Disney After Hours at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Tree of Life
Credit: Disney

Disney After Hours has been going on for a while now, but only at the Magic Kingdom. Last night, that changed. Both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have been added into the mix. December 4, 2018 was the debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. My daughter and I were invited guests of Disney, we were able to attend the event for free. We had an incredible time, this is a great event.


The whole idea behind Disney After Hours is that a very limited number of tickets are sold, so there are no waits. Last night the event ran from 8:30 until 11:30. You can enter the park with your ticket two hours before that, and we decided to do that. We arrived right around 6:30. We decided to catch the 7:30 show of Rivers of Light. After that was over, we walked around a bit. We checked out Avatar Flight of Passage, which had a Wait Time of 160 minutes.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom closed at 8:00 yesterday, and they roped off the entrances to the rides at that time. They also started to roll out the snack carts. Popcorn, Mickey bars and sandwiches, strawberry fruit bars, and some non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price. We decided to head back to Flight of Passage to see how the line would be handled. After all, the whole idea behind Disney After Hours is that you don’t have to wait in line.

By the time we made it back to the ride’s entrance, there was a line formed, but it was in the FastPass+ queue. We got into the line at 8:31, we were on the ride by 8:49. That was the only line we waited in all night long.

After Avatar Flight of Passage we walked over to Na’vi River Journey. Not only was this walk on, there was no one else riding. The boat in front of ours was empty, and the boat behind ours was as well. I hadn’t seen it like that since the Passholder Previews before Pandora – The World of Avatar opened.

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The attractions that are open for Disney After Hours are It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Na’vi River Journey, Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, TriceraTop Spin, and DINOSAUR. The Cast Members at TriceraTop Spin were allowing people to ride without getting off if they wanted. Rivers of Light ran at 9:00, but we skipped that because we had already seen it. There were three showings of Pandora Drummers – Swotu Waya. There was also a Dino-Riffic Dance Party with Chip ‘n Dale, but there were so few people in the park that it was more of a character meet and greet. Another thing that was nice was that we were able to watch Tree of Life Awakenings and take pictures without getting hands and cameras in our pictures. We could just stand and watch.

Most of the restaurants were closed, but as I already mentioned popcorn, ice cream, and some drinks were included in the price. Pongu Pongu and Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snack were open with adult beverages for purchase. A few of the stores were open, but there was no event merchandise for sale.

The question of the night became “How many times have you ridden?” referring to Flight of Passage. Our total was three, but we easily could have more than doubled that. After our first ride that line disappeared as well. Those who were in the 160 minute standby queue from the regular park day rode when there were no Disney After Hours guests waiting. We rode everything else. (Okay, my daughter rode Expedition Everest alone because I’m not a huge coaster fan.) Everything was walk on, and the pathways were deserted. It was so empty that it was almost eerie.

The Cast Members deserve special praise for their work. Everyone was overly friendly, and they seemed to be enjoying the celebration. They made an extra effort to make sure that everyone was having a great time.

Disney After Hours runs on select nights, and is now taking place at three of the four theme parks. The cost is $125 per person in advance, $129 the day of (if there are tickets still available because they are extremely limited). Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can attend for $95. There is no child’s ticket. I think I saw only one child there last night anyway. Purchase your tickets at any ticket window, or by calling 407-939-7795. Disney After Hours may be pricey, but if you hate lines it is worth it.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.