Crucial Things You Should Know Before Going To Disneyland Pride Nite

Every day at Disneyland is magical. But when the park transforms for two evenings in June, there is much more to that Rainbow Connection. In 2023, the park hosted its first-ever Pride Nite, celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. I'd happily count this event among the most welcoming LGBTQ-friendly places. The park, decked out in rainbow hues, came to life in a new way. When else could you walk around Disneyland with Cher, Madonna, or even songs from the underrated "Brother Bear" reverberating around the park? Never.


Rare characters like Terk, Louis, and even Mulan as Ping came out to party with guests. The food had a more glittery veneer, and even the fireworks felt more potent than ever. The buildings along Main Street put on their rainbow best for the celebration. Disneyland did pride so beautifully — it was one of the most validating experiences of my life. After attending that ever-so-incredible event, there is a lot I wish I had known beforehand.

The 2024 Pride Nite events will take place on June 18 and 20. These two after-hours events give you access to the parks with significantly shorter wait times, abundant treats, and pride galore. This is your chance to see Clarabelle Cow strutting her stuff in a rainbow dress down Main Street!


Use all of the allotted time

The late-night hours might seem intimidating if you've never attended an after-hours or after-dark event at a Disney park. For Pride Nite, the gates open for partygoers at 6 p.m., 3 hours before the party starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. If you're there right when the gates open, that's 7 hours — enough for an entire park day if you didn't go during the day. (I highly recommend not doing a park day before the party; you'll be wiped out.)


Seven hours seems like a long time, but it feels like the blink of an eye when you're in party mode. Even if you've gone to Disneyland often, the various special events, snacks, photo booths, and meet-and-greets are plenty to keep you busy. You might be able to walk onto Pirates of the Caribbean, though the line to awkwardly cry while hugging Goofy in his rainbow outfit could take 25 minutes.

With these special events, everything feels new, so you want to experience it as much as possible. Even with the entire 7 hours, I could only see a handful of Pride Nite's offerings. Plotting out your whole evening is one way to take full advantage of the time.

Wait for special events

Not all parades or fireworks for Disney Parks' special events are created equal. That said, the Pride Nite Fireworks and the Pride Cavalcade are worth melting for. I waited for at least an hour for the fireworks to start. Plopped on the concrete just a few feet behind The Partners Statue, my partner and I cooled our heels with a crowd of fellow partygoers.


Unlike a regular day at Disney, you won't just sit in a mishmash of chattering parents or crying kiddos. The Pride Nite soundtrack blasted through the speakers around us. Although it was far from long enough (only about 40 minutes of music played on a loop), the sea of attendees turned the waiting game into a giant karaoke session. If you've never broken into sobs while singing "This is Me" in a crowd of thousands, it's a powerful experience.

As for the cavalcade, Mickey and all his pals in their pride attire are just too cute to miss. Like the fireworks and pre-show, the cavalcade soundtrack is powerfully affirming. It's only made better by all your favorite classic Disney friends being their best allies.


Track your favorite characters for memorable photo ops

You may not be used to wandering characters, especially for folks like myself who usually go to Walt Disney World rather than Disneyland. At Disneyland, it isn't uncommon for characters to meander around the park rather than stay in one designated place for photos. There were some characters like Goofy, who was stationed at a themed photo spot in New Orleans Square, but for the most part, you had to wander to find your rare favorites.


If you're lucky, like I was, you'll say out loud, "Oh, we need to find Louis," and then almost smack right into him as he walks past you. Since there were at least 30 characters out and about, it was nearly impossible to see all of them without spending the whole night chasing them down.

If you time it right, snagging those special photos can make the event even more magical. I suggest going through the list of characters to prioritize who you want to see. Try to get those meet-and-greets done towards the beginning of the event, though. A lot of our favorite Disney friends have early bedtimes. Waiting too long may mean Tinkerbell is off to dream in Neverland by the time you get over to her.

Order your specialty Pride Nite treats at the start of the event

Disney Parks aficionados do not play when it comes to specialty treats. If you think you can wait until halfway through the night to grab something like Rainbow Pride Mickey cupcakes or a funnel cake with cereal milk — you'll probably be disappointed. Not even 15 minutes into the party, the wait times for mobile pick-up for specialty snacks on the app were hours long.


There weren't limits on how much people could order. One woman near us during the fireworks left and returned numerous times with innumerable specialty treats for her family. They covered a picnic blanket with Pride Nite food. People are serious about acquiring treats. 

The only treat we could grab was a specialty lemonade (seen above). You won't be able to order items on the mobile app or at food spots until the party starts. However, you may want to do that lickety-split when it opens, even if it means placing an order to grab later in the night. That way, you don't have to scoot your plans around to accommodate your snack pick-up.

Embrace the magic (but follow Disneyland's dress code)

A pride event at Disney will be a little different than others. The park still has costume guidelines prohibiting scant attire, nudity, curse words, or tattoos that aren't family-friendly. But don't let that stop you from embracing the magic. Review the guidelines before you go so you don't get dress-coded and sent back to your hotel or car. This process is no different than checking your resort's dress code when packing; it only takes a few extra minutes.


You're still welcome to come dressed to impress in your pride best. Adorned in rainbows or mouse ears (or both), you'll have the chance to make new friends and have a fantastical time. You may even get complimented by the Big Cheese himself! Disney Parks are a safe place for many Disney fans like myself — where we're free to be ourselves in a magical bubble of make-believe. I've never felt safer as a queer traveler anywhere on Earth than I did at Pride Nite. It's as close to a dream escape for adults as Disney's Castaway Cay.

Disneyland's Pride Nite, like any Disney day, requires some planning. Even if you feel a little frantic waiting in the enormous entry line or putzing around before the fireworks, this pride celebration is still one of the most magical ones out there. Surrounded by fellow Disney lovers, you'll undoubtedly feel the love that night.