Disney After Hours events will be back once again starting in January 2024 at three of the four Walt Disney World theme parks! This post shares dates and details about the post-closing parties at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios, plus our recommendations and ‘wish list’ for these hard ticket events.
Let’s start with the basics. Disney After Hours will start on January 10, 2024 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and January 11, 2024 at Magic Kingdom, and February 2, 2024 at EPCOT. The only park not participating in After Hours is Animal Kingdom, which is probably because its initial experiment with the offering didn’t go so well.
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.
Event times at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Event times at Magic Kingdom and at EPCOT are from 10 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. You can get a head start on attractions by entering the park beginning at 7 p.m. to squeeze even more fun out of your midnight merriment with family and friends.
Let’s start by taking a look at attractions, event date ranges, ticket prices, and other details for After Hours at Walt Disney World in 2024…
During After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can play in Andy’s backyard in Toy Story Land, join the resistance with Chewbacca in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and embark on a whimsical adventure aboard Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, among other favorites.
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!
After Hours at Magic Kingdom
After Hours at Magic Kingdom will occur on select nights starting January 11, 2024 through April 8, 2024. (See our Guide to 2024 After Hours at Magic Kingdom for full dates and specific ticket prices, strategy, and more.)
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
“it’s a small world”
Peter Pan’s Flight
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
TRON Lightcycle Run
…And many more!
There are two very notable details for After Hours at Magic Kingdom. First, a standby queue is planned for TRON Lightcycle / Run during these special events. This is only during After Hours, and not regular operating hours, but it’s still notable since both MNSSHP and MVMCP are using a virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle Run.
Additionally, nighttime fireworks spectacular “Disney Enchantment” will return exclusively to After Hours events at Magic Kingdom. This means that on event nights, early arrivals will have the opportunity to see both Happily Ever After and Enchantment.
Bringing back Enchantment is a very curious decision, sure to prompt “no one asked for this” and “that’s one way to keep attendance limited” jokes in response from Walt Disney World fans. We’ll have more thoughts on this later, but–and we say this as two people who hated Enchantment–we like this move.
After Hours at EPCOT
After Hours events at EPCOT will take place on select nights starting February 2, 2024 through April 4, 2024. (See our Guide to 2024 After Hours at EPCOT for full dates and specific ticket prices, strategy, and more.)
The following attractions will be available during EPCOT After Hours:
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Purchase Tickets Soon
Booked guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, and Shades of Green can purchase tickets starting November 7, 2023, by calling 407-W-Disney. Event tickets can be purchased online by all guests starting November 14, 2023.
Disney After Hours ticket prices range from $155 to $175 (plus tax) for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. EPCOT After Hours ticket pricing ranges from $149 to $159 (plus tax). Specially priced tickets are available for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members.
All you have to do is pick your night, pick your park and enjoy your after-hours adventure. To learn more about Disney After Hours events, visit DisneyWorld.com/AfterHours. Tickets are limited and may not be available for purchase on the day of the event (or earlier). Check back for even more Disney After Hours updates in early 2024.
Note that After Hours does not mean the end of the free Extended Evening Hours, just as it didn’t this year. While originally promoted as a special perk for the 50th Anniversary, Walt Disney World has confirmed that Extended Evening Hours will continue throughout all of 2024 for guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, or other select hotels.
About the only thing that might change is the schedule, with modifications along the lines of what we’re seeing for this year’s Party Season. But even that is doubtful, as After Hours doesn’t cause Magic Kingdom to close at 6 pm like MNSSHP or MVMCP. For more info on the free ‘version’ of this perk, see our Guide to Extended Evening Hours at Walt Disney World.
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) and again last year, including the inaugural After Hours at EPCOT.
For the most part, 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 (that’s finally happening again…on two days in November 2023). 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. In the past, we’ve also felt that the parties are worth it as quasi-VIP experiences for a more approachable price.
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’ve been so pleased with this event in previous years that it made our Best Value Splurges at Walt Disney World List.
You might notice those assessments are in the past tense. Upon returning this year, After Hours events increased in price by a modest amount as compared to the last times they were held in 2019-2020. Given that a few years had passed and line-skipping now costs money via Lightning Lanes, that seemed fairly reasonable in the grand scheme of things.
However, ticket prices are up pretty significantly for the 2024 Disney After Hours parties, by roughly $10 to $36 depending upon the date and park. For most of the ones we’d be able or want to attend, the increases are $20 to $30. Even as a party of two, that’s too much for us to justify. (Of course, we’re also Annual Passholders who have done most rides dozens of times and are DVC members with access to Extended Evening Hours, so we’re hardly the target demo for this!)
What we would pay to attend is themed After Hours events. Although not branded as such, that’s more or less what we expect of Disney Jollywood Nights Christmas Party. Likewise, there was the aforementioned Villains After Hours at Magic Kingdom pre-closure, as well as the one-off Christmas and Halloween events in Magic Kingdom.
All of those offered unique hooks in addition to limited capacity and short lines. As fans who are repeat visitors to Walt Disney World, that’s what we need in order to be able to justify doing these events at $150+ price points. Otherwise, the value just isn’t there for us. So hopefully when Walt Disney World indicates that more 2024 After Hours announcements are coming soon, they mean themed ones…and not just the Typhoon Lagoon event!
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…and really could’ve used them during this year’s brutal heat wave! The weather is very different at the beginning of the year, but being in the parks at night is still nicer.
Ultimately, that’s my basis for reluctantly recommending After Hours at Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios to first-timers to Walt Disney World with limited vacation time and a ton of extra money for splurging. (We do not recommend After Hours at EPCOT to anyone.) It’s expensive, but also a good 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. Obviously. Point being, 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. 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, After Hours should continue to be an excellent event when it returns in January 2024. It also helps that demand for these is way lower than for the Halloween and Christmas Parties, so over-crowding is unlikely to be a problem.
Have you attended After Hours at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or EPCOT? 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!