Complete Guide to Disney World’s Extended Evening Hours
Long wait times are usually a necessary evil when enjoying Disney World’s magical collection of attractions. And truly, there’s no bigger buzzkill for any Disney vacation than seemingly spending all day in and out of lines. Luckily, thanks to Disney World’s Extended Evening Hours, that doesn’t always have to be the case.
But, who can go to Disney World Extended Hour? And which attractions are even open? Read on to learn more about this valuable perk.
What Are Extended Evening Hours at Disney World?
Extended hours in the parks have long been one of the most prized perks for Disney World hotel guests, offering fewer crowds and shorter wait times for rides. Currently, aside from special Disney After Hours events, the only way to enjoy time in the theme parks outside regular park hours is with either Early Theme Park Entry (follow the link for more) or Extended Evening Hours.
Available only for guests staying at a deluxe Disney World hotel, Extended Evening Hours are the most exclusive of the two. Though the first hour or so tends to stay a bit busy due to all the regular guests slowly clearing out of the park, by the time the end of the night rolls around, eligible guests can enjoy even the most popular attractions with little to no wait and a beautiful nighttime setting largely free from photobombers.
Who can go to Walt Disney World Extended Evening Hours?
Unlike Early Park Entry, which is offered to anyone staying at all Disney-operated resorts, as well as some third-party hotels, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are available exclusively to guests staying at a deluxe or deluxe villa resort, along with a handful of others.
Guests staying at these participating Disney-operated and third-party hotels can enjoy Disney Deluxe Resort Extra Hours:
Disney-Operated Hotels Eligible for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours
Disney World Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Schedule
Before COVID-19, Disney hotel guests could enjoy the theme parks outside normal operating hours during Disney World Extra Magic Hours. However, those have since been retired and replaced with Early Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours.
Similar to Extra Magic Hours at Disney World, Extended Evening Hours are both generous and, unfortunately, confusing. Though both allow Disney hotel guests to remain in the parks for up to two full hours after closing, the schedule varies greatly, with Extended Evening Hours only available at a specific park on particular days of the week.
Currently, Disney Deluxe Resort Extra Hours are typically offered on Mondays at Epcot and either Tuesdays or Wednesdays at Magic Kingdom, as well as once at Hollywood Studios on April 13. Hours vary from day to day, running from as early as 9-11 PM to as late as 11 PM-1 AM. The schedule is subject to change, so refer to the Disney World website or My Disney Experience when planning your trip.
Cost of Disney Deluxe Resort Extra Hours – Are they worth it?
Though technically considered a complimentary hotel benefit, Extended Evening Hours are by no means free, nor do they come cheap. Available only to guests with a reservation at one of Disney World’s deluxe or deluxe villa resorts, along with a few select others, you’ll need to pay a considerable amount just to enjoy Extended Evening Hours.
The cheapest deluxe resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge start at around $425 a night, about $100 less than Disney World’s other deluxe hotels. That’s a far cry from the roughly $125 you’d spend per night to stay at one of Disney’s All-Star Resorts and enjoy Early Park Entry. Add in pricey tickets, and you’ve got an expensive couple of hours in the theme parks.
Fortunately, there is a way to enjoy Extended Evening Theme Park Hours without staying at a spendy Disney World deluxe resort. Extra hours after closing time in the parks are also offered to guests staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, with rates starting as low as $225 a night.
The benefit is even available to guests staying at Shades of Green, a Disney World hotel dedicated to those in the armed forces. Military discount, anyone?
So, are Extended Evening Hours worth it? It depends on you and your group, especially who you’re traveling with, what you’re interested in and your budget.
For families with small children, splurging on a deluxe resort for Extended Evening Hours may not be worth it since kids tend to crash hard at the end of the night. However, groups of adults or those traveling with teens are more likely to be night owls and, as a result, have enough gas left in the tank to make the most of the evening.
Available Rides & Attractions for WDW Extended Evening Hours
Another factor to consider when deciding whether to upgrade to a Disney deluxe resort for extra hours in the theme parks after closing time is which attractions are available. Check out the list of rides below to see if your favorites are on it.
If not, Extended Evening Hours may not be worth it. Attractions are subject to change, so double-check what’s available before making your decision.
Magic Kingdom Park
Top Picks: Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain
Other Must-Dos: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Here’s the complete list, including height restrictions and Lightning Lane access:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 40” (102cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Disney Genie+
Country Bear Jamboree
Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Disney Genie+
Haunted Mansion – Disney Genie+
“it’s a small world” – Disney Genie+
Mad Tea Party – Disney Genie+
Mickey’s PhilharMagic – Disney Genie+
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – Disney Genie+
Peter Pan’s Flight – Disney Genie+
Pirates of the Caribbean – Disney Genie+
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 38” (97cm) or taller, Individual Lightning Lane
Space Mountain – 44” (112cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Swiss Family Treehouse
The Barnstormer – 35” (89cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Disney Genie+
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Disney Genie+
Tomorrowland Speedway – 32” (81cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid – Disney Genie+
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Top Picks: Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Test Track
Other Must-Dos: Soarin’ Around the World, Spaceship Earth
Here’s the complete list, including height restrictions and Lightning Lane access:
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
Frozen Ever After – Disney Genie+
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Mission: SPACE – 40” (102cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – Individual Lightning Lane
Soarin’ Around the World – 40” (102cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Spaceship Earth – Disney Genie+
Test Track – 40” (102cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
The Seas with Nemo & Friends – Disney Genie+
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Top Picks: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Other Must-Dos: Alien Swirling Saucers, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania!
Here’s the complete list, including height restrictions and Lightning Lane access:
Alien Swirling Saucers– 32” (81cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Disney Genie+
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – 38” (97cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Muppet*Vision 3D – Disney Genie+
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 48” (122cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Slinky Dog Dash – 38” (97cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – 40” (102cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 40” (102cm) or taller, Individual Lightning Lane
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 40” (102cm) or taller, Disney Genie+
Toy Story Mania! – Disney Genie+
Disney World Extended Evening Hours – Tips for a Magical, Crowd-Free Finale
Ready to take advantage of this deluxe hotel perk? Keep reading for how to make the most of those precious two hours, including strategy suggestions for each participating theme park.
Disney World Deluxe Resort Extra Hours, Genie+ & the Lightning Lanes
Similar to how Disney World Extra Magic Hours were a great opportunity to go on any rides you couldn’t get a FastPass for, you’ll also need to keep Disney Genie+ and the Lightning Lanes in mind while visiting the parks during Extended Evening Hours, albeit with more spendy stakes.
Priced at $15 a day per guest, Disney Genie+ isn’t exactly cheap, especially if you’ve already decided to splurge on a stay at one of the deluxe hotels. Luckily, upgrading to Genie+ is really only necessary at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (skip paying for Individual Lightning Lane Attractions unless absolutely necessary).
In general, most rides with Lightning Lane access are open and available during Extended Evening Hours. So, if you’d rather skip Genie+, this can be a great time to do all those in-demand rides without worrying about the crowds, particularly at Epcot and, to a lesser extent, Hollywood Studios.
As for Magic Kingdom, which has a grand total of 22 rides open for Extended Evening Hours, consider using Genie+ in conjunction with the deluxe resorts’ exclusive late-night access to supercharge your visit. Sure, it will be spendy. But, you should be able to experience basically everything without spending too much time in line.
Show Up Early & Stay Late
While lengthy Extended Evening Hours feel like a luxury compared to the half-hour head start provided by Early Theme Park Entry, those two hours go by fast – particularly since the ride lines won’t truly empty out for about an hour or so. If you aren’t already in the park, plan to arrive before it “closes” to other guests to get a jump on the night.
On evenings with fireworks, this is a great time to either start your night with a bang or take advantage of some shorter lines while other parkgoers enjoy the show. Then, if you aren’t too tired, try to stick it out until the end to capitalize on significantly crowds and shorter lines.
Skip the Food & Shopping
Though it might be tempting to spend the time stop for late dinner or do some souvenir shopping at the few places that are open during Extended Evening Hours, we suggest you save these for another time.
As we just mentioned, two hours can fly by. And while it might seem like you have time to go on rides and chow down on some food, unless you’re grabbing a snack to go, there are better ways to take advantage of the blissfully fewer crowds.
Save the Most Popular Rides for Last
Regular park guests can join ride queues up until the park “closes” to them for the night. So, don’t be surprised if the lines are still pretty long when Extended Evening Hours begin for the night.
Rather than hopping in line for popular Lightning Lane attractions like Rise of the Resistance, Space Mountain or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure right away, save these rides for towards the end of the evening to allow non-deluxe hotel guests to exit the park.
That being said, you’ll also want to be careful about waiting until the last minute, as some of these popular attractions also have a tendency to break down. Once that happens, it may not reopen, and you’ll be out of luck. Just keep checking the My Disney Experience app throughout the night to monitor the current wait times.
Think Twice Before Going on Longer Attractions
If your goal is to go on as many rides as possible during Extended Evening Hours, you’ll need to consider how much time it takes to enjoy each attraction, not including time spent in line.
For example, although Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom and Spaceship Earth at Epcot are some of the best rides at Disney World and ostensibly ideal picks for Extended Evening Hours, they’re also relatively long.
Clocking in at around 10 to 15 minutes per ride, they suck up a good chunk of your time. So, consider how much time you have left and the current wait before you commit.
Park-by-Park Strategy Suggestions for WDW Extended Evening Hours
Want to make the most of those crowd-free two hours? Here are some recommendations for using Extended Evening Hours to the fullest:
Magic Kingdom & Extended Evening Hours
With the most rides of any Disney World theme park, you certainly can’t accomplish everything at Magic Kingdom in just two short hours. However, depending on your must-dos, it’s more than enough time to tackle some of the park’s most in-demand Lightning Lane rides.
Unlike with Early Theme Park Entry, which excludes rides in Frontierland, Adventureland and Liberty Square, guests can enjoy attractions across Magic Kingdom Park for Extended Evening Hours. Since Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight are the two busiest rides in the park, you’ll want to save those for later on in the night once the crowds die down.
Instead, start your evening over in Tomorrowland on Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. From there, knock things out by area. For example, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad pairs well with the semi-nearby Pirates of the Caribbean.
You’ll also want to spend some time in Liberty Square and Fantasyland. Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train should be your priorities. So, monitor My Disney Experience for the shortest wait times. In between, sprinkle in attractions like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Haunted Mansion.
To check even more off your to-do list, partner Extended Evening Hours at Magic Kingdom with a PM-focused strategy like Genie+ Stacking, which creates a “stack” of ride reservations later in the day. This makes for a great – though, admittedly, expensive – way to see a bunch of rides in not a lot of time.
Epcot & Extended Evening Hours
Epcot is a huge park. And while there aren’t necessarily a ton of rides to experience during Extended Evening Hours, there’s still a lot of ground to cover. That means there’s a good chance you’ll spend a lot of time walking from attraction to attraction if you aren’t careful.
Try to be strategic about your route by experiencing rides that are close together first to avoid backtracking too much. Test Track and Mission: SPACE, Frozen Ever After and Gran Fiesta Tour, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along, Soarin’ and The Seas with Nemo & Friends – you get the gist.
Without a doubt, the biggest draws at Epcot are Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After and Test Track. If these are your only priorities, then fitting in all three shouldn’t be a problem, even if the lines are long.
However, if you’re trying to do more, you may need to get picky – particularly with the park’s brand-new Ratatouille ride awkwardly located in World Showcase’s France Pavilion, far from most of the available attractions. So, we recommend using your entrance/exit of choice to your advantage.
Staying in one of the Epcot Area Resorts? Plan to experience Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure either right when you enter for Extended Evening Hours while Harmonious is happening or at the very end of the night before heading through International Gateway and back to your hotel.
Using the main entrance? Then there’s no better way to end your night than with a late-night ride on Spaceship Earth on your way to the parking lot.
Hollywood Studios & Extended Evening Hours
The newest addition to Disney World’s Extended Evening Hours lineup, Hollywood Studios offers a good mix of rides and shows across the park to late-night guests. However, the headliner is, of course, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Typically, this galactic adventure experiences long lines all day long. So, you’ll want to wait to go on until the second half of Extended Evening Hours to let some of the crowds clear.
Rather, start your evening either down on Sunset Boulevard with Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, back in Toy Story Land with Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania or with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway near the center of the park.
From there, keep an eye on wait times with the My Disney Experience app. Instead of saving Rise of the Resistance for the last ride of the night, make your way over once the lines shorten up. With so many moving parts, the attraction has a tendency to break down, meaning you could miss out entirely if you aren’t careful. Check Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run off the list too before you leave Galaxy’s Edge.
Have you gone to Extended Evening Hours at Disney World? Are there any tips or tricks we missed? Let us know in the comments! No room in your budget for Lightning Lane access with your spendy hotel stay? Save some cash and make the most of your day with our Disney World discount tickets.