Your Guide to Princess Nite: A Disneyland After Dark Event

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Disneyland, Disneyland Parks

Me? A Princess? Shut! UP! When you attend Princess Nite at Disneyland, you’ll have a chance to become royalty yourself (and meet some of your favorite princesses in person!).

Disneyland After Dark events are some of the best nights to experience the magic of Disneyland Park! Not only does each event have its very own unique theme, but it’s also your opportunity to explore attractions, entertainment, and so much more with limited crowds and special theming that only appears during Disneyland After Dark. At these special ticketed after-hours events, Guests can enjoy themed photo opportunities, rare characters meet and greets, specialty foods, and drinks, as well as live entertainment and so much more. Recently, I attended the first-ever Princess Nite at Disneyland – and I’m sharing my perspective on the experience.

While Princess Nite was overall a nice event filled with lots of highlights, there were some moments that were a miss. Here are some of my thoughts on the event, with pros and cons to help you decide if it’s a Disneyland After Dark event you’d like to experience in the future.

What is Princess Nite?

For the first time in forever, Disneyland hosted a nighttime event that honored some of their most beloved princesses. Princess Nite gave Guests the opportunity to mix and mingle with Disney royalty, with character meet and greets for princesses like Ariel, Mulan, Belle, Merida, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, and more! Throughout the night, attendees could pick their own adventure by choosing which princesses to meet and what experiences to enjoy.

While character encounters were one of the standout activities of the event, the evening also included:

  • Shimmering royal-inspired decor throughout the park
  • Special photo opportunities (with PhotoPass downloads included!)
  • Princess-themed food and beverage offerings
  • A commemorative credential for Guests

Like all Disneyland After Dark events, Princess Nite began at 9:00 PM and ran until 1:00 AM, though Guests could arrive early and “mix in” with regular theme park Guests starting at 6:00 PM.

How Much Does Princess Nite at Disneyland Cost?

Prices for Princess Night vary depending on demand, starting at $129 per Guest ages 3 and up.

Tickets often sell out fast for Disneyland After Dark events. Since Princess Nite was a brand-new event – and only hosted for two nights – it’s yet to be seen if the event will return in the future with more dates and more tickets for sale. 

What It’s Like to Attend Princess Nite

My biggest takeaway from Princess Nite? There were so many princesses to meet – and so little time to do so! With only 4 hours to experience the park after dark, it can be a fast-paced night packed with a lot of fun. However, you’ll want to choose wisely and plan accordingly.

There are a variety of characters and special experiences to choose from, but it’s important to remember that you will not be able to do it all in the amount of time you have. I made sure to enjoy the activities that didn’t require too much of my time, like catching Soaring Melodies Under the Stars, a show featuring the princesses performing live on the Rivers of America. I also went to check out Vanellope von Schweetzs’ dance party in Tomorrowland, and the Princess Gowns of the Past exhibit in the Main Street Cinema.

Here’s an overview of my experiences trying different events during Princess Nite at Disneyland.

Meeting the Princesses

Princess Nite Disneyland After Dark Raya

Photo by Kathleen Lee

With any Disneyland After Dark event, you can expect to see characters who aren’t normally seen in the parks. Some of the rare characters present at Princess Nite were Princess Leia, Princess Atta, Kida, Sofia the First, and even Minnie Mouse and Dais, each with a princess makeover and dressed in their royal attire.

One of the highlights for me was seeing Giselle from Enchanted! Giselle is a rare character, but rather than having a meet and greet, she appeared in a horse-drawn carriage that passes down Main Street periodically throughout the evening. I saw Giselle five times in one night, and each encounter with her was better than the last. I didn’t have to wait in line to meet her; I just had to wait for her carriage to come down Main Street while listening to “Ever, Ever After” playing on repeat.

Long Wait Times for Princesses, Short Wait Times for Rides

Princess Nite Disneyland After Dark Minnie and Daisy

Photo by Kathleen Lee

If you love short wait times for Disneyland attractions, you won’t want to miss Princess Nite! In general, wait times for rides are shorter during Disneyland After Dark events. Most people come to these events to see the characters or participate in other special experiences, so the lines for rides tend to be short.

However, character encounter wait times were very long for Princess Nite. As the main draw of this Disney After Dark event, the wait times were surprisingly lengthy! And in my experience, the rarer the character, the longer the line will be to meet them. The most popular lines at Princess Nite when I went were Leia, Kida, Tiana, Minnie, and Daisy.

Make sure to arrive early and plan out what princesses you would like to see. Some Guests started to wait for characters like Princess Leia as early as 3:30 PM. Long wait times can take a large chunk out of your time and keep you from enjoying the rest of the event. So, use the mix-in time to your advantage and get a head start.

I suggest starting at the longest line and the princess you most want to see and work your way up to others as the night goes on. The line wait times will decrease as the night goes on, but the Cast Members will also close lines early, so keep that in mind when planning out your night.

The princess I wanted to see the most was Princess Leia. From the start of Princess Nite, her line wait time was already two hours long. I decided to wait and come back to her at a later time, but when I came back her line was capped off and closed early so I didn’t get to meet her at all.

Don’t Skip the Specialty Food & Drinks 

Princess Nite Mixed Berry Wagonade

Photo by Kathleen Lee

At Princess Nite, like all Disneyland After Dark events, you can buy special food and drinks created around the evening’s theme. While these might seem like extra splurges, they can be surprisingly delicious! For example, I tried the Mixed Berry Wagonade from the Red Wagon. It was so refreshing, and definitely worth the price! I also had the kid’s chicken at Plaza Inn, and it was great value for the money.

You’ll definitely want to act fast if there are any particular menu items you’re interested in trying – Disneyland After Dark food and drink items can sell out! I wanted to try the tea option at Cafe Orleans, but it sold out within minutes of going on sale. There weren’t too many noteworthy food items to try at Princess Nite, making this a missed opportunity for me.  

Every Disneyland After Dark Event Features Limited Merchandise and Keepsakes

Princess Nite Merch

Photo by Kathleen Lee

Look at this stuff! Isn’t it neat? At every Disneyland After Dark event, including Princess Nite, you’ll be able shop a selection of special limited-edition merch and keepsake items. Well, in my opinion, the items available for Princess Nite were just okay to me.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Princess Nite merch. Typically, the lines for limited edition items are long, but this particular event’s merch didn’t seem to wow anyone. I didn’t see a line at all during the event this time. The display wasn’t too exciting and didn’t sell me on the items. At the end of the night, I went back to the store, and it didn’t look like anything was sold out from the collection.

What about the special credentials given to Guests? The event credentials at Princess Nite were a magic mirror with all of the information about the event. It was a unique keepsake, but that’s the only commemorative item you get with your ticket. 

Take Advantage of Unlimited PhotoPass Opportunities

Princess Nite Photo Op

A look at one of the special photo backdrops for Princess Nite. Photo by Kathleen Lee

PhotoPass is included with your Princess Nite ticket. It’s actually a staple at all Disneyland After Dark events, and it’s one worth taking advantage of! After all, you can utilize PhotoPass photographers to capture high-quality shots of you with your favorite characters and those special event-only photo ops.

However, what the fine print doesn’t tell you is that each party gets just three shots per character. This means the PhotoPass photographers only offered group shots or solo shots, and you can only have three photos taken at each photo op. For most of the event, I either took group shots with my friends or a solo shot with the characters. You cannot do both unless you wait in line twice. This is to help with the line wait times and keep everything moving smoothly. 

For Princess Nite 2023, there was one convenient addition to the Disneyland After Dark PhotoPass experience: Guests could scan their event wristbands into the Disneyland App and link it to your PhotoPass Photographer after each photo. It was very easy to use, and the photos were uploaded to your account quickly. 

Make Sure to Dress the Part of a Princess

Princess Nite Costumes

Photo by Kathleen Lee

Costumes are definitely encouraged at Disneyland After Dark events! As an adult, there are really no opportunities to dress up and feel like a princess, so this was a fun experience to share with my friends. Disneyland has rules and guidelines to help you plan for your occasion, so be sure to check out the Disneyland website for more details on what, exactly, is allowed for adult costumes.

I decided to go as one of my favorite princesses, Thumbelina. I wanted to pay homage to Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Thumbelina.

Is Princess Nite Worth Attending?

Depending on who you ask, Princess Nite was a hit or miss. Between extremely long wait times for princess meet and greets and a somewhat limited selection of exciting merchandise and specialty food and drink items, there were definitely areas in which this Disneyland After Dark event could improve. However, there was also plenty to like, from short ride times to unique park experiences (like special decor and rare character sightings!).

My hope for a future Princess Nite is that the event will be longer with more roaming characters and sightings like Giselle. Disneyland After Dark events offer guests a lot of opportunities to explore the park and make unforgettable memories. I am a fan of these events overall, and I will definitely go back despite the long wait times. The key is to have a plan and make the most of your magical experience. 

Magic mirror on the wall…. At Princess Nite, you can be the fairest of them all!

Posts by Kathleen Lee

Kat Lee is a frequent window shopper and candy connoisseur on Main Street, U.S.A. You can catch her Disneybounding in Fantasyland while sharing stories and making memories as a media reporter for DLR Magazine. Check out her Instagram to see where she’s headed next or what the latest park trend is.

Authored by
Kathleen Lee

Kat Lee is a frequent window shopper and candy connoisseur on Main Street, U.S.A. You can catch her Disneybounding in Fantasyland while sharing stories and making memories as a media reporter for DLR Magazine. Check out her Instagram to see where she’s headed next or what the latest park trend is.
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