Music performance

Celebrate Soulfully at Disneyland: Event Guide for Music, Food, and Fun

Last updated:

Every February, Disneyland Park comes alive with the joyful sounds of gospel music during its annual Celebrate Gospel or “Celebrate Soulfully” event. For two weekends, the Fantasyland Theater is transformed into a place of worship and praise as award-winning gospel artists, community choirs, and local performers fill the venue with soul-stirring songs. Celebrate Gospel has been a beloved tradition at the Disneyland Resort for over a decade.

What started in 2009 as a small tribute to gospel music during Black History Month has blossomed into a can’t-miss festival that draws guests from all backgrounds. The uplifting concerts celebrate African American culture and the roots of gospel music in a truly magical setting. This article will highlight everything you need to know to attend this year’s Celebrate Gospel events on February 17th and 24th.

We’ll cover the impressive lineup of performers, dining options, must-have merchandise, and tips on navigating crowds. Whether you’re a first-timer or a Celebrate Gospel veteran, get ready for a weekend filled with stirring vocals, delicious food, and plenty of Disney magic. Come experience the transformative power of gospel music against the backdrop of the Happiest Place on Earth! Throughout the article, we may refer to the event as Celebrate Gospel or Celebrate Soulfully.

History of Celebrate Gospel (Soulfully)

Performance

Celebrate Gospel started in 2009 as a small tribute to gospel music during Black History Month at the Disneyland Resort. It was originally held at Disney’s California Adventure Park. Over the years it grew into a larger annual event called “Celebrate Soulfully”, held on weekends in February. In 2022, Celebrate Gospel was moved to the Fantasyland Theater at Disneyland Park, where it has been held the past two years. It now spans two weekends and features performances from award-winning gospel artists, community choirs, and other performers. The event commemorates both Black History Month and the roots of gospel music. It aims to honor African American culture and provide uplifting, soul-stirring concerts for guests of all backgrounds.

Some key milestones over the years:

  • 2019: 10th Anniversary of Celebrate Gospel
  • 2022: First year held at Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theater
  • 2023: Featured artists like Jekalyn Carr, Melvin Crispell III, and Erica Campbell

The types of performers have also expanded over the years. Originally focused on gospel artists, it now features community choirs, R&B, jazz, and other performers as well. The offerings around the event have grown too. There is now special food, merchandise, and entertainment throughout February tied to Black History Month. Celebrate Gospel has transformed from a small one-day gospel tribute to a larger, resort-wide celebration spanning multiple weekends. It continues to evolve each year, becoming an increasingly popular Disneyland tradition.

When is Celebrate Soulfully at Disneyland Park?

Downtown Disney Performance

Celebrate Soulfully has been an annual tradition in February during Black History Month for over 15 years now.

The 2024 event dates are:

  • February 17th, 2024 – Headliner Marvin Sapp
  • February 24th, 2024 – Headliner Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Dining

Signage

While specifics haven’t been released about food items, here is a list of restaurants and past food items from previous years:

Restaurants & Locations:

  • Troubadour Tavern (Disneyland Park)
    • Offerings include salted plantain chips, berbere-spiced popcorn, chicken-coconut curry sweet potato, and more African-inspired snacks
  • Award Wieners (Disney California Adventure)
    • BBQ hot link sandwich, strawberry cheesecake funnel cake fries
  • Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio (Downtown Disney)
    • Serving up Creole and Cajun specialties infused with contemporary inspiration.
  • Food trucks in Downtown Disney (June-July 2022)
    • Bred’s Nashville Hot Chicken and Happy Ice Italian ice

Peach Cobbler

Dishes from Past Years:

  • Jerk seasoned beef tenderloin skewers & coconut shrimp (Grand Californian Hotel)
  • Summer melon & prosciutto salad (Napa Rose)
  • Hearthstone Lounge and Storytellers Café also had soul food dishes

The dining during Celebrate Soulfully features southern/soul food with African and New Orleans influences. Locations span the Disneyland Resort, from the parks to hotels to Downtown Disney. Special food and drinks are offered for the month-long celebrations each February, with additional offerings in summer during Black Music Month.

Entertainment

Lion King

Enjoy anyone of these amazing shows and character meet n greets during the month of February:

Tale of the Lion King: Rediscover Simba’s journey in a heartfelt live show featuring storytelling, music and dance. Check out the Disneyland site for show times.

Frederick Douglass Exhibit: Pay tribute to American heroes like Frederick Douglass at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in the Main Street Opera House. Douglass, a prominent leader of the abolitionist movement, escaped slavery and became a renowned social reformer, writer and statesman.

Encounter Black Panther and the Dora Milaje: Avengers, assemble! Head over to Avengers Headquarters, where heroic encounters await. Cross paths with Black Panther, learn the wisdom of Wakanda and even train with General Okoye and the Dora Milaje, Black Panther’s royal guard. You may also see Captain America!

Meet Tiana: Find Princess Tiana walking around and doing meet n greets in New Orleans Square.

Five & Dime: Soulful singer Dime and her jazz quintet perform hits of the ‘20s and ‘30s with brass and sass.

Merchandise

Statue

2024 Offerings:

  • Event-exclusive and seasonal merchandise will likely be released, as in past years
  • Expected items include apparel, pins, headbands, plush characters, and more themed to Black heritage
  • Locations to purchase: Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney, Disney hotels

Past Offerings:

  • The Post 21 merchandise cart in Downtown Disney sells modern items from Black-owned businesses (2022)
  • Artists featured in showcases at Disneyana shop, where guests could purchase signed artwork (2022)
  • Under Armour released a Black History Month apparel and footwear collection (2022)
  • Merchandise featured classic and new Black characters and films like “Soul”, “Princess and the Frog”, “Black Panther” (2022)

Celebrate Soulfully merchandise spans exclusive event items along with Black-owned and themed collections sold year-round. Offerings are available across Disneyland Resort and evolve each year. 2024 will likely see new apparel, collectibles, and more during February’s festivities.

Crowds

People

Crowds for Celebrate Soulfully have been relatively small in past years, with only a few hundred spectators filling the venue. However, the event is growing in popularity as part of Disneyland’s “Celebrate Soulfully” Black History Month festivities. As it expands to cover two weekends in 2023, crowd sizes may increase. Crowd levels at Disneyland in general are predicted to be higher in 2024 than past years.

But since Celebrate Soulfully occurs before the busy Spring Break rush, February weekdays should still see smaller crowds than weekends or other school vacation periods.

Celebrate Soulfully has drawn modest crowds so far, but is gaining traction and could see increased attendance in coming years based on its growth and Disneyland’s rebounding crowds post-pandemic. Check out our free Crowd Calendar for best times to visit!

Future Events

Artwork of a bayou and log with guests floating

While construction is still ongoing for this attraction, we’re definitely looking forward to the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in 2024! Here’s what we know so far:

Opening Timeframe

  • Set to open in 2024 at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts
  • Originally said “late 2024” but recent updates only say “2024”, suggesting a potential earlier opening
  • Construction well underway at both locations to transform existing Splash Mountain rides

Storyline

  • Picks up after the events of the animated film The Princess and the Frog
  • Tiana has grown her business into an employee-owned cooperative called Tiana’s Foods
  • Guests will join Tiana, Naveen, and Louis on a musical adventure as they prepare to host a Mardi Gras celebration

Ride Experience

  • Boat ride through the bayou at night with original music inspired by the film
  • Encounter classic characters from the movie as well as new friends
  • Special effects and new animatronic characters that Imagineers promise will set a new standard

Conclusion

Singer

Celebrate Soulfully has become a cherished tradition at Disneyland Park over the past 15 years. What originated in 2009 as a small tribute event called “Celebrate Gospel” during Black History Month has blossomed into a month-long festival honoring African American culture. The concerts, exhibits, activities, food, and merchandise offerings span the Disneyland Resort, allowing guests to celebrate Black heritage in a variety of uplifting and magical ways.

The concerts at Fantasyland Theater remain the marquee event, showcasing renowned gospel artists and community choirs. But special jazz performances, southern-inspired cuisine, merchandise collections, and educational opportunities now round out the festivities. While the majority of Celebrate Soulfully takes place each February, offerings tied to Black Music Month in June have also recently been added. And year-round, guests can experience entertainment and exhibits highlighting the vibrant influence of African American artists, innovators, and storytellers.

At its core, Celebrate Soulfully provides a platform for Disneyland to honor diversity and inclusion through joyful experiences. The event has become a beloved tradition that continues to evolve, expanding its scale and variety of offerings annually. It encapsulates how Disney magic can illuminate cultures, bring people together, and inspire through music, food, and fellowship.