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Top 10 Reasons for Celebrating Graduation at Disney Parks Coast to Coast

April 16, 2018

For high school seniors across the Bay Area exams are fast approaching. For Dublin Unified School District students that magical last day of high school, including the annual Commencement ceremony, lands on the last day of May. With most Dublin High graduating seniors heading to a two-year or four-year college, military enlistment or the workforce, the upcoming summer vacation presents a chance to celebrate a major achievement en route to adulthood.

Like the iconic “I’m going to Disney World” post-Super Bowl slogan, many families head to Disney parks to celebrate graduation. With that we present our top 10 reasons for celebrating graduation at Disney Parks in California (Disneyland Resort) and Florida (Walt Disney World Resort).

This isn’t the first time we’ve talked Disney on Our Women in STEM series features a profile of a Disney Imagineer, we featured Dublin High School alum Emily Edlund’s Disney College Program experience, and we recently shared how to prepare for and succeed in a Walt Disney Company internship.

With that we present our top ten reasons for Bay Area grads to celebrate at a Disney park:

10. Beat the East Coast summer scramble

Parents dreaming of possibly shorter lines and a trek East to Walt Disney World? You can beat the East coast and Canadian summer rush because many East Coast schools wrap the year weeks later than Bay Area schools. The Dublin Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District and San Jose Unified School District all wrap the year by the end of May or early June. New York Public Schools aren’t done educating until June 26 and the last day in of classes north of the border in Toronto Public Schools is June 27.


9. Celebrate Pixar Fest at the Disneyland Resort

This first-ever Pixar Fest presents some of the beloved stories from Pixar Animation Studios in new ways at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks. There’s a new nighttime spectacular, the return of two favorite parades with fresh new Pixar surprises, new décor, atmosphere entertainment, creatively themed food and beverage and exclusive event merchandise.



8. (If you can wait) Join the ribbon-cuttings at Pixar Pier (June 23) or Toy Story Land (June 30)

Pixar-themed updates and expansions are hitting Disney parks on both coasts. Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Pier is being re-themed to Pixar Pier (opening June 23) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios expands with Toy Story Land (opening June 30).

A highlight of Pixar Pier is the re-imagining of California Screamin’ into the Incredicoaster – a new experience featuring characters from “The Incredibles.” The new storyline features the Parr family racing alongside you in an attempt to catch baby Jack-Jack (see the video below for a behind-the-scenes look).

Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (an 11 acre addition) also features a roller coaster – the brand new Slinky Dog Dash – one of several new attractions in the new area styled as Andy’s backyard. The coaster features tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue put together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans, with Rex and Jessie lending a hand. Unlike the Tesla insane mode kick of Incredicoaster, Slinky Dog Dash will be suitable for riders of all ages. Toy Story Land also features Alien Swirling Saucers, new themed dining options and an expanded Toy Story Mania.

7. Watch Incredibles 2 at a Disney Resort

You can watch the long-awaited Incredibles sequel, Incredibles 2, at AMC theaters in Downtown Disney (Disneyland) or Disney Springs (Walt Disney World) starting June 15, 2018.

6. Enjoy an “Incredible Summer” at Walt Disney World

djhkfjy8789706At Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, favorite Disney•Pixar super heroes will take over Tomorrowland. Guests will party with The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone and for the first time Edna Mode (the greatest superhero costume designer). The incredible festivities culminate with a “SUPER” dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage.  The Incredibles taking over Tomorrowland is just one of the “Incredible Summer” special events in all four Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs, kicking off May 25.

5. Celebrate the return of the “Paint the Night” parade

The popular “Paint the Night” parade just returned to Disney California Adventure featuring more than 1 million LED lights and scenes from “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.” In June a new Incredibles inspired float is added to the mix, coming to life through a series of dazzling LED lights, new music elements and high-tech, pop-art effects inspired by the mid-century-modern style of the films.


4. Explore the Pandora – The World of Avatar

If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in the past year (or ever!) you can now explore Pandora – The World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom. And if you can only ride one ride… that ride would be Flight of Passage. According to Insider: “Flight of Passage’s success as the greatest Disney ride mostly lays in the combination of special effects that are all stretched to their most immersive.” You’ll definitely want to take advantage of FastPass+ to book a ride in advance or you’ll likely find yourself in a multi-hour line-up.

3. And there is always something Frozen…

If you haven’t had your fill of Frozen by now, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World provide opportunities to ‘Let It Go’. Disney California Adventure’s Hyperion theater features “Frozen – Live” and Epcot’s Norway pavilion features the Frozen Ever After ride and an Anna + Queen Elsa meet and greet.

2. Enjoy new fireworks shows

A new fireworks show, “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular,” will celebrate the heart of Pixar as it lights up the sky over Disneyland. “Together Forever” comes to life through projections on iconic park locations: Sleeping Beauty Castle, the water screens of the Rivers of America, the façade of “it’s a small world” and the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A. The grand tradition of Tinker Bell flying over Sleeping Beauty Castle also gets a Pixar twist, with a special flyover by none other than Buzz Lightyear and the house from Up.

“Much like a composer would write a symphony for an orchestra, our team was inspired to create a show that brings together all the different elements – fireworks, projections, music, surround sound, lasers, lighting and special effects. The end result is truly remarkable!”,  Susana Tubert, creative director, Walt Disney Company

Not to be outdone, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom recently launched “Happily Ever After“, their latest fireworks spectacular.


1. Sport a pair Mickey Mouse Graduation Ears

And to close out our top ten list, celebrate graduation with iconic Mickey ears – you EARned it!




But there’s one more thing!

And one more thought – consider donating to Make-A-Wish America who have long partnered with the Walt Disney Company to grant wishes to children diagnosed with a critical illness.


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