Disneyland adds a new hard-ticket, after-hours event
The Disneyland Resort early next year will begin offering the "after hours" hard-ticket event that's been offered at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom since last year.
Called "Disneyland After Dark" in Anaheim, the event kicks off January 18. Tickets will go on sale to Annual Passholders on Nov. 30 and then, if any tickets remain, to the general public on Dec. 7. Disney has not yet confirmed the price for the event, nor its starting time. The event will run until 1am but Disneyland has not yet released its hours of operation for January, so we don't yet know the official closing time for the park on the 18th.
Nor has Disney announced any additional dates for the event. Disney After Hours at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom will run for three hours each on nine evenings between January 19 and March 8 next year, with a $119 ticket price.
The After Hours event basically works like a hard-ticket Extra Magic Hours, when the park stays open exclusively to ticket holders rather than Disney hotel guests. At Disney World, the event has included free ice cream, popcorn, and drinks. At Disneyland, the event will include free unlimited Photopass downloads for pictures taken by Disney photographers during the evening.
With Disney selling more and more tickets to its original after-hours, hard-ticket events — the Halloween and Christmas parties — I have been hearing from some fans that they now consider the Disney World After Hours events to be a better deal, as they attract far fewer guests to clog ride queues, allowing people the easy, walk-on access to otherwise-crowded attractions that once was a big draw for the party events.
The first Disneyland After Dark event will be themed as a "Throwback Nite," honoring the 1950s and 60s-era at the park, with bands and dancing. The park will hand out vintage-style park maps and fire off a showing of the Fantasy in The Sky fireworks for event guests.
How much more shameless of a money grab can they get?
This sounds a lot like Disney capitalizing on the Dapper Days concept. They are smart to go after nostalgia. They have a lot of that to work with.
I honestly think these are a huge ripoff. Yes, the parks are less crowded because of the limited hard ticket (as well as the obscene price), but the times are extremely limited. You're still paying more than a full-day's admission for 3-5 hours. While that may seem appealing given the walk-on status of most of the attractions, what can be accomplished in 3-5 hours in a mostly empty park is less than what a smart park guest can do with a well-thought out plan during a crowded 12+-hour park day. It still takes time to walk through the queues and walk between attractions, so even with no lines, most guests will have a hard time getting on every single ride during a 3-5 hour event.
As we've already seen with the other hard ticket events, yes regular park hours will be cut for the sake of charging people more to come at night.
If they use this event as a way to push out regular ticketholders--as they do with the Halloween nights--it will engender ill will. As someone who's been very rudely informed that my family has to leave the park early on a Halloween night (that was not announced until weeks AFTER I booked our trip), I can tell you, it ain't pretty.
How about a PRE-hours hard ticket event from 4am to park official opening?
Eh. If enough people are willing to pay for it, then more power to Disney for doing this. If the hours are too few, there's not enough freebies, or the price is too high, Disney will tweak it or stop offering it altogether.