Disney World Extends Park Hours in May & June 2022

Walt Disney World has added more hours to the calendar for June 2022, and extended hours for early May through the start of summer season at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom. This post shares the new hours, what can be expected during the upcoming tourist season, and how to leverage the earlier opening times to beat the crowds.

Let’s get the most inconsequential part of this out of the way first. Like clockwork, all four theme parks have had hours for another week added to DisneyWorld.com’s park hours, and the current calendar now runs through June 25, 2022. Here are the hours for the newly-added dates in 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 8 pm
  • Typhoon Lagoon: 10 am to 7 pm
  • Disney Springs: 10 am to 11 pm (11:30 pm on Fridays & Saturdays)

These hours are noteworthy because they’re a deviation from Walt Disney World’s normal practice of releasing boilerplate hours before extending those based on attendance and hotel occupancy projections. This initial release could be the final hours, or at least closer to them. A new baseline, if you will.

They’re definitely not the initial placeholder or “lorem ipsum” Walt Disney World park hours. We would recommend planning around this schedule as if it will not change. It’s still possible that an hour or two could be added here or there, but don’t expect anything dramatic.

With that said, there are a few interesting changes for the most recent weeks to be posted in mid-June 2022. First, Animal Kingdom extends its hours to 8 am to 8 pm, from a prior baseline of 9 am to 7 pm. Those 9-7 hours are still showing on the calendar for the second half of May 2022, but we’d expect those to be extended on a rolling basis.

In a similar twist, Epcot’s baseline hours are now 9 am to 9 pm for May 8 through June 25, 2022. Previously, Epcot was posting 10 am to 9 pm hours, even though the park has been extending its hours on a rolling basis and opening at 8:30 am since the beginning of March. With Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opening Memorial Day, it’s a near certainty that more 8:30 am extensions (or even earlier) will happen.

Finally, Typhoon Lagoon gradually extends its closing time. Currently, the water park is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily. Starting Memorial Day weekend, that closing time moves to 6 pm (weekends only). Beginning June 12, the closing time becomes 7 pm daily. Interestingly, H2O Glow After Hours run from 8 pm to 11 pm nightly, without regard for the water park’s actual closing time. (Suggesting that more extensions of regular hours might be in order.)

In addition to these updated boilerplate hours for May and June 2022, Walt Disney World has also extended park hours for May 1-7, 2022. These are the exact same extensions that’ve been occurring since the start of spring break season in early March (to be precise, I think the current operating schedule started February 28), and make beating the crowds much easier–so long as you don’t mind getting up a bit early.

Here are the current Walt Disney World park hours through May 7, 2022:

  • Magic Kingdom: 9 am to 11 pm
  • Epcot: 8:30 am to 9 pm
  • Hollywood Studios: 8 am to 9 pm
  • Animal Kingdom: 7:30 am to 8:30 pm

As of right now, these revert to normal on May 8, 2022. That might end up happening, but we doubt it. Even though that would normally be the end of spring break season, Disney Park Pass reservations are already filling for the first week of May, and those dates are still several weeks away. Expect that calendar to get a lot more yellow.

Crowds could still drop in the coming weeks, but we’re no longer predicting that. To the contrary, our expectation is that remote work and ongoing pent-up demand will keep the month somewhat elevated. Not as bad as spring break, but worse than a normal May. As such, we expect extensions more or less in line with what’s listed above for the foreseeable future.

What’s more interesting to me is where and when these extensions are occurring. Animal Kingdom opening at 7:30 am (7 am for Early Entry!) is certainly a choice. Anyone arriving at that hour will have the park practically to themselves and should be able to knock out everything before noon.

I’m not one of those people who still thinks Animal Kingdom is a half-day park, but I also cannot fathom arriving at 7 am and staying until 8:30 pm with its current attraction slate. There’s only so many times you can ride Kali River Rapids before you’re thoroughly soaked, and the “wash cycle” without the “spin cycle” just doesn’t make sense. (A little Must-Do Disney with Stacey reference for the “old-timers.”)

By contrast, Magic Kingdom is still opening at 9 am, which is a historically late time given the current crowd levels. Rope drop is challenging at that hour because it’s easier for more guests to be up, out the door, and in the park by then. Plus, Magic Kingdom is much more popular than Animal Kingdom.

It’s still possible to accomplish a lot at Magic Kingdom in a single day with sound strategy, but there’s never going to be a time in the day when you experience low crowds. At Animal Kingdom, there are two such times every day.

There are a couple of potential explanations for these odd hours at Animal and Magic Kingdoms. The first is transportation; Walt Disney World’s bus woes are much improved since this time last year, but there’s still a bus driver shortage (and likely will be for years–this issue predates March 2020). Staggered opening and closing times could be necessary to alleviate some of that strain.

Second, it could be a simple matter of Cast Member shifts. With the current labor constraints, maybe Magic Kingdom can open at 8 am or stay open until 11 pm, but not both. This is purely speculative on my part–I don’t have the slightest actual insight into why these are the hours.

I just know that if operating Walt Disney World were a game of RollerCoaster Tycoon, I’d try to find a way to reallocate resources to allow Magic Kingdom to operate from 8 am until midnight daily, even if that meant proportional cuts to Animal Kingdom. Maybe there’s something I’m overlooking, but “calendar history” is on my side, even post-Pandora.

On a positive note, it’s easier to beat crowds at Walt Disney World right now than it has been in a long time. This is something discussed earlier this week in Spring Sees Peak Season Wait Times at Walt Disney World, but it’s worth reiterating.

Significantly earlier opening times provide 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.

We’ve honestly found it easier to tackle Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom since these earlier opening times started in early March. At that point, you’re left only with Magic Kingdom where crowds present problems due to the more traditional operating schedule.

However, that is easily avoidable since Magic Kingdom is the one park where Genie+ is actually incredibly advantageous. Savvy planners might argue that it’s strategically superior for Magic Kingdom to have the delayed opening, as its crowds are more “beatable” with Genie+, whereas the paid FastPass+ service offers less upside at the other parks. In other words, earlier opening times are more beneficial in the other 3 parks.

In fact, I would make that exact argument. But I’d also make the argument that Magic Kingdom should have longer hours as a matter of practicality. Maybe it’s one of those “have your cake and eat it, too” scenarios, but it seems more like utility maximization to me. Again, what do I know. Maybe opening Animal Kingdom at 7 am for 382 people is somehow a better use of resources than running Magic Kingdom for reasonable hours.

Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here for the rest of May 2022 and then for the summer tourist season. As covered elsewhere, mid-May is 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 (minus Magic Kingdom) would make even elevated crowds very beatable.

Then there’s the Memorial Day and beyond, which almost certainly will be very busy. In particular, I’m curious about what’ll happen with Epcot and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Part of me thinks we might get 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. 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.

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

What do you think of Walt Disney World’s May and June 2022 operating hours (so far)? Think this is fair and reasonable? Do you think Magic Kingdom should be open earlier and/or later? What about Animal Kingdom opening at 7 am? 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!

21 Responses to “Disney World Extends Park Hours in May & June 2022”
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