Disney World Hours Extended for Summer 2021

Walt Disney World has added new hours for June 2021 for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios, while also rolling out a big extension of hours for Summer 2021! This post shares the updated calendar, plus new commentary on best & worst days of the week for each park.

Let’s begin with the new hours that Walt Disney World has added for all four theme parks, Disney Springs, and Blizzard Beach to the calendar on DisneyWorld.com. The calendar was previously posted through June 19, and now extends to June 26, 2021. Added hours are the same for all dates in this newly-added week:

  • Magic Kingdom: 8 am to 9 pm
  • EPCOT: 11 am to 9 pm
  • Hollywood Studios: 9 am to 8 pm
  • Animal Kingdom: 8 am to 6 pm
  • Blizzard Beach: 11 am to 6 pm
  • Disney Springs: 10 am to 10 pm (11 pm on weekends)

Park Hopping times for those dates have also been added to the calendar. At this point, the start time for changing parks is still 2 pm across the board; as Walt Disney World previously indicated, that could move earlier as demand and attendance dictate.

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 very well be the final hours.

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.

This isn’t the only big change with the calendar. On each of the last several Friday calendar updates, Walt Disney World has extended park hours for a week or two in the immediate future while releasing one week’s worth of new boilerplate hours. This has been pretty consistent for the last several months, but makes vacation planning a tad difficult because it’s on such short notice.

Well, those hoping for a more comprehensive calendar update with extensions for more distant dates has gotten their wish this week! Here are the newly-expanded park hours through Summer 2021…

Magic Kingdom

  • April 25 to June 19, 2021: 8 am to 9 pm (previously 9 am to 6 pm)

EPCOT

  • April 25 to May 8, 2021: 11 am to 10 pm (previously 11 am to 7 pm)
  • May 9 to June 19, 2021: 11 am to 9 pm (previously 11 am to 7 pm)

Hollywood Studios

  • April 25 to May 22, 2021: 9 am to 8 pm (previously 10 am to 7 pm)
  • May 23 to June 18, 2021: 9 am to 8 pm (previously 9 am to 7 pm)

Animal Kingdom

  • April 25 to May 1, 2021: 8 am to 8 pm (previously 9 am to 5 pm)
  • May 2 to June 19, 2021: 8 am to 7 pm (previously 9 am to 5 pm)

The easiest way to survey what has been extended for your travel dates is using the interactive monthly calendar on DisneyWorld.com.

The only date that stands out in terms of changes (or lack thereof) is Disney’s Hollywood Studios on June 19. Every day before and after that was extended, so we’re guessing it was accidentally missed–or there’s a private event in the park that night. Expect it to be quietly extended soon.

You could grouse about even these extended hours, lamenting the fact that they’re not as long as a “normal” summer at Walt Disney World. You’d be right…but also in the wrong.

The fact is, Walt Disney World is still not operating normally, or anywhere near full capacity. Setting aside everything that’s closed and the current protocol and focusing just on hours and crowds, we’d choose right now over a normal spring at Walt Disney World. Obviously, that’s a lot to arbitrarily set aside, but attendance has the biggest bearing on hours, and that ‘relationship’ is looking pretty favorable to guests right now.

Speaking of which, if you’re planning a summer visit, we’d recommend making Disney Park Pass reservations ASAP. There are already a ton of dates in May and June 2021 that are unavailable to resort guests for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, with many of those disappearing in the last week. We’d expect July 2021 to be next.

We’re actually a bit surprised Walt Disney World hasn’t upped the attendance number. (Perhaps that’s still coming?) Capacity has been improved on a number of attractions in each park, and the result is even faster-moving lines, shorter wait times than what’s posted, and just less congestion in general.

Our visits to the parks this week were great. Crowds were still elevated as compared to January and February, but those gloriously uncrowded winter off-season months are something Walt Disney World is unlikely to see again anytime in the next few years. (Although I think we said the same about the uncrowded months right after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened…)

Part of this is definitely a post-spring break slowdown, and we’d expect further moderation next week and throughout the month of April into May 2021. However, part of this is happening because some potential guests who would like to visit simply can’t score reservations on some days and for some parks.

Walt Disney World could always change that, opening up more availability, and increasing attendance. I’m not too worried about that, as the parks would still be fairly pleasant with even a modest bump. (Also, I question how much unsatisfied demand actually exists in May and June, as those months are almost entirely green on the AP calendar.)

Finally, our best and worst days to visit each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. Our top recommendation is to avoid Walt Disney World on the weekends. However, with each passing week, that becomes less significant of advice. Back when Walt Disney World attendance was overwhelmingly Floridians last summer and fall, it was imperative.

Now, we’re seeing an increasing number of tourists, and that demographic visits every single day of the week. There are still a lot of locals–and Park Passes fully book on weekends and not weekdays for Annual Passholders–but the difference in weekend v. weekday wait times is not as pronounced as it once was. Expect that gap to continue closing this summer.

With that said, if your visit includes a weekend, do Disney’s Hollywood Studios one of those days. DHS hits capacity every single day, meaning there’s no difference whatsoever in attendance on weekdays v. weekends. To the contrary, it’s been our experience that weekends are slightly less busy in practice–especially later in the day. That’s likely because locals are more likely to do only a few things and then bounce.

Note that boarding passes are still gone within seconds when the virtual queue opens at 7 am, so you need to be up early for that. Our comprehensive Ride Guide & FAQ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance covers everything you need to know–including some “fast finger” strategy to increase your odds.

EPCOT is the worst pick on weekends for the opposite reason. It’s undoubtedly the biggest “local’s park” at Walt Disney World, and you’re also more likely to encounter groups Drinking Around the World on Saturday and Sunday. It’s also festival season (something that’s true basically all year now).

Mondays through Wednesdays are all equally good for EPCOT. We’ve noticed a slight uptick in crowds on Thursdays, and a more significant one on Fridays. Still, not nearly as bad as Saturday or Sunday.

As for the your other weekend choice, pick Animal Kingdom. That early opening time coupled with a late closing time–and a limited slate of attractions–makes Animal Kingdom easy to knock out.

Even on crowded days, the strategy for Animal Kingdom is relatively simple, as covered in our 1-Day Animal Kingdom Itinerary. Just be sure not to fight the midday crowds or try to swim upstream and you should be fine.

Magic Kingdom is a good pick Monday through Thursday, with Wednesday being the best day of the week there from an objective perspective.

Magic Kingdom can be more challenging when it’s busy, but it’s still possible to have a satisfying and productive day in the park. Unlike Animal Kingdom, early arrival matters–get to Magic Kingdom 45 minutes before rope drop and follow our 1-Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary.

Ultimately, Walt Disney World crowds should be entirely manageable through at least May 28, 2021 if you properly strategize no matter which day of the week you visit. Midday wait times have been bad and lines are lengthy, but it’s possible to beat the crowds. Visiting exclusively on weekdays will be the best experience, especially now that park hours are uniform across days of the week.

Suffice to say, we’re pretty pleased with these extended hours for May and June 2021. Didn’t expect to see this, and it could mean Walt Disney World is preparing to ramp-up attendance, but that’s not a big concern right now given the organic ceiling on that. Personally, my bigger concerns are that the daily high temperature is starting to encroach on 90 degrees and that love bug season is just around the corner. Sadly, I don’t think Walt Disney World can do anything about those two pressing issues!

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 are your thoughts about the latest Walt Disney World calendar changes? Happy to see hours extended for April through June 2021? Concerned that this means crowd forecasts are continuing to increase? Will you be visiting Walt Disney World for summer vacation or are you holding off until at least the start of the 50th Anniversary festivities? Does this modified schedule influence your decision to visit or not? Do you agree or disagree with our advice and commentary? 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!

31 Responses to “Disney World Hours Extended for Summer 2021”
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