Disneyland is celebrating 60 years of magic with a Diamond Celebration set to begin May 22. Since opening in 1955, Disneyland has continued to hold a special place in the hearts of children and adults alike. Here are 25 things you need to know if you are planning to celebrate with Mickey.
Diamond Celebration hours
1. Disneyland opens at 6 a.m. on May 22 for a 24-hour kickoff of the Diamond Celebration. Regular admission is required and crowds often reach maximum capacity at these special events. Plan to arrive at the gates by 5 a.m. and buy a Park Hopper ticket if you plan to see both Disneyland and California Adventure in 24 hours.
2. Extended hours are expected throughout the summer months and are generally 8 a.m. to midnight.
3. At the time of publishing, Disneyland has not announced an end date for the Diamond Celebration, but if the 50th anniversary serves as any hint, we can expect the celebration to continue into 2016.
Diamond Celebration entertainment
4. "Disneyland Forever" debuts during the Diamond Celebration with fireworks and projected images on the Main Street facade. A news release about the celebration states that the widespread use of projections throughout the park "will transform park locations into a magical canvas, transporting guests into Disney stories."
5. Two new songs written by Disney songwriting legend Richard Sherman will accompany the Disneyland Forever fireworks show, according to the news release.
6. "Paint the Night" will bring memories of the "Main Street Electrical Parade," but this night parade features character favorites from Disney and Pixar films, complete with over 1.5 million LED lights, according to DisneyParks Blog, the official blog of Disneyland resort that reports up-to-date information about the park.
7. "World of Color — Celebrate!" hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse transforms the World of Color night show from California Adventure into a tribute honoring the "unparalleled imagination of Walt Disney" and his journey to create Disneyland, according to a news release announcing Harris' involvement in the celebration.
8. DisneyParks Blog also announced that the Mad T Party will return to California Adventure with live entertainment, music and dancing.
Diamond Celebration giveaways
9. After a full day in the park, you might want to rest your head in the Disneyland Dream Suite, an apartment above Pirates of the Caribbean. Beginning May 22, you can enter to win this and other prizes from the Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes.
10. The Disneyland Diamond Sweepstakes will also select daily winners for guests visiting the resort. Daily prizes include "same-day VIP experiences (which) include individualized tours of the parks, preferred viewing for evening entertainment experiences, and priority access to select attractions," according to the sweepstakes website.
11. What’s a Diamond Celebration without diamonds? The Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes will also offer weekly prizes, including a chance to win rare treasures such as a crystal Cinderella slipper with a diamond-and-topaz pendant, diamonds custom engraved for the 60th celebration and even a private party in Disneyland’s Fantasyland.
Diamond Celebration decor
12. As is fitting for the park's Diamond Celebration, guests will see Sleeping Beauty’s Castle glisten like never before, dripping and dazzling with diamonds, according to DisneyParks Blog.
13. Carthay Circle Theatre, the focal point of California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street, has undergone a diamond makeover for the festivities. "The entire resort will sparkle with Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration décor and festive banners in shades of Disneyland blue," the blog post states.
14. Shawn Slater, Walt Disney Parks communication manager, reported that Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and friends are undergoing a Diamond Celebration-inspired makeover. See the whole crew in new sparkling red and blue ensembles on Main Street and at various locations throughout the parks.
Diamond Celebration attractions
15. DisneyParks Blog promises Peter Pan’s Flight will feature a “reimagined” nursery scene inside the Darling’s home to bring this classic to life.
16. The blog post also says guests can look forward to riding the Matterhorn Bobsleds with new effects coming to the Abominable Snowman.
17. Decades after its first showing, the Hatbox Ghost will reappear during the Diamond Celebration. "The Hatbox Ghost appeared in the Haunted Mansion for a short time around the opening of this classic attraction in 1969," Erin Glover, Disneyland Resort social media director, wrote on DisneyParks Blog. "Although brief, his presence sparked a decades-long following, and this reclusive resident of the Haunted Mansion was never forgotten."
Diamond Celebration food
18. Rachel Brent, Disneyland's food and beverage marketing communications coordinator, reported multiple changes to what guests will be snacking on in honor of the 60th anniversary. Lemon-flavored Disneyland Diamond cupcakes will be available at the Jolly Holiday Bakery near Disneyland’s Main Street.
19. If lemon isn't your thing, Brent wrote that guests can venture over to California Adventure’s Fiddler, Fifer and Practical for orange-flavored Diamond cupcakes.
20. Specialty drinks such as Honey Bee Frozen Lemonade, Enchanted Cherry Apple Frozen Lemonade and more have been added to menus around the resort. Brent recommends the Frozen Pomegranate Silver Sparkler from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe as her favorite.
21. Popcorn has always been a snack favorite for Disneyland Park guests. "Walt Disney himself enjoyed piping hot popcorn on Main Street, U.S.A.," Brent wrote. "Now, Disneyland Resort guests enjoy more than 185,000 pounds of this salty treat every year." To honor the long-standing tradition, Diamond Celebration popcorn buckets will be in the shape of the now-iconic Mickey balloon and available in red, purple and blue.
Diamond Celebration souvenirs
22. Michelle Harker, merchandise marketing and communications manager for Disneyland resort, reported on DisneyParks Blog that redesigned artwork is set to appear on a variety of Disney merchandise in the form of three different collections: the Character Collection, which "focuses on the characters, attractions and the rich history of the resort"; the Castle Collection, featuring many of guests' favorite items in blue and silver; and the Diamond Collection with "stunning" black, gray and silver tones.
23. More than 100 Disney collectible trading pins will be released over the course of the celebration, according to Harker, including Diamond Celebration-inspired and character pins.
More ways to enjoy the Diamond Celebration
24. On April 17, the California Department of Health declared the measles outbreak over. Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks, said in a news release that the park "will continue to offer free MMR vaccinations to all Disneyland Resort cast members, and provide information about measles and the importance of immunization" in order to protect guests from a future outbreak.
25. To enjoy Disneyland on any day, especially during busier days, arrive at the gate 30 minutes prior to the official opening hours, and take advantage of rider switch options and single rider lines to minimize waits.
There is so much in store for a magical visit during Disneyland's Diamond Celebration and more things still to be announced. What are you looking forward to the most?
Jessica Sanders is a wife and mom who loves to write, travel and write about travel.