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How to Make the Most Out of Disney After Hours Events — Tickets Now on Sale for 2023!

by Tad on October 7, 2022 34 Orlando

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Summary

'Sup! Tad here. Free, unlimited popcorn and ice cream plus staying up super late is basically my jam, so I toadally love attending Disney After Hours Events. While previous years' events took place at Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, in 2023, After Hours events will be offered at Disney's Hollywood Studios — Galaxy's Edge, here I come! Black Spire Outpost will be open to guests after hours, including access to Rise of the Resistance. Get ready for those nighttime Millennium Falcon and lightsaber photos! In this guide, we cover everything you’d need to know, so you can decide if an After Hours event would be a good fit for you — as well as our top tips for attending. (Psst ... tickets are on sale now — save some extra green by purchasing through your favorite frogs!)

Disney After Hours Events - Map

Disney After Hours Events Overview

First appearing in 2016, Disney After Hours events turn Disney World parks into a whole new world. You get to see the parks come to life under the stars, and you don’t have to deal with large crowds or the mid-day Florida heat. It’s a win-win! On the other hand, Disney After Hours is a time-limited, separately ticketed event, so you also have to consider whether it’s right for your schedule and budget.

Disney After Hours events allow guests to stick around the participating parks after normal park hours with limited crowds. Yipee! That means you’ll encounter little-to-no lines while you wait for rides, character meet-and-greets and other experiences at the parks. Plus, you'll get complimentary popcorn, ice cream and bottled beverages throughout the night!

These three-hour nighttime events typically happen during non-peak periods, and batches of dates are released throughout the year. These events are first returning to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom in spring 2023.

They may have a similar name, but it’s important to point out that Disney After Hours events are NOT the same as Extended Evening Hours. The extended evening theme park hours are a new benefit for Disney Deluxe Resort hotel guests that allows them to stay in a park a few hours later than normal park hours. This offering is exclusive to deluxe resorts and does not require a separate purchase beyond valid park admission, unlike Disney After Hours events.

Disney After Hours Dates & Tickets

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Disney After Hours returns in spring 2023 with select nights at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. At Magic Kingdom, the event takes place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., while the Hollywood Studios event lasts from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Both locations allow you to enter as early as 7 p.m. with just an event ticket.

Magic Kingdom Park

  • Monday, Jan. 9, 2023
  • Monday, Jan. 16, 2023
  • Monday, Jan. 23, 2023
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023
  • Monday, Feb. 20, 2023
  • Monday, Feb. 27, 2023
  • Thursday, March 2, 2023
  • Monday, March 6, 2023
  • Monday, March 13, 2023
  • Thursday, March 16, 2023
  • Monday, March 20, 2023
  • Monday, March 27, 2023

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023
  • Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023
  • Wednesday, March 8, 2023
  • Wednesday, March 22, 2023
  • Wednesday, March 29, 2023
  • Sunday, April 2, 2023
  • Wednesday, April 5, 2023
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Tickets are on sale now! Undercover Tourist tickets for Disney After Hours events range from about $130-$140 per person, plus tax.

Arriving at Disney After Hours Events

Disney After Hours - Park Entrance

Even though Disney After Hours officially starts sometime between 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. (depending on the event), event guests are able to enter the parks as early as 7 p.m. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of that extra time! If you'd like to enter before then, you’ll need regular park admission and a theme park reservation.

If you arrive at (or after) 7 p.m., a cast member will give you a special event wristband when you check in at the entrance. But if you have regular park admission and you’re already inside the park for the afternoon, you won’t have to go all the way to the entrance. There are stations inside the park with cast members distributing wristbands. Just be on the lookout for special event signs!

Once the park closes, guests without wristbands are directed toward the front to exit the park. Expect some overlap, especially near the front of the park as they are leaving at the beginning of the event, but the process happens fairly quickly.

Disney After Hours Rides and Entertainment

As one of the most significant perks of Disney After Hours, you’ll be able to hop right onto your favorite rides with no — or very short — lines. However, it’s important to note that while most rides will be available, not all attractions will be open during the event.

Below, we've detailed what was open at Magic Kingdom during previous events, as well as those that are confirmed to return for 2023 at both Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Disney After Hours Events - Magic Kingdom Wait Times

Magic Kingdom

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (confirmed for 2023)
  • Disney Princess Greetings at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Haunted Mansion (confirmed for 2023)
  • it’s a small world (confirmed for 2023)
  • Jungle Cruise (confirmed for 2023)
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight (confirmed for 2023)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (confirmed for 2023)
  • Space Mountain (confirmed for 2023)
  • Splash Mountain
  • Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid

Hollywood Studios

Confirmed attractions  for 2023 include:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Toy Story Mania!

And hopefully, more to come!

Disney After Hours Characters

Character meet-and-greets are also available at every After Hours event. However, character greeting locations may be limited. At Magic Kingdom, you could meet the princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall in previous years. You can expect that character greetings will be more limited during the party than in daytime hours, so if characters are a priority, hop to it during that early entry period!

Disney After Hours Food, Drinks and Merchandise

While exploring the park after hours, you’ll definitely crave a late-night snack. Included in the cost of event admission, unlimited ice cream treats, popcorn and select beverages (bottled water, Sprite, Coke, Diet Coke) will be available at carts stationed throughout the park. Most table-service and quick-service restaurants will be closed, but some select locations may remain open.

Themed Disney After Hours Events

Disney Villains After Hours

Disney After Hours Events - Villains Unite the Night

Disney introduced a wicked twist to the After Hours events in summer 2019. At Magic Kingdom, malevolent music and frightful lighting took over the park as Disney Villains took centerstage! Like any other After Hours event, guests had exclusive three-hour access to over 20 attractions after the park closes, but the event also featured a special stage show, a character cavalcade, a live DJ and specially themed ride overlays. The spooky event returned in spring 2020, as well. No word yet on if this themed event will return in the future.

Tips and Strategies for Disney After Hours Events

Here are our top tips for attending Disney After Hours events:

Disney After Hours Events - Pandora

  • Arrive at 7 p.m. for early access during normal park hours. You’ll want to maximize your time during the event, and this allows up to two or three extra hours that you can spend inside the park before the event officially begins. (Remember that you can get in at 7 p.m. with just your After Hours ticket. If you want to get there earlier, you'll need to have valid admission and a park pass reservation.)
  • If you arrive before After Hours officially begins, visit any attraction or show that is unavailable during event hours. For example, we made sure to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom during our extra pre-event time while they were still open!
  • Eat dinner before you arrive. While snacks and drinks are provided, only select food locations remain open. You’ll probably want to spend more time in line for rides and character meet-and-greets anyway!
  • Prioritize your options. We highly recommend figuring out which rides or experiences are must-dos and tackling those as soon as you get there. Three hours pass by in the blink of an eye!
  • Start with your #1 must-do experience and continue to move from one part of the park to the next. You don’t want to lose precious time hopping back and forth from opposite sides of the park.
  • Don’t hesitate to take a short break. You might feel pressured to get everything done in the short amount of time you have, but don’t get so overwhelmed that you don’t enjoy the experience. (Plus, a break is the best time to eat a Mickey ice cream bar.)

Is Disney After Hours Worth It?

We’ve laid out all the details before you, and now it’s time for you to decide. Whether Disney After Hours is worth it truly comes down to whether it’s right for your family, schedule and budget. To sum it all up, these are the main pointers to consider.

After Hours could be a good fit if ...

  • You want to hop on those popular rides with minimal wait times.
  • You want to avoid long lines, large crowds and the daytime heat as much as possible.
  • You're a huge Star Wars fan. Honestly, with this year's event taking place in Hollywood Studios, we think it's an incredible opportunity to visit with shorter wait times AND get a fun nighttime ambiance.
  • You're only visiting Disney World for a short vacation and you just want to hit the highlights. This event can help squeeze in a park that you otherwise might miss due to your schedule's time constraints.

After Hours might not be a good fit if ... 

  • You want to experience everything that a park has to offer. Many shows stop performances after the daytime hours, and some rides are not available during After Hours events.
  • Your budget can't accommodate the extra ticket cost.
  • You have tadpoles. My sister, Lily, did not come with me on this one, since she's little and heads to bed so early. Instead, my dad, Leap, and I headed in to take advantage of all of the thrills and ice cream we could handle. He and I are already counting down the days until we can head back to an event in 2023 at Hollywood Studios!

Overall, you're bound to have a great time in a nearly empty park with unlimited snacks no matter which event you choose!

If you're ready for a fun night at the parks, be sure to get your Disney After Hours tickets before they sell out. Have any questions? Ask away in the comments below!

Related: All the Glimmering Details of Disney H2O Glow Nights

Stay cool!

Keep hopping, Tad!
View Comments
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Oct 4, 2022 at 4:28 p.m. Katherine Says...

When do tickets go on sale for afterhours events in March? I couldn't find them.

Reply
Oct 4, 2022 at 12:09 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Katherine!

Disney After Hours tickets are on sale now for hotel guests at Disney World (including Swan & Dolphin and Shades of Green), and tickets for the general public go on sale starting Oct. 7, 2022.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Oct 4, 2022 at 2:19 p.m. Nellie Says...

Do you think this will be in place of deluxe extra magic hours? Its hard to make decisions without knowing all the information!

Reply
Oct 4, 2022 at 9:40 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Nellie!

No — while the Extended Evening Hours schedule has not been released past December, we'd expect the Extended Evening Hours benefit for Deluxe Resort hotel guests to continue into 2023. The After Hours events and Extended Evening Hours would fall on separate nights during the week.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Aug 5, 2021 at 10:02 p.m. Steven Says...

Me and my brother are a bit confused about the wording of "Disney After Hours events are open to anyone, but require a separate ticket". Does this mean that we would need a standard theme park ticket and event ticket to attend After Hours or can you just buy the event ticket and come at 7 pm (the earliest).

Reply
Aug 6, 2021 at 7:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steven!

To attend just an After Hours event, you would only need the After Hours ticket (no theme park ticket is necessary unless you're hoping to explore Magic Kingdom or another park earlier in the day). Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 5, 2020 at 11:51 a.m. Kelley Murray Says...

Will they still provide transportation (busses and such) back to your Disney resort or will you have to pay to use a Lyft/Uber.

Reply
Mar 6, 2020 at 7:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kelley!

Buses will still be running after the event.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 19, 2020 at 8:50 p.m. tam1MI Says...

For those of us unlucky souls who do NOT have an After Hours wristband, will we be allowed to see the fireworks before we have to leave the park?

Reply
Feb 19, 2020 at 3:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Yes, even without a wristband, you can stay for the regularly scheduled fireworks, "Happily Ever After," before Magic Kingdom closes :) It's only the event-specific shows, such as the stage show at Villains After Hours, that are limited to event guests only once the park closes to the general public.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 12, 2020 at 8:11 a.m. Linda Says...

Are merchandise shops open during after hours?

Reply
Feb 13, 2020 at 3:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Linda!

Yes, but only select gift shops remain open during the parties. If there's something you have your eye on, we recommend shopping before the park officially closes for the evening and tucking it away into a backpack or bag for safekeeping :)

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 6, 2020 at 6:35 a.m. Brittany Says...

Hi! My family is really wanted to attend the party on March 23rd at magic kingdom! We heard it will be pretty busy so we were thinking it would be a good idea to get tickets to have the park much calmer! We are pretty energetic and quick walkers and want to get a lot done! I planned on making a list for us to start at with rides and where to go to next and so on to try and help us avoid running back and forth. What land do you think would be the best to start at and what would be the best finish at?

Reply
Feb 6, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brittany!

We are so excited for you - we really love these events! We'd suggest planning a few FastPass reservations (if it's for some of the bigger rides) before the party officially starts to maximize time before the event. We'd also plan to tackle any rides that won't be open during the event first. You can continue to check wait times on the app as the night progresses, and wait times will drop off as the night goes on, so we'd suggest saving some of the bigger rides for later in the evening if you can wait that long. Keep in mind that, just like on normal nights, the castle will be closed off for fireworks, so you'll want to plan your route accordingly so you don't have to get rerouted (we made that mistake and had to try to make our way past fireworks crowds into Tomorrowland!) if you aren't watching them. We started at Casey's Corner for a hot dog dinner, then made our way to Adventureland and around to Frontierland, before Fantasyland and Tomorrowland - then back to Big Thunder and Pirates for another ride :) We essentially worked counter-clockwise, but it's toadally up to you and your family's priorities! You can also check general wait times when you enter the park to see which land seems to be the best overall and work your way around that way to avoid trekking back and forth. Have a great time!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Feb 3, 2020 at 11:34 p.m. R M Says...

Can you enter the park early for after hours event if you have a dining reservation? Say a 615 reservation for BR Guest with only after hours ticket?

Reply
Feb 4, 2020 at 7:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi R M!

No, unfortunately the ticketed early entry time (7 p.m., for example) is the earliest After Hours guests can enter without regular park admission.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jan 20, 2020 at 6:12 a.m. Bea Says...

I’ve noticed there is now an hour gap between regular park closing and the extra hours opening.

What happens in this time especially if you can enter the park at 7

Reply
Jan 21, 2020 at 4:29 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bea!

Likely this gap is just to allow cast members some extra time to filter out anyone without a wristband for the party; expect that rides, shows, etc. will continue on as normal, but you may need to show your wristband before you're permitted to hop on a ride.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jan 17, 2020 at 12:27 a.m. Pam Says...

Do you have to wait for the official event start time to take advantage of the snacks? Thanks!

Reply
Jan 17, 2020 at 8:10 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pam,

Yes, the stations with the free snacks don't open up until the event starts. (But once they do, get all the Mickey ice cream bars your froggy heart desires.) Have fun!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jan 12, 2020 at 10:43 a.m. Ron Hunt Says...

Hi,

Can you tell me if Fastpass is available during After Hours events? I thought I read somewhere that you could not enter the parks until the event actually starts at 9:00pm - unlike Not so Scary when you are allowed to enter at 4:00pm so that's good news. Thank you.

Reply
Jan 13, 2020 at 8:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ron!

No, FastPass is not available during the After Hours events since lines are so short (but just during official party hours). You will, however, be able to enter the park early (be sure to check the fine print on your ticket, as the entry time varies!), and FastPass will be available from the early entry time until the official event starting time. Hope this makes sense!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jan 7, 2020 at 5:01 p.m. Sheri Says...

Are you able to start riding rides once you are let in at 7:00 pm or do you have to wait until the start time of the event?

Reply
Jan 7, 2020 at 11:05 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sheri!

You can start riding right away! Event-specific activities and decor won't be active until party time, but your access to the rides is good as soon as you're able to enter the park.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Aug 25, 2019 at 3:02 p.m. Jeannie Says...

Hello,

can you tell me which quick service/ table service restaurants at Animal Kingdom after dark are still open?

In the very first picture it looks like they are listed on the paper guide, but it's hard to see from the picture. I'm especially interested if the Pandora quick service is open.

thanks!

Reply
Aug 26, 2019 at 11:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jeannie,

The following locations offer additional food and beverage items for purchase at Animal Kingdom's After Hours events: Pongu Pongu in Pandora, Snack Cart near Tiffins Restaurant, Thirsty River Bar in Asia and Dino Diner in Dinoland U.S.A.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 25, 2019 at 11:02 a.m. Jason Says...

What happens if you have after hours tickets, the park closes at 10pm for traditional guests, and at 10pm there is still a 90 min wait for a ride? If I am after hours, do I have to wait in that line or does after hours get to use a fast pass line?

Reply
Jul 25, 2019 at 8:37 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jason!

If you were in a line at 10 p.m. as the park closes, you'd still need to wait in the regular line. Our strategy (when lines have been long) have been to hit the most in-demand rides later in the evening after park closing when lines are shorter and instead hit the lines with the shorter rides early to maximize our time.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jul 21, 2019 at 12:56 a.m. Mandy Says...

Do you recommend eating in the Magic Kingdom, say at 720pm or so. Then watching the fireworks- or would you think it would be a wiser use of time to eat before the after hours event and just do some rides and character meets before the fireworks? We are going to the last villians after hours and it is our first after hours experience!

Reply
Jul 22, 2019 at 8:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mandy!

We would definitely suggest eating prior to the event and planning on taking advantage of some villainous treats during the party itself. Then, you can catch the fireworks and start riding (and/or meeting!) One other tip: take a peek at the rides that will be open during the event (and there's a lot of them, so you're in luck!) If there are any NOT listed, you'll want to ride those before official park closing. Have fun!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jun 20, 2019 at 5:46 p.m. Alexandra Valdez Says...

What if you are staying at a Disney Resort and get the Extra Magic Hours after the park closes. Can you still enjoy the Disney After Hours Event? Or will you need to buy a separate ticket for the event?

Reply
Jun 21, 2019 at 9:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alexandra,

Good question! Extra Magic Hours and After Hours events do not happen at the same park on the same day. You will need a separate ticket for an After Hours event.

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
Jun 18, 2019 at 3:19 a.m. Frank Thomas Says...

Will After Hours dates be set for the rest of the year? My family will be visiting WDW in mid-November.

Thanks.

Reply
Jun 19, 2019 at 1:14 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Frank!

Right now, After Hours dates have only been announced up until September at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. But from what we've seen, Disney seems to release new batches of dates throughout the year, so keep an eye out for any November dates. We'll update here!

Stay cool!

Tad

Reply
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