Disney After Hours | Is It Worth It?
By Megan Renaud
In the last few years, Walt Disney World has begun offering a slew “hard ticketed” events. Guests can choose to add these their vacation, for a relatively substantial fee. As an avid Disney enthusiast and even more obsessive planner, I was intrigued by the idea. This past August, my husband and I decided to purchase tickets to the Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom for August 30th. According to the Walt Disney website, we were promised a “…unique 3 hour park experience – featuring more than 25 popular attractions and Character Greetings, with little-to-no wait!”. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
The price was slightly less amazing. This “experience” is priced at $125 per person, regardless of age. With tax, this event cost us over $260 USD. As Canadians, it was hard to not cringe at the roughly 30% conversion fee on top of that but we were determined to make the best of this trip.
In the days leading up to the event, we also attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Which, to be honest, really disappointed us. The park was overly crowded and it was difficult to ride any rides or enjoy the entertainment that was part of the party. This definitely led us to feeling more and more nervous as we approached the Disney After Hours night.
We never waited more than 10 minutes for a ride and more often than not everything was walk on.
On our night, the Magic Kingdom was open to event guests from 9 pm until 12 pm, however, you are allowed to enter the park after 7:00 PM with your “ticket”. We arrived around 7:00 PM to a very busy Magic Kingdom. We decided to kill time until the event started by doing some less popular attractions that we had never done before (The Enchanted Tiki Room) and playing Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom (which we had never done before either). As we approached 9:00 PM, we decided to shuffle over to Tomorrowland so we could ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover while we waited out the firework crowds.
Surprisingly, when we got off the TTA at 9:05 PM, Tomorrowland was more or less empty. The crowd levels stayed consistently low all night. We never waited more than 10 minutes for a ride and more often than not everything was walk on. We were able to ride almost every ride in the park (some multiple times) in the 3 hours. I say almost because the shows like Carousel of Progress aren’t running during the event. One of our favourite parts of the night was being able to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad four times in a row. All we had to do was loop back through the queue and we were back on again!
Part of the event pricing is “complimentary” popcorn, ice cream bars, water and bottles of pop from the popcorn carts. These were the largest lines of the night. People may be concerned with getting their money out of the “free” items, but to me the price was worth doing so many rides in such a short amount of time.
I was worried that I would spend the night counting down the 3 hours, or rushing to make sure we took advantage of our allotted time. In reality, I didn’t find that to be the case.
One downside of the night was that Space Mountain was down for the majority of the time, reopening around 11:00 PM. My husband hopped in line hoping for the 5 minute advertised wait. No such luck there! He was probably 20 minutes in line. While it was a bummer to sit outside waiting for him, I was alright with it considering everything we had already accomplished.
I was worried that I would spend the night counting down the 3 hours or rushing to make sure we took advantage of our allotted time. In reality, I didn’t find that to be the case. The time did go by quickly, but we enjoyed ourselves so much that it didn’t matter. After a disastrous Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we were thrilled.
To answer whether or not this event is “worth it”, depends on your situation. A family of four is looking at spending upwards of $500 USD, which is a lot. This event can be used on a non-park day so if you think your family would enjoy it, consider buying less park tickets. This could save some money. It is a late night, and I didn’t see too many young children out so maybe that’s worth considering as well. I can say for us, it was definitely worth it!
Hi Everyone! My name is Megan Renaud and I’m a self-professed Disney addict. I’ve been going to Walt Disney World since 1992, and have totaled over 15 trips through the years. Part of the fun for me is planning and researching trips. I live in southwestern Ontario, Canada with my husband Marty and our cat Charlie, and rescue dogs Lucy and Abby. We’re always forward looking for the next adventure - or Disney trip!