Nighttime is, without a doubt, our favorite time to hang out at Magic Kingdom Park. There’s just something about seeing Main Street, USA and Cinderella Castle up in lights and the neon glow of Tomorrowland that makes this classic Walt Disney World theme park even more, well, magical. Add in a glittering fireworks finale and, typically, shorter wait times for rides, and it’s easily worth sticking around for.
That’s why Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park is right up our alley—and if you’re a night owl like us, then it’s probably right up yours, too. Whether you’re thinking of going to a Magic Kingdom After Hours event in 2024 or you’ve already bought your ticket, this guide is for you. Read on as we break down everything you need to know, from basics like hours, dates and tickets to what you can expect while you’re there. We’ve also included a few event hacks to help you make the most of your evening. Alright, let’s get started!
What Is Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park?
Disney After Hours is a separately ticketed event that begins after normal park hours have ended, similar to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Where they differ, however, is in the benefits and overall atmosphere. Instead of extras like the festively themed decor, special entertainment and character greetings, and seasonal snacks and sips of a Halloween or Christmas after-hours party, Disney After Hours guests at Magic Kingdom only enjoy short wait times to some of the park’s most popular attractions, as well as complimentary bites and beverages. (We say “only,” but those are actually huge selling points that make a Disney After Hours event a worthwhile splurge.)
In terms of the perks, Disney After Hours is also quite similar to Extended Evening Hours, Disney World’s updated, late-night Extra Magic Hours offering. However, unlike Extended Evening Hours, which is offered for free to those staying at one of Walt Disney World’s deluxe resorts, guests must pay—a considerable amount, in fact—for Disney After Hours. (We’ll get to the exact ticket prices in just a bit.) Given that, if you happen to be staying at a deluxe resort during your Disney World trip, then you’re probably better off giving Disney After Hours a pass and spending your money on something else.
But for guests staying literally anywhere else, we think Disney After Hours events are well worth the price of admission. With your Disney After Hours admission, you receive three hours to experience the best attractions the park has to offer. Since capacity is limited, wait times tend to be significantly shorter, allowing event guests to go on rides that might be too busy to do during normal park hours or even experience their favorite attractions again and again. And I know we already said it, but it’s such a sweet perk that it’s worth mentioning again: Free snacks like popcorn and ice cream novelties and select beverages are also included!
Going to a 2024 Disney After Hours Event at Magic Kingdom
Ready to book your ticket to Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom? Here are some things you need to know.
Dates & Hours
In 2024, Disney After Hours will take place at Magic Kingdom Park on select evenings from mid-January through early April. After-hours events are also offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. (Sorry, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is not included.)
Magic Kingdom After Hours dates in 2024 include:
Thursday, January 11
Monday, January 15
Monday, January 22
Thursday, February 1
Monday, February 5
Monday, February 12
Thursday, February 29
Monday, March 4
Monday, March 18
Monday, April 8
Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park runs for three hours outside of normal park hours, lasting from 10 PM to 1 AM. Disney After Hours guests are also welcome to enter the park up to three hours before the event officially begins, starting at 7 PM. Note that, should you choose to enter Magic Kingdom early (which we highly recommend), a theme park reservation and standard park admission are not required.
As we already hinted at, access to this separately ticketed event doesn’t come cheap. At Magic Kingdom Park, ticket prices range from $155 to $175, depending on which date you decide to attend. This late-night special event has been known to sell out. So, if you know that you want to attend during your trip to Walt Disney World, be sure to buy your Disney After Hours ticket ahead of time.
Discounts for Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members and Park Savers Readers
Want the perks of a Disney After Hours event without paying full price? Well, we have some great news! Walt Disney World annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can take advantage of discounted Disney After Hours tickets, which save you $30 per person. And don’t worry if you’re not a member of these exclusive clubs. By buying your event ticket through us and our ticket partner, Undercover Tourist, you can still enjoy savings of up to $8 per person. Click here to get yours today!
The Arrival Process
As we mentioned earlier, Disney After Hours eventgoers are able to enter Magic Kingdom Park as much as three hours before the event officially begins. This is something that we highly recommend, as it gives you a huge head start on your night. Of course, you can also choose to spend all day in the park. However, if you decide to arrive earlier than 7 PM, know that theme park reservations may be required, depending on which kind of ticket you are using to get in.
All Magic Kingdom eventgoers will receive a Disney After Hours wristband, which ensures that you won’t get kicked out once park closing rolls around. How and where you pick up yours will depend on what time you get to the park. For those who arrive prior to 7 PM, keep an eye out for cast members handing out wristbands at dedicated stations located throughout the park. If you plan to get to Magic Kingdom at 7 PM or later, plan to pick up your Disney After Hours wristband at the dedicated event turnstiles as you enter the park.
Note that, at Magic Kingdom Park, there is no transition between regular park hours and when the event officially begins. Rather, Disney After Hours starts at the same time that the park closes. As a result, there will be a short period when normal parkgoers will still be inside the park during the special event. Fortunately, cast members are very good at herding other guests without wristbands toward the exit. Disney also tends to inflate wait times for rides a bit in the lead-up to event nights, which discourages people from getting in line until the last minute. That leaves plenty of time to enjoy the event’s many perks.
Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Event Perks
So, exactly what do you have to look forward to during Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park? Let’s take a look!
Late-Night Access to Popular Attractions and Entertainment
Without a doubt, the biggest benefit of Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom is having access to many of the park’s attractions after the regular park guests have left. That means, instead of long lines, you can experience rides like Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion with a considerably shorter wait than what you would typically find during normal park hours.
In fact, many rides will have wait times of only five or 10 minutes, while others won’t have a line at all. That said, you can still expect a pretty sizeable line for some attractions—namely Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight and Tron Lightcycle / Run. However, those wait times will be much more manageable than they would otherwise be. In fact, Magic Kingdom After Hours is currently the only time that you will be able to ride Tron Lightcycle / Run on standby.
Here are all the attractions that are open during Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
Pirates of the Caribbean
Swiss Family Treehouse
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Country Bear Jamboree
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
“it’s a small world”
Mad Tea Party
Peter Pan’s Flight
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Tron Lightcycle / Run (through a standby queue)
Along with a vast majority of the rides at Magic Kingdom Park, guests of this three-hour event can also enjoy an exclusive nighttime fireworks spectacular: Disney Enchantment. Offered during the resort’s 50th-anniversary celebration, Disney Enchantment will be making its dazzling return especially for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom. This glittering fireworks show and projection display will take to the skies over Cinderella Castle and the picturesque setting of Main Street, U.S.A. at 11 PM during the event.
Limited Character Meet-and-Greets
Unlike at one of Magic Kingdom’s holiday parties or during normal park hours, you won’t find too many character greetings during Disney After Hours. Thankfully, they aren’t missing altogether. There are a very limited number of Disney character meet-and-greets available throughout the evening. So, feel free to try and squeeze one or two in if you have the time.
Character encounters offered at Magic Kingdom After Hours include:
Another great perk of Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park is a selection of complimentary bites and beverages. After all, who doesn’t love a midnight snack? Freebies that come with your event admission include unlimited ice cream treats (specifically Mickey ice cream bars and sandwiches and strawberry bars), popcorn and select bottled beverages (water, Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite). These can be snagged from snack carts throughout Magic Kingdom for the duration of the event.
Other Available Dining & Shopping Outlets
Looking for something more substantial to eat? Or maybe need a little coffee to power you through the rest of the night? Although all the table-service eateries and most quick-service restaurants will shut down for the event, there are a couple of spots that will remain open on Main Street, USA, including Casey’s Corner (mmm, hot dogs!) and Main Street Bakery (AKA Starbucks). However, keep in mind that only select menu items will be available.
Want something to commemorate your Magic Kingdom After Hours adventures? Although we don’t recommend doing too much shopping during Disney After Hours, there are some Magic Kingdom merchandise outlets that will remain open for some late-night souvenir shopping. If you have Memory Maker or you purchased Disney Genie+ for Magic Kingdom that day, we especially recommend you take advantage of the attraction photos at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. They make out-of-this-world mementos! All merchandise locations open during Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park include:
Main Street, USA
Box Office Gifts
Curtain Call Collectibles
Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar
Hundred Acre Goods
Ride photos at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Tomorrowland Launch Depot
Tips & Tricks to Make Your Night a Success
So, you bought your ticket for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom. Now, how do you make the most of your late-night access to this enchanting theme park? Here are some helpful hints to maximize your evening and the high cost of admission.
Take Advantage of Early Entry to the Park
Whatever you do, don’t just show up to Magic Kingdom right at 10 PM (or, heck, even 8 or 9 PM) because you’ll lose out on precious time. Since Disney gives you three extra hours inside the park before the event officially begins (no regular park ticket necessary), make sure you take advantage of them. Plan to arrive at 7 PM so that you can start knocking out things on your to-do list. See some characters that aren’t available during Disney After Hours. Go on some rides that already have a short line. Enjoy a fireworks double feature and see Happily Ever After, and then, once the event starts, take in Disney Enchantment. No matter what you choose, you’ll put yourself in a great position for the rest of your night.
Cram in Rides Up to the Very Last Minute
In our opinion, the main reason to go to Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom is the short wait times for rides. Luckily, just like during normal park hours, you can continue to jump in line until the last minute of the special event. So, if there’s an attraction that you want to go on that has had a long line throughout the evening, save it for the end of the night and get in line right before the event finishes. As long as you’re in the queue by 12:59 AM, you’re good to go.
Bookend Your Evening with Tron Lightcycle / Run
As the newest ride at Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World overall, Tron Lightcycle / Run is, understandably, incredibly popular. During the day, the only way to experience this futuristic roller coaster is through the virtual queue or with Individual Lightning Lane access. Fortunately, that isn’t the case during Magic Kingdom After Hours, as the ride will be offered on standby. Unfortunately, that means that the lines will probably still be quite long. For the shortest wait times, plan to start or end your evening there.
Figure Out What Your Priorities Are
Just like any Walt Disney World vacation, the easiest way to get the most done during Magic Kingdom After Hours is by going in with a plan. Do you want to go on all of your favorite rides as many times as possible, or would you rather experience attractions that tend to be really busy during normal park hours? Which rides are absolute must-dos? Once you’ve figured that out, you can spend your evening accordingly. Consider tackling your musts first and then filling in the gaps afterward, and try not to waste time by crisscrossing back and forth.
Have Dinner Before the Event—Or Not
Although you can certainly gorge yourself on bottomless popcorn, ice cream novelties and bottled beverages all night long, you might not want to. After all, as much as we love a Mickey ice cream bar, sometimes snacks just aren’t enough. Since there is only a limited menu offered at two quick-service locations during the event, consider how hungry you’re going to be and think about getting dinner at Magic Kingdom or one of the nearby resort restaurants before the event officially begins.
Is Magic Kingdom After Hours worth it to you? Have you ever been before? Let us know in the comments! Then, find out how you can make the event a little more affordable with our discounted Disney tickets.