Final traditional senior event at Disneyland nixed because of coronavirus concerns; PTSA to issue Grad Nite ticket refunds


Disneyland in Anaheim, known for its iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, has announced the cancellation of this year’s Grad Nite in May. This was the last traditional senior activity that has been axed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to state-issued stay-at-home and social distancing orders. Accolade File Photo

Edmund Lee

It was the final nail in the coffin for Sunny Hills’ Class of 2020.

The PTSA’s Grad Nite committee held out as long as it could in hopes that seniors would at least have one traditional event they can go to at the end of this month.

Week after week since the school was shut down to students March 16, principal Allen Whitten’s digital newsletter included a section from the PTSA indicating that it was still holding Grad Nite ticket sales for seniors and that it had yet to hear from the Disneyland Resort about nixing the May 27 event.

But by the April 24 “Gold Standard” digital newsletter, the PTSA’s Grad Nite section was gone because by the week before, Disneyland had announced its decision to ax Grad Nite 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Disneyland in Anaheim has been closed to visitors since March 14.

“In light of recommendations by school and government officials to limit gatherings for the remainder of the academic year, we are making the difficult decision to cancel Disneyland Resort Grad Nite 2020,” according to an announcement posted on the website. “Because Grad Nite events require a substantial amount of planning, coordination and travel, we felt that this was the right decision to make at this time. 

“We know how disappointing this news will be to the many students who were planning to join us this year.”

The PTSA Grad Nite Committee then emailed a PDF of a letter to seniors on April 20, informing them that all ticket purchases will be refunded. The amount of reimbursement would vary depending on when seniors paid.

“If payment was made online, refunds will be issued through that payment portal,” the letter stated. “If payment was made with cash or check, we will reach out to you via email for an address to send a refund check.”

No information was given as to exactly how many seniors purchased a Grad Nite ticket.

For those who paid for Grad Nite before the end of the fall semester, they would receive a $200 refund; those who paid between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30 would get back $215, and anyone who bought a ticket thereafter would receive a $225 refund.

“In this unprecedented time, our seniors have lost several highly anticipated events that celebrate the culmination and conclusion of their high school careers,” according to the PTSA Grad Nite Committee statement. “We are very sorry for yet another disappointment.”

Senior William Lee expressed his frustration and devastation when he first heard the news.

“Our final social event as seniors just got wiped out, and there’s no way of bringing it back,” Lee said. “We’re only seniors in high school once, and everything is going downhill for us.”

Senior Meghan Legayada also felt saddened by the news as this was something she was anticipating for many years.

“Honestly, I was upset because I have been looking forward to this since the eighth grade,” Legayada said. “But at the same time, I understand that I would rather stay home and not further the spread of the virus than be selfish and celebrate my graduation and possibly make [the] quarantine [period] longer.”