Disneyland is a wonderful place for families every year, but this year promises to be especially magical. The Happiest Place on Earth is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary, marking 60 years of entertaining families around the globe. To commemorate the occasion, the entire resort is brimming with special surprises, including three new nighttime shows, dozens of limited-time treats, and hundreds of limited edition merchandise items. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza you won’t want to miss! Here are 10 reasons to take the family to enjoy Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary Celebration.
1. Revamped Rides
After months of renovation, two of the resort’s most popular attractions—Disneyland Park’s Matterhorn and Disney California Adventure Park’s Soarin’ Over California—have reopened to the public. Soarin’ Over California boasts a new screen and all-digital projection systerm for a more immersive experience, and an updated Abominable Snowman returns to the Matterhorn Bobsleds and bigger and badder than ever.
2. A Brighter World of Color Show
The World of Color show at Disney California Adventure Park has been given a Diamond Anniversary makeover, with more lights, fountains, lasers, and flames than ever before. World of Color: Celebrate the Wonderful World of Walt Disney takes guests on Walt Disney’s journey from pioneering animator to award-winning film maker to theme park visionary. Guests will enjoy music and scenes from classic Disney films, old clips featuring Walt Disney, and narration by Mickey Mouse and actor Neil Patrick Harris, projected onto a water screen.
InsiderTip: Pass the time before the show starts by playing the Fun Wheel Challenge. Use your phone to log on to funwheelchallenge.com and compete with other park guests in a fast-paced color matching game. If you win, you get to control the lights on Mickey’s Fun Wheel!
3. Sparkling Souvenirs
Park merchandise has been blinged out for Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration, with everything from sparkly Mickey hats to shiny Minnie ears to silver-studded shirts, jackets, and bags.On a budget? Special 60th Anniversary pins start at just $9.99. Tip: Save your park tickets and Disneyland Resort hotel room keys and turn them into bookmarks or luggage tags! They’re printed with special limited-edition Diamond Anniversary designs.
4. A New Nighttime Parade
Imagine Disneyland’s iconic Main Street Electrical Parade, updated for the 21st century. Paint the Night, an all-new nighttime parade, features dozens of performers and characters, plus eight giant floats (nine if you count the life-sized Mack Truck from Cars), illuminated with over 1.5 million LED lights that flash and glow in time with the music.
Insider Tip: Treat your little ones to a Made With Magic paintbrush, Mickey ear hat, and Mickey mitt. Use the paintbrush to change the colors on the ear hat and mitt, and all three items glow in time with the lights during the parade!
5. A Flurry of Frozen Fun
There are more opportunities than ever for Anna and Elsa fans to Let It Go. Frozen is prominently featured in all three new nighttime shows, and the Frozen Sing-Along musical at Disney California Adventure Park is more popular than ever. Disneyland Park also has a new Frozen-themed show: Messrs. Smythe and Jones, resident storytellers of Fantasy Faire’s Royal Theatre, leave the audience in stitches with their vaudeville-style reenactment of Anna and Elsa’s tale.
Insider Tip: Both shows offer Fast Passes.
6. An Explosive New Fireworks Show
Disneyland Park’s new nighttime spectacular, Disneyland Forever, is so much more than just a fireworks show. Sleeping Beauty Castle and the buildings on Main Street are transformed into movie screens, projecting animated images from beloved Disney movies such as The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Frozen onto their facades. Throw in music, laser lights, and inflatables, and, oh, fireworks, and you’ve got one magical experience.
Insider Tip: Images will be projected onto three additional areas—t’s A Small World, the Matterhorn, and the mist screens over the Rivers of America—so for the first time ever, guests don’t have to be on Main Street USA to enjoy the show.
7. Limited Time Photo Opps
Get a head start on your holiday card photos by taking advantage of all the Diamond Celebration decorations adorning the parks. Carthay Circle Theater sports a shiny new Art Deco-inspired marquee, and Sleeping Beauty Castle has blue banners and 100,000 blue, glass crystals shimmering on the rooftops.
Insider Tip: Ask a Disney Photo Pass photographer to take your photo; they’ve staked out the best photo opp spots, and they have a knack for cropping out the crowds. The photos they take are available for purchase online, but they’re also happy to snap a photo using your camera.
8. Party the Night Away
The Mad T Party is back! Disneyland California Adventure’s popular dance party returns for the Diamond Celebration, with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Wonderland gang playing pop and rock hits that will get everyone moving and grooving. Even kids can join in the fun, playing coin-operated games in the House of Cards or chasing the cool digital projections on the interactive dance floor.
9. Extra-Special Sweet Treats
It wouldn’t be a celebration without cake! Look for special anniversary cupcakes at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café in Disneyland (lemon flavor) and the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café in Disney California Adventure (orange flavor). Other Diamond Anniversary munchies include specially decorated caramel apples, rice krispy treats, and cookies.
10. Popcorn Buckets
If salty treats are more your style, head for the popcorn stand. The popcorn hasn’t changed, but it’s being served in special Diamond Celebration buckets that will only be available during the Diamond Anniversary Celebration. Look for Mickey balloon-shaped buckets on Main Street, Cinderella carriage buckets in Fantasyland, and diamond mine cart buckets in Frontierland.
When to Go
The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration began on Memorial Day Weekend and is expected to last well beyond the summer. An end date has not yet been announced, but if their 50th Anniversary is anything to go by, the celebrations should last at least a year.
If you plan to fly down to Anaheim, remember that LAX isn’t the only airport option. John Wayne airport (SNA) in Orange County is actually the closest airport to the Disneyland Resort, and Southwest Airlines has multiple daily flights from San Jose airport to John Wayne airport. Driving down from the Bay Area takes between 6-8 hours, depending on the time of day and on whether you take Hwy 101 or Hwy 5. Don’t forget to check out Red Tricycle’s Guide to Disneyland and Guide to Road Tripping between SF and LA!
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Are you planning a trip to Disneyland to celebrate 60 years?