2023 Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Report & Review

    The busiest theme park in the world, with little to no waits. That’s what Walt Disney World is promising with the Disney After Hours event at Magic Kingdom. The premise is simple: after Magic Kingdom closes for the day, a few thousand guests pay for a premium ticket to experience low wait times at some of the most popular attractions in the world. Classics like Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and the Jungle Cruise, all with a wait of 10 minutes or less. In our Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours review, we will go over the basics of the event and share our experience during the debut event on January 9, 2023. Let’s jump in!

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review

    What is Disney After Hours?

    Disney After Hours is a special ticketed event that takes place on select nights and allows guests to explore Magic Kingdom after park close with little to no waits on some of the most popular rides. In addition to lower crowds, soda, snacks, and ice cream novelties are included in the price. Disney After Hours is a unique way to experience Magic Kingdom in a more intimate and unique way thanks to lower crowds. Whether you want to run through as many attractions as possible or enjoy a more leisurely evening at Magic Kingdom, Disney After Hours has something for everyone.

    Disney After Hours should not be confused with Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, which is a perk for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Disney After Hours is also not “Extra Magic Hours”, which is a discontinued perk for Disney World Resort guests.

    Pricing and Dates

    There are twelve Disney After Hours events scheduled at Magic Kingdom as of publish time, but we imagine that Disney will want to provide more After Hours events throughout 2023 if they prove to be successful. Here are the dates that were announced in what we assume will be the first wave of events, along with gate prices and discounts for Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Members (DVC).

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Dates
    Price (Excludes Tax)Price for Passholders and
    DVC Members (Excludes Tax)
    Monday, January 9, 2023$135$105
    Monday, January 16, 2023$159$129
    Monday, January 23, 2023$145$115
    Thursday, February 16, 2023$159$129
    Monday, February 20, 2023$159$129
    Monday, February 27, 2023$155$125
    Thursday, March 2, 2023$159$129
    Monday, March 6, 2023$155$125
    Monday, March 13, 2023$155$125
    Thursday, March 16, 2023$155$125
    Monday, March 20, 2023$155$125
    Monday, March 27, 2023$149$119

    Purchase tickets: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/events/

    Check-In & Mix-In

    The event officially begins at 10pm, but guests with a Disney After Hours ticket can enter Magic Kingdom as early as 7pm. If you wish to enter Magic Kingdom any earlier in the day than 7pm, you will have to have valid, separate park admission and a Disney Park Pass theme park reservation. You do not need to make a Disney Park Pass reservation if you use your Disney After Hours ticket to enter Magic Kingdom after 7pm.

    Like other hard-ticketed events, there are a few options for checking into the event. The majority of guests will use the main entrance, which will open promptly at 7pm. You’ll want to look for Cast Members with a lollipop sign for the Disney After Hours event to find the designated entrance.

    If you’re already inside Magic Kingdom as a day guest with an Annual Pass or park ticket, you can find a few different check-in locations that are petty similar to what you’d expect to find during other hard-ticket events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In-park check-in is available at the following locations:

    • Tomorrowland (across from Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor)
    • Liberty Square Ticket Office (near Hall of Presidents)
    • Adventureland (Tortuga Tavern across from Pirates of the Caribbean)

    When you check-in, a Cast Member will scan your park media (card, MagicBand, or MagicMobile) to check that you have the Disney After Hours ticket on your account. When you are verified, you will receive a wristband with the Disney After Hours logo so that you don’t have to go through a check at each ride. Unlike at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we didn’t notice Cast Members sweeping the park for day guests, but we were asked to show our wristbands when getting on a ride or collecting some of the complimentary soda and snacks.

    Ok, with check-in out of the way, it’s time to enjoy the “mix-in” time. This is the time between when you can enter the park and when the official event starts. During the 7pm to 10pm mix-in, you will have access to Magic Kingdom like any other day guest, but without any of the Disney After Hour perks that begin at 10pm like lower wait times and complimentary soda/snacks. Let’s talk about a few ways that you might use the mix-in time.

    First, you’re in the park early enough to stake out a spot for the nightly fireworks show which will likely take place between 8:15pm and 9:30pm, depending on the daily schedule. We’d recommend keeping an eye on the entertainment schedule as it can change from time to time and may change how you approach the mix-in time. Currently, the nightly fireworks show is Disney Enchantment. If you’re using Disney After Hours as your only time to visit Magic Kingdom, you might consider watching the fireworks show. However, if you’ve seen the fireworks show and can do without it, you’ll likely find low wait times for some of the less popular attractions. Here’s how we utilized our mix-in time.

    Pre-Event Attractions

    As we mentioned earlier, Magic Kingdom and all of its attractions are open to Disney After Hours guests once the mix-in starts at 7pm. We did seven attractions during the mix-in time, making sure that we didn’t spend too much time in line because we were essentially paying to skip the line for 3 hours later that evening. It was the perfect time to knock out some of our low-to-medium priority attractions.

    We started with a ride that we wouldn’t even normally do during a typical day, but a classic – Dumbo! The wait time was just 5 minutes, and we couldn’t even see anyone in the queue from the entrance. An easy decision for a low-priority start. We got in line at 7:40pm for an 8-minute total experience time. We will mention our total experience time throughout our report, and what we mean by that is the time we enter the queue to the time we exit the ride. It’s important to note the total experience time when considering a time-limited event. For example, a 5-minute wait at “it’s a small world” might have a longer total experience time than a 15-minute wait at Peter Pan’s Flight when you factor in the wait time plus the ride time. Anyways, let’s soar!

    From there, we went right next door and jumped on Barnstormer, which had a posted wait of 10 minutes. Our total experience time at Barnstormer was 8 minutes.

    Oof, those sightlines

    By the time we were done with Barnstormer, Fantasyland was starting to ease up a bit with crowds flocking to Main Street USA to catch the 8:15pm fireworks. We decided to ride The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh next, which had a posted wait time of just 5 minutes. In practice, this means it’s a walk-on. Our total experience time was just 6 minutes.

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – Winnie the Pooh

    Next up was Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, which we experienced in 9 minutes total. We stopped to watch Disney Enchantment from here too, which provides a wonderful vantage point without any of the crowds.

    There was nobody in line when we got on the ride and nobody in line when we got off.

    We actually snapped a photo of the fireworks and went on the ride quickly enough to catch the finale from the front of the ride as well.

    From Journey of the Little Mermaid, we knew that crowds would start to flood back into the various lands as day guests line up for their final rides of the evening. We figured it would be a good time to ride some of the lowest-priority attractions. To that end, we hopped onto the Mad Tea Party spinner ride and only waited a few minutes as the ride cycled through the previous group of guests before it was our turn. Again, very few people in line.

    Next, we called a bit of an audible and made our way to Tomorrowland to experience the Carousel of Progress. Wait times were higher than we’d like at pretty much every attraction, and Carousel of Progress isn’t open during the Disney After Horus event, so we thought it was a great way to kill some time before the event officially began. The Carousel of Progress typically closes one hour before park close, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on that if you plan to ride.

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – Carousel of Progress

    We finished Carousel of Progress around 9:05pm and had just under an hour before Disney After Hours kicked off. Again, wait times were higher than we’d like, so we decided to jump over to Adventureland and check out the posted 10-minute wait at Pirates of the Caribbean. A rather relaxing pace meant that we got to Pirates of the Caribbean around 9:26pm and had a 16-minute experience time.

    Wrapping up Pirates of the Caribbean 15 minutes before the event started, we decided to head back to The Hub in front of Cinderella Castle to grab our first snacks of the night.

    As you can see, we got quite a bit done during our mix-in time and took advantage of some low waits, particularly during the fireworks and by being willing to cross the park for Pirates of the Caribbean. In our preview article for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom, we noted that proximity between rides is something that should probably be taken into consideration. As you can see, we kind of clustered the rides by location for most of the mix-in, but when we saw a posted wait of 40 minutes at Space Mountain, and a posted wait of 10 minutes at Pirates of the Caribbean, we decided that the walk to Adventureland was easier than waiting 40 minutes for Space Mountain when Space would be a 5-minute wait during the After Hours event. As a bit of disclaimer, we should note that our evening was not exactly “relaxing”. It was a lot of fun and rewarding, but not a stroll in the park. That said, you can find value in Disney After Hours at any pace.

    Disney After Hours Experience Recap

    Ok, with the mix-in time over, let’s start the official event. Our first stop at 10:01pm was the Castle Hub snack cart to the right of Cinderella Castle. Well, our first stop was the snack cart to the left of the Castle, but they weren’t ready and told guests to try a different snack cart. We grabbed snacks and beverages throughout the evening and they are all included in the ticket price.

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – free snacks

    Either way, we collected our first round of snacks as the event started and made our way back into Adventureland and a 10-minute posted wait time for Jungle Cruise at 10:12pm. Here’s a look at the queue, which was mostly empty despite having a “posted” wait of 60 minutes during the 9pm hour. It’s likely that Disney inflates their posted waits (more than normal) on an After Hours night to discourage last-minute day guest additions. When we got to the entrance, the posted wait at Jungle Cruise was just 10 minutes.

    Something of note for the difference between the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version of the event and the Magic Kingdom version of the event is that the Hollywood Studios version officially begins 30 minutes after park close, while the Magic Kingdom event begins right at park close. It makes sense that each park does what they do, but guests at Hollywood Studios technically get an extra 30 minutes because the attractions don’t stop admitting all guests, just guests without a Disney After Hours wristband. At Magic Kingdom, we expected more rides to have day guests in line when Disney After Hours starts, but as long as you avoid Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you should be good. Back to our evening.

    Next up was Frontierland. Our event was somewhat unique in that Splash Mountain was still open, but Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was closed for refurbishment. It’s possible that by the time you read this, Splash Mountain is closed for good and Big Thunder Mountain has reopened from its short refurbishment. For logistic’s sake, we’ll just call it a wash. Speaking of a wash, Splash Mountain had a posted wait of 5 minutes when we walked up at 10:39pm, and we ended up getting our own log, and the next few logs behind us were empty. It’s likely that a feels-like temperature in the low 60s kept some guests away, but we will continue to keep an eye on wait times as the Frontierland attraction lineup changes.

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – Splash Mountain

    We stepped off of Splash Mountain at 11:04pm and the first hour of the three-hour event was in the books. It’s probably worth noting that we started with two relatively lengthy rides. Things should improve in the middle hour. One hour down meant it was time to refuel with complimentary popcorn.

    We kicked off hour two at Haunted Mansion with a 13-minute posted wait time at 11:10pm. The wait was non-existent as we walked right into the stretching room thanks to lucky timing. The experience time for Haunted Mansion was 20 minutes on the dot – another lengthy attraction but we’re still doing good on timing.

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – Haunted Mansion

    With Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square out of the way, it was time to head back towards Fantasyland and perhaps even Tomorrowland should wait times in Fantasyland be less than ideal. Sure enough, the queue for Peter Pan’s Flight was visible from the walkway, which meant that it was probably at least a 15-minute actual wait. We’ll skip it and save it for later when the wait time should be a bit better.

    Passing through Fantasyland, the posted wait for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was 25 minutes and the queue looked every bit of 20 minutes. Saving Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for last proved to be a great idea, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

    Walking back to Tomorrowland, it was time to check back in on some of the wait times to see how we’d prioritize the rest of the night. But first, it was time to refuel again with complimentary soda and popcorn.

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – free drinks

    The 40-minute posted wait for Space Mountain that we skipped earlier in the evening had dropped to just 5 minutes, justifying our decision to skip it during the 9pm hour. The total experience time for Space Mountain was 10 minutes, and we decided to check on Astro Orbiter next.

    There were just a few families in front of us when we got in line at 11:50pm. Our total experience time on Astro Orbiter was 13 minutes.

    Now in our last hour of the event, we decided to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin before doubling back to Fantasyland. Buzz Lightyear was a medium-priority attraction for us, but because we were nearby after finishing Astro Orbiter, and because there was no line, we decided to jump on and ride quickly before continuing with our evening. Our total experience time at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin with 6 minutes and it was time for Fantasyland.

    We arrived at the main entrance to Peter Pan’s Flight at 12:16am and had just under 45 minutes to ride the attractions that we thought would have the highest wait of the evening. As you’ll see, our timing was nearly perfect, but we’d probably recommend starting on Fantasyland attractions closer to midnight if you want multiple rides. If you’re ok with riding Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train once each, you can probably save them for the last 30 minutes of the evening. Off to Neverland!

    Magic Kingdom Disney After Hours Review – Peter Pan’s Flight

    A very short wait for Peter Pan’s Flight translated to a 10-minute total experience time and it was time for the main attraction – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. A 3-minute walk to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train meant that we got in line just before 12:30am. The posted wait time was 25 minutes, so we figured we might be able to ride twice if we were lucky. The line backed out to the start of the outdoor covered area before entering the mine. It was certainly the longest line that we experienced during the event, but it looked to be twice as long when we walked by earlier in the evening. Our total experience time for our first ride was 18 minutes, which meant that we could get back in line before the 1am end time for the event! The line was a little longer for our second ride, starting just outside of the covered cottage. Our total experience time on the second ride was 20 minutes and that was the end of our night at Disney After Hours.

    Here’s a recap of the attractions we experienced, and the times:

    During Disney After Hours Mix-In

    • 7:40pm – Dumbo (9-minute experience)
    • 7:51pm – Barnstormer (10-minute experience)
    • 8:09pm – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (7-minute experience)
    • 8:18pm – Under the Sea ~ Voyage of the Little Mermaid (9-minute experience)
    • 8:36pm – Mad Tea Party (3-minute experience)
    • 8:42pm – Carousel of Progress (20-minute experience)
    • 9:26pm – Pirates of the Caribbean (16-minute experience)

    During Disney After Hours Event

    • 10:12pm – Jungle Cruise (22-minute experience)
    • 10:39pm – Splash Mountain (22-minute experience)
    • 11:10pm – The Haunted Mansion (15-minute experience)
    • 11:37pm – Space Mountain (11-minute experience)
    • 11:50pm – Astro Orbiter (11-minute experience)
    • 12:05am – Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (7-minute experience)
    • 12:17am – Peter Pan’s Flight (9-minute experience)
    • 12:28am – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (18-minute experience)
    • 12:49am – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (20-minute experience)

    Disney After Hours Wait Times & Crowds

    Before we close out with our final thoughts on the event, we wanted to take a look at some of the wait times/crowd levels during the event. We didn’t snap a bunch of photos of the walkways, but one of the things we actually discussed with other guests was how good the crowd level was. This was not like other attempts at After Hours seasonal events where Disney oversold the event (like Disney Villains After Hours). Instead, we have to commend Disney World on the restraint shown when determining what a sold-out night looks like. I think our rundown above speaks for itself, but suffice it to say that we didn’t experience large crowds at all. We would say that Disney delivered on the promise of low crowds and minimal waits.

    Now, let’s look at the average wait times that we observed during the event:

    • “it’s a small world”: 5 minutes
    • Astro Orbiter: 10 minutes
    • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin: 5 minutes
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant: 5 minutes
    • Fairytale Hall: 15 minutes
    • Haunted Mansion: 13 minutes (spooky)
    • Jungle Cruise: 10 minutes
    • Mad Tea Party: 5 minutes
    • Mickey’s Philharmagic: 10 minutes
    • Peter Pan’s Flight: 20 minutes
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: 8 minutes
    • Prince Charmings Regal Carousel: 10 minutes
    • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 35 minutes
    • Space Mountain: 15 minutes
    • Splash Mountain: 10 minutes
    • Swiss Family Treehouse: 5 minutes
    • Barnstormer: 5 minutes
    • Magic Carpets of Aladdin: 5 minutes
    • Tomorrowland Speedway: 5 minutes
    • Tomorrowland PeopleMover: 10 minutes
    • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid: 5 minutes Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room: 5 minutes

    Final Thoughts

    We’ll close by saying that Disney After Hours certainly did deliver on the promise of low crowds and low wait times. It’s a steep price, and there’s only so much popcorn that you can work into your value assessment of the evening, but if you want to feel like you’ve rented out Magic Kingdom without actually doing so, Disney After Hours is a very good second place.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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