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When a girlfriend and I planned a trip to Disney World in January, we knew we'd be limited on time. We wanted to get the most out of our 3 park days, so we planned on doing a few tours to maximize the hours we had in each park. Neither one of us had ever done Disney After Hours, but with my Annual Pass expiring in May, I decided to grab a couple of tickets at a discount and see if this three hour Disney offering was all it was cracked up to be. (read more)
DISNEY AFTER HOURS YOUTUBE
As with all of my posts, if I can make a video, I will. So if you'd rather see me talk about this instead of reading, here you go. I do go into a bit more detail on this blog post, but the only thing I can really think of is that you might have questions about Disney After Hours bus transportation. There are busses afterward, just like if you were leaving a park when it closes. They won't leave you hanging.
DISNEY AFTER HOURS MAGIC KINGDOM REVIEW
I have done more than my fair share of tours at Disney World. I've done Ultimate Day of Thrills at least a half dozen times, and the same goes for Ultimate Nights of Adventure over at Animal Kingdom. I love the tours, I think they're a great way to ride a bunch of rides if you've got the extra money, and I'd highly recommend doing a tour over spending additional money on a hotel room or park tickets for another day, which could actually save you money.
One tour I'd never done, though, was Disney After Hours. I'd thought about it back in 2018 when my son and I took a quick trip by ourselves, but by the time I called to book the tickets, they were already sold out.
When my friend Jenny and I went, I looked for the tickets a few weeks in advance and was able to find them, no problem. I'll go into more detail with ticket cost, etc, but I do recommend booking as soon as you can, because it does sell out.
Now, get ready to look at pictures of an empty park as I regale you with our after hours tale!
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DISNEY WORLD AFTER HOURS COST
The normal cost for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom is $129.00, but if you have an Annual Pass, you'll pay just $99.00 per person.
The important thing to note, and one of the things that makes this such a great deal, is that you DO NOT need a regular ticket into Magic Kingdom (nor do you need one for Animal Kingdom if you decide to do After Hours in that park).
You are allowed to enter the park a full hour before your After Hours adventure begins. Plenty of time to have dinner (we ate at The Plaza), watch the fireworks, and have a glass of wine before you start, or plenty of time to get in line for a ride or two before After Hours officially kicks off.
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DISNEY AFTER HOURS WRISTBANDS
You can get your Disney After Hours wristbands a few ways:
1. A Cast Member will give you the band when you enter the park an hour before your After Hours starts.
2. If you are already in the park, you can either get your wrist band at City Hall, or...
3. You can get your wristband across the street from Pirates of the Caribbean (which is what we did).
Be prepared to show your wrist band all night long. The Cast Members will hold up their wrist in a "show me" motion as you enter the line for each ride.
We were wearing jackets, so we just pulled up our sleeves as we neared a ride to save time.
You will not use your Magic Bands at all during Disney After Hours unless you want to purchase items that are not included in the free snack/drink offerings, which we'll talk about next.
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DISNEY AFTER HOURS FREE FOOD
I'm going to admit that I wasn't entirely sober during our Disney After Hours trip, so I can't remember exactly what was on the menu, but I did glance at the Disney website to shake the cobwebs out of my brain.
For sure you have access to free popcorn, free mickey bars, and free bottled beverages.
I had a Mickey Bar and some water, and my friend Jenny had popcorn and a diet coke.
This is the official verbiage: "In the midst of the laughs and thrills, be sure to chill out with ice cream novelties and select bottled beverages—included in the cost of admission—available at carts stationed throughout the park."
It doesn't say anything about popcorn, but it was there, I promise. If you look at the picture below you can see the popcorn, and if you zoom in you can see that there are at least three different ice cream novelties (maybe more, but there's a head in the way) and several types of soda, as well as water.
UNIVERSAL YUMS IS OUR FAVORITE MONTHLY SNACK BOX
DISNEY AFTER HOURS TOURING PLAN
There is no official Disney After Hours touring plan, so I'm going to tell you what we did, which I think is a great way to go.
When you enter the hub, don't go right toward Tomorrowland, instead take a left toward Frontierland, then make your way around the loop in a clockwise pattern.
I say this because I feel like most people are so used to coming into Magic Kingdom and hanging that right that most of the crowd will end up there, clogging Tomorrowland, the rides, and creating long lines.
If you start in the opposite direction, by the time you get to Tomorrowland, there will be no lines. Heck, if you're like us, you'll start in Frontierland and there will be no lines for anything, ever.
That's not 100% true, so let's talk lines.
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DISNEY AFTER HOURS LINES
The first ride we went on was Pirates of the Caribbean. The line counter above the entrance showed 5 minutes, but the Cast Member informed us that it was actually walk on.
We found this to be true with most of the rides during After Hours.
We asked why they didn't just put the wait time to zero, and the Cast Member told us that if they did put the counter to zero, the app (and I guess Disney central) would register the ride as being down, so they use 5 minutes as their smallest number.
All of the rides we went on were walk on, with very few exceptions.
Peter Pan had a small wait, maybe 5 minutes after you walked through the line.
Seven Dwarfs was the same, a 5 minute wait after you walked through the line.
All the other rides had no wait at all, and yet I still COULD NOT talk Jenny into going on Tomorrowland Speedway. (Our friendship will never fully recover.)
Space Mountain had such a short wait (none) that the Cast Members were actually telling people they could re-enter the ride by taking a short cut that wouldn't make them walk all the way out of the ride and back on (we all know that takes forever). If you ride Space Mountain during After Hours, ask a Cast Member if you can do this. If you can, they'll tell you.
You know that part in Haunted Mansion where everyone gets funneled down before you get on the ride, I hate that part! Happily, it wasn't an issue on this night.
Now let's talk about which rides are actually open for you to enjoy.
HERE'S OUR REVIEW OF DISNEY EARLY MORNING MAGIC AT TOY STORY LAND
DISNEY AFTER HOURS RIDES OPEN
Here is the official list of the rides that will be open during Disney After Hours. I'll make notes if I see anything missing, or if I see anything that was down while we were there:
We rode most of these rides, and I know there were more open in addition to this, most notably, Tomorrowland Speedway. (I'm looking at you, Jenny.)
We didn't really venture into the Big Top section of the park, so I can't say if rides like Dumbo or Barnstormer were open, but I do know for sure that Aladdin's Magic Carpets was open.
Enough rides were running that we spent almost the entire three hours walking from ride to ride. We had time left to ride more, but we'd already done a full day at Animal Kingdom and The Ultimate Nights of Adventure, so we decided to call it quits after one circuit.
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DISNEY AFTER HOURS BUS TRANSPORTATION
Disney is not going to leave you hanging, not even when you're leaving the parks really late.
When we exited the park we walked right over to our bus stop as usual. There was a bit of a wait, but not any longer than any other night.
If you're staying at one of the All Star resorts, be sure to check with a Cast Member as you walk to the busses, they might have all of the resorts funneled to one stop, which happened to us.
The busses run as usual, and I am almost certain the Monorail was also running, in case you were staying on a Monorail resort or were parked at the Ticket and Transportation Center.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RUN A WHOLE HOUR LATE TO A DISNEY DINING RESERVATION?
Since you don't have to purchase a separate park ticket for Disney After Hours (like you do with every other tour I've been on), I think this is a fabulous value, especially if you're flying in and would like to visit the park, but will only be getting into Orlando later in the afternoon.
I don't think the snacks and drinks will fill you up, but there's no limit on what you can have, so feel free to test that theory!
If you have any questions, please let me know, I am always happy to help, if I can.