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Disney After Hours in 2024: Is it Really Worth it?

Disney After Hours in 2024: Is it Really Worth it?

Are you ready to experience the Disney World parks like never before?

Look no further than Disney After Hours! These specially ticketed events currently take place across 3 of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks plus 1 of the 2 water parks, and they all offer guests a fantastic experience (but at a price).

In this post, we’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about Disney After Hours (like dates and prices), so you can make the most of this unforgettable experience. And most importantly, we’ll let you know when we think Disney After Hours are worth it, and when we think you should skip ’em.

Let’s dive in!

What is Disney After Hours?

Disney After Hours are special events that take place after 3 of the 4 theme parks officially close.

Note: Animal Kingdom used to offer After Hours, too, but they haven’t hosted one there since 2020.

During these events, a limited number of guests are allowed to stay in the park for several additional hours after the park has closed to regular guests. This means that you’ll have access to select attractions, character meet-and-greets, and free snacks with very little wait time, as the crowds are much smaller than during regular park hours.

After Hours are not typically offered year-round, so you’ll want to check the Disney website for the most up-to-date schedule.

After Hours Tickets

When it comes time to purchase tickets, you have a couple of options:

You can purchase them from your travel professional (we recommend Small World Vacations).

Or, if you’d rather, tickets can be purchased online or by calling 407-827-7185.

Magic Kingdom After Hours

  • Price: $155-$175* (depending on the date)
  • Schedule: Currently scheduled from January 11, 2024 until June 27, 2024

*Passholder and Disney Vacation Club discounts are available

Magic Kingdom is where the After Hours events began. In the past, in addition to the “regular” Magic Kingdom After Hours (which are what is currently held), we’ve also seen several different versions, including the now retired After Hours Boo Bash, Mickey’s Very Merriest After Hours, and the “we hope aren’t retired” Disney Villains After Hours.

magic kingdom after hours

Both of the seasonal After Hours events were only around for 1 year, and we don’t really expect them to return.

Villains After Hours, however, were extremely popular, and although they haven’t come back yet, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them at some point in the future.

Out of all the parks, we think the After Hours events at Magic Kingdom are probably the best. Magic Kingdom has the most attractions out of any of the theme parks, so you really can see and do a ton during After Hours here.

Available attractions

NEW for 2024! In addition to the attractions listed below, guests attending After Hours will also get a performance of the nighttime fireworks show Disney Enchantment. Enchantment was created for the 50th Anniversary. The regular nighttime show – Happily Ever After – will be shown during regular park hours, meaning you have the possibility of seeing both shows in 1 night.

Here are the attractions you can typically find during an After Hours event at Magic Kingdom:

Main Street U.S.A.

  • Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater



Liberty Square



Hollywood Studios After Hours

  • Price: $145-$175* (depending on the date)
  • Schedule: Currently scheduled from January 10, 2024 until August 29, 2024

*Passholder and Disney Vacation Club discounts are available

after hours hollywood studios

Hollywood Studios also hosts After Hours events, and what is great about the events here is that it makes it really easy to cross all those thrilling headliners off your list.

New for 2024! In addition to all the great attractions, After Hours events here have seen an influx of unique and rare characters and character combos. While nothing is guaranteed, here are just a few of the ones you may see:

Note: unless noted together, the characters below rotate between sets.

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Rafiki
  • Stitch
  • Jasmine
  • Tiana
  • Mary Poppins and Penguin
  • Pochantas and Meeko
  • Duffy
  • Thumper
  • Pinocchio
  • Jiminy Cricket
  • Chip & Dale as the Rescue Rangers
  • Donald Duck
  • Daisy Duck
  • Goofy
  • White Rabbit

Available attractions:

Here are the attractions you can typically find during an After Hours event at Hollywood Studios:

Epcot After Hours

  • Price: $149-$159* (depending on the date)
  • Schedule: Currently scheduled from February 2, 2024 until April 4, 2024

*Passholder and Disney Vacation Club discounts are available

spaceship earth

Epcot is the newest addition to the After Hours family, but it makes sense with the addition of 2 major attractions over the past several years (Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind).

This is also the After Hours version that we found the most difficult to get our value from – but we still had a great time and think it is worth it if you don’t mind the long walks across the park to take in all the attractions.

Available attractions:

Typhoon Lagoon – H20 Glow After Hours

  • Price: $75 (adult) and $70 for child*
  • Schedule: 2024 dates not yet available
h20 glow after hours

*Passholder and Disney Vacation Club discounts are available

Typhoon Lagoon (one of the 2 water parks at Walt Disney World) even gets in on the After Hours fun. We honestly really, really love this one. The ticket price for After Hours isn’t that much more than a regular water park ticket, and you get to enjoy all the slides without worrying about a sunburn. That’s a huge perk, in our opinion.

Available attractions:

During H20 Glow, nearly everything will be open, including:

  • Bay Slides
  • Castaway Creek
  • Crush ‘n’ Gusher
  • Gangplank Falls
  • Humunga Kowabunga
  • Mayday Falls
  • Miss Adventure Falls
  • Storm Slides
  • Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool

Animal Kingdom After Hours

Although Animal Kingdom used to host After Hours, they haven’t for several years now, and we aren’t really sure if they’ll return.

The problem with the Animal Kingdom After Hours is that there aren’t that many attractions that would stay open at night, meaning that the price of the ticket here just wasn’t as worth it.

Check out what the Animal Kingdom After Hours event used to look like.

Are Disney After Hours events worth it?

We totally understand that the price of Disney After Hours may seem high at first glance, but there are many reasons why we believe it is well worth it.

Rather than focusing solely on the length of time in the park, it’s important to consider the number of attractions you’ll be able to experience during those 4-6 hours.

With lower crowds and shorter wait times, you can get more done at the event than you could in a whole day at one of the participating parks.

Not only will you be able to enjoy more rides, but you’ll also have the opportunity to take some amazing photos and soak up the magical atmosphere without feeling rushed or crowded.

For those with short trips, Disney After Hours is an excellent way to make the most of your time in the park, since you’ll be able to get so much done in just a few hours.

But, not every After Hours event is created equal, so if you are traveling during a time of year when there are multiple options during your trip, here’s how we would prioritize which ones we would spend money on:

  • Magic Kingdom: Best overall experience since there are tons of attractions available
  • Hollywood Studios: Great value, makes it relatively easy to knock out the headliners, plus all the unique characters are a lot of fun
  • Epcot: Least efficient because the attractions are kind of spread out (it’s a long way from Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure over to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind), plus, there just aren’t as many attractions available to ride

Who should attend an After Hours event?

Although the price sounds high for just 4-6 hours in the park, we suggest it does make sense if you think of it in terms of the number of attractions rather than the number of hours.

If you keep moving, you can easily get more done at the event than you could in a whole day at Magic Kingdom.

For that reason, we’d highly suggest it for:

  • People who have short trips and want to fit in as much as possible because it’s a really great way to do that
  • People who are confident they can stay up late
  • Anybody looking for something fun or extra to do during a trip

But, if you aren’t a fan of late nights or if you have a longer trip, you may not need extra time in a park and the price may not be (as) worth it to you.

In addition, if you have small kids, we’d highly recommend you think about whether they can stay up super late. But, to be fair to little ones everywhere, we have ridden buses back to our resorts after an After Hours events with plenty of small kids hanging in stronger than the adults, so your little ones may be able to do the same.

6 reasons to love Disney After Hours

Low crowds & shorter wait times

As frequent guests of After Hour events, being able to enjoy a park without the mass of people you typically find during the day is probably the #1 selling point for us, and here’s why:

The low crowds and shorter wait times during this event make it easy to enjoy all the attractions, rides, and select character meet and greets without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by the typical crowds.

When you attend an After Hours event, you can typically ride some of the most popular attractions – sometimes multiple times – without waiting in long lines. Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true?!

For example, on our last visit to one of the Magic Kingdom After Hours we rode:

  • Tomorrowland Authority PeopleMover
  • Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Snack break
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Stop for PhotoPass pics
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Snack break
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Magic Carpets
  • Grabbed some bottled drinks to take back to the room
  • Stop for PhotoPass pics on a nearly empty Main Street, U.S.A.

And, the park overall also just feels more relaxed and peaceful during the event; it is way easier to navigate around and explore all the different areas.

disney after hours photopass

Of course, you may be so focused on getting on the rides that you may forget to stop and smell the roses, but we highly recommend you spend a little bit of time catching some of those little details that are easy to miss when the parks are packed.

Free snacks

During After Hours events, guests are treated to complimentary ice cream novelties (like Mickey Bars), popcorn, and select bottled beverages (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, bottled water) throughout the park.

Ok, maybe they are less “free” and more “included with the price of admission”, but speaking from personal experience, walking up to a snack cart to get some ice cream and NOT having to whip out a credit card definitely feels pretty darn magical.

Mickey Bars and a cold Diet Coke are not only delicious, but also provide a much-needed energy boost to help you power through the late hours.

after hours snacks

If you need something a little more filling, there are a few select dining locations open, but we don’t recommend you spend any of your precious After Hours time eating a full meal. Stick to the free snacks that you can eat as you power through the night, riding all your favorite attractions.

One final note on the complimentary snacks:

If you find a cart with a long line, don’t be afraid to skip that one and grab a snack at the next one you find. Oftentimes, the carts closest to the hubs or central points of the parks can have way longer lines than the ones tucked back into the lands.

Better temps

We absolutely love Disney World, but we definitely don’t love the oppressive temps you find there during the majority of the months. And, that’s why the cooler nighttime temps that you’ll get during an After Hours event are a definite perk. And because every year the heat just wears us out more and more, it is probably one of our most favorite perks of all, and here’s why:

Firstly, the cooler temperatures make it so much more comfortable to explore the park without feeling too hot and sweaty. Yes, some months of the year it will still be pretty warm, even at 11 p.m., but it will be nowhere near as hot as you’d find at 3 p.m. You may get hot, but you won’t be “if I don’t take a shower right this minute, I’m going to burst into flames” hot.

typhoon lagoon h20 glow

Additionally, the cooler temperatures can also make it easier to stay energized so that everyone can fully enjoy all the attractions and rides. Everything is just so much better when you aren’t covered from head to toe in sweat. So, yes, although After Hours events can go late into the night, you may not feel as tired as you’d expect since you won’t be roasting.

You don’t have to worry about Genie+, virtual queues, etc.

If learning about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes has been stressing you out, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to worry about any of that during an After Hours event.

That means you can tour without having to worry about snagging a return time or being on your phone every second of the day.

This can be a huge perk if you’ve been frustrated with learning the new system.

Great time for pictures

We love using Disney’s PhotoPass service, but when you are taking pictures during the regular park hours, you often have to deal with crowds in the background or people photobombing your shots.

But it isn’t like that during Disney After Hours.

Instead, you’ll be able to snag some iconic photos with virtually a completely clear background. Plus, since the PhotoPass photographers aren’t busy, they’ll have more time to do different poses. In fact, when we attended a recent Magic Kingdom After Hours, the PhotoPass photographer basically gave us a little mini photo session and took a bunch of different pics and poses, including this one:

After hours photo pass

Even if you choose not to take any PhotoPass pics, you can still grab some great shots on your own. And with the lower crowds, you have more time and space to set up your shots and get the perfect angle or pose. It really makes a difference in the quality of your photos and allows you to capture more magical moments during your time at the park.

You can still catch the nighttime entertainment

Since your After Hours ticket will get you into the park early and before the official start time for the event, you’ll still be able to catch all your favorite nighttime spectaculars in the parks.

That means you can see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot and even watch Fantasmic! over at Hollywood Studios, all before the event officially begins.

happily ever after fireworks

This is a huge perk, and makes it that much easier to justify some of the cost.

After Hours Events that Are Not Currently Scheduled

There are a couple of After Hours events that are not scheduled (and we don’t expect them to return):

Disney After Hours Boo Bash

Disney After Hours Boo Bash was an After Hours event that ran in the place of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party back in 2021. While Boo Bash had some elements of the full Halloween Party, it lacked many of our favorite things – like the Boo to You parade.

Although we appreciated Disney’s efforts to bring some of the spooky season back during a difficult time, we were glad when in 2022, the full Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returned.

Disney Boo Bash entrance magic kingdom

Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours

Much like Boo Bash, Disney Very Merriest After Hours was an After Hours event that ran in the place of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party back in 2021. While Very Merriest had some elements from a full Christmas Party, it lacked many of our favorite things – like lots of characters.

disney very merriest after hours wristband distribution