Entertainment Editor

Did you know you can now visit some of Disney’s theme parks after hours? 

The details

Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are offering a special ticketed event (on select nights only), allowing you to be one of a very limited amount of park guests.

For three full hours, guests can enjoy a unique experience with little to no wait times on many of the parks’ attractions. 

Though no formal dining locations are open, a handful of grab-and-go locations are open in each park. And the snacks? Free. All of them. Guests of this special event can indulge in an unlimited amount of ice cream, popcorn and soft drinks, with cart locations set up throughout each park. 

The Disney After Hours events started in the fall 2018, and are available on select nights through spring 2019. A full calendar is available on Disney World’s website at disneyworld.disney.go.com. While the event itself is three hours long, with times varying on select dates, guests can enter the park at 7 p.m. every event night — allowing one to three additional hours in the park, date depending. 

Tickets range $125 to $129 per person, per park. Discounts apply for Disney annual passholders as they can purchase tickets for $95. Cast member discounts are also available. Tickets may be purchased in advance or the night of the event, if the event has not sold out.

I had the opportunity to attend all three Disney After Hours events, so I’m here to tell you little about each one. 

The parks

• Disney’s Magic Kingdom

If you’re really trying to get the most bang for your buck, I’d suggest taking the Magic Kingdom route. This park’s After Hours event was my personal favorite, and offers the most open attractions. 

More than 25 attractions are available to guests, including Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Country Bear Jamboree, Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world,” Jungle Cruise, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and more. Guests can even stop at character meet-and-greet locations along the way, like Disney Princess Greetings at Princess Fairytale Hall. 

Not only does Magic Kingdom offer the most to do, depending on your attending night you may get an extra few hours in the park. On March 21 and 28, and April 4 and 11, the event doesn’t start until 10 p.m. That means you can purchase your ticket, get into the park at 7 p.m., and stay until 1 a.m., even after the park closes to regular park guests at 10 p.m.

 

• Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If Pandora — The World of Avatar is your favorite part of Walt Disney World, this is the option for you. The night we attended Animal Kingdom’s After Hours event, we were able to walk on both of Pandora’s two (extremely) popular attractions — Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey — which often still have lengthy wait times, even nearly two years after the land’s opening. 

Other open attractions include Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, DINOSAUR, Rivers of Light, Tree of Life Awakenings, It’s Tough to be a Bug!, TriceraTop Spin and more. 

 

• Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is the latest park to offer After Hours. This park is the perfect choice for both Star Wars and Toy Story lovers. 

Star Wars Launch Bay welcomes guests to explore a display of some of the Star Wars’ films props and models, while also getting a chance to meet characters like Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and BB-8. 

Toy Story Land is also up and running during the event, with little to no wait times for all three rides — Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania!. Guests can even meet Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody and Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. 

Other open attractions include the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and Star Tours — The Adventures Continue. Meet-and-greet opportunities are also available with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Olaf. 

Editor’s Note: Disney provided the News-Gazette with tickets to experience After Hours at Hollywood Studios.