Similar to Disneyland’s Grad Night, Universal Studios Hollywood is hosting their own version. Seniors at WHS will attend Universal’s “Grad Bash” celebration on May 31.
“Universal is fairly new in the Grad Night business, and they actually reached out to us,” said Assistant Principal of Activities Heather Godfrey. “When we knew [that] we didn’t get Grad Night at Disneyland, Universal Studios had the nights that we wanted and would work with our schedule.”
Many rumors flew around WHS as to why seniors weren’t going to Disneyland this year. Godfrey clarified that Disneyland changed their system of how schools can get tickets for the events.
“Grad night traditionally has always been at Disneyland and that was what our goal was again this year,” said Godfrey. “Disneyland has changed the way they schedule it or allow schools to sign up for it, without telling anybody that they changed the way it was done.”
Years before, schools would inform Disneyland that they are interested in Grad Night and provide the school’s information. Then the schools would receive a link to pick a date and buy the tickets. However, it now resembles a lottery.
“They did it similar to the way you would get concert tickets,” said Godfrey. “Once you log into that link at that certain time, it puts you in a queue and you’re in line, which is something they’ve never done. And so, by the time we got through on the computer, there were no dates left that worked for us and there were no tickets.”
There was still an option to go to Disneyland, however Godfrey and the senior class officers decided that it was a better idea to go to Universal. Disneyland ticket prices were expensive and the remaining dates fell during finals and AP test weeks.
“The other thing was that some of the tickets they had available were only [for] the Grad Night party, which would’ve been only [in] California Adventure,” said Godfrey. “[This] means you have to get there at 10 p.m. and stay until 2 a.m.” The cost would be about $100 without the transportation fee, and half of California Adventure is currently closed for refurbishment.
Some students have expressed that they have no interest in going to Universal Studios because Disneyland is a tradition for Grad Night.
“I’m not going to Grad Night because I feel kind of cheated out of the fact that we’re not going to Disneyland anymore,” said Bianca Ieraci ‘18. “Disneyland has a lot more options, there’s less rides at Universal, it’s a smaller park for one thing and if you grew up around here, it’s kind of the norm … I’m going with my friends [to Disneyland.]”
As Grad Night is meant to celebrate the conclusion of high school, seniors are looking forward to spending time with their class.
“It’s just kind of like a landmark,” said Grant Adams ‘18. “You always hear about grad night. You can see all the people that you’ve gone through high school with, and you’re all together. It’s just fun.”
However, even though students are bummed about not attending Disneyland’s Grad Night, some are still going to Universal and are making the best out of the situation that has occurred.
“I’m not mad or upset. I just would have preferred [Disneyland], but I think there’s still a lot of things to do at Universal that’ll make it fun,” said Hannah Brock ‘18. “[I’m excited for] Harry Potter [World] because I haven’t been there yet.”
Regardless, students are mostly excited to hang out with their friends and enjoy their time celebrating the end of their high school experience.
“I like Universal, [but] it just doesn’t have as many attractions and it might get a little crowded because its not as big as Disney,” said Alexa Mushovic ‘18. “[However I’m excited to hang] out with my friends before we graduate.”
They will arrive at the amusement park around 4 p.m. Then, once they get in, they can enjoy the attractions, shows and DJ entertainment around the park. Students will also receive a free voucher for food.
“As far as I know, nothing’s excluded. I know Harry Potter World’s available, … the tram will all be working, … [and] they have after hours events, host [for Grad Bash], Derek Hough, an additional A-list entertainment, so there’s going to be lots of performances,” said Godfrey. “[The] one thing about Universal is that [they] have access to some entertainment, and stars and different things like that.”
Besides the controversy on where Grad Night should occur, the significance of this night is to be rewarded for the last four years of work they accomplished as well as spending time with their class before going on their own path.
“The entire purpose, or intended purpose [of Grad Night], is just to have fun,” said Jake Kim ‘18. “After four years of test dates, assignments and homework, you just get to let loose, be with friends and go on wild rides.”
For future years, Godfrey plans on being extra prepared to try and get the Disneyland tickets.
“They don’t have their calendar yet for 2019,” said Godfrey. “[However] when we do try to get into the Grad Night party, we will have everybody in the office trying to log on at the same time and just holler, whoever gets through first.”
She also came up with two options about whether they want to do Grad Night tickets or spend a whole day at the parks without the Grad Night party.
“I was talking to some of the juniors about this,” said Godfrey. “How stuck are they about wanting to give up the Grad Night celebration? Versus maybe just getting a group ticket and getting to Disneyland one day when it opens and stays until midnight and have the entire Westlake senior class at Disneyland.”
ASG juniors are already planning and preparing for Grad Night next year to try and ensure that the class of 2019 will attend Disneyland, whether its a full day park hopper or just the Grad Night Party itself.
“A lot of seniors this year are obviously pretty perturbed by the fact that they’re not going to Disneyland,” said Scott Pugh ‘19. “The juniors are already trying our best to try to reserve a spot in Disneyland.”