Are Disney’s After Hours Events Worth It?

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The exterior of The Haunted Mansion at night.

Credit: Disney

Disney hosts many specially ticketed events, from crowd favorites like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, to more exclusive events like DVC Moonlight Magic. These events can give Guests the opportunity to experience the Park with a much lower capacity and shorter waits to ride their favorite attractions. Additionally, these events can offer rare character meet-and-greets, themed entertainment offerings, special food and drinks, exclusive merchandise, and more – for a hefty price tag. Therefore, not all ticketed events are created equal.

Astro Orbiter at the Magic Kingdom at night
Credit: Disney

Disney After Hours is a series of events where Guests can visit their favorite Park for an extra three hours after it closes. The events usually operate at a very low capacity, meaning wait times are virtually nonexistent for most attractions. The cost of admission also includes unlimited ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages. Recently, Disney announced that After Hours would now also begin at EPCOT and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

Tickets for these events average between $109-$155, which could be more than the average cost of day admission, depending on the date. So is it really worth it to shell out the extra money for just three hours? Let’s examine these events and decide.

Guests in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort at an after hours event
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

What are Disney After Hours?

  • Disney After Hours is currently offered at four parks; the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
  • Each Park offers multiple dates and pricing depends on the Park and date, and typically falls somewhere in between $109-$155, EXCEPT for H2O Glow After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon, which is $75 for adults and $70 for children.
  • Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members receive a discount on these prices, bringing the ticket to $99.
  • The event is officially scheduled from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., but Guests can enter the Park with their ticket as early as 7 p.m. and do NOT need an additional Park reservation and ticket unless they plan to arrive earlier than 7 p.m. (NOTE: The event at Typhoon Lagoon is from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
  • Select attractions will be open for the event, but no attraction is guaranteed (Guests can see the list of what attractions may be included on the event website)
  • Shows and character meet-and-greets are not typically available during the event with some exceptions (indoor character meet-and-greets with queues like Mickey at Town Square Theater in thee Magic Kingdom may be operating). At H2O Glow After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon, the event includes an all-night DJ dance party that features characters.
  • Ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages (usually bottled soda and water) are included with the price of admission and available at carts around the Park all night. Additional snacks may be available for purchase at other locations, but typically no quick service or table service restaurants will be open.
  • Some merchandise may be available for purchase at the event, but nothing exclusive to the event.
A mother and two children in front of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World during an after hours event
Credit: Walt Disney World

Should I attend After Hours?

Here are some tips and things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about attending Disney’s After Hours.

  • The “After Hours” portion is only three hours long. Depending on the date, you can attend a full day at the Park for less money.
  • Keep what Park you’re attending in mind – for a smaller Park like Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it won’t be difficult to get mostly everything done in that time. But in a larger Park like the Magic Kingdom, you may have to be a bit more selective.
  • Pay attention to the event date. You can save money by attending the event on a weeknight or during the slower season, and the crowds will likely be even smaller.
  • It won’t replace the experience of going to the Park during the day. The Park is not entirely in operation, and even though you’ll be able to ride the most popular attractions, there is a lot you’ll be missing. After Hours are better done as an extra treat for your favorite Park or a fun thing to do with your older children, not as a replacement for visiting the Park as a normal day Guest.
  • Take advantage of the free snacks. Eat dinner BEFORE you go to the event so you’re not tempted to buy an expensive meal in the Park before it closes, or pay for the extra snacks when there’s free ones available.
  • Get there early. Squeeze every hour out of your ticket that you can by arriving at 7 p.m. before the event begins. As day Guests head home or wait for the fireworks, it’s a great opportunity to get a head start on some rides or grab a bite to eat before the event starts.
  • Take advantage of the empty Park. This is truly one of the lowest capacity events. Holiday parties and DVC events can get very crowded, but during After Hours, the Park truly feels like a ghost town. Take lots of pictures and take in the details without the crowds!
  • Remember that no attraction is guaranteed. Don’t buy an After Hours ticket with the sole purpose of riding Space Mountain in a continuous loop. The attraction could always go down or not open at all for the event. Be prepared to go with the flow. Also, five minute waits are not guaranteed – at the last After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance sat between a 15-30 minute wait all night. That’s nothing compared to the daytime, but it’s still a wait.
  • Wait times will be longer at the beginning of the night. Don’t get disheartened if, at 10 p.m. when the event starts, Tower of Terror is still a 60 minute wait. As long as day Guests are on line for the attraction at Park close, they will be able to ride, so day Guests will probably still be trickling out of the Park for the next 45 minutes or so. Save it for when you truly have the Park all to yourself.

Have you attended an After Hours event? Was it worth it? Let us know!

 

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