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Why We Love Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom (dates, cost, how to plan your time)

Why We Love Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom (dates, cost, how to plan your time)

Disney After Hours is a Magic Kingdom special event offered on select dates. It’s not cheap, but it might be worth it for many people.

Here’s info on what it is, how much it costs, who should plan to attend, and a suggested itinerary if you decide to go.

What is Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom?

Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom is a specially ticketed event (meaning it’s a ticket that is purchased separate from regular park tickets) that allows people to enter Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom at 7 p.m. and stay until 1 a.m.

Unlike Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, this special event takes place AFTER the parks close, hence the name.

What makes Disney After Hours so great?

Have you ever dreamed of having Magic Kingdom all to yourself?

Same.

And that is what makes Magic Kingdom After Hours so darn amazing: it almost feels as if you get the park to yourself.

Ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration. But the crowds really are low and that is all because for After Hours events, the capacity is greatly limited. That means you’ll find that the wait times are small (think 5–10 minutes) or, better yet: non-existent!

Seriously, the park is almost empty. During the early years of the After Hours events, the didn’t even have any of the park music on, and it was eerily quiet. On our last few visits during After Hours at Magic Kingdom, however, they did have the music on, which we definitely prefer.

Empty Fantasyland during After Hours

And you can walk on rides, meet select characters, and enjoy treats and bottled beverages (they’re included with the ticket!) as you walk through the park.

We’ve done After Hours at Magic Kingdom several times, including in 2024. Each and every time we’ve walked away glad that we did it.

Disney After Hours cost and dates

Alright, let’s talk about the not-so-fun part: the price tag. It’s a bit of a splurge, we won’t lie.

But here’s a little tip to make it feel less like your wallet’s taking a rollercoaster ride:

You may be able to purchase fewer days on a regular ticket if you decide to give After Hours a try.

For example, instead of getting a 5-day park ticket, why not trim it down to 4 days and snag an After Hours ticket for one of those days? During the daytime you could spend time at Disney Springs or just swim and enjoy your resort and then head to Magic Kingdom that night.

2024 Magic Kingdom After Hours ticket prices

  • $155-$175 plus tax per adult or child (depending on date)

Discounts

There are some discounts available, though.

Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members can purchase tickets for $125-$145, so that is a nice bit of savings if you are a member of either of those groups.

Ticket prices and dates

How to get tickets

  • Tickets for 2024 After Hours events are now on sale for dates through April 22. Ticket sales for dates April 22–August 29th open up by phone for onsite guests, guests of the Swan and Dolphin, and guests of Shades of Green on January 24.
  • Online ticket sales for EVERYONE (including offsite guests) open up on January 31, 2024.

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.

When can you enter Magic Kingdom for Disney After Hours?

Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom starts at 10:00 p.m. and ends at 1:00 a.m. in 2024.

But, you can enter the park with just your party ticket beginning at 7:00 p.m.

If possible, we highly recommend you do that because that means you’ll have 3 hours before the event officially begins to enjoy a few rides and, more importantly, catch Happily Ever After.

Checking in

Checking in for any event like this at Disney World is pretty much the same. They’ll typically have an area outside the park to get your wristbands (if you’re just arriving) as well as at least 1 spot inside the park where you can get your credentials for the evening if you’ve already entered Magic Kingdom for the day.

Checking in at the entrance (at 7 PM)

When you arrive, look for the signs at the tapstiles.

You’ll scan your MagicBand or ticket and receive your special “After Hours” wristband at that time.

after hours entrance

Checking in inside the park

Already planning to be in Magic Kingdom? No worries. You don’t have to go all the way back to the front of the park to check in.

You’re able to pick up your After Hours wristband at stations in the park, like this one in Tomorrowland.

after hours check in

Once the park officially closes, guests without wristbands won’t be allowed to enter any of the lines, and it doesn’t take long at all for the park to clear out of non-Disney After Hours participants, though you should plan on there being some overlap between day guests and the beginning of the event.

What’s available at Magic Kingdom After Hours

There are tons of things to keep you busy, including:

Attractions & select character meets

Definitely, the main focus of Disney After Hours is the ability to ride lots of attractions and see some select characters with little to no waits.

after hours pamphlet

As you can tell by the list below, the majority of the park will be open, making it easy to see and ride all of your favorites.

Main Street U.S.A.

  • Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater

Adventureland

Frontierland

Liberty Square

Fantasyland

Tomorrowland

Disney Enchantment Fireworks – NEW for 2024!

In addition to the attractions listed above, guests attending After Hours will also get a performance of the nighttime fireworks show Disney Enchantment at 11:00 PM.

Enchantment was created for the 50th Anniversary. The regular nighttime show – Happily Ever After – will be shown during regular park hours, meaning if you use your ticket to enter the park at 7 p.m. you have the possibility of seeing both shows in 1 night.

The best thing about watching Enchantment during After Hour is just how easy it is to see it. Listen, we much prefer Happily Ever After over Enchantment but being able to watch it without standing shoulder to shoulder in a thick crowd made us appreciate the show a lot more.

Select drinks and snacks are included

During the event you’ll find that most of the regular Table Service and Quick Service locations aren’t open but that may not be necessary since the event includes unlimited ice cream treats, popcorn, and bottled beverages.

after hours snacks

You’ll typically find these at the carts and kiosks spread throughout the park, so if the line looks long at one, it might be worth it to hold off and try the next one you come across.

after hours snack cart

Food to purchase

If you need something more than ice cream and popcorn, both Casey’s Corner and Main Street Bakery will be open.

Just don’t spend TOO much time eating; there are rides to get to!

And here’s what’s NOT available:

  • Most character meets not listed above

Fantasyland

Liberty Square

Tomorrowland

How many rides can you ride during Disney After Hours – Magic Kingdom?

Although it depends on how much you are crisscrossing the park, on average, we find that it is relatively easy to do about 3 attractions per hour and still have time to snag a treat or 2 and pause for a restroom break.

Who should attend?

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.

You can 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.

after hours photopass picture

Planning your time

Here’s how we recommend you plan to spend your time at this event.

7:00-10:00 pm

  • Arrive at Magic Kingdom just before 7:00, so you can enter the park as soon as you can.
  • Visit any attractions that won’t be open during the event.
  • See the fireworks.

10:00 pm-1:00 am

  • Spend most of your time visiting attractions and meeting characters, picking up snacks at kiosks throughout Magic Kingdom as you go.
  • Watch Disney Enchantment Fireworks at 11:00 pm
  • Grab some drinks to bring back with you to your hotel. We’ve noticed that the snack carts in the hub close earlier than the ones in the lands, so grab them before you head towards Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Have a PhotoPass photographer snap your pic on Main Street on the way out. Gotta take advantage of having almost nobody in the park to clutter up your photo!

Video: Disney After Hours: Is it worth it?

Historical After Hours Event Dates

Oftentimes you’ll find that Disney only releases event dates a few months out, which can make it difficult if you’re trying to plan your vacation.

To help, we have included some historical dates below.

Keep in judgement that these dates are not guarantees of what will happen in the future; rather, use them as guides as to what you might expect to see.

2023

January 2023

  • Monday, January 9, 2023
  • Monday, January 16, 2023
  • Monday, January 23, 2023

February 2023

  • Thursday, February 16, 2023
  • Monday, February 20, 2023
  • Monday, February 27, 2023

March 2023

  • Thursday, March 2, 2023
  • Monday, March 6, 2023
  • Monday, March 13, 2023
  • Thursday, March 16, 2023
  • Monday, March 20, 2023
  • Monday, March 27, 2023

2020

January 2020

  • Monday, January 6, 2020³
  • Monday, January 13, 2020³
  • Friday, January 17, 2020²
  • Monday, January 20, 2020²
  • Thursday, January 23, 2020³
  • Monday, January 27, 2020³
  • Friday, January 31, 2020³

February 2020

  • Monday, February 3, 2020²
  • Friday, February 7, 2020 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Monday, February 10, 2020²
  • Friday, February 14, 2020 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Monday, February 17, 2020²
  • Friday, February 21, 2020 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Monday, February 24, 2020²
  • Friday, February 28, 2020 (Disney Villains After Hours)

March 2020

  • Monday, March 2, 2020³
  • Friday, March 6, 2020 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Monday, March 9, 2020¹
  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 (Disney Villains After Hours)

2019

January 2019

  • Monday, January 7, 2019³
  • Thursday, January 17, 2019³
  • Thursday, January 24, 2019³
  • Monday, January 28, 2019³

February 2019

  • Thursday, February 7, 2019³
  • Thursday, February 14, 2019²
  • Thursday, February 21, 2019²
  • Thursday, February 28, 2019³

March 2019

  • Thursday, March 7, 2019²
  • Thursday, March 21, 2019¹
  • Thursday, March 28, 2019¹

April 2019

  • Thursday, April 4, 2019¹
  • Thursday, April 11, 2019¹

May 2019

  • Thursday, May 2, 2019¹
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019¹
  • Thursday, May 16, 2019¹
  • Thursday, May 23, 2019¹
  • Thursday, May 30, 2019¹

June 2019

  • Thursday, June 6, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)

July 2019

  • Monday, July 1, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, July 18, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)

August 2019

  • Thursday, August 1, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday, August 8, 2019 (Disney Villains After Hours)
  • Thursday August 22, 2019¹
  • Thursday, August 29, 2019¹

September 2019

  • Thursday, September 5, 2019¹
  • Thursday, September 12, 2019¹
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019¹
  • Thursday, September 26, 2019¹

November 2019

  • Monday, November 18, 2019¹

December 2019

  • Monday, December 9, 2019¹

¹event takes place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
²event takes place 9 p.m. to midnight
³event takes place 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Disney Villains After Hours (more info on what that means below) took place 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Disney Villains After Hours (Not Currently Offered)

Disney Villains After Hours

In the Summer of 2019, Disney began offering a new twist to the already popular After Hours events: Disney Villains After Hours. This is no longer being offered at this time, but historical information is available below.

During Villains After Hours, you got all the regular stuff included (like access to attractions, free bottled beverages and ice cream treats, etc.) but in addition to all of that you’d also have a few fun extras:

  • Disney Villains stage show: This new show called “Villains Unite the Night” starred Hades and Meg from “Hercules” with some special appearances by Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent
  • Maleficent the Dragon: Maleficent the Dragon (which is the super popular float from the Festival of Fantasy parade) was found creeping through the park and breathing her scary fire 
  • “Villanous Enhancements” to attractions: Both Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain got some fun villain-themed additions for these special nights
  • Special food & beverage offerings: In addition to the free goodies, guests also found an assortment of specially-themed items available for purchase all inspired by some of your favorite villains like The Queen, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, Hades, Dr. Facilier, and even Emperor Zurg
  • Villain-themed merchandise: Event-specific merchandise was available for purchase

NOTE: One thing was NOT available, though: special villain character meets.  

And, for added fun – much like with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, for this special event guests were encouraged to “feel free to show off [their] sinister side by dressing in attire inspired by [their] favorite baddie.”

Back when it was offered, prices for this enhanced version of Disney After Hours were slightly more expensive than the regular After Hours events:

  • $145 (plus tax) for tickets purchased in advance.
  • $155 (plus tax) for tickets purchased on the night of the event.

Discounts were available, though. Guests that had Annual Passes or were members of Disney’s Vacation Club could save $30/ticket (making the total with discount $109 plus tax).

Read more about Disney Villains After Hours.

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Heather Thomas

Larry

Saturday 13th of July 2019

I wouldn't survive 3 hours on just popcorn, ice cream, and soda. Do you have a list of which places to get other snacks and foods will remain open?

Thanks Larry

Katie

Friday 5th of July 2019

How early do they usually release the After Hours dates? We are planning a trip in early February 2020 and I would love to plan it so that we can attend this event!

Paula

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

We are no longer able to attend the Magic Kingdom After Hours Event on August 22, 2019 and would love to sell our two tickets. Any suggestion on how we might be able to do this?

Sue Walker

Thursday 23rd of May 2019

Hi Shannon and Heather, Are the lanyards still being used for After Hours events in 2019? I thought I saw somewhere that it is just a wrist band now. Thanks for all the great information!

stephanie

Friday 10th of May 2019

When do you think they will release the after hours for September 2019?

Matt Ferguson

Sunday 19th of May 2019

Yes... Sept. 2019 dates? --- We are wanting to know the same thing. We've decided since we love to get in all our favorite rides/attractions -- this is the ticket for our family. Honestly we are tired of going and only getting to ride 3 fast passes and one or two others because we are too impatient to wait in a line for more than 30 minutes.