Walt Disney World has announced more After Hours events in Spring and Summer 2024 at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios. This post shares dates and details about the post-closing parties, plus our recommendations about when to do and not do them, and a quick look at this year’s hard ticket events thus far.
Let’s start with the basics. Disney After Hours are already underway for 2024, having started last week at both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. On February 2, EPCOT will host its first After Hours event of the year. So this is an extension, as After Hours events previously ran through Spring Break.
The only park not participating in 2024 After Hours is Animal Kingdom, which is probably because its initial experiment with the offering didn’t go so well. People did seem to enjoy Extended Evening Hours at Animal Kingdom last Party Season, but that’s a “free” event for certain on-site guests, so there’s a difference in expectations between that and the pricey After Hours parties.
In case you aren’t familiar with Disney After Hours, these late-night, separately ticketed events let you enjoy a Walt Disney World theme park for three additional hours after regular park hours, with treats such as ice cream, popcorn and select beverages included.
The main selling point of Disney After Hours events is that the number of tickets for these events is limited, which means lower wait times for some of your favorite attractions. Unlike Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, these After Hours evenings are advertised as low crowds events.
Event times at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Event times at Magic Kingdom and at EPCOT are from 10 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. You can get a head start on attractions by entering the park beginning at 7 p.m. to squeeze even more fun out of your midnight merriment with family and friends.
Let’s start by taking a look at attractions, event date ranges, ticket prices, and other details for After Hours at Walt Disney World in Spring & Summer 2024…
After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
These special nights will take place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios now through
April 10, 2024 August 29, 2024. Tickets are currently available online for events taking place until April 10, 2024.
Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green looking to purchase early for events from May 22 to August 29, 2024 must call (407) 934-7639 beginning January 24, 2024. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. All other Guests may purchase tickets for events from May 22 to August 29, 2024 online beginning January 31, 2024.
During After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can play in Andy’s backyard in Toy Story Land, join the resistance with Chewbacca in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and embark on a whimsical adventure aboard Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, among other favorites.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, attractions include:
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Toy Story Mania!
See our Guide to 2024 After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for full dates and specific ticket prices, strategy, and more.
After Hours at Magic Kingdom
After Hours at Magic Kingdom will occur on select nights now through
April 8, 2024 June 27, 2024. Tickets are currently available online for events taking place until April 8, 2024.
Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green looking to purchase tickets early for events from April 22 to June 27, 2024 must call (407) 934-7639 beginning January 24, 2024. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. All other Guests may purchase tickets for events from April 22 to June 27, 2024 online beginning January 31, 2024.
At Magic Kingdom, this means you can enjoy more than 20 popular attractions with lower wait times, including the following:
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- TRON Lightcycle Run
See our Guide to 2024 After Hours at Magic Kingdom for full dates and specific ticket prices, strategy, and more.
There are two very notable details for After Hours at Magic Kingdom. First, a standby queue is in use for TRON Lightcycle Run during these special events. This is only during After Hours, and not regular operating hours, but it’s still notable since both MNSSHP and MVMCP are using a virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle Run.
During the first After Hours events of 2024, the standby line for TRON Lightcycle Run has been (unsurprisingly) the longest in the park. While all other attractions (save for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) are practically walk-ons, don’t be surprised to encounter a 45-60 minute actual wait time for TRON Lightcycle Run throughout the After Hours event.
That’s a lot of time during this short event to dedicate to one (very short) ride, to the point that you might want to ask yourself whether you’re better off paying for an Individual Lightning Lane, doing this during regular hours, and skipping it during the After Hours event. To each their own, but that would be our approach. (Or better yet, sticking to the free virtual queue!)
Additionally, nighttime fireworks spectacular “Disney Enchantment” will return exclusively to After Hours events at Magic Kingdom. This means that on event nights, early arrivals will have the opportunity to see both Happily Ever After and Enchantment.
Bringing back Enchantment is a very curious decision, sure to prompt “no one asked for this” and “that’s one way to keep attendance limited” jokes in response from Walt Disney World fans.
We’re totally on board with this, as explained in Disney Enchantment Fireworks Return in 2024…And That’s A Good Thing, Actually. To be sure, we wish this were Wishes or other limited-time fireworks shows seemingly lost to Walt Disney World history, but it’s a good start. Walt Disney World adopting the “Disneyland approach” to rotating nighttime spectaculars would be great, and this is a small step in that direction.
Plus, it’s added entertainment that will be incredibly easy to see with virtually no crowd whatsoever. Hard to complain about that!
After Hours at EPCOT
After Hours events at EPCOT will take place on select nights starting February 2, 2024 through
April 4, 2024 July 18, 2024. Tickets are currently available online for events taking place from February 2 through April 4, 2024.
Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green looking to purchase tickets early for events from April 25 to July 18, 2024 must call (407) 934-7639 beginning January 24, 2024. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. All other Guests may purchase tickets for events from April 25 to July 18, 2024 online beginning January 31, 2024.
The following is a list of some of the attractions available during EPCOT After Hours:
- Spaceship Earth
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Test Track
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
See our Guide to 2024 After Hours at EPCOT for full dates and specific ticket prices, strategy, and more.
Note that After Hours still does not mean the end of the free Extended Evening Hours. While originally promoted as a special perk for the 50th Anniversary, Walt Disney World has confirmed that Extended Evening Hours will continue throughout all of 2024 for guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, or other select hotels.
About the only thing that might change is the schedule, with modifications along the lines of what we’ve seen for the recent Party Season. But even that is doubtful, as After Hours doesn’t cause Magic Kingdom to close at 6 pm like MNSSHP or MVMCP.
If you’re eligible for it, we highly recommend Extended Evening Hours. It’s not as good as After Hours, but it also doesn’t cost extra. Given that, it’s difficult for us to justify (or recommend to others) paying more for After Hours. For more info on the free ‘version’ of this perk, see our Guide to Extended Evening Hours at Walt Disney World.
As noted above, the 2024 After Hours events are already underway and a few nights at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are in the books. As of right now, there is not a single date that has sold out. To my recollection, every single event sold out last year–so demand is definitely down year-over-year.
Crowds thus far have been very light both in terms of in-park reports and posted wait times. We want to ‘warn’ you: we’ve been down this road before. In the past, After Hours events have not sold well at first…until reports emerged of the parks being totally dead and pretty much every ride being a near walk-on. Those gloriously low crowds caused more people to purchase tickets, which in turn meant more crowding for subsequent nights.
Going forward, it’s difficult to say whether future dates will sell out. The second half of January through mid-February is one of the slowest stretches of the year at Walt Disney World, so it isn’t a huge surprise that no dates have sold out yet. However, that could change in late February through the rest of Spring & Summer 2024, as those time-frames are usually much busier. Of course, it’s also possible that the massive price increases for this year have caused more people to opt out and not buy tickets to the event.
Just something that’s worth keeping in mind before buying tickets now–what you see wait times-wise may not be what you get. With that said, After Hours is a low-crowds event, and even sold out dates are not busy by normal standards. Future events just may not be as dead as recent ones have been.
Another thing to keep in mind is that normal park hours are not just subject to change, but absolutely will change. We’ve heard from a couple of disappointed readers who bought After Hours tickets on the basis of shorter regular hours, only to have hours during their travel dates extended. (See Walt Disney World Extends Hours in Winter 2024.)
Don’t be surprised when regular operating hours are extended. This absolutely will happen. Walt Disney World always releases “boiler plate” hours that are virtually meaningless, with the three parks that do After Hours open from 9 am to 9 pm. Those are almost never the final hours, which begs the question: why release them in the first place?!
Honestly, this is a double-edged sword. If Walt Disney World does extend park hours by a significant amount (11 pm or midnight Magic Kingdom closing), it means they’re forecasting high attendance. If they do not extend park hours at all, it means they’re forecasting low attendance…and you probably won’t need After Hours in the first place.
Suffice to say, don’t use currently posted park hours as a basis for making a decision to buy (or not buy) After Hours tickets. You’re best off purchasing tickets to the event because you want to attend for fun, not because you need to attend due to hours or expectations about crowds. There are other ways to beat crowds. After Hours is best viewed as a quasi-VIP splurge that makes for an easier and more enjoyable park experience.
For our part, we’ve done every single After Hours event that Walt Disney World has held, from the themed ones (Villains, Halloween, Christmas) to these vanilla ones at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (back in 2018 through early 2020) and again last year, including the inaugural After Hours at EPCOT.
For the most part, our experiences have been positive, although colored by a bit by annoyance that what was once free now costs money. At this point, that feels like the story of Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom used to close at midnight on even moderately crowded days, and on many of those same nights, had Extra Magic Hours until 3 a.m. (Evening Extra Magic Hours used to be 3 hours long).
This was even the case during the Great Recession when attendance was lower than it is now, so daytime crowds were comparatively light. Now, attendance is significantly higher (by several millions of guests per year), and regular park hours have been reduced by several hours per day. More people crammed into fewer hours, which does not compute.
Nevertheless, we’ve (begrudgingly) bought the After Hours tickets in the past because we’ve felt that the parties are worth it as quasi-VIP experiences for a more approachable price. As noted above, After Hours is comparable to the Halloween and Christmas parties, albeit with significantly lower crowds and minus the seasonal entertainment. In fact, we’ve been so pleased with this event in previous years that it made our Best Value Splurges at Walt Disney World List.
You might notice those assessments are in the past tense. Ticket prices are up pretty significantly for the 2024 Disney After Hours parties, by roughly $10 to $36 depending upon the date and park. For most of the ones we’d be able or want to attend, the increases are $20 to $30. Even as a party of two, that’s too much for us to justify.
While we do expect future 2024 After Hours events to sell out, we can’t help but wonder if no dates have yet because others like us have reached their breaking point. Even as we really enjoy the event and have recommended it in the past, the prices are just too high for us in 2024–we’re out. Maybe we’re alone in that and other fans will happily pay the higher prices, but judging by crowds at the first few events…it sure doesn’t seem like we’re the only ones who are out!
If you’re a first-timer or infrequent Walt Disney World visitor, your calculus probably differs from ours as Annual Passholders who are in the parks regularly. Essentially, the value proposition of After Hours is whether 6 hours (3 with low crowds, 3 with low to moderate crowds) is better than 10-12 hours in the parks during the day. Even if you used an efficient itinerary for Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios during those normal operating hours, the answer to that used to be yes.
With that said, the equation has changed with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, as well as Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours (at Magic Kingdom, at least). At least two of these things are controversial, but can be highly advantageous–especially at Magic Kingdom. Then there’s Early Entry at DHS, which is less divisive and offers a tremendous head start.
The other thing that it’s important not to overlook is the timing of After Hours. This is good or bad, depending upon your perspective. For many parents, it’s a total nonstarter, as the prime time for the event is post-bedtime for many kids.
For others, it’s a huge upside when considering the reality of Florida weather. Humidity can be oppressive and the midday sun can be draining. At night, the sun is down and it feels better. That’s one of the reasons why we love After Hours in the summer months. The weather is very different at the beginning of the year, but being in the parks at night is still nicer.
Ultimately, that’s my basis for reluctantly recommending After Hours at Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios to first-timers to Walt Disney World with limited vacation time and a ton of extra money for splurging. (We do not recommend After Hours at EPCOT to anyone.)
The After Hours events are unquestionably expensive, but also a good way to get a lot done at Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios without waking up at the crack of dawn for Early Entry or criss-crossing the park (or burying your head in your phone) while using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
After Hours events are also friction-less. You don’t need some grand strategy or plan-of-attack for experiencing a ton of attractions during these hard ticket events. They offer a quasi-VIP experience without having to be accompanied by a tour guide–best of both worlds! On top of that, After Hours occurs at night. Obviously. Point being, you’re getting the best of weather, crowds, wait times and (as a result of all three) just general pleasantness. You’re likely to enjoy After Hours a great deal, especially as compared to a normal day in the park.
If you’re an Annual Passholder, repeat visitor, taking a longer vacation, or fit into some category other than the above, After Hours is a much tougher sell in terms of value for money. That’s mostly because you’re looking at paying the price of this ticket on top of your existing admission. It’s fairly undeniable that you’d have a better time at this event than by trying to contort your schedule to make your time in Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios this pleasant (or close to it), but the tickets aren’t cheap.
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Have you attended After Hours at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or EPCOT? What did you think of the event? Would you attend, or is it too pricey? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!