We love exploring all the Walt Disney World theme parks at night, but if we had to choose, EPCOT just might be our favorite. The crowds thin out, wait times for rides decrease, temperatures cool, and the buildings light up, illuminating the beautiful details of the World Showcase pavilions and the iconic Spaceship Earth. Add in the dazzling fountain and firework show out on World Showcase Lagoon, and it’s truly an enchanting time to wander the park.
If you also enjoy visiting this classic Disney World park after the sun goes down, then you won’t want to miss Disney After Hours at EPCOT. This separately ticketed, limited-capacity event takes over Future World and World Showcase after regular park hours have ended, allowing you to experience the best that EPCOT has to offer without the long lines or big crowds that are a constant during the day. Whether you’re thinking about scoring tickets, or you already have a night booked, this EPCOT After Hours guide is for you.
Read on for the ins and outs of this Disney After Hours event, from details like dates, hours and tickets to the many perks you can enjoy while you’re there. Stay tuned all the way to the end for some helpful hints that are sure to make your evening a success. Alright, let’s go!
What Is Disney After Hours at EPCOT?
Disney After Hours is a special event that (you guessed it!) is held in participating parks after normal park hours. In some ways, these late-night affairs are similar to holiday events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios’ brand-new seasonal shindig, Disney Jollywood Nights. Unlike holiday parties at Walt Disney World, however, Disney After Hours events are more about short wait times for a park’s most popular attractions than festive decorations, entertainment and food.
In that way, you can really think of Disney After Hours as a ticketed version of Extended Evening Hours, with the added benefit of free snacks like popcorn and ice cream novelties and select bottled beverages. (Yes, free! Bring on the Mickey ice cream bars!) Typically, Extended Evening Hours are only available to guests staying at one of Walt Disney World’s deluxe resorts, as well as other select hotels on property, including Shades of Green and the trio of Swan and Dolphin hotels.
Minus the complimentary ice cream treats and other bottomless bites and beverages, the overall benefits of Disney After Hours events and Extended Evening Hours are about the same. So, if you’re a deluxe resort guest or you’re staying at one of the other participating hotels, then you’re better off spending your money elsewhere. However, if this resort perk isn’t included in your stay, Disney After Hours can be a worthwhile addition to your Walt Disney World vacation.
For three hours, you’ll have access to a select number of shops, some entertainment offerings, all the late-night snacks you can eat, and, of course, many in-demand rides. And since capacity is limited, the wait times for those rides are much shorter than what you would usually experience during the day. In fact, some attractions won’t even have a line at all, allowing you to simply walk right on or even stay on for another ride (and another and another…). Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us!
Going to 2024 Disney After Hours Events at EPCOT
All set to buy your EPCOT After Hours ticket? Here are some things you should be aware of.
Dates & Hours
2024 EPCOT After Hours events take place on select evenings from the beginning of February to mid-July, outpacing Disney After Hours events at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios by quite a bit. Sadly, no Disney After Hours event nights are offered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park for 2024.
EPCOT After Hours dates in 2024 include:
Friday, February 2
Thursday, February 8
Thursday, February 15
Thursday, March 7
Thursday, March 28
Thursday, April 4
Thursday, April 25
Thursday, May 9
Thursday, May 23
Thursday, May 30
Thursday, June 6
Thursday, June 20
Thursday, July 18
As we already mentioned and as you can guess from the name, Disney After Hours at EPCOT is held after regular operating hours conclude for the day. Lasting for three hours, this late-night extravaganza starts at 10 PM and ends at 1 AM. But wait, there’s more! If desired, Disney After Hours eventgoers can stretch out the fun even further and get a head start on their night by entering EPCOT as early as 7 PM, up to three hours before the event officially begins. And the best part? You don’t need a theme park reservation or regular park ticket if you decide to kickstart your evening. (As we’ll get into later, this is something that we highly recommend you do.)
It should come as no surprise that Disney After Hours tickets aren’t exactly cheap. This is Walt Disney World, after all! EPCOT After Hours ticket prices vary depending on the evening you decide to attend, with admission costing either $149 or $159 per person. The most affordable dates bookend the event’s 2024 run. Also unsurprisingly, Disney After Hours has been known to sell out as a result of the event’s perks and limited capacity. So, to secure your spot and ensure you don’t miss out, it’s highly recommended that you purchase your event tickets early. That said, it is possible that there may be same-day availability.
Discounts for Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members and Park Savers Readers
Looking to save some extra cash? We’ve got some great news for you! There are a few different ways to get your hands on discounted tickets for EPCOT After Hours. The most significant savings—$30 per person—are offered to Disney World annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. Not an annual passholder or DVC member? Not to worry! You can also save a little money, up to $7 per person, by buying your tickets for Disney After Hours through our authorized ticket seller Undercover Tourist. To get yours, click here!
The Arrival Process
As previously mentioned, EPCOT After Hours guests are allowed to enter the park as much as three hours prior to when the event officially begins, starting at 7 PM. We highly recommend taking advantage of this, as it gives you a huge head jump start for the evening. Naturally, you can spend all day in the park if you like. Just be aware that, based on what kind of park ticket you have, theme park reservations may be required.
All EPCOT eventgoers receive a Disney After Hours wristband. If you get to the park before 7 PM, you can pick yours up at one of the designated stations throughout the park. Should you choose to arrive at 7 PM or later, you’ll pick up yours at the designated turnstile as you enter EPCOT, either at the main park entrance or through International Gateway in World Showcase.
At EPCOT, the park typically closes at 9 PM, leaving a gap of one hour as a transitional period until the event officially begins. You can use this time in a few different ways. First, this is a great opportunity to catch the park’s fireworks show, Luminous The Symphony of Us, which starts just as the park closes. Alternatively, you can also start knocking out some rides. Although regular park guests can only get in line up to 8:59 PM, Disney After Hours guests can go on any of the rides that will be available during the event by simply flashing their wristbands.
EPCOT Disney After Hours Event Perks
Alright, onto the fun part: all the EPCOT After Hours perks! Here’s everything you can enjoy during the event.
Late-Night Access to Popular Attractions and Entertainment
When it comes to the various event highlights of Disney After Hours at EPCOT, the biggest and best is short wait times for the park’s best rides. Believe it or not, you really shouldn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes to go on most of the attractions that are available. The only real exception to this is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, EPCOT’s newest ride and its only roller coaster. For many attractions, you can even walk on without a wait at all. This allows you to experience many different rides in a relatively short period of time or, depending on your priorities, your favorite rides more than once.
Almost all EPCOT rides are available on Disney After Hours event nights (with the exception of Journey Into Imagination with Figment). That said, attractions are subject to change, and nothing is guaranteed. Rides that are set to be open for EPCOT After Hours include:
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Living with the Land
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Frozen Ever After (Norway Pavilion)
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (Mexico Pavilion)
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (France Pavilion)
Unlike Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom, which is offering an exclusive showing of the Disney Enchantment fireworks and projection show, there isn’t a nighttime spectacular held during EPCOT After Hours. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any entertainment happening.
Last year, a DJ-led dance party was available over in World Discovery between Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Mission: SPACE, and rascally chipmunks Chip ‘n’ Dale even stopped by to make an appearance and bust a move. Eventgoers could also enjoy the sounds of traditional folk music during performances by Mariachi Cobre, one of Walt Disney World’s best live musical acts, over in the Mexico Pavilion. Whether these will make a return in 2024 remains to be seen.
A Handful of Character Appearances & Other Photo Ops
Speaking of Chip ‘n’ Dale, you can also expect to see a few Disney characters wandering around during the event. However, don’t make meeting characters a priority, as there tends to be far fewer character greetings at EPCOT After Hours than during normal park hours. Don’t be surprised if you see Mickey Mouse hanging out over in World Showcase or Pluto over in World Discovery. That said, you probably won’t get to meet the Disney Princesses or possibly even other EPCOT characters like Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph or Joy from Inside Out. So, be sure to set your expectations accordingly.
Disney characters aren’t the only photo opportunities available at Disney After Hours at EPCOT. Guests can also take advantage of the many Disney PhotoPass photographers milling about the event. Some photographers even offer special shots that are usually only available at various EPCOT festivals or other times of the year.
Free Snacks and Select Bottled Beverages
Who doesn’t love a midnight snack? Apparently, the good folks at Walt Disney World got the memo because free snacks and drinks are another big benefit of Disney After Hours at EPCOT. Bountiful bites on offer include quintessential late-night snacks like popcorn and ice cream treats. Guests can wash it all down with a selection of bottled beverages, including Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and water.
Free food and drinks can be picked up in several parts of the park, including:
Fountain Popcorn Cart
Mission: SPACE Cart
Other Dining & Drinking Opportunities
Hoping for something more than just popcorn and ice cream to eat? Or perhaps you want to pick up something boozy to sip on. While sit-down restaurants around the park will be closed, there are typically still some quick-service eateries and at least one bar that will be available. Be aware that certain spots might close an hour or two (or more) before the event comes to an end, and menu offerings might be limited. So, if you think that you’ll need something more substantial to power you through the night, consider having dinner before the event kicks off.
EPCOT dining outlets that remained open during last year’s Disney After Hours event include:
Want to pick up a souvenir to help you remember your EPCOT After Hours experience? While you shouldn’t shop ‘til you drop at Disney After Hours (there are way better things you can do with your limited time), there are a few stores that will keep their doors open during the event, allowing you to indulge in a little retail therapy.
Stores available during Disney After Hours at EPCOT include:
ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs
Mission: SPACE Cargo Bay
Test Track SIMporium
Treasures of Xandar
SeaBase Gift Shop
Plaza de los Amigos (Mexico Pavilion)
World Traveler (International Gateway)
How to Make the Most of EPCOT After Hours
So, you decided to splurge on that EPCOT After Hours event ticket. Great! Now, what can you do to maximize your time and money while you’re there? Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most bang for your buck.
If Possible, Plan to Arrive at 7 PM
The easiest way to get more for your money is to spend more time in the park. That means taking advantage of the three-hour early entry and showing up as close as you can to 7 PM. During this time, you can get a meal at a restaurant that won’t be open during the event or, if there’s a festival going on, trying out one (or more!) of the many great food booths that are available during the Festival of the Arts or International Flower & Garden Festival.
Alternatively, you can also catch the nightly fireworks display, which starts as the park closes for the night, or take in one of the shows that won’t be available during the event, like the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along, Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, Turtle Talk with Crush or Awesome Planet. Remember, you can also get a jump on the various rides on your list by going on during the one-hour transition period. Although there might still be day guests filtering out of the park, they won’t be able to go on any of the attractions without an event wristband. So, the long lines shouldn’t be a problem.
Remember That You Can Get in Line Up Until 12:59 AM
Did you know that you can get in line for a ride up until the very last minute before the park closes? Yup! Best of all, the same rule applies to EPCOT After Hours, too. Keeping that in mind, we like to save the attraction with the longest wait, typically Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, for the very last ride of the night. This frees up the rest of the evening and allows us to cram in as many rides with shorter wait times as we can for the bulk of the event.
Figure Out Your Priorities and Make a Plan
As with any trip to Walt Disney World, the best way to make sure you have a successful and stress-free experience is by going into it with a plan. For Disney After Hours at EPCOT, that means deciding if you would rather go on your favorite rides as much as possible or spread things out by taking in each of the attractions on offer, including the rides that typically have incredibly long lines during the day. Once you’ve got that figured out, the rest of the puzzle pieces will fall into place. To get started, we recommend that you check off any attractions that you absolutely cannot miss right out of the gate and then go from there.
Unlike similar events at other Walt Disney World theme parks, EPCOT After Hours will see part of the park close down, particularly all World Showcase countries from the China Pavilion to the Morocco Pavilion. That means that, if you want to go on Frozen Ever After in the Norway Pavilion followed by Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France Pavilion, you’re going to have to slightly reverse course to get there. As you might imagine, that is going to take up a lot of time. So, for the rest of the evening, do your best to avoid crisscrossing as much as possible. EPCOT is a huge park, and, if you want to save time, you’re going to have to be strategic as you go from place to place.
Take Some Free Snacks Home with You
The best things in life are free, especially food. Don’t leave those snacks and bottled beverages behind for future guests! Grab a few bottles of soda (or water, if you’re responsible) to take home with you. Get another thing of popcorn so you can enjoy it the next day. Pick up a Mickey ice cream bar for the road. You’ll thank us later.
Have you ever been to Disney After Hours at EPCOT? Do you think this limited-capacity event is worth it? Let us know in the comments! Then, find out how you can make the event a little more affordable with our discounted Disney tickets.