For a unique experience at Disney, more and more people are taking part in Disney After Hours. The event allows guests to enjoy the most popular theme park at Disney World at a different time with a limited amount of people around.
Is Magic Kingdom After Hours worth the price of admission? Do people enjoy their time? Here is the complete guide to the experience for anyone considering this ticket option. It makes perfect sense for a lot of visitors, but others might not find it to bring enough value to the table for their specific needs.
Since these events are held roughly once a week, there is somewhat of a high demand for tickets. It is best to plan and make sure that everything is set before committing to a time.
The cost to get in is $129 per adult or child if purchased in advance. The price jumps up to $139 if purchased the day of the event. This is the same price as the other After Hour events at Disney, but a person can find some discounts if they look hard enough. Annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members are allowed to purchase tickets for just $99 per adult or child.
The pricing has been questioned quite a bit over the years, but people are paying for smaller lines, a unique experience, and Disney at a different time of day. Some people simply want to take advantage of the much cooler and dryer nights, compared to summer days that are usually filled with a mixture of heat and pop-up showers.
Event start time
The event start time varies, so make sure to pay attention to the exact time after purchasing a ticket. It will officially start at either 8 PM, 9 PM, or 10 PM, and will last for three hours. Here is a look at the schedule recently, to provide a better idea on dates and start times.
Events from 10 PM to 1 AM
- Monday, November 18, 2019
- Monday, December 9, 2019
- Monday, March 9, 2020
Events from 9 PM to 12 AM
- Friday, January 17, 2020
- Monday, January 20, 2020
- Monday, February 3, 2020
- Monday, February 10, 2020
- Monday, February 17, 2020
- Monday, February 24, 2020
Events from 8 PM to 11 PM
- Monday, January 6, 2020
- Monday, January 13, 2020
- Thursday, January 23, 2020
- Monday, January 27, 2020
- Friday, January 31, 2020
- Monday, March 2, 2020
To maximize the value of this event, every single person should plan to get there right at 7 PM, when they start allowing people into the park with this ticket.
Why is this so important? The most obvious reason is that it allows for more hours to explore at the park. If the event does not start until 10, that gives people six hours to do as much as they want at the Magic Kingdom.
It also comes in handy if there are attractions a person wants to check out that will not be open during After Hours. A full list of open attractions are below, so there is no reason not to plan things out a bit.
At the end of each day at Magic Kingdom, lines are usually the shortest even before After Hours start. The common recommendation is to stay away from the front of the park, since many people will be exiting that way. As long as people get into the park at 7 PM, and then find specific locations to enjoy during the period when most are leaving, they can start to maximize the experience.
All of these attractions are open during Magic Kingdom After Hours. It is important to know this list, because anything that is not open should be checked out during those few hours before the park closes to everyone else.
- Astro Orbiter
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Disney Princess Greetings at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Haunted Mansion
- it’s a small world
- Jungle Cruise
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Along with these attractions is a meet and greet opportunity with several Disney princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall. This is one of the best ways to get a perfect photo opportunity without stressing over long lines. Since it it’s not nearly as crowded, the characters can spend a little bit more time with each individual as well. Occasionally, other characters will be available for greetings, but that can change very frequently.
The Magic Kingdom start letting people attending the After Hour event in at 7 PM each night. This gives visitors a little bit of time to feel like a regular park guest. This is when it will be the most crowded for a person during the experience, but everything is open as usual.
What people find is that a lot of groups will be dragging at the end, since they have been there for quite a while. The lines start to go down significantly, which works in the favor of anyone who just showed up.
Disney starts to usher out people who do not have the special ticket for the After Hour event right at park’s closing. This is when people can begin to understand just how much they can do with minimal lines. Even the most popular attractions will be pretty much as simple as lining up, and going on right away.
Eating at Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom
A trip to any Disney property involves getting something to eat. The dining options are a little limited during after hours, but that does not mean there are not some great food choices available.
What is free
Every single person is entitled to unlimited ice cream, popcorn, and an assortment of beverages. It is pretty easy to find a cart in different corners of the park, and people can be on their way.
An added tip for people right before they leave for the night is to take advantage of these three options one last time. Disney will not let people take a ton of food and beverage for the entire family carried by a single person, but they will allow each individual to take something for themselves.
Additional dining options
Do not bank on many table service, or even quick-service restaurants to be open during Disney After Hours. There are just not enough people in the park to make it worth staying open for those extra hours. There will be a select few, but it is hard to predict exactly what will be open each day.
If there is a particular restaurant in mind that is a must, call ahead and see what their plan is for the event. There is also the option of using that time before the event starts to grab some food. It will not be the most effective use of time for most people, but still something to look into.
General Tips for Magic Kingdom After Hours
Spending money on a ticket with limited hours only makes sense if a person gets great value out of it. There must be a reason why does he sell so many of these tickets, and it usually comes down to making the most of a unique experience. Below is perfect for first-timers, as no one wants to be regretting not doing more during Magic Kingdom After Hours.
Arrive before 7 PM
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to get into the park as soon as they allow Magic Kingdom After Hours ticket holders to do so. It is especially true for people who are not frequent Disney World visitors, because no one wants to miss out on their favorite things because they ran out of time.
The three hours during the event go by quickly. Not only that, but not all attractions are open during the event. Getting there at 7 PM ensures that there is at least some time where the entire park is open as usual to explore.
Eat dinner before arriving
The snacks and drinks that are included with every ticket should be more than sufficient to hold people over. Yes, there are some food options open during after hours, but the selection is pretty limited. Not only that, but it tends to be the typical food that is marked up as well.
Most people save a little bit of money by eating before heading over. There is no limit on the snacks or drinks, so no one should go hungry.
Plan a route ahead of time
There will always be people who show up at Disney World and do things spur of the moment, but there is a shortened clock at Magic Kingdom After Hours. If this is a trip where people want to see as much as possible, it helps a lot to plan things out. Go a certain route around the park and make sure everything is checked out before moving on. Having to cross the park numerous times will eat into the schedule considerably.
Get rest during the day
To be ready for the after hours event, it makes sense to get rest during the day. It will end up not being quite as strenuous as going to a park for the entire day, but it still involves people being on their feet for a long time.
All that standing and walking can lead to some tired people as the clock strikes midnight in some instances. For the price of the ticket, it loses considerable value if the night ends early.
Avoid parking a vehicle if necessary
Parking at Disney is a huge hassle most of the day, but it can be particularly bad when people are arriving for an After Hours event. Not only are the parking lots mostly filled already, but it is rush hour for the rest of the city. Even people who are staying on or near Disney property will find it difficult.
Utilize transportation at Disney to get there before 7 PM instead. The monorail will take visitors right to the Magic Kingdom entrance, and there is usually a crew of cast members ready to welcome event ticket holders.
Have a plan for transportation after
Since the event in so late, keep in mind that transportation is limited. There is no monorail service at that hour, so people must rely on either resort buses, or the boat to the ticket center.
For the final leg of the trip back, count on a taxi, Uber, or Lyft if necessary. Getting around after an After Hours event is a lot easier in today’s world than it was even a few years ago.
Yes, it is important to maximize the time, but do not turn it into what seems like a race of sorts. After hours should be a relaxed experience with very little wait time for the majority of guests. If a short break is needed, it might be better in the long run to take that time. Do not get burned out in the first couple of hours, because then the group might want to head home early. Pace everything, and it should be an enjoyable experience.
How Magic Kingdom After Hours compares do other options
Disney After Hours events are held at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Out of the three, Magic Kingdom seems to offer the best overall value for the majority of visitors. Not only do many consider it to be the most well-rounded park, but it leaves a lot of top attractions open the entire time. When looking at the list of open attractions at the other parks, Magic Kingdom’s list is by far the longest.
After hours do tend to run a little bit late at all the parks, and the 10 PM start is the latest one will find anywhere at Magic Kingdom. This could be problematic for people who have younger children, as they simply will not be able to stay up that long.
Magic Kingdom’s popularity makes it very hectic during peak season. Since these events become sold out, a person never has to worry about them being too crowded. This eliminates a lot of stress, and all it takes is one visit during normal hours to notice a difference.
All in all, Magic Kingdom is the top choice, unless a family has already visited this park numerous times without visiting the others. It is one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy an extremely popular theme park. Even during peak season, any person going to an After Hours event will understand that it can only get so packed due to ticket limits.
The cast members seem to pick up on the more relaxed vibe, and they are even more pleasant than normal. This only makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable for those making the trip.
Finally, After Hour events tend to be geared more towards the older crowds. If one of the biggest complaints about Magic Kingdom is having too many young kids around, this is the perfect opportunity to avoid that. There are still plenty of kids, but most of the really young ones can’t stay up long enough to enjoy this experience.