Have you ever wanted the whole Magic Kingdom to yourself? Especially during the summer months, when the temperatures are high and the lines are long, wouldn’t it be great if you and a few select friends could get access to the park when most everyone else is gone, and cruise through the happiest place on earth with even more happiness?
That’s the ‘magic’ of Disney After Hours, a special, post-closing event on select dates throughout the summer and early autumn of 2018 — and hopefully the prototype of a regular offering from Walt Disney world.
Disney After Hours / #DisneyAfterHours
The gates have closed and the crowds are navigating their way out of the park. But instead of flowing out with everyone else, you’re swimming upstream because your evening is just beginning. Once everyone is gone, the park is practically yours alone. That’s the story.
Disney After Hours is a ticketed event that is limited to a small number of guests, and at Magic Kingdom that means little to no wait — and the chance to do MK like never before. The ticket price is $119, which means you need to “do the math” in terms of cost-benefit: Is it worth that much money, for a brief time in the park? For most people we talked to, the answer was yes. Especially for those who don’t have a ton of time on a particular trip, Disney After Dark might be just the ticket.
So, based on the uniqueness and ease of the evening (and your budget), you may want to get a ticket and skip the lines for more than 25 popular attractions and character greetings—including:
- Astro Orbiter
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Disney Princess Greetings at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
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More good news: Disney After Dark takes place from 10pm to 1am, but the tickets allows park entry as early as 7pm, enabling guests to enjoy the fireworks before heading off to the attractions. So, depending on your arrival time, the beginning of your evening might be how you typically end it: With the spectacular “Happily Ever After “ extravaganza at Cinderella’s castle. What better way to kick off an amazing night in the Magic Kingdom?
The sun is down, the lights are on, and the park is gorgeous. The beauty of the Magic Kingdom at night is always a wonderful thing to experience, only now it’s the beginning of the fun instead of the end.
Of course, the unique charm of the park at night is only part of the story. Disney After Dark means, because tickets are limited, a unique, 3-hour park experience—featuring more than 25 popular attractions and character greetings, with little-to-no wait.
Because there’s such a small group of guests in the park — it’s striking to walk through and see so few people! — you can walk on rides, meet characters, and enjoy treats and bottled beverages (they’re included with the ticket!) as you walk through the park.
Because the attractions, rides and characters are far more easily accessible, you and your family can experience Magic Kingdom in less time, and have an unforgettable, intimate experience. Strolling directly onto your favorite rides, and leisurely taking in the quiet beauty without battling thousands of other people…it’s Disney World without the hassle.
Like other separately-ticketed events, your group can get into the Magic Kingdom before the official party start time. A sign-holding cast member near the entrance will direct you where to go, and your MagicBand or ticket will generate the “After Hours” lanyard at that time.
If you are already planning to be in Magic Kingdom, the good news is that you don’t have to trudge all the way back to the front of the park to check-in, since they’ve made it possible for guests to grab their After Hours lanyards at various locations in the park.
Free drinks. Food carts are stationed throughout the park, with popcorn, beverages and ice cream available — included in the cost of admission. Of course, there’s also other fare available for purchase at Main Street Bakery and other select locations.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Evening
Obviously, with only three hours to spend once you have the park to yourself, have a plan in mind and execute it.
- That might mean showing up at Magic Kingdom right around 7:00 so your group can promptly enter the park and get the most out of the transition hours — including any rides you want to hit that won’t be open during the event.
- No-brainer suggestion: Enjoy the fireworks show near the front of the park. The crowds are still in their viewing positions, so do the best you can to secure a vantage point — or just watch and listen as you make your way through to your first destination in Tomorrowland or Adventureland.
- Have fun! You have the unique opportunity to visit attractions and meet characters, picking up snacks at select cart-kiosks throughout the park. And why not grab an extra beverage or two for the ride back to the resort?
- Capture the moment, as always. Get the crew to pose for a PhotoPass photographer on Main Street during your exit journey, since it’s so rare to get a pic in front of the castle without six-hundred people in the background. Don’t forget to tag your photo #disneyafterhours.
- Get your money’s worth, and stay well after midnight in order to avoid the crowds of Main Street shoppers who are still slowly making their way to the monorail and ferries.
When to Go
Disney created this special event for 11 select nights from June 2018 to September 2018, so there are a few slots remaining:
- Saturday, July 21, from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Saturday, July 28, from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Saturday, August 4, from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Saturday, August 11, from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Thursday, August 30, from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
- Thursday, September 20, from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
This is a great way to do more, faster, and experience the park in a totally cool way. Especially for those visiting Disney World for a short time, Disney After Dark is a terrific option.
Although a smart revenue idea for WDW, it would be wonderful if the concept expands: Some visitors said Disney After Dark is the way they’d always prefer to invest their money and time seeing the parks.
For more information and to book #DisneyAfterHours events, visit WDW’s special page devoted to the promotion, or call 407-827-7185. Advanced purchase price is $119 plus tax. The day-of price is $124 plus tax. Again, only a limited number of tickets are available for each night — so jump aboard while you still can.