More Disneyland Resort Stories

Tradition Continues with Michigan and Alabama at Disneyland Before Rose Bowl

Donna Fisk

by , Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort

The Rose Bowl teams’ visit to Disneyland Resort is a tradition that dates back to late 1955, when Disneyland first welcomed Rose Bowl teams Michigan State and UCLA. Over the years, Disneyland has hosted many Rose Bowl teams and their players.

In 1966, Walt Disney was the Grand Marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade

The relationship between The Happiest Place on Earth and The Tournament of Roses is filled with milestones. In 1966, Walt Disney was the Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade, with nephew Roy E. Disney serving as the parade’s titular honoree in 2000. In 2005, Mickey Mouse himself even served as the Grand Marshal!

Today, the tradition continues as Michigan and Alabama made the traditional stop at Disneyland on their way to the Rose Bowl, where they will compete in the College Football Playoff Semifinal presented by Prudential on Jan. 1, 2024. 

Before facing off on the field, the teams met for their first official pregame appearance, riding down Main Street, U.S.A., on brightly decorated horse-drawn carriages. Featured on the carriages were Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan players: defensive back Mike Sainristil, defensive lineman Kris Jenkins, and running back Blake Corum. Also featured were Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and Alabama players: quarterback Jalen Milroe, linebacker Dallas Turner, and defensive back Malachi Moore. 

In addition, this special cavalcade had appearances by the 2024 President of The Tournament of Roses, Alex P. Aghajanian, as well as the 2024 Rose Queen Naomi Stilitano and the Royal Court. Vibrant music accompanied the celebrants, courtesy of the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band.

Michigan and Alabama team and coaches  commemorative group photo with Mickey Mouse in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle at Disneyland

Their day at Disneyland also included a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and a commemorative group photo with Mickey Mouse in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle.

The teams will meet again at the Rose Bowl Stadium, where they will play in the College Football Playoff Semifinal presented by Prudential on Jan. 1, 2024. No. 1 Michigan won its third consecutive Big Ten Championship and finished with a perfect 13-0 record. No. 4 Alabama won 11 consecutive games on its way to the SEC Championship, finishing with a 12-1 record. This 110th Rose Bowl game will mark the first time Michigan and Alabama meet at this storied bowl location.

Be sure to tune in for the big game. The College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential will air at 2 p.m. PT on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, on ESPN and the ESPN app.


  • The longstanding tradition of Rose Bowl teams visiting Disneyland Resort adds such a delightful and festive dimension to the event. It’s fascinating how this custom has been woven into the fabric of the Rose Bowl experience since 1955. The image of the teams enjoying Disneyland before the intensity of the game encapsulates the spirit of sportsmanship and celebration. Looking forward to seeing Michigan and Alabama bring their energy to the Rose Bowl Stadium, and may the best team win! This blend of sports and family-friendly fun is truly a unique aspect of the Rose Bowl tradition.