After Hours Parties Returning to Disney World!

Disney After Hours events will return to Walt Disney World starting in January 2023! This post shares dates and details about the post-closing parties, plus our recommendations and ‘wish list’ for these hard ticket events.

Let’s start with the basics. Disney After Hours will start on January 4, 2023 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and January 9, 2023 at Magic Kingdom. According to Walt Disney World, these events “offer an incredible way to experience even more Disney magic during the last months of ‘The World’s Most Magical Celebration’ honoring the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary.”

In case you aren’t familiar with Disney After Hours, these late-night, separately ticketed events let you enjoy a Walt Disney World theme park for three additional hours after regular park hours, with treats such as ice cream, popcorn and select beverages included.

The main selling point of Disney After Hours events is that the number of tickets for these events is limited, which means lower wait times for some of your favorite attractions. Unlike Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, these After Hours evenings are advertised as low crowds events.

Let’s start by taking a look at attractions, event dates, ticket prices, and other details for After Hours at Magic Kingdom, followed by After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…

At Magic Kingdom, this means you can enjoy more than 20 popular attractions with lower wait times, including the following:

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain

…And many more!

Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom takes place select nights January 9, 2023 to March 27, 2023.

Ticket prices may vary based on date:

Event Date Price (Excludes Tax) Price for Passholders and
Disney Vacation Club
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

Event Times

While this Disney After Hours event officially begins at 10:00 PM, your special-event ticket enables you to enter Magic Kingdom as early as 7:00 PM—when the park is still open to other Guests. You do not need a park reservation or additional ticket to enter the park at or after 7:00 PM.

When you arrive early, you’ll have extra time to enjoy attractions and entertainment. Plus, you can witness the wonder of Disney Enchantment, the nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom (for now!).

Purchase Tickets Soon

Guests of select hotels at Walt Disney World Resort can purchase tickets to Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom as early as October 4, 2022. All other Guests may purchase tickets beginning on October 7, 2022.

The advance purchase window is available to Guests of Disney Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, as well as Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort.

Tickets are limited and may not be available for purchase on the day of the event (or earlier).

Over at DHS, the After Hours event will be held on select nights from January 4, 2023 until April 19, 2023.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, attractions may include:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Toy Story Mania!

…and more!

Ticket prices for After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios vary based on date:

Event Date Price (Excludes Tax) Price for Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members (Excludes Tax)
Wednesday, January 4, 2023 $145 $115
Wednesday, January 11, 2023 $129 $99
Wednesday, January 18, 2023 $139 $109
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 $145 $115
Wednesday, February 15, 2023 $149 $119
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 $149 $119
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 $149 $119
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 $149 $119
Wednesday, March 29, 2023 $145 $115
Sunday, April 2, 2023 $139 $109
Wednesday, April 5, 2023 $149 $119
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 $145 $115

Event Times

This event takes place from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM. You can get a head start on the fun by entering the park at 7:00 PM—a couple of hours before the event officially begins.

By January 2023, Fantasmic will certainly be back (right? RIGHT?!), so you’ll be able to enjoy that or whatever projections show is playing on Grauman’s Chinese Theater during the mix-in hours.

Purchase Tickets Soon

Guests of select hotels at Walt Disney World Resort can purchase tickets to Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as early as October 4, 2022. All other Guests may purchase tickets beginning on October 7, 2022.

The advance purchase window is available to Guests of Disney Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, as well as Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort.

Tickets are limited and may not be available for purchase on the day of the event (or earlier).

We’ve done every single After Hours event that Walt Disney World has held, from the themed ones (Villains, Halloween, Christmas) to these vanilla ones at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (back in 2018 through early 2020). Our experiences have been positive, although colored by a bit by annoyance that what was once free now costs money.

At this point, that feels like the story of Walt Disney World.

For those who don’t follow, Magic Kingdom used to close at midnight on even moderately crowded days (if this year was any indication, January through March 2023 will qualify). On many of those same nights, Magic Kingdom had Extra Magic Hours until 3 a.m. (Evening Extra Magic Hours used to be 3 hours long).

This was even the case during the Great Recession when attendance was lower than it is now, so daytime crowds were comparatively light. Now, attendance is significantly higher (by several millions of guests per year), and regular park hours have been reduced by several hours per day. More people crammed into fewer hours, which does not compute.

Nevertheless, we’ve (begrudgingly) bought the After Hours tickets and will do so again in 2023.

Compared to other Walt Disney World upcharges, After Hours is actually one we can endorse (with the above caveat about unnecessarily shortened park hours). It’s only slightly more expensive than the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties (which have increased in price a ton over the years). As noted above, After Hours is comparable to the Halloween and Christmas parties, albeit with significantly lower crowds and minus the seasonal entertainment. In fact, we’re so pleased with this event that it made our Best Value Splurges at Walt Disney World List.

Essentially, the value proposition of After Hours is whether 6 hours (3 with low crowds, 3 with low to moderate crowds) is better than 10-12 hours in the parks during the day. Even if you used an efficient itinerary for Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios during those normal operating hours, the answer to that used to be yes.

With that said, the equation has changed with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, as well as Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours (at Magic Kingdom, at least). At least two of these things are controversial, but can be highly advantageous–especially at Magic Kingdom. Then there’s Early Entry at DHS, which is less divisive and offers a tremendous head start.

The other thing that it’s important not to overlook is the timing of After Hours. This is good or bad, depending upon your perspective. For many parents, it’s a total nonstarter, as the prime time for the event is post-bedtime for many kids.

For others, it’s a huge upside when considering the reality of Florida weather. Humidity can be oppressive and the midday sun can be draining. At night, the sun is down and it feels better. That’s one of the reasons why we loved After Hours in July or August. With that said, January and February are a very different story, weather-wise.

Ultimately, that’s my basis for tentatively recommending After Hours to first-timers to Walt Disney World with limited vacation time. It’s a great way to get a lot done at Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios without waking up at the crack of dawn for Early Entry or criss-crossing the park (or burying your head in your phone) while using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.

After Hours events are undoubtedly expensive, but they are also friction-less. You don’t need some grand strategy or plan-of-attack for experiencing a ton of attractions during these hard ticket events. They offer a quasi-VIP experience without having to be accompanied by a tour guide–best of both worlds! On top of that, After Hours occurs at night–meaning you’re getting the best of weather, crowds, wait times and (as a result of all three) just general pleasantness. You’re likely to enjoy After Hours a great deal, especially as compared to a normal day in the park.

If you’re an Annual Passholder, are a repeat visitor, taking a longer vacation, or fit into some category other than the above, After Hours is a much tougher sell in terms of value for money. That’s mostly because you’re looking at paying the full/discounted price (or close to it) of this ticket on top of your existing admission. I think it’s fairly undeniable that you’d likewise have a better time at this event than by trying to contort your schedule to make your time in Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios this pleasant (or close to it), but the tickets aren’t cheap.

So long as Walt Disney World doesn’t get greedy and increase the attendance cap (as we’ve seen with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), After Hours should continue to be an excellent event when it returns in January 2023. Even then, demand for these is way lower than for the Halloween and Christmas Parties, so that’s unlikely to be a problem. With that said, we’ll keep in mind how things change with the upcoming After Hours versus the last time they were held ~3 years ago, including how the value proposition has changed in the era of Genie+ and Early Entry. Stay tuned!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

Have you attended After Hours at Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios? What did you think of the event? Would you attend, or is it too pricey? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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