The Ultimate Guide to Disney After Hours in 2020

Thinking about going to a Disney After Hours event? Read this guide to find Disney After Hours dates that work for you and to see if it’s worth the cost for your family and situation! It includes everything you need to know about Disney After Hours in Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom!



Everything you need to know about Disney After Hours 2019! Which rides are available, how much it costs, dates, characters you can meet, and more! And a full review and breakdown of each event at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom!

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Update: There are currently no Disney After Hours events scheduled in 2020 due to the ongoing situation.

baby shower souvenirs for girl

I’ve had the chance to attend three of the four Disney After Hours events! We did Animal Kingdom After Hours first, Magic Kingdom After Hours next, and finished it off with Hollywood Studios After Hours a few weeks later!



While Disney provided me with complimentary tickets for the first two, we paid for the Hollywood Studios After Hours event tickets ourselves. All opinions in this post are 100% honest and my own personal opinions on the events.

Let’s start with some basics about Disney After Hours for those of you who are still trying to figure out exactly what these events are, what they include, and how much they cost! Then I’ll get into the nitty gritty and more detailed info along with the best place to get into about the fourth – Villains After Hours.

Disney After Hours Guide

And to make it easier to read, I’ve put together a quick list below so you can jump to what you’re looking for! I still recommend reading the entire post but hopefully the jump links are helpful for reading the second time around! Just click on the “return to menu” links at the bottom of each section to return to the top menu!

What is Disney After Hours?
What’s Included in Disney After Hours?
Disney After Hours Dates
Disney After Hours FAQs
How much does Disney After Hours cost?
Do I need a park ticket too?
What time can I get in the parks?
Is Disney After Hours worth the cost?
Animal Kingdom After Hours Review
Magic Kingdom After Hours Review
Hollywood Studios After Hours Review
Villains After Hours
Disney After Hours Tips

What is Disney After Hours?

If you want the Disney official description, Disney After Hours is,

A 3-hour nighttime event to enjoy attractions and experiences with little-to-no-wait time, at Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park!

There’s way more to it than that but in general Disney is right – Disney After Hours is a 3-hour (plus some!) event where the park is only open to people who have purchased Disney After Hours tickets.

My description of Disney After Hours?

Disney After Hours is a not so secret after hours event that allows you to get into three of the four Walt Disney World parks after the parks have closed. They’re typically only a few hours long, but they’re a great way to get on a lot of popular rides and meet characters you may not have time to meet in the parks!

They’re kind of amazing, especially if you are only going to be at the parks for a short amount of time. And in most cases (keep reading to see my full breakdown), they’re a great use of your time and money.

There are four different after hours events – Animal Kingdom After Hours, Magic Kingdom After Hours, Hollywood Studios After Hours, and Villains After Hours (at Magic Kingdom), although right now there are not any Hollywood Studios After Hours events currently scheduled.

I’ll go into specifics for each of the events later on in the post but for now I’m going to talk about the basics, things that are standard across all the Disney After Hours events!

The other major thing to note is that since they are separate ticketed events, only a limited number of tickets are sold – which means the events shouldn’t be too crowded but also means popular events (such as Star Wars night) might be sold out!

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What’s Included with Disney After Hours?

Okay now let’s get into the fun. What do you get with that magical event ticket?

Up to 6 Hours of Fun

I know, I know. I said this was a 3-hour event but guess what? Your event ticket gets you into the park at 7PM regardless of when the party starts (they start at varying times). That means if your Disney After Hours event is from 10PM-1AM (hello Magic Kingdom), you can get in at 7PM to enjoy a full six hours in the park.

The time before the event actually starts is a great time to get some photos, catch a late show, fireworks, parades, or even grab dinner (or skip dinner and fill up on all of the free snacks!).

Various Rides & Attractions

Disney After Hours includes access to certain rides, attractions, and meet and greets. I’ve included details on an event by event basis in my Animal Kingdom , Magic Kingdom , Hollywood Studios , and Villains reviews below.

There are a few notable things that are not open during Disney After Hours events including shows and more interactive type experiences but in general – a good majority of rides and attractions are open and available!

The other thing Disney promotes for the After Hours events is the little to no lines. In general this felt true but we did have a couple of longer lines (like 20-30 minutes) for some of the most popular rides (Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog, Mine Train, etc.) during our events. BUT there were definite reasons for this, and I go into those more in detail in the individual event reviews later in the post.

Toy Story Mania line during Disney After Hours

Character Meet and Greets

One of my favorite things about Disney After Hours events is that there is also at least one character meet and greet available during the event and because most people are doing the events for the rides, the meet and greet lines were SO short. I’ve never taken so many character photos in the parks in my life, and I literally walked in and out of all of them.

Don’t miss the character meet and greets – just pop in and out and you’ll have a photo memory forever! And you’re likely never going to see lines that short during regular park hours.

Kylo Ren Greeting at Disney After Hours

Free Food and Drinks

Another highlight of our time was the all-you-can-eat free drinks and snacks. You can get unlimited Mickey ice cream sandwiches, Mickey ice cream bars, strawberry popsicles, and popcorn at various vendors throughout the park. And if you want a drink? Grab a bottled water, bottled soda, or at limited kiosks, fountain drinks of the same variety as the bottles.

The only thing missing? A sweet treat that wouldn’t melt like these Mickey cake pops !

Mickey ice cream sandwich during Disney After Hours

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Disney After Hours Dates

There are currently no Disney After Hours events scheduled in 2020 due to the ongoing situation.

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Disney After Hours FAQs

I wanted to answer a couple of questions about Disney After Hours that some of my Instagram followers asked during our trip a few weeks ago! If you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment on this post, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

How much does Disney After Hours cost?

The three park event tickets are 9 for adults and children, plus tax when you buy in advance. 9 if you purchase on the day of the event. If you’re an annual pass holder or a Disney Vacation Club Member, tickets cost per adult/child, plus tax.

And as an annual pass holder, I was able to purchase tickets for myself, my husband, and my son all at the annual passholder rate even thought they were not passholders when we purchased tickets (they are now).

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Do you need a regular park ticket?

NO! The beauty of the Disney After Hours events is that you can buy an after hours event ticket to get into the park without having to also purchase (or use one of your days) a park ticket. It is your park ticket and the key to your up to six hours of Disney parks fun!

And to be honest – I think we were able to do way more in the few hours of the event than we could’ve done with lines and crowds during a regular busy day in the park. We were definitely able to do more of the popular rides at least.

If you need regular park tickets, you can get them for a discounted rate from Get Away Today here !

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Can you get in with your Magic Band?

While this is a hard ticketed event (meaning you need a separate ticket for the event), as long as the event ticket is linked to your My Disney Experience account, you can get in using your Magicband. Just make sure it’s linked to your After Hours event ticket before you get to the park so you don’t waste time trying to get it linked once you’re there.

Which rides are running?

Check out my individual reviews and details on the Disney After Hours events for a detailed list of what is not running or available. Anything else is fair game, weather permitting.

What if weather shuts down rides?

I talk about this in my Animal Kingdom After Hours & Hollywood Studios reviews below. One of the biggest things you have to know going into the Disney After Hours events is that you get what you get.

If a ride is down for weather or technical difficulties, it sucks but you don’t get a free fast pass the next day or special ride privileges. You get longer lines at the other rides and the unfortunate knowledge that you paid 0+ for an event and didn’t get to do as much as you were hoping.

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What time can I get into the parks?

While the events don’t start until 9PM or later, you can get into the parks at 7PM on event night with your Disney After Hours tickets (no need for an additional park ticket).

When you go into the park at 7PM, you’ll go through a special entrance where you’ll receive an After Hours event wristband. You have to show this throughout the night, but mostly just the first hour of the event or so, to prove that you’re there for the event. Anyone without a wristband will not be allowed to ride or enjoy the event perks.

If you’re already in the parks before 7PM, there will be a designated location to get your wristband. I’m not 100% sure where it is in each park but if you ask a cast member, they’ll be able to direct you.

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How do I get tickets?

Tickets are not currently available as Disney After Hours events as there are currently no Disney After Hours events scheduled for 2020.

Is it worth the cost?

This is probably what everyone really wants to know. The short answer is yes, most of the time. The long answer is I recommend you decide for your own family and situation based on my detailed reviews below.

For example, if you have kids that are shorter than the 44″ required to ride Flight of Passage and Everest, two of the headlining attractions in Animal Kingdom, then it’s probably not worth it for you. But if your family can ride everything in Animal Kingdom, it’s a great way to get on all of the rides.

It also depends on how long you’re at Disney – if you’re trying to fit in as much as you can in one day at Disney World , then it’s a great way to get in more of the popular rides.

I’ve also included my personal opinion on whether it was worth it for our family and if we’d do it again, it’s a bit different across the parks.

And I’ll tell you right now – if you’re pregnant like I was when we did the Magic Kingdom After Hours, it’s totally not worth it. I still had a great time at all three attractions and it was worth it for my family to get to enjoy everything, but there’s just not enough to make it worth 9+ for pregnant women. Even I couldn’t eat that much money in Mickey ice cream bars.

Everything you need to know about Disney After Hours 2019! Which rides are available, how much it costs, dates, characters you can meet, and more! And a full review and breakdown of each event at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom!

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Animal Kingdom After Hours Review

The first thing to know is that our experience wasn’t a typical one. Unfortunately it was raining from the moment we stepped in the park around 8PM to the moment we left around 10:30PM. I think that rain really put a damper on things – made lines longer, made it miserable to stand outside, and really just kind of ruined the festive mood.

Out of the three Disney After Hours events we did, Animal Kingdom felt the least crowded by far. It might’ve been because it was raining. Might’ve been because the rides in Animal Kingdom are so far apart. I don’t know what it was, but it was our first event and gave me this magical idea that Disney After Hours events were totally empty.

Don’t be fooled – keep reading. That magical idea dissipated when we hit Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. They’re still less crowded but empty isn’t the right word.

We were at a press event earlier in the day so we didn’t get into the park until about 45 minutes after the event had already started.

As soon as we got into the park, we headed into Flight of Passage because if we were only going to get on one ride, it was going to be that. If we’d arrived to the event on time, we wouldn’t have started at Flight of Passage but it ended up being a great decision with our entry time.

There is only one ride I’ve ever stood in line for three hours for – Flight of Passage. I wouldn’t do it again, but it was totally worth it the first time around. Best ride ever. And still one of the longest lines ever.

My husband literally walked from the entrance to the part of the ride where they take you in to watch the video. I tried my best to take a picture of the five minute standby line wait time but the rain wasn’t having it. So here’s the photo of the Na’vi River Journey wait time – the Flight of Passage on was the same!

Five minute wait time during Disney After Hours

A five minute wait time for Flight of Passage is unheard of. I mean you won’t see it EVER during regular park hours.

We also didn’t see it again after the first time my husband rode. The wait time went up to about twenty minutes, which is also way lower than the normal 2+ hour wait time for the ride.

And I actually think the wait time got to twenty minutes because it was raining and Everest in the rain was miserable. So instead of splitting people across Everest and Flight of Passage, everyone just rode Flight of Passage over and over again.

The rest of the rides throughout the night had pretty much no wait or at most five minutes, although we never ventured over to Everest in the rain, just checked the wait times on the My Disney Experience app. I rode Na’vi River Journey (the only ride this pregnant mama could ride) a few times and pretty much walked on every time.

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And meeting Mickey and Minnie at Adventures Outpost was literally a walk in and walk out experience. This was the only character greeting in the park but still worth grabbing a quick photo!

Mickey & Minnie photo during Disney After Hours

I did notice that the free food/drink vendors were all pretty close to the front of the park (well, there could’ve been some near Everest but again – rain). So we snagged some snacks on our walk to Pandora and then again on our walk to Dino-Land. Just a note if you’re expecting drinks and snacks to be available in every part of the park – not so!

The other thing I noticed was that there weren’t really PhotoPass photographers around the park. This might’ve been because of the rain or just part of the event itself, but I was a bit bummed because I wanted some photos with no people in them!

Rides & Attractions Available

The ride + attraction list at Animal Kingdom is the shortest of all three events, which may be why it was my least favorite of the three. The only things open during the Animal Kingdom After Hours Event included:

4th of july bingo cards printable
  • Avatar Flight of Passage (my favorite ride in the parks!)
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Dinosaur
  • Mount Everest
  • It’s Tough to Be A Bug
  • Mickey & Minnie Meet and Greet at Adventures Outpost
  • Rivers of Light
  • Tree of Life Awakenings
  • Triceratops Spin
  • Pandora Drummers – we didn’t see these, pretty sure they got rained out

My biggest disappointment was that the Kilimanjaro Safaris were not running. They’re one of my favorite things about Animal Kingdom, and they’re not available during After Hours events. I get it – the animals need time to rest, but I was still hoping for a night safari!

One thing to note is that even though one of the Animal Kingdom cast members swore that there was a Dino-Land dance party going on, there most definitely was not. And none of the other shows (Finding Nemo, Lion King, etc.) are available either.

Another thing to know is that there are no full-service restaurants open during the Animal Kingdom After Hours event. There were some small snacks (hot dogs maybe) available to purchase and of course the free food, but no actual meals to be had.

Worth the Cost?

The rides and attractions available during Animal Kingdom After Hours mostly have height limits. Everest and Flight of Passage are both 44″, and Dinosaur is 40.” Since there are only really six rides open during the party, if people in your group don’t meet these height minimums, there’s just not enough to make it worth the cost, especially since some of the things that can entertain younger kids (animals, boneyard, shows, etc.) aren’t open during the event.

If everyone meets the height limit and is dying to ride Flight of Passage and you can’t get fast passes, then sure, it could be worth the cost. Or if you really really want to ride Flight of Passage or Na’vi River over and over again, which isn’t possible on a regular park day.

But out of all three parties – this is the one to me that I probably wouldn’t do again. I’d just make sure to get my Flight of Passage fast pass and enjoy the rest of what makes Animal Kingdom special (safari, animals, shows) on a regular park day. Maybe rope drop the park if you really want to do both Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage.

There just isn’t enough to experience during the Animal Kingdom After Hours event to make it worth it unless you meet the criteria above and don’t have time or ability to get the fast passes you want. And Animal Kingdom has so much else to offer that’s not open, you’ll miss out on a lot if you just do Animal Kingdom After Hours.

Everything you need to know about Disney After Hours 2019! Which rides are available, how much it costs, dates, characters you can meet, and more! And a full review and breakdown of each event at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom!

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Magic Kingdom After Hours Review

Magic Kingdom After Hours was the second event we did, and I’ll be honest – I was dead tired by the time we got to the event. We’d walked around exploring different Disney Resorts and eating all the food all day. Add that to being super pregnant, and we didn’t take as much advantage of this event as I wish we could’ve.

That being said, what we did see and do was awesome.

We got to the park just in time to ride Peter Pan with a fast pass then catch Happily Ever After from the back, right near the carousel. I still have yet to see the fireworks from in front of the castle (don’t judge) but watching them from the back was still pretty magical.

Fireworks before Disney After Hours

Right after the fireworks ended, the park kind of cleared out but the popular rides still had pretty good lines from regular guests who’d gotten in line before the park closed. So instead of standing in line for popular rides like Mine Train and Space Mountain, we opted for some of the less popular options like Mickey’s Philharmagic, It’s A Small World, and Little Mermaid. All of which were walk-ons.

Also a walk-through? The princess meet and greet in Fantasyland. Four princess photos in less than five minutes.

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Princess greetings during Disney After Hours

It felt like Magic Kingdom After Hours was a lot busier than Animal Kingdom. It might’ve been the rain in AK messing with my perspective, but I think a lot of people just stick around Magic Kingdom as long as possible to take photos, shop, and enjoy the ambiance and magic of it all. It is the most magical place on earth after all.

The right before the park closed fireworks didn’t help. I just think in general the first hour of the event felt a lot busier but again, we were able to walk onto a lot of rides in a short amount of time. Not the super popular ones but still more rides than we would’ve done during regular park hours.

Main Street during Disney After Hours

Ride wait times definitely dropped as the night went on and if I wasn’t pregnant, I’m sure we could’ve done all of the mountains by the end of the event. Maybe not all the rides in the entire park (there were a lot open) but definitely all the mountains!

I also noticed there were more free snack vendors around the park – pretty much in all of the different lands, which was a nice perk since we spent quite a bit of time in each! And a Mickey bar sure hit the spot after walking all day long.

And just like in Animal Kingdom, no shows other than Happily Ever After (which is technically during park hours) but there was the princess meet and greet as well as the Mickey + Minnie and Tinkerbell meet and greets in Main Square. Both also walk-throughs!

Mickey and Minnie celebration photo at Disney After Hours

Rides & Attractions Not Available

Magic Kingdom After Hours definitely has the most things to do. So instead of listing out everything available, I’m going to list the things that are not available. If it’s not on this list, there’s a good chance it’s open.

  • Character meet and greets (other than the Fantasyland princess one and the Main Square one mentioned above)
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Hall of Presidents
  • Monsters, Inc
  • Carousel of Progress

Worth the Cost?

Totally. It doesn’t matter who is in your party because there’s enough open for all ages to keep you busy for three hours and more!

Almost all of the rides and attractions are open making this an easy way to hit a ton of rides without standing in line. You may still stand in line for some of the more popular ones like Mine Train and Space Mountain but even with short lines for those, you’ll be able to do and see a lot.

And I can guarantee you’ll stand in shorter lines and be able to get on more rides with an event ticket than if you just go to the park on a regular day. You can only get so many fast passes, especially during busy seasons.

Everything you need to know about Disney After Hours 2019! Which rides are available, how much it costs, dates, characters you can meet, and more! And a full review and breakdown of each event at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom!

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Hollywood Studios After Hours Review

Note – Hollywood Studios After Hours events are not currently scheduled and this may totally change when they reopen with the addition of Star Wars: A Galaxy’s Edge.

One notable difference about Hollywood Studios After Hours compared to Animal Kingdom at least is that there are a few restaurants open during the events. We showed up at the park about thirty minutes before the event started and grabbed a bite to eat at Woody’s Lunchbox. I’d been craving one of their pop tarts after we went opening weekend last year!

We were hoping that being in Toy Story Land when the event actually started would be a good plan. We were going to ride Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers while the regular park people finished off their Slinky Dog rides and then hop on Slinky Dog.

And normally it might’ve been a good plan but unfortunately it wasn’t our night.

Slinky Dog was broken down for about the first half of the event for technical difficulties, which was a total bummer because not only did my family only get to ride it once (with a 20-30 minute wait), it meant the wait for it was a lot longer than expected for the rest of the night.

As soon as the app showed it was running again, pretty much everyone in Hollywood Studios for the event rushed Toy Story Land and got in line, just in case it went down again. It also meant while it was shut down the lines were a tad bit longer everywhere, including at the character greeting lines in Toy Story Land.

Character greetings in Toy Story Land during Disney After Hours

A bunch of the Hollywood Studios After Hours reviews I’d read previously said that they’d been able to ride Slinky Dog a handful of times and unfortunately that just wasn’t the case for us.

Everything else? We could’ve walked on and ridden until we never wanted to ride it again. And we did.

I even got to see the elusive 13 minute wait time for Tower of Terror (shows 13 minutes when it’s really 0).

Rode Toy Story Mania four times in a row and pretty much walked on every time. We did Star Tours five times in a row.

Riding Toy Story Mania during Disney After Hours

And while the boys were riding again (my stomach could only handle twice), I went and did all of the meet and greets available. And there a lot of them.

Woody + Jessie and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story Land. Olaf. Mickey + Minnie. Chewie, Kylo Ren, and BB-8 in the Star Wars Launch Bay area.

Olaf greeting at Disney After Hours

Mickey greeting at Hollywood Studios After Hours

Kylo Ren greeting at Disney After Hours

I also ate my weight in Mickey Bars and snuck a couple of Sprites in while my kiddo wasn’t watching. He was so hopped up on strawberry popsicles so he probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

The one notable place that was missing free snacks was in Toy Story Land but otherwise, there were plentiful throughout the park. Probably not available in Toy Story Land so they could encourage people to get food at Woody’s Lunchbox, which is worth trying for sure. Just maybe not while free snacks and drinks are available elsewhere.

Free Mickey bars during Disney After Hours

Rides & Attractions Available

Since Hollywood Studios doesn’t have many rides and attractions in the first place, it was nice to see that most of their rides/attractions were up and running. Obviously no shows, Disney Jr. dance parties, or other non-ride attractions (other than character greetings) but plenty to keep us busy for the full event time!

Here’s what’s available during the event!

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Alien Swirling Saucer
  • Star Tours
  • Star Wars Launch Bay (Chewie, BB-8, and Kylo Ren)
  • Tower of Terror
  • Rock N Roller Coaster
  • Character greetings with Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Olaf, Mickey, and Minnie

Worth the Cost?

While better than Animal Kingdom because there are more meet and greets, Hollywood Studios After Hours still mostly features rides with height limits. Rock n Roller Coaster is 48″, Tower of Terror and Star Tours is 40″, Slinky Dog is 38″, and Alien Swirling Saucers is 32″.

If you’re planning to attend with kids shorter than that, think again. There’s just not enough other things to do to keep them busy. Even with the plethora of character greetings available!

BUT if everyone or most everyone in the group is at least 38″, I’d definitely say it’s worth it. And I’d pay to do it again next time we’re at Disney World.

There really aren’t that many rides in Hollywood Studios anyway and the Hollywood Studios After Hours event lets you do them all – over and over again.

So yeah, I think it’s totally worth it. Get there at 7PM to enjoy the Star Wars fireworks and check out things that may not be open later. Then ride, eat, and greet to your heart’s content.

Everything you need to know about Disney After Hours 2019! Which rides are available, how much it costs, dates, characters you can meet, and more! And a full review and breakdown of each event at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom!

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Villains After Hours Review

This is the one After Hours Event on my list that I haven’t done yet, but I’m hoping to make it happen in 2020! For a full detailed review, check out my friend Tania’s post here .

A few things to note on Villains After Hours compared to the other events:

  • Villains costs 5/person in advance compared to 9. Passholder and DVC tickets are 5.
  • Villains includes the same free popcorn, drinks, and ice cream mentioned above but they also have a number of special Villain treats available for purchase that are only available during the After Hours events. Here’s a full list of everything available .
  • It’s definitely more like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party than other After Hours events including people dressing up as their favorite villains!
  • There are specific entertainment, dance parties, and photo opps just for the event. Like I just said, it’s more like a party than the park being open late.
  • Technically this event does not include any character greetings, but characters are around at dance parties, etc. so you may still get photos of them.

Rides & Attractions Not Available

Villains definitely has plenty to do. So instead of listing out everything available, I’m going to list the things that are not available. If it’s not on this list, there’s a good chance it’s open.

  • Character meet and greets
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Hall of Presidents
  • Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor
  • Carousel of Progress

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Disney After Hours Tips

Now that you’ve read my reviews of all four events, here are a few additional notes and tips to help you get the most out of the events – whether you do one or all four!

1 – Enjoy a different park earlier in the day, go back and take a nap (so important), then head to the event around 7PM to be able to enjoy your time to the fullest. Don’t try to rope drop and push all the way through the event that ends at midnight or later, you just won’t enjoy it as much if you’re exhausted.

This is especially important if you’re with younger kids! Or skip the park in the morning and just enjoy a leisurely day at the pool, Disney Springs, or trying out some of these other fun things to do at Disney outside the parks .

2 – Get into the park at 7PM and enjoy anything that might not be open during the event. If you can, try to make fast passes for things that might not be open (character greetings, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Safari, etc.) the last few hours before the park closes if they’re available and you’ve already gone into a park earlier that day.

3 – If you’re bringing a stroller, don’t worry about stroller parking. Just park the stroller as close to the ride as possible (without being in the way). Our stroller was never parked in stroller parking and never moved. Saves you time having to find the appropriate time to park.

4 – Avoid the most popular rides at the very beginning of the night. Most often there are still regular park guests in the lines and jamming up the lines. Hit smaller rides with less lines and keep an eye on the popular ride wait times and hit those about an hour in (or whenever the lines get shorter).

5 – Skip eating a big dinner before the event. You paid for those free snacks and drinks, might as well enjoy them! And bonus, they provide water bottles and soda bottles so you can totally grab one or two on your way out to take back to the hotel. Not so much for the ice cream so eat as much of that as you can while in the parks!

6 – Don’t miss out on opportunities to get photos taken. There were definitely PhotoPass photographers in both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and it was one of the only times I was able to get photos without tons of people in them! They might be dark photos, but they’re still awesome.

And speaking of photos – use this time to get some great park photos at night, with no one in them! It’s a totally different experience than during the day and you should have plenty of time to stop for a quick photo opp here and there.

Picture in front of the castle at Disney After Hours

7 – Avoid hopping from land to land in the parks. Start in one section of the park, ride everything there as much as you want, then hop to another section and don’t look back. With so much to do and so little time, you can do a lot more if you knock out sections of the park at once and don’t criss-cross all over the place.

8 – If you’re buying a ticket last minute and they’re available, wait and see what the forecast looks like. If it looks like rain, I’d recommend skipping the event. Rain makes some of the most popular rides (Slinky Dog, Mine Train, Everest) not nearly as fun AND if they get shut down, you’re looking at a less than ideal wait times on everything else.

9 – Take time to do the meet and greets. Since the lines were so short, the characters were able to take more time with each person and really have fun with it. Not that they don’t normally, but they’re trying to get through so many people; this was just a better experience.

Minnie character greeting during Disney After Hours

10 – Make sure to download the My Disney Experience app ahead of time. Being able to keep an eye on ride wait times, especially at the beginning of the event is key. You want to pay attention to when the regular park guest wait times are dying down so you can get on popular rides with the shortest waits.

11 – If you can, drive in and park at the park at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. I always recommend renting a car at Disney and for nights like this, it was so nice to be able to just walk back to my car (you’ll park near the front of the park) and drive home. No waiting for busses. And because we parked so close, we didn’t even have to wait for a tram.

If you’re going to the Magic Kingdom After Hours event, you’re probably going to want to take the bus or a Minnie Van, even if you have to wait a bit. It’s just such a long haul back to your car (or an Uber) via the ferry/monorail + tram since they have to pick you up at the Ticket Transportation Center, that it’s almost always going to be faster just to hop on a bus.

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Other Disney World Tips & Tricks

If you’re headed to Disney World on vacation, here are some other must-read Disney World posts!

Don’t forget to pin this Disney After Hours guide for later!

Everything you need to know about Disney After Hours 2019! Which rides are available, how much it costs, dates, characters you can meet, and more! And a full review and breakdown of each event at Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom!