One of the popular teenage traditions of Southern California – Grad Nite at Disneyland – has been canceled this year due to COVID-19, the park has announced on its Disneyyouth.com website.
“In light of recommendations by school and government officials to limit gatherings for the remainder of the academic year, we are making the difficult decision to cancel Disneyland Resort Grad Nite 2020,” the announcement reads.
The decision to cancel was expected, but still a blow to high school seniors who already lost their proms and commencement ceremonies due to the medical crisis and mandatory closures this spring. Disneyland closed indefinitely on March 14th.
“Because Grad Nite events require a substantial amount of planning, coordination and travel, we felt that this was the right decision to make at this time,” the announcement, which was posted April 16, continues. “We know how disappointing this news will be to the many students who were planning to join us this year.”
Disneyland officials said they had already started reaching out to high schools earlier this week.
Grad Nite began in the early 1960’s and promoted as a clean, safe way for high school seniors to celebrate their graduations. It originally lasted all night, until 6 a.m.
Typically, about 1,000 schools or more participate in the after-hours party with special discount tickets. Students typically arrive in late afternoon by the busload, with chaperones, and are able to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and then stay after closing for a special party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Disney California Adventure. The party was moved from Disneyland to Disney California Adventure in 2013.
Despite the cancellation, Disneyland said in its announcement that it will return.
“We look forward to hosting Disneyland Resort Grad Nite next year and for years to come. Information about future events will be shared as soon as it becomes available.”