Walt Disney World has added more hours to the calendar through August 2022 at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom, and extended hours prior to that from June through July. This post covers the changes plus a look at the park reservation calendar and more.
Let’s start with the updated calendar. All four theme parks have had hours for another week added to DisneyWorld.com’s park hours, and the current calendar now runs through August 1, 2022. Here are the hours for the newly-added dates in late Summer 2022:
Magic Kingdom: 9 am to 10 pm
Epcot: 9 am to 9 pm
Hollywood Studios: 9 am to 9 pm
Animal Kingdom: 8 am to 7 pm
Typhoon Lagoon: 10 am to 7 pm
Disney Springs: 10 am to 11 pm (11:30 pm on Fridays & Saturdays)
As a reminder, Walt Disney World’s normal practice is to release boilerplate or placeholder hours before extending those based on attendance and hotel occupancy projections. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Magic Kingdom won’t actually be closing at 10 pm during that holiday weekend. The norm for the last few months has been an added hour in the evening at Magic Kingdom and a half-hour in the morning at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom usually gets both.
In addition to these newly added hours, Walt Disney World has also extended park hours throughout June and into early July 2022.
For the most part, these are the same extensions that’ve been occurring since the start of spring break season in early March (to be precise, the current operating schedule started February 28).
Magic Kingdom continues to open at 9:00 am every day, which has been its opening time throughout the last several months, even during the peak of spring break. It’ll stay open for one extra hour–until 11:00 pm–from now through June 6, plus the following dates:
June 8, 2022
June 10-15, 2022
June 17-27, 2022
June 29, 2022
July 1-2, 2022
Presumably, Magic Kingdom’s hours will be extended for July 3-4, 2022. The current round of extra hours stops at July 2, with pretty much everything being boilerplate after that.
Epcot extends its 8:30 am opening streak through July 2, 2022. It’s still scheduled to close at 9:00 pm–here’s hoping that ends up being at least 10 pm on Independence Day weekend.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also now open at 8:30 am, with early entry beginning at 8:00 a.m. through at least July 2, 2022. It will continue to close at 9:00 pm nightly.
Finally, Animal Kingdom will now open at 8 am beginning on June 5, 2022. It had been open from 7:30 am until 8 pm for the last several months (and will continue to have those hours through June 4), but it appears this will come to an end soon unless there’s a last minute extension.
We doubt that’ll happen, as the 7:30 am opening (or 7 am for Early Entry) was always a bit puzzling. (Animal Kingdom will operate from 7:30 am to 6 pm on June 9, 2022–that appears to be a one-off due to a special event.)
More calendar news: after a two-year hiatus, Walt Disney World has officially confirmed that “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” will be performed on July 3-4, 2022 at Magic Kingdom. It was more or less a foregone conclusion that the iconic Independence Day fireworks would return after the New Year’s Eve nighttime spectacular came back to kick off 2022, but it’s nice to know for sure.
Still no word on whether the Heartbeat of Freedom tag will occur after Harmonious in EPCOT on July 4, 2022. Again, the New Year’s Eve tag did occur, so we expect that the Heartbeat of Freedom fireworks will also return to World Showcase Lagoon. It’s highly unlikely that Animal Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios will do any special nighttime spectaculars for July 4, 2022. (See our Guide to the Fourth of July at Walt Disney World for basics about what happens in a normal year.)
On a tangentially related note, above is a look at the Disney Park Pass calendar for June 2022 as of this morning, which should give you a pretty good idea of why more extensions are likely for this summer. Reservations have been filling up earlier and faster than previously forecast, and one way for Walt Disney World to add more capacity/reservations is to extend the operating day.
With that said, the reservations calendar has been yellow or grey for pretty much the entirety of this month. Despite that, we’re currently in the midst of a Pre-Summer Slowdown at Walt Disney World, with wait times being decidedly average. It’s unclear what’s going on with that, but it’s entirely possible that the Disney Park Pass calendar will get a refill for June without any more hours being added.
I won’t rehash my long-winded critique of park hours here, other than to reiterate that even Magic Kingdom’s expanded park hours aren’t long enough. This is the one red flag–the other 3 parks are mostly acceptable, especially if you’re an early riser rather than a night owl.
During a normal summer, Magic Kingdom would be open from 8 am until 12 am most days. These extra 2 hours per day may not seem like much, but they’re significant–especially at Walt Disney World’s most popular park. Right now, rope drop is pretty crowded since it occurs so late, and the park is still crowded until well after closing because that happens so early. There’s never really a reprieve from the crowds, as is the case at all 3 of the other parks in the early morning or evening hours.
To that point, the earlier opening times at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom make it easier to beat crowds at those parks than it has been in a long time. There’s a huge advantage to early risers, and savvy strategy or advanced-level know-how with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can be a gamechanger.
To that end, we (once again) recommend checking out Genie+ v. Savvy Strategy at Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive ‘testing’ to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds. You can also do pretty well in the evenings at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Conversely, Magic Kingdom at 9 am is brutal. It’s arguably not even worth the work–just pay the money for the Genie+ service and arrive at your leisure. With more to do in the park, crowds also tend to stay later at Magic Kingdom, and 11 pm is not all that late by historical standards. (Anyone else remember the days of evening Extra Magic Hours ending at 2 or 3 am?!)
On the plus side, Magic Kingdom is the one park where Genie+ is actually works pretty well and offers a strong competitive advantage. You can easily score over 5 good Lightning Lane ride reservations in Magic Kingdom, which is more than any other park.
Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here for the rest of Summer 2022 and then for the early fall off-season season that starts in mid-August. Even with the Park Pass calendar starting to fill up, the next month-plus is still something of a wild card at Walt Disney World. There could be a lull in attendance, and even a slight downtick coupled with the current operating schedule would make even elevated crowds very beatable.
Then there’s the Independence Day and beyond, which almost certainly will be very busy. While Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, that weekend typically isn’t too busy. Summer vacations don’t usually start in full force until late June–there’s usually a bit of buffer between the end of the school year and the influx of vacationers. People don’t flee to Florida the day after school gets out of session.
With that said, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Epcot and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The attraction is excellent and will undoubtedly be a hit with guests. Will that result in a repeat of the first few months of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, when Disney’s Hollywood Studios daily “situation” was the wild west, with actual park opening occurring hours before the published time and policy tweaks every other week?
Or, will Walt Disney World stick to the plan with the current hours, virtual queue, and Individual Lightning Lanes? Hopefully that was a “learning experience” for Walt Disney World Operations and those failures and successes can be applied to Cosmic Rewind, but we shall see. We’ll keep you posted on that and other changes to park hours, plus new strategy for beating the summer crowds.
What do you think of Walt Disney World’s Summer 2022 operating hours (so far)? Think this is reasonable? Do you think Magic Kingdom should be open earlier and/or later? Excited for the return of Independence Day fireworks? Curious about what’ll happen at Epcot once Cosmic Rewind debuts? What has been your experience with crowds and wait times? 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!