Walt Disney World has added more hours to the calendar through Thanksgiving weekend at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom, and extended hours in October 2022. This post covers the changes plus zig when they zag strategy for Magic Kingdom during the Halloween and Christmas seasons.
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 November 26, 2022. (Disney has also updated the way the calendar displays, removing the month view.) Here are the hours for the newly-added dates during the holiday season in November 2022:
- Magic Kingdom: 9 am to 10 pm*
- Epcot: 9 am to 9 pm
- Hollywood Studios: 9 am to 9 pm
- Animal Kingdom: 9 am to 7 pm
- Typhoon Lagoon: 10 am to 5 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. This is happening even now, during the fall off-season at Walt Disney World, so it’ll almost certainly continue in November and December 2022.
One exception to the park hours above is that Magic Kingdom closes on several nights per week at 6 pm to day guests for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (now through October 2022) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (November 2022). Those separately-ticketed events begin at 7 pm and runs until midnight, and occur multiple nights per week, with increased frequency starting in October.
As covered in countless posts over the course of the last couple months, Magic Kingdom is least crowded during the days when Halloween parties are held. Due to the shorter hours, most guests avoid Magic Kingdom those days. Consequently, we recommend doing Magic Kingdom to start those days, and Park Hopping elsewhere once MNSSHP or MVMCP starts.
If you haven’t missed all of our posts documenting why or how Magic Kingdom is less busy on the days of parties, start by reading No, These Dates Won’t Be Busy at Walt Disney World. That specifically addresses the start of the party season, but applies to all dates of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party through December. Follow that post up with Magic Kingdom Party Day Early Entry Report and My Day at Magic Kingdom Using Genie+ on a Party Night.
In addition to these newly added hours, Walt Disney World has also extended park hours throughout October 2022.
For the most part, these are the same extensions that’ve been occurring for the last several months. This began for spring break, continued several times for the summer tourist season, and continued during the fall off-season. These extensions have occurred like clockwork, and have been relatively unsurprising.
Given that hours were even extended for the slowest stretch of the year, it was a foregone conclusion that the same would happen in October, which will be busier than this month or last month. As discussed in the latest update to the October 2022 Crowd Calendar, next month will be a start contrast to September. We explain the why of that–and why we’re so confident it’ll be worse–there.
Fortunately, Walt Disney World is continuing to extend park hours in October 2022, which will definitely ease some crowd concerns. As always, leveraging Early Entry and nighttime hours or Genie+ and Lightning Lanes will make beating the crowds relatively easy–even during a busier month like October.
Anyway, on with the extensions…
Going forward, Magic Kingdom will stay open for one extra hour–until 11:00 pm–on the following dates:
- October 3, 2022
- October 5, 2022
- October 8-9, 2022
- October 12, 2022
- October 15, 2022
- October 17, 2022
- October 19, 2022
- October 22, 2022
- October 24, 2022
- October 26, 2022
- October 29, 2022
The reason for these extensions is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. As we’ve discussed countless times, MNSSHP disrupts crowd dynamics, pushing attendance much higher on the dates it’s not occurring. These extensions are all on non-party nights.
More importantly for savvy Walt Disney World vacation planners, Magic Kingdom will open an hour earlier–at 8 am–on the following dates:
- October 2, 2022
- October 4, 2022
- October 6-7, 2022
- October 10-11, 2022
- October 13-14, 2022
- October 16, 2022
- October 18, 2022
- October 20-21, 2022
- October 23, 2022
- October 25, 2022
- October 27-28, 2022
This is also due to MNSSHP–these are all event nights when Magic Kingdom is closing to day guests at 6 pm. Again, we’d strongly recommend visiting Magic Kingdom during the day on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights.
Thus far, every single day of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom has been 1/10 or 2/10 on the crowd calendar.
This trend will continue in October 2022, albeit probably not the 1/10 or 2/10 crowd levels.
Next month, two things will happen to change the equation. First, crowd levels as a whole will increase–they’ll be higher across the board, meaning on party and non-party days. Second, MNSSHP dates become more frequent, making them more difficult to avoid. That means more guests will have no choice but to do Magic Kingdom on party days.
The upside, if you want to call it that, is that even more people will attempt to do Magic Kingdom on those rare non-party days, especially Saturdays. This means that the gap in wait times between party and non-party days will actually grow. (If this doesn’t make complete sense, the moral of the story is: DO MAGIC KINGDOM ON A PARTY DAY! Seriously, we’re imploring you.)
Ideally, you’ll have Park Hopper tickets and will be able to bounce to another park at around 4 pm. Animal Kingdom will always be your best option for lower-crowd evenings during the fall.
During the first half of October, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be another great option. Once Fantasmic returns, you’ll want to avoid DHS in the evenings…unless you want to see Fantasmic! (And you should!)
We cannot overemphasize the crowd disparity between days with and without the early closure due to the Halloween party. This is a prime example of taking the counterintuitive approach and embracing the shorter hours. Zig when they zag.
The other 3 parks have also received extensions, albeit less “interesting” ones from a strategy perspective. EPCOT extends its 8:30 am opening streak through October 29, 2022.
Same goes for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which will also continue its 8:30 am openings through October 29, 2022. Early Entry will continue to start at 8 am and the park will still close at 9:00 pm nightly. With rehearsals now underway, it’s a foregone conclusion that Fantasmic will debut sometime in mid-to-late October 2022.
Finally, Animal Kingdom has had some–but not all–of its hours extended. The park will open at 8 am and close at 7 pm on October 12, 18, 19, 24 and 28.
Animal Kingdom’s hours have been extended to 8 am to 8 pm for October 2-3, 6-11, 13-17, 20-23 and 29. On all other dates, Animal Kingdom will keep its boilerplate hours of 9 am until 7 pm.
This is not something we’ve seen recently, and we’re not sure why it’s happening–it’s possible these extensions will end up occurring across the board, but for now, we’d plan doing DAK on one of the 8-8 days. Crowds won’t be materially worse, and arriving early or staying late will yield much better results.
If history (continues) to repeat itself, all of these same patterns will continue through at least the end of December 2022, and more likely, mid-January 2023. It wouldn’t make much sense to extend hours through October, but not follow suit for the busy Christmas season. Whether there are larger extensions for the weeks of Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve remains to be seen.
As always, the earlier opening times at EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom on party days 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.
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–but that will change in mid-to-late October 2022 when Fantasmic returns.
Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to see how bad crowds end up being in October, and what happens for the holiday season that starts in early November 2022. While the park opening times are fine (save for Magic Kingdom on 9 am days), our hope is that Walt Disney World gets back to later closing times for the Christmas season.
As for next month, we’re pleased to finally have the extensions. Even though these are essentially a continuation of the status quo for party season, they’re good to see. All in all, we’re optimistic about visiting Walt Disney World over the course of the next few months. Even though crowds are going to increase–and probably by a lot–Halloween and Christmas are our favorite times of the year in the parks and at the resorts!
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 rest of this month through late November 2022? Think this schedule is reasonable? Do you think Magic Kingdom should be open earlier and/or later? 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!