For six decades, the Disneyland Resort in Southern California has explored the frontiers of immersive storytelling, bringing exciting attractions and innovative entertainment to life. Now, during the Diamond Celebration, a glittering new nighttime parade, a new fireworks spectacular and all-new “World of Color” show have raised the bar, once again, keeping the Disneyland Resort and its guests forever young.

For meeting and event professionals, these new experiences provide even more entertainment options for private events held in the Disneyland theme parks, whether it’s a reception for 20, or an opening or closing-night gala for much larger groups. And, the new, nighttime spectaculars also offer more exciting entertainment for attendees to enjoy on their own, after their meetings end.

Recently, a group of meeting professionals had the opportunity to experience first-hand these dazzling new experiences and options available for themselves. Paula Smith, Executive Director of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, a southern California-based association, was part of this experience and thinks her attendees will enjoy the new offerings. Her association is scheduled to hold it’s annual symposium at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa later this year.

“Yes, I definitely think [our members] will enjoy it—especially the new electrical parade, Paint the Night,” Smith said. “It’s spectacular, and it’s a huge draw for my members, many of whom will remember the old [Main Street Electrical] parade. Seeing it made me feel like a kid again. You just forget about everything else, and it’s really awesome to be in that moment,” she added.

With more than 1.5 million brilliant LED lights that flash and glow, dazzling special effects, unforgettable music and energetic performances, Paint the Night is more vibrant than any parade in the 60 years of the Disneyland Resort. 

Also new is the Disneyland Forever fireworks show, featuring an immersive street-to-sky experience, unlike nothing ever seen before. The “stage” for the show extends from the sky above to the buildings of Main Street, U.S.A., the façade of “it’s a small world,” the Matterhorn and mist screens along the Rivers of America, with specially designed digital projections offering new experiences at each location.

Over at Disney’s California Adventure Park, the new nighttime spectacular, World of Color - Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, illuminates a magical water canvas to tell the story of Walt’s dream for Disneyland. Groups staying onsite can enjoy access to viewing locations for up to 400 guests during regularly scheduled shows (based on availability), or during certain times of the year, private group shows can be arranged as part of an evening catered event.*

In addition to experiencing these new entertainment extravaganzas, the meeting professionals also experienced some of the options available for group networking events, including Cars Land—where up to 2,000 attendees can enjoy a high-octane early morning breakfast or an after-hours soiree featuring a trip to Radiator Springs, and Stage 17—a 10,000-square-foot private, indoor event venue tucked inside Disney’s California Adventure Park.

Featuring a new “Royal Courtyard” backdrop, the Stage 17 event venue can accommodate a seated buffet dinner for up to 300 guests or a reception for up to 450 guests. Best of all, built-in technology, such as two 9x12’ high-definition screens and projectors, plus dozens of programmable lights and a state-of-the-art audio system, means the space can be easily and cost-efficiently transformed into nearly any theme or immersive group experience imaginable. Here, the creativity and event-design options range from dramatic to spectacular – and everything in between.

“I especially enjoyed the event held at Stage 17, and I about fell over when we walked inside because it was so outstanding,” said Smith. “I have hosted many events in that venue in the past, back when it was just a ”˜black box’ for a simple event. But, when I saw the possibilities [with the new backdrop], now I can see doing a very elegant event there. I’m now considering moving our upscale president’s event, which we typically hold in the hotel ballroom, over to Stage 17 to bring it to a whole-new level,” she said.

According to planner Paula Smith, hosting an event at Disneyland Resort during the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration will be extra special.

“I am so excited; it’s going to be a really great year. There are so many things for [our members] to do. And, the Grand Californian Hotel – we love everything about it. The meeting facilities are really top-notch. You can conduct a professional business meeting there and not even realize that you are at Disney. But when you want it, the Disney fun is just outside,” Smith said.

Which of these new experiences are you most excited about? Tell us what you think on Twitter and Facebook!

*Theme park events may require a theme park admission ticket. Theme park offerings are subject to availability.