Disneyland After Dark events are specially themed, separately ticketed, after-hours park experiences held at the Disneyland Resort and featuring unique entertainment, special food and beverages, one-of-a-kind photo opportunities, and collectible merchandise. On January 29th, 80s Nite was a fun stroll down memory lane that was a total blast, filling the park with neon, spandex, leg warmers, shoulder pads, and all things of the decade.
The centerpiece of the totally tubular and rad night, which lasted from 9pm until 1am, was the return of “Videopolis” in the Fantasyland Theatre. Disneyland’s classic music video dance party had a fun and celebratory vibe, as everyone boogied the night away while dancing to the decade’s biggest hits, spun by a VJ playing music videos from the era. And if that wasn’t enough dancing for you, guests could also head over to the Tomorrowland Stage for the “Totally Minnie – You’re on DTV Video Shoot” dance party with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto, all dressed in their 80s stylish best.
One of the coolest aspects of these special nights is always the access to rare character encounters and photo opportunities, and for 80s Nite some of the notables were Ewoks (complete with speeder bikes), R2-D2 and C-3PO, Captain REX, Briar Patch friends, Roger Rabbit, Ariel (of The Little Mermaid fame), Pinocchio & Jiminy Cricket, Friends from DuckTales, and Mousercise Mickey Mouse. As a nice touch, all guests receive unlimited digital downloads of Disney PhotoPass photos taken during the event. The hard part is that because the character encounters are such a big draw, they can also attract long lines and high wait times. So, if you’re planning on attending an upcoming After Dark event, consider making your #1 character meet-and-greet a priority that you check off first, before exploring other offerings. The other thing you should note is that much of the collectible merchandise sold out very quickly, so if that’s important to you, you should also consider making that a priority.
Because there are limited tickets sold for the After Dark events, it means that you can get on all open rides with minimal wait times and sometimes even have them largely to yourself (my somewhat creepy, rather lonely ride on “It’s a Small World” comes to mind). And then, if you need to refuel between rides, there are plenty of themed menu items, both food and drinks, to try. For 80s Nite, you could go the savory route with the Sloppy Joe Specialty Burger, Teriyaki Glazed Spiced Ham & Pineapple Skewer Rice Plate, Mickey Pretzel with Cheese, Pepperoni Pizza Toasted Sandwich (my own personal favorite item), Satellite Stroganoff, Radical Rib Sandwich, Sloppy Joe Potato Morsels (aka tater tots), Chicken Cup of Noodles, Cheeseburger Mac and Beef Ravioli, along with various hot dogs and flavored popcorn. If you wanted to go the sweet route, you also had plenty to choose from, including a variety of flavored churros (featuring the highlighted Peanut Butter Pieces Churro), Bubble Gum Beignets, Butterscotch Frozen Yogurt Shake, Gummiberry Juice, Sprinkle Celebration Cake, and the Ultimate Chocolate Brownie Funnel Cake topped with Butter Pecan Ice Cream.
The one complaint that I have about 80s Nite is that it was only four hours in length, not including the extra three hours you can enter the park in which the event is held, prior to the start time. The feeling of pure joy, celebration and fun that carried throughout Disneyland, as people danced the night away to a DJ in the middle of Main Street, is something that could have gone on for hours more. And if Disneyland decided to bring back “Videopolis” for select weekend nights, I’d be all for that!
Upcoming After Dark events include Sweethearts’ Nite on February 12th and 13th, where Disneyland will be transformed for a night of romance with character encounters with Disney couples, PIXAR Nite on March 5th, where you can celebrate all things Pixar Animation Studios at Disney California Adventure Park while taking photos with various Pixar pals, Villains Nite on April 30th, where you can unleash your inner villain at DCA alongside a Villains Cabaret with a cast of outlaws singing and dancing their way through a revue, and Star Wars Nite on August 27th, to be held at Disneyland but with details yet to be announced.