Disney World Extends Hours for Spring Break

Walt Disney World has added more hours to the calendar through shoulder season in May 2024, while also extending hours at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom for the start of Spring Break. This covers the additions plus zig when they zag strategy for the parks and everything else you should know.

We’ll start with the latest release of new operating schedules. All four theme parks have had hours for another week added to DisneyWorld.com’s park hours, and the current calendar now runs through May 5, 2024. Here are the hours for most of the newly-added dates:

  • Magic Kingdom: 9 am to 9 pm
  • EPCOT: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Hollywood Studios: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Animal Kingdom: 9 am to 6 pm

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. This has been common practice for years, and will almost continue throughout 2024. It’s absolutely nothing to get alarmed about and does not mean that, for example, Magic Kingdom will only be open until 9 pm on Easter Sunday. There’s a 99% chance that’ll be extended, which almost begs the question: why not post the hours until they’re final?!

In addition to these newly added hours, Walt Disney World has also extended park hours throughout the first half of March 2024. Let’s dig into what’s been extended…

Magic Kingdom

  • March 1-3, 2024: 9am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • March 4-6, 2024: 9am to 10pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • March 7, 2024: 9am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • March 8-16, 2024: 8am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)

In the immediate future, we’d recommend avoiding March 4 at Magic Kingdom. Not because it’ll necessarily be busy (it should be the calm before the spring break storm), but because it’s a Monday–the worst day of the week–and the only day in this batch of dates with After Hours (the next event is March 18–another day to avoid, unless you’re attending the event). Crowds throughout the day won’t necessarily be worse, but the mix-in means lines don’t die down at the end of the night for day guests.

Other than that, we like what we see here. The park opening at 9am and closing at 10pm during that weekday stretch suggests that Walt Disney World’s internal attendance forecast aligns with what we’ve been predicting–that this is a sweet spot or calm between the Mid-Winter Break and Spring Break storms. Of course, no guarantees. We’ve been wrong before, as have Disney’s own projections!

Then there’s March 8-16, 2024. Magic Kingdom is opening at 8am and closing at 11pm every single day during that stretch. This also matches our recent Spring Break 2024 Crowd Calendar for Walt Disney World, which identified March 8 as the unofficial start of Spring Break season. However, we also said that we expect that first week to be slower than the next two.

That’s still our expectation, even after seeing these park hours. We could be wrong, but it’s also worth looking back to last year’s holiday season. In a nutshell, Walt Disney World got very aggressive with extensions around Veterans Day, crowds did not materialize as expected, so they got more conservative with extensions closer to Christmas.

I know this because I enjoyed a couple of gloriously uncrowded 8am to midnight days in Magic Kingdom in early to mid-November, only to see hours on 9am to 10pm later in the season on 9/10 crowd days between MVMCP dates. I’m certainly not saying the same thing will happen, but at the very least, it bodes well that Walt Disney World is starting strong with the Spring Break extensions. Let’s hope they keep it up, and there are midnight closings the following two weeks!

At the very least, the 8am openings every single day of the week would make me completely comfortable visiting during that week. Between the extra hour in the morning and another 2 at night, strategy becomes much easier–and that’ll be doubly true if crowds are “only” 7/10 or below.

I know we repeat this ad nauseum, but the strategic significance of Magic Kingdom opening at 8am instead of 9am cannot be overstated. Early Entry starting an hour later is almost useless, whereas it’s incredible at 7:30am. One hour makes a world of difference. See our 7:30 am Early Entry at Magic Kingdom ‘Party Season’ Strategy. (Spring Break is not ‘Party Season’, but the exact same idea applies on those days!)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • March 2, 2024: 8:30am to 9pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • March 8-9, 2024: 8:30am to 9pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • March 10-16, 2024: 8:30am to 9:30pm (previously 9am to 9pm)

Early Entry will once again officially start at 8 am on the above dates that Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens at 8:30 a.m. Unofficially, Early Entry should begin even earlier. This is a really big deal. As we’ve mentioned countless times, the earlier that Early Entry starts, the better. There’s less “competition” and you can get way more done.

In fact, that’s how I Did Every Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Before 11am Via Standby Lines. Don’t count on replicating these results, but the strategy is sound. We’d thus highly recommend doing DHS on one of these dates if at all possible.

The other big thing is that Fantasmic goes to two showings every night starting March 7, 2024. Double-bonus: the second showtime is 30 minutes after park closing, meaning that it’s at 9:30pm or 10pm, depending on the evening.

We highly recommend seeing the second showing. It’ll effectively extend your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by 30 minutes to an hour, which is more than you’ll get by jumping in line for a ride at the end of the night.

Equally as important, we’ve managed to see the second showing of Fantasmic from spectacular seats without arriving more than 5 minutes in advance of showtime. This has been the case even on evenings when the first performance was quite busy and seats filled up 30 minutes before showtime.

On those same busier days, the late performances of Fantasmic had multiple entire sections that went unfilled. I was able to snag the third row of a great section at (literally) 2 minutes before showtime, and that was on a busy day. That followed doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance shortly before park closing with an actual wait of under 20 minutes. We followed that strategy repeatedly last year, including during the peak of Spring Break. (With that said, I haven’t tried it since last November and would never recommend anyone else for whom Fantasmic is a must-see cut it so close.)

Animal Kingdom

  • March 1-4, 2024: 8am to 7pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • March 5-7, 2024: 8am to 6pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • March 8, 2024: 8am to 7pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • March 9-11, 2024: 8am to 8pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • March 12-14, 2024: 7:30am to 8pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • March 15-16, 2024: 8am to 8pm (previously 9am to 6pm)

The 8am opening time is clutch at Animal Kingdom. This means Early Entry at 7:30am, which is pretty sparsely attended. See Animal Kingdom Park Opening & Early Entry Ride Strategy (or, “How I Did Every Ride at DAK Before 10:30am.”)

Even more clutch? The 7:30 am opening time. Holy cow. This has happened before, but it seems like it’s been a while. Even if those end up being 10/10 crowd level days in Animal Kingdom (and I’m highly skeptical of that), you can pretty much run the table on rides by doing Early Entry. The vast majority of guests cannot/will not get up that early. (Just look how many complaints there are about virtual queue start times being at 7am!)

At the opposite end of the day, Animal Kingdom continues to officially close after nightfall for most of these days–even after the clock “springs forward” in March! Between the later closing and earlier sunset, you can get a couple hours in DAK after dark for the first time in a while. We highly recommend staying for evenings in DAK to enjoy the Tree of Life Awakenings, plus Pandora and the rest of the park after dark.

Our Animal Kingdom Afternoon Arrival Strategy is once again the ideal approach for this park. Genie+ is a better option during Spring Break than during the slowest stretches of the year, but those 8pm closings still should allow for you to accomplish a lot in the final few hours of the day.

But, if your plan is to arrive late and leave early, Genie+ can be a good option. After experiencing 8/10 and above crowds there (and seeing the Lightning Lane actually be valuable for stage shows!), we aren’t quite so assertive about Genie+ being categorically “bad” at DAK. It really depends.

As always, the earlier opening times at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom make it easier to beat crowds at those parks. There’s a huge advantage to early risers, and savvy strategy or knowledge of how to leverage Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can be a gamechanger.

We’re huge fans of leveraging Park Hopping and splitting most days into two half days. If your family is full of early risers and staying on-site, I’d be taking advantage of those 7:30am Early Entry times (and that includes DHS, unofficially). I wouldn’t be doing any mornings at EPCOT, and would instead start the day doing Early Entry at the park that opens earliest and bounce around to leverage park hours and crowd dynamics.

To that end, check out our 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–and that’s somehow still true even now that Fantasmic is back. EPCOT is more of a wildcard–the dust still hasn’t settled on Luminous or the other new stuff there (and now it’s Festival of the Arts).

Ultimately, lots of very good park hours extensions for March 2024, which was at least partially to be expected given all of the school breaks on the horizon. Nevertheless, these hours should put any fears you might have to rest, as there’s enough here to leverage to beat even bad crowds. Well, unless you like to sleep in…but even then, they’re still not bad.

If you’re an early bird, though, lots of opportunities to get that worm (the worm being short standby lines). The extensions at Animal Kingdom are really good–and even that 30 extra minutes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is great. Magic Kingdom opening at 8am on every morning during Spring Break season is a great development, and a trend that we really hope continues for the rest of March and April 2024. About the only disappointment is the lack of extensions at EPCOT, especially after the crowds we’ve experienced this year for Festival of the Arts, but that’s become par for the course, too.

Looking forward, we expect to see a lot more park hours extensions for the second half of March 2024. Ideally, ones even longer than these. Here’s hoping Magic Kingdom gets some midnight closures between March 16 and March 31, and the other three parks have more opening times at or before 8am. Those two moves alone would be huge in helping reduce crowding.

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!


What do you think of Walt Disney World’s operating hours for the start of Spring Break season? Is this schedule is reasonable, or are more extensions needed to help absorb crowds? Pleased that Magic Kingdom is open from 8am until 11pm? What about earlier opening times at the other parks? Confused about the lack of extensions for EPCOT? 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!

9 Responses to “Disney World Extends Hours for Spring Break”
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