A Handy Guide to Unofficial Events at the Disneyland Resort - 2015 Edition

May 11, 2015, 8:56 PM · Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations - there's always an excuse to celebrate, and what better place to do it than at the Disneyland Resort? Heck, the Anaheim resort makes its own anniversaries a cause for months-long celebrations, including the upcoming Diamond Celebration for Disneyland's 60th anniversary, launching May 22. But in case that wasn't enough excitement for you, creative guests have organized an impressive array of "niche" in-park events of their own so that you can dress up and meet people with similar interests! Here's a handy list of fun events over the next year to mark on your calendar.

Gays Days Anaheim

Keep in mind all of these events are "unofficial," meaning Disney does not officially recognize, have information for, or promote them, and they occur during normal park hours mixed in with non-participating guests. In some cases (especially for the more well-attended events such as Gay Days), Disney will make special accommodations for guests who choose to participate.

Spring Steampunk Meet-Up
Premise: Come dressed in your favorite steampunk gear and get ready to strike a pose!
Next event date: May 20, 2015
Website: facebook.com/events/614250165376485

Bats Day
Premise: Billed as "the largest dark subculture event on the West Coast," Bats Day is an annual event for all dark subcultures and walks of life to wear their Gothic attire and mix and mingle in Disneyland Park. Attendees are encouraged to participate in photo opportunities and meeting locations. Additional events at nearby Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort include a Haunted Mansion-themed costume party, a Haunted Mansion art show, and a Bats Day Black Market with more than 60 vendors.
Next event date: May 31, 2015
Website: batsday.net

Raver Day
Premise: Put on your kandi bracelets and join the EDM community in a fun-filled (but drug-free) day at the parks.
Next event date: June 13, 2015
Website: edmranks.com

Nerdy at Disneyland
Premise: Dress up in your nerdiest Disney outfit and embrace your nerdy side at the parks!
Next event date: August 21, 2015
Website: facebook.com/events/404326336414512

Dapper Day
Premise: Started in 2011, Dapper Day is a twice-yearly event that has quickly become one of the more popular unofficial events at the parks. Back in the 1950s and 60s, Disneyland guests dressed in their Sunday best, and Dapper Day is a wonderful opportunity to come to the park dressed to the nines just like they did. Dapper Day isn't limited to a particular period - from vintage-inspired to contemporary chic, all sophisticated fashions are encouraged!
Next event date: September 18, 2015
Website: dapperday.com

Rainbow Cake

Gay Days Anaheim
Premise: What started as a small one-day gathering in 1998 has since grown into a full weekend event which attracts more than 30,000 guests each year! LGBTQ attendees and supporters wear red shirts to show their pride in participating. Events include a welcome center in the Grand Californian Hotel, special screenings, pool parties and dance parties at nearby gay-friendly venues, in-park meet-ups, group photos, scavenger hunts, private meals and more. In recent years Disney has joined in on the fun, offering special rainbow-colored merchandise, cookies, and layer cakes!
Next event date: October 2-4, 2015
Website: gaydaysanaheim.com

Lolita Day
Premise: This take-over-the-park-in-frills event is a dedicated day for those obsessed with Japanese Harajuku fashion.
Next event date: October 2015 (date TBD)
Website: disneylandlolitaday.wix.com/home

Epilepsy Awareness Day
Premise: This day of excitement at Disneyland was created for people of all ages with epilepsy and their families and friends to raise awareness for epilepsy and squash epilepsy stigmas. Those wishing to participate should register via the event website and make a donation to receive the event gift bag which includes the event T-shirt, tote bag, and other goodies.
Next event date: November 5, 2015
Website: epilepsyawarenessday.org

Rock Around the Park
Premise: This all-ages event invites all rockabillies and psychobillies to liven up the Disneyland landscape with their retro style and flair.
Next event date: November 8, 2015
Website: rockaroundthepark.com

Premise: A Whovian's delight, Galliday is a Doctor Who event where thousands invade Disneyland dressed in their cosplays and fan T-shirts. Games, meet-ups, group photos, prizes and ride takeovers rule the day.
Next event date: November 8, 2015
Website: galliday.com

Glow Day
Premise: As the sun sets over Disneyland and California Adventure, light up the night with glow sticks, LED lights, light-up clothing - anything you can find or create!
Next event date: November 20-22, 2015
Website: facebook.com/events/757759417653816

Pin-up Parade in the Park
Premise: Pinup Girl Clothing hosts this biannual event for hundreds to gather at Disneyland in their finest retro and glam clothing to see and be seen!
Next event date: TBD
Website: facebook.com/events/1443815552543157

Which unofficial Disneyland event(s) are you planning to participate in this year? Any advice or fun stories from previous events? Let us know in the comments! :)

Replies (8)

May 11, 2015 at 9:01 PM · Great information, Matthew. Thank you, and welcome to the front page!
May 12, 2015 at 7:39 AM · Frozen Everyday. There is no shortage of little girls dressed up as Elsa at the parks.

Lolita Day? What a scandalous title. I guess that's why they are unofficial like some others too.

May 12, 2015 at 8:12 AM · As a gay man, I am continually thrilled and pleased that Disney has and continues to welcome the LGBT community with open arms. Thank you Theme Park Insider for mentioning queer-friendly events on your site. It might not seem like much to you, but by doing so you're helping to fight for the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of who they love. :)
May 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM · We were there unknowingly on Dapper day last year. I thought it was cool but it made the park that much more busy. I will attempt to avoid any of these events next time in the interest of crowds.
May 12, 2015 at 9:06 AM · Actually, I've found that, even though these days are busier than "normal" days during the same time of year, everything in the park seems to flow much more smoothly during event days.

So many of the participants are frequent visitors who know the drill and, frankly, are more interested in socializing than getting in line to bag every possible ride. Gay Days, in particular, seem to run especially smoothly, which makes sense to me since I also believe that those are the days of the year that see the largest number of current and former cast members visiting the park. ;^)

May 12, 2015 at 9:19 AM · I'll add to the above comments that the crowd at Gay Days is made up of some of the nicest people I've ever had the privilege of sharing Disneyland with! It's truly a welcoming and fun weekend. :)
May 13, 2015 at 3:48 PM · As friends and I boarded the parking lot tram at the Magic Kingdom main parking lot a few years ago all dressed in our Red shirts, I noticed the family in the row ahead of me were also dressed in red - Mom, Dad and three kids all under age 12. Not wanting them to be caught unaware, I tapped the Mother on the shoulder and asked her if she was aware of the special event taking place in the park that day. She turned around and told me yes. She said that they had come to the park a few years prior not knowing about GayDays. At first she said they didn't know what to make of it all. Then after a few hours she and her husband both realized how much more relaxed and welcoming not only the Cast Members were, but that the park guests were also much more friendly and polite than normal days. She told me that they now plan their vacations to Disney World around GayDays because they know it is one of the most enjoyable and fun weekends at the resort.
I can't tell you have happy that made me.
May 15, 2015 at 6:45 PM · Matthew, thank you for this list. Although I have lived in CA for 15 years, I'm still a WDW person so I don't know that much about Disneyland. I don't live close enough to go often but I do live within the SoCal area as defined by Disney. Just wanted to say that I recently stayed at Pop Century in WDW where they have tie-dyed cheesecake - seeing the photo of the Rainbow Cake reminded me of it! I am going to try to make it down at least once, maybe more, in this 60th Anniversary year so this info is great and so well organized. Thanks again!

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