After Hours Events at Walt Disney World offer a unique way for guests to experience the parks with special perks that aren’t available during regular operating hours. After attending the last After Hours Event at Magic Kingdom for the season, I’m here with the low-down on what to expect during these events and how to figure out if the cost is worth it for you.
What are Disney After Hours Events?
Disney After Hours Events are limited-capacity, special-ticketed three-hour events that occur after park closing and are offered at select parks on specific dates for a fee. No park pass reservation or additional theme park admission ticket required!
Although details differ from park to park, these events provide the opportunity to experience several attractions with little to no wait, the opportunity to meet beloved characters, and enjoy unlimited snacks from cart locations throughout the parks.
What happens during a Disney After Hours Event?
When you present your ticket at the park entrance, you will receive a wristband to validate your admission that you'll wear throughout the entirety of the event. After park closing, cast members will politely guide guests without an After Hours ticket toward the park exit.
PRO TIP: Guests with After Hours Event access are allowed to enter the park three hours prior to the event to enjoy the nighttime spectaculars, live entertainment, and shopping and dining opportunities offered during regular park hours.
When you enter the park, you will receive a brochure that highlights which attractions and dining and shopping locations will be available for your enjoyment throughout the event.
It’s important to note that all options are subject to change without advance notice.
When and where are Disney After Hours events scheduled?
Disney After Hours events are currently offered at Hollywood Studios and will soon be offered at both Epcot and Typhoon Lagoon (Disney H2O Glow event).
Hollywood Studios After Hours Events are scheduled most Wednesday evenings May through June from 10pm - 1 am. Guests may enter the park at 7pm. Note all After Hours events are sold out at Hollywood Studios during the month of April.
Epcot After Hours Events are scheduled most Wednesdays in June, July, and August from 10pm to 1 am. Guests may enter at 7pm.
Disney H2O Glow After Hours Events at Typhoon Lagoon are scheduled for select dates May through September from 8pm to 11pm. Guests may enter as early as 6pm.
How much do Disney After Hours Events cost?
Epcot After Hours Event tickets range from $129 to $139 based on the event date. Passholders and eligible Disney Vacation Club members can purchase discounted tickets for $99.
Hollywood Studios After Hours Event tickets are $149 with a discounted rate of $119 for passholders and eligible Disney Vacation Club members.
Disney H2O Glow After Hours tickets range from $70 for children (ages 3-9) to $75 for adults (ages 10 and up). Passholders and eligible Disney Vacation Club members can purchase discounted tickets of $54 for children (ages 3-9) to $59 for adults (ages 10 and up).
Disney After Hours Event Pros:
1. No other time will you be able to walk on Rise of the Resistance or ride Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin three times back-to-back to earn your galactic hero status! Arguably, the biggest advantage to attending one of these events is the ability to enjoy multiple select attractions with little to no wait.
During our time at Magic Kingdom’s recent event, we enjoyed 18 rides on 14 different attractions!
2. Another enticing perk of these events is the opportunity to enjoy all the happenings during regular park hours that may not continue throughout the event. Being able to experience Fantasmic without valid theme park admission to Hollywood Studios AND enjoy the park after dark at 12am with a minimum amount of your fellow Disney fans is a huge plus!
3. After Hours Events are relatively hassle-free experiences! There’s no Genie+ to strategize, Individual Lightning Lanes to purchase, or dining reservations to lose sleep over. After waiting in line for your wristband, you’re free to enjoy the park at your leisure without stressing about the lowest predicted wait time for your favorite attraction or repeatedly crisscrossing the park trying to maximize your time.
4. One of my favorite takeaways from the event was the VIP-like feel of being in the parks after dark with small crowds and enjoying the ambiance at a slower pace. There are amazing photo opportunities to be had and priceless memories waiting to be made - all while soaking in the good vibes!
Disney After Hours Event Cons
1. It’s important to remember that the park is not functioning at normal capacity during After Hours events. Only select shopping and dining locations are available, and not all attractions will be operating. You may not be able to snag the latest can't-miss snack or lose track of time browsing all your favorite Disney merchandise depending upon what is available during your event.
2. Since the After-Hours events start after the park closes, there are no nighttime spectaculars, parades, or cavalcades to enjoy. Characters may sporadically roam about, but specific meet and greets are not guaranteed. Granted, you can enjoy some of these happenings if you take advantage of the three-hour early park window, but it’s important to know your priorities as you will have limited time to pick and choose.
3. After Hours events can be tricky to fit nicely in your vacay schedule depending upon your travel party’s preferences and length of your trip. These events are definitely catered to night owls. If you are traveling with little ones, you may not get your money’s worth if you aren’t able to stay for the full event. Alternatively, if you aren’t able to schedule a later morning start or break day on the day following your event, you may be dealing with some grumpy behavior throughout the remainder of your stay.
Should I Buy Tickets for Disney After Hours Event?
It depends. If you are a ride junkie looking to fit as many attractions as possible into the shortest amount of time, then a Disney After Hours event may be worth the cost. Or, if you’re someone who doesn’t love the idea of standing amongst thousands of other people all day long, an After Hours event may be an enticing option.
Now that you understand the facts and pros and cons surrounding these events, my suggestion is to know your party, know your priorities, consider your budget and schedule, and make the decision that’s right for you.
I couldn’t be happier that I sprung for these tickets last minute during our Spring Break beach vacation an hour and-a-half away from Orlando. Considering the memories made and likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on practically every ride at Magic Kindgdom, I’d do it again in a second!