Disney After Hours

Is Disney World’s Nighttime Special Event Disney After Hours Worth the Cost?

We all know that Walt Disney World’s theme parks are full of magical experiences. But did you know there’s a way to extend that magic into the nighttime? It’s true. A private event called Disney After Hours is held on select dates throughout the year at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks. It allows you to enjoy the rides after normal operating hours without the crowds.

Did you say “Disney without the crowds?!” Yes indeed!

Of course, it does cost extra and it isn’t cheap. However, this type of event may be worth splurging on if you wish to maximize your limited time and increase your Disney magic.

Below we explain what the Disney After Hour event is, how much it costs, which rides are included, and if it’s worth the money. So let’s get started!

What is Disney After Hours?

Disney After Hours is a fun way for you to enjoy a special evening event at Disney’s Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

As darkness envelops the park, and the lights begin to glow, here you’ll enjoy legendary attractions and entertainment long after the regular crowds have departed.

If you’ve ever dreamt of experiencing the magic after the crowds have gone, then here’s your chance!

Disney After Hours is a unique way to see one of these parks in a whole new light (or, should I say, darkness).

And the best part?

You’ll be among a limited number of Guests in the park since it’s a separately ticketed 3-hour nighttime event and most Guests don’t take advantage of it.

Why not?

Well, it’s a relatively new event (as opposed to more longstanding after-hours options like the Halloween and Christmas parties) so many people don’t even know it exists.

Other Guests just don’t want to spend the extra money (see prices below), so they just stick to the normal operating hours.

What is Disney After Hours

Disney After Hours Attractions & Rides

With a valid Disney After Hours ticket, Guests can enter the designated park at 7:00 PM.  By doing so, you’ll be able to get a jump start on exploring the theme park as you’ve never seen it before.

The wait times for popular attractions are much more manageable, and Character Greetings are included.

What’s not to love?!

Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park

Nighttime at Magic Kingdom is an enchanting experience.  See the lands light up and enjoy exciting thrill rides and classic family-friendly Disney attractions.

More than 20 Magic Kingdom rides are open during the event. The list is always subject to change, but here’s what Disney says may be available:

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • “And More!”

Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In 2023, Hollywood Studios joins the Disney After Hours lineup.

Attractions may include (subject to change):

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • “And More!”

Disney After Hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

In prior years, the event was also held at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  There are currently no 2023 dates announced for Animal Kingdom.

Select Snacks and Beverages are Included

As you enjoy the fun and festivities of Disney After Hours, remember to take a timeout to refuel (compliments of Disney).

Snacks and beverages are included with your ticket (ie, free), so get your money’s worth and fill your belly.

What’s included?

Free popcorn, ice cream novelties (Mickey Bars), and select non-alcoholic beverages are available at carts throughout the park.

Several Quick Service restaurants are open during the event so you’ll also be able to purchase food items there.

Cost of Disney After Hours

You can save on admission if you purchase your Disney After Hours tickets early.

Here are some tips:

  • Disney After Hours ticket prices vary depending on the park you choose and the day you’re planning to go
  • Currently released dates range from $129-$159 (per adult or child, plus tax).  Discounts are offered for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
  • A limited number of tickets are available for each Disney After Hours event
  • Disney After Hours rides, attractions, and entertainment are subject to change w/o notice
  • Ticketholders can enter the designated Disney After Hours park at 7:00 PM on the night of the event, giving you a bit of a head start.  The event itself starts a few hours later (see list below).
  • You won’t need a Disney Park Pass theme park reservation or a regular theme park ticket to get in, as long as you enter the park no earlier than 7:00 PM.  If you want to drop in earlier, you’ll need a standard theme park ticket and a park reservation.

Need help planning and booking your Disney vacation?  Then please contact the Disney travel agents at The Vacationeer. They can help you with every step of Disney World trip, including creating your itinerary and making your Disney After Hours reservations. Click HERE for a free, no-obligation price quote.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Crowds are MUCH lighter
  • Lines for attractions are MUCH shorter
  • Popular Attractions and Character Greeting are included
  • No Disney Genie+ (so no planning ahead or reservations required)
  • Snacks are included (bottled beverages, popcorn, Mickey Bars ice cream)
  • DVC and Annual Passholders are eligible for discounts

Cons:

  • Disney After Hours tickets are around the same price as regular, full-day theme park tickets
  • Expensive: Since the event is typically 3 hours long, then the cost per hour is much high compared to normal tickets
  • Disney After Hours is only available on select dates (see below)
  • Not all rides are open
  • No Table Service dining options and only a select number of Quick Service restaurants will be open

Is Disney After Hours Worth the Cost?

Is Disney After Hours is worth the money?

The answer to this depends on a few factors like:

  • Who you are traveling with?
  • What are your priorities during the vacation?
  • What is your budget?
  • How long is your vacation?

Here are a few possible reasons why Disney After Hours is right for you:

  • If you are only at Disney World for a few days and want to get as many rides in as possible. This allows you to experience the popular rides at night – without waiting in the long lines –  so that your regular days are free to see and do other things. It’s especially good if you wish to experience Magic Kingdom without the crowds.
  • Disney After Hours is great for those who don’t like planning ahead or just book their trip on short notice. Since many of the popular Genie+/Lightning Lane attractions are crowded during normal operating hours, these nighttime events allow you to just waltz into the park and go on the popular rides without any advance reservations.
  • You are night owls and the sound of going on rides when it’s dark out – and maybe sleeping in the next morning – sounds like fun.
  • Experiencing Disney After Hours means that you won’t worry about the sun, and the temperatures are most likely cooler than during the daytime.
Is Disney After Hours worth it

Decision Time: Is Disney After Hours Worth It?

In summary, yes, it is expensive, but the extra cost may be worth it.

If you fit any of the criteria listed above, then we say “go for it!”

Think about replacing a day at Magic Kingdom with a Disney After Hours date for Magic Kingdom.

This will allow you to experience all of the popular rides without the inconvenience of long lines, Disney Genie+ worries, hot temps, etc. And the cost of unlimited Mickey Bars, popcorn, and bottled drinks can really add up so this can be a significant saving (remember: these are totally free at night).

If you are staying in Disney World for a week or more, then Disney After Hours may not be worth it because you’ll have plenty of time to explore the park – and ride all the rides – over the course of your stay.

It also may not be the best if you have a large group.

Why? Well, because it’s costly and most people will want to be at the parks during the day.

But again, every group is different so all these issues should be debated before you book your trip.

2023 Disney After Hours Dates

Disney After Hours dates

Disney After Hours Schedule (So Far)…

2023 Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Dates, Times, and Prices

  • Monday, January 9, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $135
  • Monday, January 16, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $159
  • Monday, January 23, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $145
  • Thursday, February 16, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $159
  • Monday, February 20, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $159
  • Monday, February 27, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $155
  • Thursday, March 2, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $159
  • Monday, March 6, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $155
  • Monday, March 13, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $155
  • Thursday, March 16, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $155
  • Monday, March 20, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $155
  • Monday, March 27, 2023 — 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM — $149

2023 Hollywood Studios Disney After Hours Dates, Times, and Prices

  • Wednesday, January 4, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $145
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $129
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $139
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $145
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $149
  • Wednesday, February 22, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $149
  • Wednesday, March 8, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $149
  • Wednesday, March 22, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $149
  • Wednesday, March 29, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $145
  • Sunday, April 2, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $139
  • Wednesday, April 5, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $149
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2023 — 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM — $145

2023 Animal Kingdom Disney After Hours Dates, Times, and Prices

  • Animal Kingdom is not currently participating in Disney After Hours

2023 EPCOT Disney After Hours Dates, Times, and Prices

  • EPCOT is not currently participating in Disney After Hours

Enjoy your Disney World vacation!

We hope our Disney After Hours guide helps you decide if this event is worth the money.

For more useful Disney World information, please review some additional pages on MagicGuides like our  Club Level at Disney World, Disney World History, Walt Disney Quotes, Disney World Strollers, and RunDisney Marathon articles.

If you need help planning and booking your magical Walt Disney World vacation, then please contact our friends at The Vacationeer. Their services are always helpful and totally free of charge!

Thanks for reading and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!