June 20, 2024

Disney Channel Nite Characters Are Catnip for Millennials

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We have been begging for a Disney Afternoon or 90s Nostalgia Nite at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. That is the theme we know would "speak to" the infamous Childless Millennials–or Disney Adults of the parental or

We have been begging for a Disney Afternoon or 90s Nostalgia Nite at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. That is the theme we know would “speak to” the infamous Childless Millennials–or Disney Adults of the parental or kid-free variety–with disposable income and sentimentality for their formative years.

Well, it seems like Disney has heard us (kinda, sorta) loud but not-so-clear. The company has released more details about Disney Channel Nite, the all-new Disneyland After Dark special event in Spring 2024 celebrating iconic Disney Channel TV shows and characters with special entertainment, themed snacks, merchandise, unique photo ops, and more.

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Disneyland After Dark parties are limited-time parties that take place after regular park hours and feature unique themes, festivities, character meet & greets, special nighttime entertainment, access to attractions with reduced wait times, and more. It’s the Disneyland equivalent of After Hours at Walt Disney World, albeit typically with more on the thematic front. In this case, that means Disney Channel characters and such.

With each separately-ticketed Disneyland After Dark party, attendees get 4 hours of party time after the parks close to day guests. Plus, there’s a 3-hour pre-party mix-in at the same park as the event. That amounts to a total of 7 hours park time, minus however long it takes to check into the event.

In addition to all the Disney Channel themed fun brought to life just for the party, admission also includes commemorative keepsakes such as a souvenir credential and an event guide map, plus unlimited digital downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos taken throughout Disneyland After Dark, which is a nice since a lot about these events revolves around photos and fun.

Disney Channel Nite will be held March 5 and March 7, 2024; tickets are now on sale and cost $139 per guest. Unlike some of the other Disneyland After Dark events, it’s a small slate of dates for the inaugural (and perhaps only?) year of Disney Channel Nite.

In any case, here’s what Disney previously announced for Disneyland After Dark: Disney Channel Nite…

  • Descendants Musical Journey at the Rivers of America
    Come aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia for a musical journey with songs from all 3 Descendants movies.
  • DescenDance
    At the River of America, join the VK dancers from the Isle of the Lost as they show off their wicked moves.
  • Disney Channel Rocks
    Party at this rock concert-style stage show that totally pumps up the volume to hit songs from popular Disney Channel programming.
  • High School Musical / Zombies Pep Rally
    Get ready for this high-energy special mash up to stop and celebrate songs from High School Musical and Zombies with you at designated spots along the parade route.
  • Camp Rock Karaoke & Disney Channel Trivia Challenge in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon
    Take turns singing your favorite songs as solos, duos and groups! The karaoke party will alternate with the Ultimate Disney Channel Trivia Challenge.
  • Phineas and Ferb Dance Party at Tomorrowland Terrace
    Join a lively dance party featuring terrific songs from the world of Phineas and Ferb and more!
  • Fond Farewell
    Make sure you swing by Town Square and wave goodnight.

Step into imaginative backdrops of some of your favorite Disney Channel Original Movies and TV shows, including:

  • Disney Channel Wand ID
  • Event Step & Repeat
  • Camp Rock
  • The Cheetah Girls
  • Gargoyles
  • Halloweentown
  • Hannah Montana
  • Lizzie McGuire
  • The Proud Family
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
  • Teen Beach Movie
  • That’s So Raven
  • Wizards Of Waverly Place
  • Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

Enjoy specially themed foods and snacks all evening long. A few items to expect are the mini banana burritos and tropical banana punch at Red Rose Taverne, plus chili cheese loaded nachos, and s’mores donut skewer from Café Daisy. Additionally, specialty dining packages are available, too.

This is actually a pretty strong slate of entertainment and special offerings by Disneyland After Dark standards, and is especially impressive when you also consider that there are only two dates of Disney Channel Nite.

I honestly wonder how special events with so few dates are even profitable for Disneyland. You might scoff at that notion considering the $140 per person price tag, but keep in mind that nothing Disney does is inexpensive or efficient. Even seemingly little things like designing the maps, merchandise, or menus is a highly-collaborative effort, and labor isn’t cheap! That’s to say nothing of the unique entertainment during Disney Channel Nite, which (obviously) won’t just be thrown together the night-of. A higher number of dates–or bringing back the same events from prior years–can help spread out and defray costs. But I digress.

Now, with about a week until Disney Channel Nites start, Disneyland has announced the character lineup for this After Dark event…

Character Experiences

Let childhood nostalgia become new memories when you meet some iconic Disney Characters such as:

  • Kim Possible
  • Baloo, King Louie and Don Karnage
  • Lilo, Stitch and Experiments
  • Chip, Dale and Monterey Jack
  • Darkwing Duck and Launchpad McQuack
  • Goofy and Max
  • Rapunzel and Flynn Rider
  • Huey, Dewey, Louie and Scrooge McDuck
  • Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

Our previous take on Disney Channel Nite was that it wasn’t for us. When we read the list of shows, movies, and characters and the original slate of entertainment, there was literally nothing that appealed to us. While personally disappointed, I couldn’t knock the concept. Not everything needs to be squarely aimed at us or our nostalgia. There’s a generation of fans who love all things circa-2000s Disney Channel, and I’m happy for them that they’re getting an event right up their alley.

We are simply too old for High School Musical or anything later. We were in college when much of that stuff aired, and our interests were very much not the Disney Channel at that time. We became familiar with some of those shows and movies from visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland as adults, but it was still clearly aimed at a younger audience. (I think we watched the High School Musical Pep Rally at the Disney-MGM Studios a grand total of one time over the course of several visits.)

It’s hard to appreciate the campiness of that stuff unless you grew up with it, and we didn’t. So we’re too old for that but too young to have kids into the Descendants and all the 2010s or newer Disney Channel programming. So we wrote off the Disney Channel Nite as being aimed at younger Disney Adults or older parents.

Then the character lineup came out, featuring a lot of Disney Afternoon staples and seemingly aimed squarely at children on the 90s. Stuff for us! Characters from TailSpin, Rescue Rangers, DuckTails, and Darkwing Duck–holy cow! Now these are characters for whom we have tons of childhood nostalgia, and absolutely cannot wait to introduce to our daughter. Normally, that character lineup alone would almost be a “shut up and take our money” scenario for us. And I’m sure it’ll end up being exactly that–catnip for many of our fellow Millennial Disney Adults.

For us, there are two impediments to buying tickets. The first is that we just attended the free Moonlight Magic party at Disney California Adventure. There was considerable overlap with that character lineup, so we already have fresh photos with many Disney Afternoon mainstays. I’m not sure we could justify ~$300 on tickets about a month after doing largely the same thing for free. Had we not done Moonlight Magic, it’d be a very close call and we’d be tempted to do it “for the blog” (but really for ourselves). Thankfully, it’s off the table for us and we don’t have to do mental contortions to justify spending obscene amounts to meet a few childhood favorite characters.

The second impediment is essentially identified above, which is that there’s absolutely nothing in the core entertainment that appeals to us. It would be paying a lot of money for literally just a few meet & greets. While I can appreciate Disney’s desire to cater to multiple demographics, this feels kind of like two different events in one. Almost like tickets weren’t selling as well as they hoped for the Disney Channel-centric stuff, so they expanded it to Disney Afternoon. The equivalent of Star Wars Nite not selling well, so they added Spider-Man and Zombie Captain America. A smart way to potentially sell more tickets, but not quite on the original theme.

This might seem different, as all of the stuff here is Disney Channel. I’d argue that at least there’s crossover appeal between Star Wars and Marvel. In this case, is anyone old enough to have watched Disney Afternoon going to be interested in the Disney Channel stuff from the aughts? The reverse is also true–are the twentysomethings who grew up with Hannah Montana and High School Musical going to care about Darkwing Duck or Don Carnage? Unlike space operas, super heroes, and animated movies that can appeal to everyone from kids to grandparents, this stuff is all much more age-constrained. (Sorry, but the Descendants is no Inside Out, even if they did come out in the same year.)

In the end, we still really want a Disney Afternoon or 90s Nostalgia Nite that goes all-in on that theme. To each their own, but for us, that’s not the same as Disney Channel programming from the 2000s–there’s zero crossover appeal. I just hope that the event planners realize that and, if Disney Channel Nite isn’t popular, the company doesn’t draw the wrong conclusions about the potential appeal of a 90s or Disney Afternoon Nite.

So I guess this is partly my push for everyone else to buy tickets to Disney Channel Nite to make it popular so the company is more likely to try out similar concepts. 😉 And also partly for the team at Disneyland to realize that kids of the 90s and kids of the 2000s are very different demos despite “only” a decade between us.

Millennials are also a decade deeper into careers, meaning more discretionary spending money. Many have children of their own and would love to introduce those kids to favorite characters from our youth. In short, we’re a lucrative demographic who wants to say “shut up and take our money” in response to an event like this…if it’s done right and doesn’t try to package kids programming from 1995 with a fantasy-musical from 2015.

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Are you excited for the lineup during Disneyland After Dark: Disney Channel Nite in 2024? Was the Disney Afternoon-heavy character roster enough to get you off the fence, or do you want more from the 90s to justify attending? Or conversely, if you’re a child of the 2000s, are you disappointed about these characters? Excited or disappointed about the entertainment and other offerings? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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