Disney World Severely Cuts Hours, Permanently Changing

in Walt Disney World

Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort after a rainstorm

Credit: Brett Kiger on Flickr

Walt Disney World Resort is decreasing its hours, and fans have taken notice.

“The Most Magical Place on Earth” brings in thousands of Disney World Guests daily as they look to experience thrills, adventures, and magic that simply can’t be seen elsewhere. Depending on the time of year you visit, hours at Disney World can change. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain parameters that are in place for the majority of the year.

Cinderella Castle from under archway
Credit: Disney

Currently, Magic Kingdom Park is open daily at 9:00 a.m. Most days, the Disney Park closes at 10:00 p.m., but there are a select few days where it will close at 6:00 p.m. to make way for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party beginning in August and running through October.

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Park Hours remain pretty constant, as the theme park stays open until 9:00 p.m. every night through early October. It opens at either 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m., depending on the day. EPCOT also has a consistent group of Park Hours, opening at 9:00 a.m. daily and closing at 9:00 p.m. Finally, there’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The Disney Park closes every day at 7:00 p.m., with a few days in which it closes at 8:00 p.m. Most days, it opens at 8:00 a.m., but there are a few mornings when it does not open until 9:00 a.m.

Epcot Disney 100
Credit: Disney

What many Disney World Guests may not realize is just how decreased these hours are compared to that of the past. Prior to the COVID pandemic, Disney had many days throughout the year when Magic Kingdom Park was open until midnight. As a matter of fact, it was a fairly regular occurrence for the theme park to be open until at least 11:00 p.m., and during peak times, midnight was the normal closing hour.

EPCOT has consistently closed at either 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. historically, but it is interesting to see that the 10:00 p.m. closing slot is essentially never used anymore. The same can be said about Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

While some Disney Park fans have hoped to see hours return to an even more traditional sense– for example, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA is open until midnight every day for the next month– there is something seemingly standing in the way of that happening: After-Hours Events.

Happily Ever After show on the Main Street shops
Credit: Disney

Disney’s After Hours Events have taken place at Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These separately-ticketed events give Guests the opportunity to explore the theme parks a few hours before they close, and then to stay in the Parks after their closing time. They’ve been successful in terms of ticket sales, and it’s an extra charge that Disney can add that it would not be able to do otherwise if it kept Magic Kingdom opened until midnight, like in the past.

In addition, Disney also only offers Extended Evening Hours for Disney Deluxe Resort Guests, rather than what we used to see– called Magic Hours– that were offered to all Guests who stayed on Disney property. This, essentially, allows them to collect extra fees and only allow a smaller amount of Guests who are willing to pay more into EPCOT on Monday nights and Magic Kingdom on Wednesday nights for two hours after the Parks close.

It’s a great perk for those who stay and pay for the Disney Deluxe Resorts, but not necessarily a good thing for the average fan hoping to get the most for their traditional Park ticket.

The updated Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

There used to be an allure to staying in the Disney World theme parks late. As a matter of fact, many planned their day around the fact that they could count on the major crowds going home after the nighttime spectacular and still having a couple of hours to get in rides on some of their favorite attractions that they couldn’t do otherwise.

However, just like the removal of FastPass for Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane, those “included” perks have gone by the wayside to make way for systems that allow Walt Disney World Resort to bring in more revenue through paid systems.

What do you think about decreased hours at Walt Disney World Resort? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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