Disney World To Extend Park Hours, Changes Coming Soon

in Walt Disney World

Guests in front of Cinderella Castle at night

Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife), Flickr

Walt Disney World Resort has just quietly extended the hours for two of its parks in January.

While Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom are all open every day of the year (weather and global pandemics permitting), their hours tend to differ considerably from park to park.

The Mickey and Walt statue in front of Cinderella's Castle inside Disney's Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Magic Kingdom is typically open the latest of the four parks, while Animal Kingdom – which currently has no nighttime spectacular – closes the earlier.

Both parks, however, have had their hours extended for multiple days this month on the official Walt Disney World calendar.

Tree of Life on Discovery Island at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

Magic Kingdom will now stay open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on January 21, 26, and 27. It will also stay open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on January 22, 23, 24, and 25. The previous hours for both sets of dates were 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom will now be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on January 21 and 22. On January 23, 24, and 25, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m, and on January 26 and 27 it will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Guests watch the EPCOT Forever fireworks display at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

Disney World has seen unprecedented crowds over the past few weeks – even busier than the usual holiday rush. Wait times hit as high as five hours in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day (which is typically Disney World’s busiest period). According to Thrill Data, December 29 was the busiest day at Walt Disney World since the parks reopened after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resort has previously drawn criticism for closing its parks too early, especially since the pandemic hit. Instead, it operates regular ticketed Disney After Hours events which allow guests to stay in the parks as late as 1 a.m. Parkgoers have argued that Disney would ultimately make more money by extending its opening hours to all. “Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world,” one fan said in December. “It is embarrassing that they don’t stay open later anymore.”

Do you wish Disney World’s theme parks would stay open later? Let us know in the comments!

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