In typical Walt Disney World fashion, there is always another party, another festival, or another special event to add more magic to your already magical Disney Vacation. And Disney After Hours events is no exception. But, with the high cost of yet another ticket and limited hours, one has to ask; Are Disney After Hours Events Worth it?
It comes as no surprise that a Disney After Hours ticket is a higher price than a day ticket. With nighttime hours, limited capacity, complimentary snacks, and low wait times you may be wondering if it’s realistic to get in everything you want to do in such a short “party.” Here’s our take on Disney’s After Hours Party events and whether or not it may or may not be worth your Disney dollar.
When is Disney After Hours at Walt Disney World?
Walt Disney World just announced Disney After Hours Events for 2023! This late-night, after-hours event allows guests an EXTRA 3 hours in the parks after the closing time, with entry into the park as early as 7 pm. For 2023 Disney World is hosting Disney After Hours Parties at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on select nights. You can grab After Hours tickets on Disney’s Special Events page.
- January 4 – April 19, 2023: Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios Select Nights 9:30 pm- 12:30 am
- January 9 – March 27, 2023: Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Select Nights 10:00 pm- 1:00 am
What is Disney After Hours at Walt Disney World?
A Disney After Hours Party requires a separate ticket and allows guests the chance the stay 3 hours longer than regular park closing time. Meaning, party guests get late-night access to the parks, with the chance to ride any of the 20 open rides, without the line waits. Disney After Hours Party events typically have a certain theme; Villians, Boo Bash, Merriest Hours, etc. Still, no matter the theme, or park, all After Hours events, so far, have had the same structure. Here is everything you need to know about attending an After Hours event at Walt Disney World.
What’s Included with your Disney After Hours Ticket?
- 3 hours After Hours access to the park
- Limited capacity offers lower crowds and less wait time
- Special character greetings
- Specialty Snacks
- Specialty Merchandise
- Special Entertainment- sometimes
- Complimentary Snacks include unlimited popcorn, ice cream treats, and bottled beverages.
How Long Does Disney After Hours last?
Disney’s After Hours events are 3 hours long. Usually running from 9-12 or 9:30- 12:30 am, depending on the night. But, After Hours ticket holders are admitted into the park at 7 pm, which means you get full access to the regular evening events in the park ( like nighttime shows, evening parades, or character cavalcades and fireworks) and any attractions that may not be open during the event! Disney Pro Tip: Arrive at 7 pm, so that you lengthen this event to 5 hours just by being there a little earlier.
Do you Need a Ticket for Disney After Hours?
Yes! Disney’s After Hours is a separately-ticketed event, meaning that it requires its own ticket that must be purchased separately from regular park tickets. Like other separately-ticketed events, a Disney After Hours Ticket allows you access to the park as early as 7 pm; allowing you to enter the park a little bit before party time. Once you enter the park just look for the cast members to get your Disney After Hours wristband and direct you where to go.
How do you Get Disney After Hours Tickets?
Purchasing tickets through the Walt Disney World website, travel agents and even the My Disney Experience app are all options for getting tickets. Note, that some events and some nights will sell out fast.
How Much Do Disney After-Hours Tickets Cost?
Disney’s After Hours events vary in cost depending on if it’s a standard After Hours event, a themed event, or an event held on a special night, like Halloween. In general, tickets range from $129- $159 dollars per person. Yes, this is higher than both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. But, then it’s also meant for adults, and gives a level of exclusivity you do not get at the parties. Over the last few years, we’ve questioned if the parties even have a capacity limit at all, as they are packed with people. So what you’re really paying for here is a close-to-empty park with the opportunity to enjoy all the attractions you like without the wait. Disney Pro Tip: Advance Tickets are cheaper! And go up about 10 dollars if you wait until the day of to purchase your tickets. That is if they’re not sold out! Purchase ahead of time.
Are There Discounts Available?
For both Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Members there are sometimes Discounts offered. For example, “Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can take advantage of a $10 discount for select event nights”
What Dates and Times are Disney’s After Hours Offered?
The dates and times of each Disney After Hours Event varies. Be sure to check out Disney’s After Hours event page for current events. Generally, the hours range from 8-11, 9-12, or 10- midnight.
What is the Capacity of Disney’s After Hours?
The biggest perk of a Walt Disney World After Hours event is the extremely low wait times. Think 5-10 minutes for all your favorite rides. While not every ride or area in the park is open, all the main attractions are part of this event. The park is close to empty, in a fun and eerie sort of way.
Is Food Available at Disney’s After Hours?
Since the park is closed after 9, you won’t typically find Table-Service or Quick-Service Restaurants open. That said, be sure to grab dinner prior to the party or at a quick service location in the park when you arrive at 7 pm. While you may find a couple of places open after 9 pm, like Main Street Bakery and Storybook Treats, most food places are usually closed. Since the evening is more about taking advantage of riding everything you enjoy without wait times, be sure to grab the complimentary treats in between rides! Disney Pro Tip: Complimentary snacks are available throughout the park on kiosks and carts, so if the line looks long just wait for the next one!
Attractions and Character Meets at Disney’s After Hours
During these events, much of the park is open. This includes rides and some select character meet and greets, depending on if it’s a themed event or not. Here are the things you can experience during the party.
What Attractions are OPEN during Disney’s After Hours at Magic Kingdom?
As always, check out the Disney After Hours webpage for details and last-minute changes.
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- Enchanted Tiki Room
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Haunted Mansion
- The Barnstormer
- “it’s a small world”
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
What Attractions are NOT AVAILABLE during Disney’s After Hours?
Sometimes the After Hours events have theme-specific digital shows, attractions, or fireworks as part of the event. But other attractions generally unavailable are as follows.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- The Hall of Presidents
- Carousel of Progress
Is Disney After Hours Worth it?
From a budget standpoint, a Disney After Hours ticket is equivalent to a full-day ticket in some cases. It’s also more than a party ticket for either of Magic Kingdom’s main parties; Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. However, if you look at Disney’s After Hours event through the lens of how many rides you can get in during a certain period of time, we can guarantee you’re better off staying up late for this event. A daytime trip to Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios will be crowded and will require waits whether it be for characters, rides, or experiences. Additionally, certain rides may be completely unattainable! Snow White’s Mine Ride and Rise of the Resistance routinely have high waits and you may not get to them during your trip.
Is Disney After Hours Good for Kids?
While the Disney After Hours Events are one of our top things to do at Disney World for Adults, we feel differently about it for families. Disney After Hours isn’t great for kids under 10 years old. But this is a decision only you can make for yourself and your family. There are a few reasons that a Disney After Hours Event may not be great for little ones. The late hours alone require a lot from children who may have already had a very mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting day. The pace of an After Hours event is all about fitting in EVERYTHING you want to do in a short period of time. While the lines are low, covering the ground of the park in a few hours, means potentially walking fast and racing around to get it all in. Only you know what your kids may, or may not be up to.
Who should attend Disney After Hours?
This After Hours event at Walt Disney World is perfect for people who may be taking shorter vacations and won’t be able to take 2 days in the park. Mainly because you can tackle more rides in a few hours, in an uncrowded park, than during daytime hours.
Disney After-Hours Planning
Maximize Your Time
Arrive at the Park just before 7 pm. This way you can enter the park ASAP and start having fun right away and stretch a 3-hour long event to 5 hours.
Before the Party Starts
Since you’ll be arriving in the park before the event you’ll have the option to take advantage of ALL the in-park entertainment, attractions, and food options. We recommend getting in all the things that won’t be available during the party; character meet and greets, fireworks, etc.
Focus on the Rides and Entertainment
While the lure of “Free Food” is always exciting, keep in mind that the Complimentary Snacks at this event are basic. Popcorn, ice cream treats, and bottled beverages are relatively low-cost, so don’t spend the night waiting in lines for free snacks. Focus on grabbing these snacks in between the rides and entertainment.
Grab Extra Free Snacks at the End of the Night
While we don’t recommend focusing on the free snacks, we do recommend grabbing some to take back to your resort before you leave. Heck, free is free! Right? Grab some extra treats for later.
Take Advantage of PhotoPass
Night photos are fun to take but they do take practice to get the right lighting, contrast, composition, and everything else! Plus, if a PhotoPass photographer snaps your picture, you are guaranteed a halfway decent picture. We recommend being sure to get a picture in front of the castle on the way out. Your chances of a picture without the people in the background are pretty good as it gets later in the evening.
Hopefully, this gives you a good idea as to whether or not a Disney After Hours event is worth it for you and your family. Let us know your thoughts!