When Sun Goes Down, The Fun Begins

Your Guide to Extend Evening Hours at Disney World

Heading off to Disney World? Trying to figure what are Extended Evening Hours and how to best enjoy them? Let’s look at everything you need to know to about Extended Evening Hours!

Hey there, Disney vacationers! Ready to step into a fun-filled night at Disney World with Extended Evening Hours? This exclusive perk, available to guests of Deluxe Resorts, DVC Villas, and select hotels, transforms the parks into a magical nocturnal playground, offering serene and intimate experiences under the stars. With the latest insights as of January 26, 2024, let’s delve into how you can make the most of this special offering, with my guide to Extending Evening Hours.

Extended Evening Hours
What is it?

Understanding Extended Evening Hours

Imagine having Magic Kingdom or EPCOT almost to yourself, where the usual sea of guests trickles to a mere stream. This is the essence of Extended Evening Hours – extra time in the parks, available only to guests of Deluxe resorts, offering a more intimate and relaxed Disney experience. Currently, Magic Kingdom and EPCOT roll out the red carpet for these special evenings, with Hollywood Studios expected to rejoin the lineup soon. It’s serves as the nighttime counterpart to Early Theme Park Entry, albeit with significant differences that enhance its exclusivity and appeal.

Extended Evening Hours

Eligibility and Schedule

Typically scheduled after regular park closing on Monday nights at EPCOT and Wednesday nights at Magic Kingdom, the exact dates and times can vary, so it’s essential to consult the official Disney Parks Calendar for the most current information. You can also reference your My Disney Experience app. Here are the eligible resort.

Disney Deluxe Resorts
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Disney Vacation Club & Deluxe Villas
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House & Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Third-Party Hotels
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  • Shades of Green
Extended Evening Hours

Key Information

Let’s dive into the key information that makes Extended Evening Hours at Disney World different than special ticketed events.

After Hours vs. Extended Evening Hours

It’s important to differentiate between Extended Evening Hours and the After Hours events. After Hours, which requires a separate ticket purchase, includes refreshments, characters, and spans a longer duration. In contrast, Extended Evening Hours is a complimentary extension of park hours for eligible guests, focusing on providing additional time to enjoy the attractions rather than extra amenities.

Holiday Events vs Extended Evening Hours

It’s important to differentiate between Extended Evening Hours and the Disney Holiday events, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. These parties, which requires a separate ticket purchase, includes spans a longer duration and offer fireworks, parades, characters, special food items and more. In contrast, Extended Evening Hours is a complimentary extension of park hours for eligible guests, focusing on providing additional time to enjoy the attractions rather than extra amenities.

Virtual Queues

A highlight of all these types of events is the inclusion of the virtual queues for new attractions like TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. The Virtual Queue opens at 6 pm on Extended Evening Hours dates.

Extended Evening Hours

Magic Kingdom Strategy for Extend Evening Hours

For Magic Kingdom, the strategy remains straightforward: prioritize attractions based on their usual wait times, saving the most popular rides for last. This approach ensures you maximize your , especially with headliners like Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Begin in Tomorrowland or Frontierland, saving Fantasyland for later in the evening. Aim to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight towards the end of your evening for the shortest waits, wrapping up with a serene stroll behind the Castle for some magical nighttime photography. if you’re planning to ride TRON Lightcycle / Run, make sure to keep an eye for when you boarding group is called.

Key Attractions

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • TRON Lifecycle / Run (virtual queue)

All Other Attractions

  • it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Extended Evening Hours

EPCOT Strategy for Extend Evening Hours

At EPCOT, decide whether you’ll catch the nighttime show. If so, start near the France Pavilion and work your way around. If not, focus on the front of the park to minimize walking. Aim to ride the major attractions in this order (if you are not watching the nighttime show) Soarin’, Test Track, Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and close out the night with your Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind boarding group. If you watch the nighttime show, use this order Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, Test Track, and finish your night Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind boarding group. With EPCOT being the largest park, be prepared for a lot more walking between the attractions.

Key Attractions

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: cosmic Rewind (virtual queue)

All Other Attractions

  • Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Journey of Water inspired by Moana
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Extended Evening Hours

Hollywood Studios Strategy for Extend Evening Hours (when available)

With Hollywood Studios collection of headliners, strategize to hit the big names with the least waiting. The strategy here involves starting with lower-demand attractions and building up to the park’s heavy hitters, ensuring you experience the best of what each park has to offer without the daytime crowds. Starting with adrenaline-pumping rides like Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster can set an exhilarating tone for the evening. If Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a top priority for your trip, definitely look to move it towards the early, after Tower of Terror, to middle of the your night. Wrap up your night with Slinky Dog Dash and enjoy the nice walk out of the park.

Key Attractions

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Tower of Terror

All Other Attractions

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
  • Toy Story Mania!
Extended Evening Hours

Animal Kingdom Strategy for Extend Evening Hours (when available)

Extended Evening Hours at Animal Kingdom, when available, offer a unique opportunity to explore this park in a different light. Similar to Hollywood Studios, start with less popular attractions and save the headliners for last. Look to make Avatar Flight of Passage, the last attraction of the night. At this time it will have the lowest crowd level and you’ll a lot time, as the attraction has a lengthy pre-show. If you’re looking to experience Kilomanjaro Safari, you should plan to get to the park prior to sunset. The last safari leaves at dusk.

Key Attractions

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest
  • Na’vi River Journey

All Other Attractions

  • DINOSAUR
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventure Outpost
  • TriceraTop Spin
Extended Evening Hours

Pros Tips for Extended Evening Hours

Make the of the Extended Evening Hours with the following tips designed to help make the most of your Disney World vacation.

Be Prepared

Plan Ahead

Check the official Disney Events Calendar for the Extended Evening Hours schedule during your stay and plan your park days accordingly.

Prioritize Based on Crowds

Strategic Planning

Utilize the Extended Evening Hours to experience headliner attractions with typically long wait times during the day. This strategic approach ensures you make the most of the reduced crowds.

Recharge

Rest and Relaxation

Take advantage of your resort’s amenities during the day to rest up for the extended hours in the evening. This way, you’re refreshed and ready to enjoy the magic of Disney after dark.

Best of Both Worlds

Split Stays

Incorporating a Deluxe Resort stay into your vacation can provide access to Extended Evening Hours, offering a taste of luxury and exclusivity. Start your vacation at one resort, then move to another. Disney will move your bags from Disney resort to Disney resort at no cost.

Goodbye Sun, Fun Begins!

Extended Evening Hours at Disney World not only extend the magic of your day but transform the parks into a more personal and enchanting experience. With fewer guests, cooler temperatures, and the opportunity to enjoy top attractions with minimal waits, Extended Evening Hours is a coveted perk that can elevate your Disney vacation to new heights. Whether you’re exploring the whimsical lands of Magic Kingdom or embarking on international adventures at EPCOT, these extended hours invite you to experience the parks in a unique and memorable way. Plan your visit, choose your accommodations wisely, and prepare for an unforgettable Disney experience under the stars.

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Meet the Author: Nate Bishop

I’m a die-hard Disney fan with 38 years of visits under my belt, having stepped into Disney World 120+ times. Proud to be a Disney Annual Passholder, a Vacation Club member since ’92, a Castaway Club Member, and a runDisney enthusiast. Oh, and I’ve graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge. Need Disney insights or planning tips? I’m your guy!

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