ANAHEIM, Calif. — For the first time in its history, Disneyland Resort will follow its sister property in Florida and host a limited capacity, separate ticket Christmas season after-hours event this winter.
For $165 per person, visitors to the Disney Merriest Nites at Disneyland can enjoy a special performance of a Christmas Fantasy Parade, enjoy a new "Frozen"- themed party in Fantasyland, and revel in the holiday festivities with Mickey Mouse in a Victorian-themed party on Main Street, U.S.A.
Disneyland will offer the so-called Disney Merriest Nites holiday party on five select nights in November and December, Disney officials announced Friday. Tickets go on sale on Sept. 14.
This after-hours event is the first time Disneyland Resort is offering a separately ticketed Christmas holiday seasonal event and comes as the Anaheim theme parks rebound from the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We continuously explore new ways to bring fresh experiences to our guests, including the launch of our Disneyland After Dark events in 2019," said a Disneyland spokesperson in an email to Spectrum News. "We are excited to offer a new, unique way for guests to experience the merriest place on Earth."
Separate, after-hour events have become a staple at Walt Disney World and a popular revenue-generating business model. This type of model allows Disney to bring in two types of paying visitors in one day.
These separately ticketed events usually offer visitors a more intimate experience at the park with lower crowd levels and shorter ride wait times, along with other exclusive experiences.
However, there is a tradeoff. The length of time a visitor can stay at the park is usually shorter and the cost of admission is higher. For example, a regular one-day one-park ticket for an adult could cost as much as $154 at Disneyland. The exclusive Disney Merriest Nites after-hours event is $165 for kids and adults.
For more than a decade, Walt Disney World has hosted several annual after-hour night events throughout the year, with the most popular happening during Halloween and the winter holiday season. This year, Walt Disney World in Florida is hosting Boo Bash during Halloween and a Disney Very Merriest After Hours party for the winter holiday season.
Disneyland, for years, has hosted an after-hours event during the Halloween season at either Disney California Adventure or Disneyland.
These Halloween night events sell out quickly and give visitors a chance to wear a costume, trick-or-treat and get free candy and other snacks inside Disneyland.
It's also one of the only times visitors can take pictures with Disney's famous villains such as Cruella De Ville, Hades from "Hercules," Gaston from "Beauty and the Beast" and Jafar from "Aladdin."
The Disney Merriest Nites at Disneyland will be held on Nov. 11, 16, and 30, and Dec. 7 and 9. Visitors to the separately ticketed event can begin entering the park at 5 p.m. before the holiday party starts at 8 p.m. (Disney cast members usher out regular park visitors before the event begins.)
Disney officials said visitors to the Disney Merriest Nites event would experience six themed parties, one in each of the main original lands hosted by a Disney character at Disneyland. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Mickey's Toontown, and Critter Country will be closed.
Visitors will have access to the holiday transformations of "it's a small world" Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday, various musical performances, watch the Christmas Fantasy parade, and take photos in front of exclusive themed photo backdrops.
Guests will receive unlimited Disney PhotoPass with admission.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We updated the story with a response from Disneyland. (Sept. 10, 2021)