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Disney World Changes Tradition: Guests Can Now Pay For “Dream” Experience

cinderella castle
Credit: Disney

What if we told you that you can now pay for the “dream” Walt Disney World Resort experience you’ve always wanted?

For many Disney enthusiasts, the parks represent a realm where dreams come true, and there are certain experiences that have long been on their wishlist. From dining inside the towering Cinderella Castle to embarking on a private tour of the Magic Kingdom aboard the iconic steam train, there are countless fantasies that have captured the hearts and minds of guests.

disney world cinderella castle fireworks

Credit: Brian McGowan on Unsplash

While the reality of these experiences may remain out of reach for most, there is one dream that can be attained: Walking around the theme parks by yourself without having to fight massive crowds.

Disney After Hours offers this unique opportunity, but it comes at a cost. Below, we’ll give you a complete rundown of everything you should know about Disney After Hours events.

Disney World After Hours Events have changed everything

In the ever-evolving landscape of theme park experiences, Disney After Hours has emerged as a popular offering for many Disney park guests hoping to get the most out of their vacations. Introduced by Walt Disney World Resort just last year, these exclusive events offer attendees the opportunity to indulge in the enchantment of the parks with unprecedented ease and efficiency.

At the heart of Disney After Hours lies a simple yet compelling promise: more magic in less time. The concept is elegantly straightforward yet undeniably transformative, granting ticket holders three additional hours within one of Disney’s iconic theme parks after regular closing hours. Gone are the days of enduring long lines and crowded walkways; instead, guests are treated to a curated experience characterized by limited capacity and minimal wait times.

spaceship earth at night

Credit: Becky Burkett

The allure of Disney After Hours lies not only in the extended access to beloved attractions but also in the ambiance of exclusivity that pervades the event. With a restricted number of tickets available, attendees can revel in the rare opportunity to explore the park’s attractions and landmarks in a more intimate setting. The result is a heightened sense of immersion and connection with the Disney magic, unencumbered by the usual crowds of visitors.

Central to the Disney After Hours experience is the notion of indulgence. As guests traverse the park’s enchanting landscapes, they are invited to partake in a selection of delectable treats, which are included with the cost of admission. From classic ice cream novelties to freshly popped popcorn and refreshing beverages, these complimentary delights are the perfect accompaniment to an evening of adventure and exploration.

One of the most tantalizing aspects of Disney After Hours is the opportunity to witness iconic attractions in a new light—quite literally. As the sun sets and the park is bathed in the soft glow of twilight, familiar landmarks take on a mesmerizing allure, casting enchanting shadows against the night sky. Whether it’s the ethereal ambiance of Space Mountain or the eerie mystique of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, these experiences– with little to no waits– add an extra layer of excitement.

disney world sick disney's hollywood studios disney world tower of terror hot sun

Credit: Becky Burkett/Canva

The success of Disney After Hours can be attributed in part to its seamless integration of convenience and luxury. By offering guests the opportunity to bypass lengthy queues and enjoy uninterrupted access to their favorite attractions, Disney has elevated the theme park experience to new heights of comfort and enjoyment. No longer constrained by the constraints of time and space, attendees are free to immerse themselves fully in the magic of Disney, savoring every moment without the usual distractions and delays.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that this unparalleled level of convenience does come at a cost. While Disney After Hours provides an unrivaled opportunity to experience the Disney World parks in a more intimate and exclusive manner, it does require an additional financial investment on the part of attendees. For some, the allure of shorter wait times and complimentary snacks may justify the expense, while others may find themselves hesitant to commit to the added cost.

It also has to be noted that Disney After Hours events have come at the cost of the theme parks no longer having longer operating hours for regular theme park guests. There were times in the past when

Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom

There are currently seven dates remaining for Disney After Hours in Magic Kingdom. Here’s a look at the dates– which are all Mondays– and how much each date costs:

  • Monday, March 18: $175 (March 18)
  • Monday, April 8: $175 (April 8)
  • Monday, April 22: $175 (April 22)
  • Monday, April 29: $175 (April 29)
  • Monday, May 13: $165 (May 13)
  • Thursday, June 13: $165 (June 13)
  • Thursday, June 27: $165 (June 27)

Disney Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members get a $30.00 discount on tickets.

This event takes place from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. You can get a head start on the fun by entering the park at 7:00 p.m.—a few hours before the event officially begins.

Disney After Hours is typically most useful at Magic Kingdom. This is because the Disney World park has the most attractions and, therefore, the most opportunity for you to knock out a massive amount of rides in the three-hour window that you have the theme park all to yourself.

magic kingdom fantasyland

Credit: Becky Burkett

One thing to be aware of is that TRON Lightcycle / Run plans to use a standby line queue for Disney After Hours events, meaning that you do not have to attempt to book a Virtual Queue reservation ahead of time. TRON is the newest attraction inside of Walt Disney World Resort. You can read its official description below:

“Leave the real world behind and join Team Blue in a quest across the Grid—the dark, computerized world with no horizons from TRON. Here, there’s no limit to the excitement.”

Of course, all other attractions also operate with a regular standby line queue.

In addition to rides, you can also enjoy complimentary snacks. Delight in select ice cream novelties, popcorn, and bottled beverages—all included in the cost of this ticketed event—available at carts stationed throughout the park.

Disney After Hours at EPCOT

EPCOT also hosts Disney After Hours events, and there are currently still nine left on the schedule for this year. The prices for EPCOT start at $149.00 and can be as high as $159.00, which is a little less than Magic Kingdom.

spaceship earth, epcot

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

Here are the dates listed below:

  • Thursday, March 28: $159
  • Thursday, April 4: $159
  • Thursday, April 25: $159
  • Thursday, May 9: $159
  • Thursday, May 23: $159
  • Thursday, May 30: $159
  • Thursday, June 6: $149
  • Thursday, June 20: $149
  • Thursday, July 18: $149

Disney Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members also get a $30.00 discount on this event.

This event takes place from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. You can get a head start on the fun by entering the park at 7:00 p.m.—a few hours before the event officially begins.

Of course, one of the biggest allures at EPCOT is getting the opportunity to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which many Disney enthusiasts have said is their new favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World. The official description for the attraction can be read below:

“This family-thrill attraction features the first ever reverse-launch on a Disney coaster and is one of the largest fully-enclosed coasters in the world! An innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering—this coaster rotates 360 degrees so you can focus on the action!”

Spaceship Earth EPCOT

Credit: Disney

In addition, you’ll have chances to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, and many other attractions without significant wait times.

What’s Included?
Delight in select ice cream novelties, popcorn and bottled beverages—all included in the cost of this ticketed event—available at the following locations:

  • Mission: SPACE Cart
  • Imagination Cart
  • Connections Cart
  • Fountain Popcorn Cart

Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the most remaining After Hours events. At the time of this writing, there are still 17 scheduled After Hours events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

You can see the full schedule below:

  • Wednesday, March 20: $175
  • Wednesday, March 27: $175
  • Wednesday, April 3: $175
  • Wednesday, April 10: $175
  • Wednesday, May 22: $175
  • Wednesday, May 29: $175
  • Wednesday, June 12: $165
  • Wednesday, June 19: $165
  • Wednesday, June 26: $165
  • Wednesday, July 10: $165
  • Wednesday, July 17: $165
  • Wednesday, July 24: $155
  • Wednesday, July 31: $155
  • Wednesday, August 7: $155
  • Wednesday, August 14: $145
  • Wednesday, August 21: $145
  • Thursday, August 29: $145

This event takes place from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.. You can get a head start on the fun by entering the park at 7:00 p.m.—a few hours before the event officially begins.

Though Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the After Hours event can undoubtedly help you ride many attractions, we wouldn’t come into the night expecting to experience everything. With Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith still closed, this theme park can still get bogged with crowding, even during After Hours events.

After hours hollywood studios

Credit: Disney

The wait times will certainly dwindle as guests make their way out of the park, but because there are not as many operable rides as EPCOT and Magic Kingdom, this can still lead to some attractions having wait times, particularly Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. If you’re planning to do Disney After Hours here, we recommend heading around the theme park and doing all the other rides– which will have lower waits in comparison– and then hitting Rise of the Resistance as the last attraction of the night.

Will you be heading to Disney’s After Hours events this year?

About Brittni Ward

Brittni is a Disney and Universal fan; one of her favorite things at both parks is collecting popcorn buckets. While at Disney World Resort, Brittni meets the princesses and rides Kilimanjaro Safaris. At Universal, Brittni enjoys the Minions and watching Animal Actors on Location! When not at Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, Brittni spends time with her family and pets.

2 comments

  1. Don’t Deluxe Hotel residents get in FREE for these extended After Hours dates?

    • No. These are different, separate events, not the same as the free extra hours for deluxe resort guests.. The free extra hours for deluxe resorts are currently Epcot on Mondays and MK on Wednesdays.

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