Is Disney’s After Hours Worth the Money? It’s expensive, but is it worth it to get access to popular attractions? Here’s my experience.
Last year, before heading out on a three-day cruise with my friends, I planned to spend the evening at Walt Disney World. When we learned about the new after hours event being offered in the Magic Kingdom, we decided to take advantage of it. It was a great option for us, because we only had the evening, not the whole day, to explore the parks. But, if you are headed out on a Walt Disney World vacation, you may be wondering if Disney After Hours is worth the money?
After all, it is definitely expensive, and you’ll need to purchase a separate ticket to take advantage of it. However, only a limited number of tickets are available, so the crowds are much, much smaller than during a regular day. Here is my experience and review of Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
Is Disney After Hours Worth The Money?
What is Disney After Hours?
It’s a very limited event where guests pay an additional fee to visit the Magic Kingdom park late in the evening. It’s only available on select nights and these are not Extra Magic Hours nights. In order to attend during these hours, you have to purchase a separate ticket. Admission is not allowed with a regular park ticket.
While my pass above shows the event running from 10pm-1am, hours vary by date so be sure to check ahead. Guests are able to check in at the Main Entrance of the Magic Kingdom when the event starts, and the park official close to guests without special tickets.
What is included in Disney After Hours?
The real benefit of the after hours event start when the park closes to the general public. At that time, according to Disney, 25 popular attractions and character greetings will be open. Here’s the list:
- Astro Orbiter
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Disney Princess Greetings at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight (will be closed in January 2019 for refurbishment)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
There’s even more included beyond that list.
In addition to the attractions, packaged ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages are offered at no cost.
Our Disney Magic Hours Review
During our trip, we were able to visit many popular attractions, including the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, multiple times with no wait at all. We got our own private boat on the Jungle Cruise, and took tons of pictures of the parks with almost no people in them. We also went through several character greetings with absolutely no line. We didn’t spend the whole time at the park, because we had an early wake up for our cruise the next morning. But we were able to experience every attraction that we wanted to see with no lines. It was like a dream come true!
During our visit, we also got some of the included snacks, like Mickey Bars and popcorn. Usually, these are a bit of a splurge on our Disney vacations, so it was fun to try some of our favorites as well as new options. I love that these ice cream novelties are included in this special event.
How Does Disney After Hours Differ From Extra Magic Hours?
Guests who stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel have access to Extra Magic Hours – hours before and after park opening on select mornings and nights. During these times, the parks are less busy because they aren’t open to the general public – only to resort guests.
The after hours event is much different. There are a LOT of resort guests, but only a limited amount of tickets are sold for after hours. So the Magic Kingdom is much, much less crowded than it would be during Magic Hours.
How Does Disney After Hours Vary From Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
You may have previously attended one of the special events at the Magic Kingdom, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (RIP Pirate and Princess Party). Like the after hours event, these special events take place after park closing. But that’s where the similarities end. I’ve attended all of the special event parties and they can definitely get crowded. There are also special activities, like themed parades and fireworks.
With the after hours event, the crowds are so much smaller. While there aren’t any special activities, you’ll love experiencing the rides with no lines.
Wondering how much is the Disney After Hours pass? Ticket prices for the new 2018 and 2019 dates are $125 (before taxes) if purchased in advance. The rate goes up to $129 plus tax at the door. Tickets for children cost the same as the adult tickets. These tickets are definitely not cheap, and you need one of these specific tickets in order to attend the event.
Special pricing is offered to Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders.
Purchasing Disney After Hours Tickets
Tickets can be purchased online here, or in person. Keep in mind that tickets are limited, so if you wait to buy them at the gate, they may be sold out. They are also slightly less expensive if you buy them online in advance.
Disney After Hours 2018 and 2019 Dates
These are the recently announced dates for the remainder of 2018 and 2019. Be sure to look at the times of the event, because they vary quite a bit by day.
12/3: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
12/10: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
1/7: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
1/17: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
1/24: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
1/28: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
2/7: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
2/28: 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
2/14: 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
3/7: 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Is Disney After Hours Worth It?
This event is expensive, especially if you are purchasing tickets for a family. So you’ll want to spend a little time considering it before deciding to purchase tickets and attend.
I think it would be worth it to attend if you aren’t planning to visit the parks during the day. I probably wouldn’t buy an extra ticket to extend the day, because that would definitely be an expensive day. It could be a good idea to spend the day enjoying your resort’s pool and other amenities, and then spend the evening attending the event.
If you do attend, you really need to spend much of the event time at the park, because that’s when you’ll get the full value. I’d also recommend that you take advantage of the complimentary snacks. Be sure to eat dinner before the event – you won’t want to waste time purchasing food at the Magic Kingdom (and the restaurants aren’t all open).
Originally posted 2017, updated in 2018