Since it first began, Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom has been one of our favorite special ticketed events and now Disney is offering the same type of exclusive event at Animal Kingdom.
We think that is good news and if it is anything like the original, we believe it could definitely be a hit (and just might be worth the expense for some guests).
Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom starts December 4 so to help you get ready for the fun, here's all the info on what it is, how much it costs, who should attend, and a suggested itinerary if you plan to go.
What is Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom?
Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom is one of the many exclusive events or parties that Disney offers its guests.
Unlike Extra Magic Hours which is free and only available for guests staying on-site, Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom requires a special ticket and is open to anybody (you don't have to be staying on-site to attend).
What else makes it different from Extra Magic Hours (and why we often think it may be worth it for some people) is that the Disney After Hours allows you to tour the park for several hours with little-to-no wait.
Because Disney strictly limits the ticket sales to these events the park can almost feel kind of ... empty.
And those low crowds mean that if you plan your evening right (how to do that below) you'll be able to see and do almost everything without ever having to wait.
Another cool thing is like with other separately-ticketed events where you get in early (while the park is still open to all guests), if you purchase a ticket to Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom you'll be able to enter at 7:00 p.m..
That means you'll be able to see and do a few things not included in Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom (without having to buy a regular park ticket) before the event starts.
Like with all parties and special events, when the time draws near you'll need to check-in and receive your "credentials" (a cute lanyard) for the evening.
You'll typically find Cast Members stationed at both the front of the park (look for the Cast Member with the signs) as well as at least 1 other station for checking in inside of the park so if your plans have you spending the day at Animal Kingdom you won't have to go all the way back to the front to check in.
When the park closes, guests without lanyards will be directed towards the front and out of the park. This usually happens fairly quickly.
Before the party starts
Though the ticket allows you to enter at 7:00 the event doesn't actually begin until 8:30.
That gives you an hour and a half to knock out a few things that you won't be able to do during the party itself.
Because Animal Kingdom has a lot of attractions with live animals that understandably require more special care than those of the animantronic variety, it is fairly typical for many of the normal "attractions" to not operate from park opening to park closing.
That's important if your thought is that you'll show up at 7 p.m. and ride Kilimanjaro Safari before the park closes at 8:30.
During the winter months when sunset comes quite early, you'll likely find that attraction closing at 6:30 (and sometimes even earlier!).
So, keep that in mind as you plan out your trip; you'll definitely want to check those attraction availability times for your Disney After Hours day so that you aren't disappointed that something has already closed when you arrive at 7 p.m..
Here's what is available during the party:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- Pandora Drummers – Swotu Wayä
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Rivers of Light
- Tree of Life Awakenings
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- TriceraTop Spin
And here's what's NOT:
- The Boneyard*
- Kali River Rapids*
- Kilimanjaro Safaris*
- Primeval Whirl
- Shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo - The Musical**
- Trails like the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail*
*Because of the animals involved or the evening temperatures, these attractions may close before you'd be allowed in with just your party ticket.
**Shows are scheduled throughout the day but the final performance is typically before you'd be allowed in with just your party ticket.
Did somebody say snacks?
Included in the price of admission are lots of your favorite Disney snacks!
No, you can't get a turkey leg BUT Mickey Bars (as well as other ice cream treats), popcorn, and bottled beverages are definitely available at a number of carts sprinkled throughout the park.
We've found the lines for the snacks to be longest right around the time the party starts, so, if you see a line at a cart it might be worth it to wait a few minutes or to check out a different cart later.
What about table service and quick service restaurants?
Most of the restaurants will be closed during the event, however, if you need something more hearty you'll be able to find a few spots where you can do just that.
Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom dates
Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom runs from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. for all of the dates below.
These are the dates the event is being offered in 2018:
- Tuesday, December 4, 2018
- Wednesday, December 12, 2018
- Tuesday, December 18, 2018
These are the dates the event is being offered in 2019:
- Tuesday, January 8, 2019
- Wednesday, January 16, 2019
- Tuesday, January 22, 2019
- Thursday, January 31, 2019
- Tuesday, February 5, 2019
- Wednesday, February 6, 2019
- Tuesday, February 12, 2019
- Wednesday, February 13, 2019
- Tuesday, February 19, 2019
- Tuesday, February 26, 2019
- Tuesday, March 5, 2019
- Wednesday, March 20, 2019
- Wednesday, March 27, 2019
- Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Disney After Hours cost
Ticket prices aren't cheap - $125 plus tax (if purchased in advance) or $129 plus tax if purchased the day of the event.
And, unfortunately, there isn't a price difference for kids. That's the price for everybody ages 3 and up.
There are some discounts available, though.
Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can purchase tickets for $95, so, that is a nice bit of savings if you are a member of either of those groups.
How to get tickets
When it comes time to purchase tickets you have a couple of options:
You can purchase them from a travel professional like the agents at Perfect Story Travel. Just indicate in the notes field that you'd like to buy Disney After Hours tickets and one of the amazing agents there will get back to you ASAP.
Or, if you'd rather, tickets can be purchased online or by calling 407-827-7185.
Planning your time
Here's how we think you can best use your time.
- Arrive at Animal Kingdom just before 7:00 so you can enter the park as soon as you can.
- Visit any attractions or animal exhibits that won't be open during the event (like meeting characters).
- See Pandora at night.
- Spend most of your time visiting attractions and seeing Rivers of Light, picking up snacks at kiosks throughout Animal Kingdom as you go.
- Have a PhotoPass photographer snap your picture (nighttime shots at the Tree of Life are beautiful!).
- Grab a bottle or two of beverages to take back to your hotel.
Who should attend?
Yes, this party is not cheap. You're paying a lot of money for what is essentially 3 hours of park touring (4 1/2 hours if you enter right at 7 pm).
But, for people on short trips or guests staying offsite that weren't able to snag FastPasses for the attractions in Pandora, it might make sense to think about adding this event into your plans.