquist might be sorry to see this go but from a safety and security point of view, I'd back the park's decision.

From Jill Harrington on March 10, 2011 at 10:31 AM
Can't say that I've been there during a Grad Night time frame - however, I was just there during a 'Senior Trip', and sadly they were in the same building as I and my husband at All Star Sports. We were in town for the Princess Half - thank goodness this was after the race (Monday - Wed afterward). There were at least a couple hundred of them - shirtless boys, girls in bikinis, wandering all over at night. No chaperones to be found. Oh wait - no, there were chaperones... We saw them - about 10 of them, at the bar by the pool. We didn't realize they were the chaperones until the next morning until they were arranging the kids to give them theme park tickets. I can't even imagine what was going on in the rooms, because I saw what was going on on the balconies (I'm no prude - but this was a school trip... C'mon...).

So, although they may cancel this official grad night option, there are still plenty of kids coming to celebrate the end of their high school careers. Personally - I'd rather grad night... I'm staying at the Poly next time I go for the Princess - hopefully there won't be any half nekked highschoolers there...

From rick stevens on March 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM
I remember Grad Night. I attended DL's back in 1974. Everyone had to be dressed appropriately, boys in suits and girls in dresses or well dressed. They frisked us before entering. They told us that the CM's searched the river's edge to see if anyone planted alcohol prior to the event. Someone I knew brought high proof alcohol in an ink pen and squirted it in their cokes. We all seemed to gravitate to Small World around 6 am for a last ride of the night.

Sorry to see it go at WDW, but fully understand the economic aspects of the whole thing.

From Brandon Mendoza on March 11, 2011 at 6:19 AM
Bummer!

Unfortunately I've never experienced Grad Night at even Disneyland as my school decided not to participate... and I don't think they ever have to this day! The school opened in '92 so that's almost 20 years of no Disney. =(

From 24.170.166.5 on March 11, 2011 at 5:31 PM
Sad :( . I understand that adults may find these teens to be annoying, but they are teens, what the heck do u expect! Its the time of their lives, mannnnn!

Seriously, though, most seniors picked this event over the Grad Bash at universal because of the choice in performers as well as overall park appeal. This means that Grad Bash will be more crowded next year, and more miserable for us teens when we do visit there. But for the mean time, WDW is their property, they can do anything they want for it.

From Joshua Counsil on March 11, 2011 at 9:56 PM
^ I completely agree, anonymous, though I was afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation from people such as the other anonymous commenter above ("...the rest of society seem to have gone to hell but at least in Disney it's good to see a tight ship is still run"). Vandalism, etc. is not cool, but teens will be teens. If they're causing problems on the rides, like smoking, then that's a different story.

I'm going to tell a short, controversial story. You may not agree with it, but take from it what you will. I have a buddy who did acid (LSD) at the Animal Kingdom. He had an amazing time, acted respectfully, and got along great with the other guests. He was even chosen as a volunteer in one of the live shows. He never cut lines, vandalized, or did anything else annoying or obnoxious. In other words, he was in control. Some people would automatically consider him a bad person for using "heavy" drugs, especially at a family theme park, but he's a great guy with a preference for certain substances over, say, alcohol.

The next day, we went to Islands of Adventure and witnessed several drunk men acting extremely inappropriately in line for Duelling Dragons. People around them were visibly uncomfortable. To top it off, they were all fathers, and their kids were with them. They didn't get kicked out, nor did they get asked to tone it down. They acted like asses, but alcohol is perfectly legal, so it must be okay.

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