Extended Evening Theme Park Hours at Disney World Info & Tips
Extended Evening Theme Park Hours is an on-site perk for Walt Disney World guests staying at a Deluxe Resorts, DVC Villas, and select other hotels. This strategy guide covers everything you need to know: eligibility, ride rosters, how the benefit works, and tips for best using the time at night. (Updated March 1, 2023.)
In terms of basics, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours is the indirect replacement for Evening Extra Magic Hours and is the current counterpart to Early Theme Park Entry. However, there are a lot of differences between the morning and evening extra time in the parks.
Extended Evening Theme Park Hours has a smaller pool of eligibility and also occurs less frequently. The nighttime benefit is exclusively for guests staying at Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villas (Disney Vacation Club units), and other select hotels (currently only the Swan & Dolphin and Shades of Green). Guests staying at Value or Moderate Resorts are not eligible for Extended Evening Hours.
While originally promoted as a special perk for the World’s Most Magical Celebration (which ends this month), Walt Disney World has confirmed that Extended Evening Hours will continue throughout all of 2023 for guests staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, or other select hotels.
Although we don’t yet have full details, expect Extended Evening Hours at Magic Kingdom to change slightly next month. This is because TRON Lightcycle Run opens on April 4, 2023. Walt Disney World’s new roller coaster will use a virtual queue and thus should have a 6 pm entry time on Extended Evening Hours dates, similar to what Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind offers at EPCOT.
However, Walt Disney World has not yet confirmed that TRON Lightcycle Run will operate during Extended Evening Hours–or how it’ll be accessed if it does. We’ll update this accordingly once official, but for now, you can expect it to use the same system as Cosmic Rewind. There’s about a 95% chance that it’ll operate identically to that EPCOT E-Ticket.
Turning to another topic of confusion, Extended Evening Hours is distinct and different from After Hours at Magic Kingdom and the new After Hours at EPCOT, which debuts in Summer 2023. Those are hard ticket events to which anyone can purchase admission. After Hours also lasts longer and includes refreshments.
By contrast, Extended Evening Hours are “free” for guests staying in the aforementioned hotel tiers, are shorter in duration, and do not include refreshments. After Hours and Extended Evening Hours are also held on different dates. If money is no object, After Hours is unquestionably better, but that’s a pretty big asterisk. We’ll take the “free” event any day of the week over having to pay extra–they’re not that much different.
Early Entry is also different from Extended Evening Hours. Obviously, one occurs in the morning and the other at night. Beyond that, Early Entry is offered at all 4 theme parks every single day, runs for 30 minutes, and every on-site resort guest is eligible, including the third party on-property hotels. For everything you need to know about that benefit, see our Strategy Guide for Early Theme Park Entry at Walt Disney World.
Once again, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours has two types of resort eligibility, occurs two nights per week, is at two parks, and runs for two hours (pretty much everything about the perk occurs in twos). It’s usually every Monday at Epcot and every Wednesday at Magic Kingdom. That schedule does change from time to time, but is accurate the vast majority of the time. See Walt Disney World’s official Events Calendar for specific times for each event night.
The other big difference is that you can accomplish a tremendous amount during Extended Evening Hours. We’ve done it at both Epcot and Magic Kingdom, and it’s been a veritable ghost town in both parks–eerily uncrowded by the end, with most attractions being walk ons.
With that said, it’s definitely superior at Magic Kingdom, and that’s largely due to the more robust ride roster–and the fact that several headliners are located near one another. Magic Kingdom has as many popular attractions in Fantasyland as is the case in the entirety of Epcot. (Read about one such experience in our Evening Extended Hours at Magic Kingdom Photo Report.)
Speaking of which, a little more strategizing is required in order to knock out Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Soarin’ Around the World, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind during a single Extended Evening Hours in Epcot.
Read about one of our recent attempts at this in Evening Extended Hours at EPCOT Strategy & Report, which offers play-by-play from one night that we did a couple months ago. Still, we had a fantastic time and highly recommend taking advantage of Extended Evening Hours in both parks, if you’re eligible.
Before singing its praises too much, we should probably address the elephant in the room: that “if eligible” asterisk. Many Walt Disney World fans have been critical about Extended Evening Hours for excluding Value and Moderate Resorts.
Their perspective is that it caters to the wealthy or creates two tiers of on-site hotel guests. Obviously, the point about lower tier resorts not being eligible is accurate. The other points are subjective, and the same claims could be made about off-site v. on-site guests with the Early Entry benefit.
Obviously, no one likes losing access to a perk, but the reason Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are this enjoyable is because it’s limited to a small subset of guests. Evening Extra Magic Hours were crowded to the point of being practically useless and unenjoyable in their last couple of years.
Extended Evening Hours are way better than that, and also superior to the new early entry offering. That’s despite this only occurring two nights per week and thus “consolidating” crowds into that single evening. For the most part, there haven’t been a ton of guests taking advantage of this–and that has been true even during peak season. Extended Evening Hours have been glorious–for those who are eligible.
In any case, we’re not here to debate the fundamental fairness of Extended Evening Hours. Rather, the purpose of this guide is to provide info about the benefit and help you make the most of it.
To that end, potential options for taking advantage of Extended Evening Hours without breaking the bank include doing Disney Vacation Club Point Rentals or booking the Swan & Dolphin Resorts, which are usually roughly the cost of a Moderate Resort.
Another idea that we really like is doing a split stay, splurging on a night at a Deluxe Resort (see How to Do Split Stays at Walt Disney World Hotels) and then doing budget accommodations the rest of your vacation. You could also do a two night-stay, checking in on a Monday and out on a Wednesday, in order to take advantage of both Extended Evening Hours nights.
If you really wanted to go big, pair that with Club Level, taking advantage of the early/late hours and enjoying the club during the middle of the day. You could pretty accomplish every worthwhile attraction in Magic Kingdom or Epcot during the first few hours of the day plus the last few hours of the night. Do breakfast in one of the Club Level lounges, while also enjoying a pool day and every other food and drink spread (save for desserts). That would be an awesome way to TREAT YO SELF, and could be made possible by cutting costs elsewhere from your Walt Disney World vacation budget.
Normally, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom do not participate in Extended Evening Theme Park Hours–not a huge surprise, since neither were staples of Evening EMH in recent years. However, Disney’s Hollywood Studios did participate in Extended Evening Hours last spring and holiday season on a couple of occasions. It’s possible the same will happen again later in 2023, but there are currently no dates scheduled at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
It’s worth noting that those rare Evening Extra Magic Hours nights (post-Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were fantastic–the crowd situation during Evening EMH was always better at DHS. We’d expect the same to hold true for Extended Evening Hours at DHS, and would highly recommend taking advantage if you’re able to do so.
Next, let’s take a look at the eligible hotels for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours…
Extended Evening Hours Eligible Disney Owned Hotels
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Disney Vacation Club & Deluxe Villa Resorts
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Extended Evening Hours Eligible Third Party Hotels
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
- Shades of Green
Next, the attractions lineup for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours…
Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Attractions – Magic Kingdom
- “it’s a small world”
- Astro Orbiter
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- The Barnstormer
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Attractions – Epcot
- Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Extended Evening Hours Attractions – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Toy Story Mania!
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
As you can see, not all Walt Disney World attractions are available during Extended Evening Hours. With minor exceptions, these lists are identical to the old evening Extra Magic Hours with headliners being the emphasis.
Moreover, the Extended Evening Theme Park Hours schedule and available attractions are subject to change without notice. Applicable theme park, days and times of operation, attraction and service availability may vary and are subject to change without notice. Subject to capacity and cancellation. [Insert other boring boilerplate caveats.]
Valid theme park admission and MagicBand, Key to the World Card, or Disney MagicMobile pass is required. Guests without the Park Hopper Option or Park Hopper Plus Option must spend the day at the same park where they’d like to enjoy the Extended Evening Theme Park Hours benefit.
To validate eligibility, Cast Members are stationed outside each attraction entrance, scanning MagicBands, hotel room keys, etc. Unlike Early Entry, this happens at every single attraction throughout the night—not just once upon arrival. That’s because other guests are already in the parks–that’s the only feasible way to determine who can ride attractions since the parks are not actively cleared at the start of Extended Evening Hours.
Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Strategy
Strategy for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours is surprisingly simple. Start with less popular attractions and finish with more popular ones. Basically, do rides in reverse order of wait times, while still keeping in mind that 2 hours goes by quickly, meaning you don’t want to waste any of that time on attractions that will have minimal daytime waits (assuming you’re also visiting the same park during the day).
One key to this is coupling Extended Evening Theme Park Hours strategy with Genie+ and Lightning Lane usage, or lack thereof. (See our Guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes FAQ for everything you need to know.) In particular, guests who are eligible for Extended Evening Hours probably do not need to buy Individual Lightning Lanes, and should instead backload those attractions into the end of their evening.
Let’s quickly run through what this means for each park.
At Magic Kingdom, your last three attractions should be Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train–with that order making the most sense. Try to time it so you get into line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ~5 minutes before the end of Extended Evening Hours. Disregard the posted wait time, as it’ll almost certainly be significantly inflated to discourage you from doing it.
At Epcot, the strategy is a tad more difficult because there are only a handful of popular attractions, all of which command decently-long waits during Extended Evening Hours. Conversely, everything else is relatively unpopular and will be a walk-on, but that’s also true during most of the daytime operating hours. With that said, end your evening with Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track, Frozen Ever After, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Ideally, you’ll jump into line for the Rat Ride about 5 minutes before the end of the night. The added benefit here is that you’ll be able to take a long, leisurely stroll out of World Showcase with no one else around. You might even be able to go the “long way” around to exit the park–assuming you’re not leaving through International Gateway.
Since Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind uses a virtual queue, slot that in whenever your return is called–ideally closer to the middle of the extra hours than the beginning or end.
Note that it’s likely that the Cosmic Rewind virtual queue will be retired before TRON Lightcycle Run opens on April 4, 2023. Walt Disney World previously has retired one ride’s virtual queue before adding another, likely to avoid having two virtual queues in use at the same time. It’s already easier to enter the 1 pm virtual queue, and that was the harbinger for the end of the boarding group system at both rides that previously used it. Plus, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is reliable and high-capacity.
We haven’t done Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours and a lot has changed since this park last offered Evening Extra Magic Hours. Namely, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is operating without a virtual queue and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is open, period.
When DHS offers another Extended Evening Hours, our recommendation is starting with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, followed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, and finishing with Slinky Dog Dash before jumping in line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance right at the very end of the night. That’ll likely be the best strategy.
Ultimately, that’s everything you need to know about Extended Evening Theme Park Hours at Walt Disney World. What you do earlier in the night doesn’t really matter, so long as you set aside sufficient time for the aforementioned headliners at the very end.
We will continue updating this strategy guide in the coming months as Extended Evening Hours continue to evolve, and as things “settle down” and find their groove. Stay tuned–we’ll continue to cover all of the important planning details and also share more Extended Evening Hours photo reports from our experiences with this new on-site hotel benefit!
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!
Thoughts on Extended Evening Theme Park Hours at Walt Disney World? Excited to take advantage of the new on-site guest perk or think it’s too short to be useful? Disappointed about the eligibility rules or attraction lineups? 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!
FYI, during EEH at Epcot on May 2, the World Showcase was closed off between France and China, so after Remy we had to walk all the way around past Canada and Mexico to get to Norway and FEA.
Thanks for the information. What about food options? Are there places open to get snacks during Extended Hours?
What locations are open for food and drinks at both Epcot and MK on extended evening hours? Also are most of the stores open if you wanted to look on the way out?
Do you have any updates as of 5/5/2022? You mentioned a couple of times in the article that you’d update soon. Thanks.
Just trying to clarify, we are staying at Saratoga Springs in June, if we have the park hopper option, we can make a reservation at any park for the day, and still be eligible to “hop” to Epcot or MK for the extended evening hours on those nights? Would you then recommend making a daytime reservation at one of the other parks for during the day? Would the park with the extended evening hours be more crowded due to those without the park hopper option? Thanks for your thoughts.
When will winter hours be released? I already have park reservations for the week after Christmas. When will I know if I need to change them (and is that even possible?)?
What are your thoughts on non-deluxe guests visiting the park that has EEH. With EMH, we would avoid that park like the plague. The whole day was over-crowded and miserable. I am wondering if this is still the case. Thanks!
Hi! Maybe a dumb question but if the parks say there is no availability on the EEH day, is there nothing you can do to enjoy the benefits? (Assuming you’re staying at an eligible hotel)
My understanding is that you will absolutely need park reservations for BOTH parks you plan to go to that day. For example HS in am, then hop to Epcot for the extra hours, you will need to make a reservation at HS for am and Epcot as your park hopper after 2 pm.
Hope this is clear 🙂
If I am understanding your question, as long as you make a park pass reservation for any of the four parks and actually go to that park, you will then be able to later visit the EEH park for that day as long as you are staying in the eligible resort hotel and have a hopper ticket. Example: on a Monday you are eligible to visit EPCOT for EEH, but there are no park passes available for the day at EPCOT. You may make a park pass for any of the other parks and visit during the day. You can then hop to EPCOT for the afternoon beginning at 2pm based on availability. If EPCOT is also closed for hopping, I have not seen this happen recently but just in case, your last option would be to wait until the beginning of EEH and enter the park then. There is no way to make two park passes for the day so as long as you have the hooper option on your ticket you can attend EEH. hope that helps.
I understand all the complaints about this only being for Deluxe – I get it!!!! I do remember years ago when it was for all resort guests and it was so busy, it wasn’t even worth it. I certainly would not pay rack rate for a deluxe. For our May 2022 trip, we rented points at SSR, which is way away from the parks, but ended up costing less than 2 rooms at a moderate (3 grown kids). Maybe a more equitable way would be allow it for all WDW guests, but then you cap the number who can enter, or go back to purchasing after hours events. Anyhoo, I’m rambling. Hope that HS gets added regularly
I hope and pray Hollywood Studios continues being offered for Extended evening hours. It is one of our favorite parks. So many rides we love. Plus, I love, love, love the park at night! We will be visiting during the summer of this year! Fingers crossed for extended evening hours for Hollywood Studios to be offered more than that one day in April.
I have a party of 10 that are all part of my friends/family list. Most of us are staying onsite and benefit from extended hours. Question is are those friends/family linked to our account also benefit from extended hours as well? Our reservations are on MDE and linked to my overall account.
I don’t get upset at much but if they don’t continue extended hours at MK and are changing it( not adding) Hollywood Studios I may lose my mind.
If we do a one night stay do we get the late night benefit the day we check in or the day we check out?
Hi Michelle! I do not have an answer for this, infact I actually have this exact question. I am checking out of a hotel that qualifies for Extended hours and into a hotel that doesn’t on the very day of the Extended hours, and I’m wondering if I will be allowed to stay.
Did you by any chance find an answer for your question?
I miss evening EMH! We loved closing the parks down and did every one that was offered during previous stays!! But paying for anything beyond a value just isn’t worth it to us as we spend all our time in the parks. I did look into renting dvc points as Tom suggested but it’s still more than we’d want to pay and it looks like almost all the cheaper dvc options have one bed and a pull out couch and my kids hate pull out couches. It also burns my bum that non Disney resorts get this benefit before Disney resorts but such is the Disney money machine way of thinking. 🙁
We’re renting DVC points for an upcoming trip and what a savings! It’s about the same as staying at a moderate resort. I’m looking forward to using the extended hours to ride some of the attractions with longer lines. I just remember pre pandemic at MK riding 7DMT and barely waiting at all in line during evening magic hours. To me, it’s worth it.
The extended evening hours should be available to ALL the Disney resort guests, not a select few. Renting DVC points us a hassle & is it really cheaper than the average moderate resort? Thirty(30) minutes earlier in the morning is NOT an equal exchange. After our 50th anniversary trip is over , Universal resorts are looking a lot better
Don’t be too quick to praise Universal over Disney when it comes to Disney giving Extended Evening hours to deluxe resorts only. Universal does the same thing, in a manner of speaking. They don’t do it for extended evening hours (which they don’t even offer), but they do do it for a free Express Pass and preferential seating at select restaurants.
The purpose is to entice guests to book at the more expensive deluxe resorts by giving them added benefits for doing so. A nicer room won’t always cut it for a guest paying significantly more to get that room while rarely being in it because they’re at the park all day. And for those guests, location would be the only tangible benefit for paying the higher cost of a deluxe over a value or moderate.
I just booked a premium resort preferred room for $290 per night. That is including all taxes and fees. Renting with Davids DVC is a breeze. We also paid 312 per nigjt for AKL Savannah view..including all fees.
We were at Epcot EEH last night. We watched Harmonious since it was our only opportunity this trip from the bridge near France then hightailed to Remy, waiting about 30 minutes. But you are right that everyone headed there and the line got much longer shortly after we arrived. Afterward we went to Test Track waiting maybe 20 and then headed into Frozen at 10:56. The park was fairly deserted toward the end but still fairly busy around 10. We did everything we really wanted to but not as much as we thought. The travel distance between rides eats up a chunk of time as well.
Wow. Wish I were rich like most commenters here. Kudos to all gloating about how much they enjoy the extra hours. Guess my family will be among the poor schmucks waiting hours for rides. I am paying a fortune to stay at French Quarter and think it’s a crap deal not to be able to partake of the extended evening hours. Seriously thinking of canceling and saying my last WDW trip was pre-pandemic. It’s not right at all. WDW is definitely gearing itself towards those with bucks to blow and pricing the rest of us out. Very shameful. Walt is probably rolling in his grave.
I would suggest renting DVC points for your next trip. Stay deluxe for about the same as what you are paying for a moderate and enjoy the extended evening hours!
Hey Vickie, I totally agree with you. I also have a reservation at French Quarter and we are seriously thinking if cancelling.
That Genie app isn’t for all the good rides either. I was just there in January with my grown children and their children and we had to pay an additional $9 a head on top of the ticket with the genie to get on the ride that afternoon. And transportation isn’t included anymore as well
Our memories are going to be just that of Disney. Very sad. …
Tom – chances of Guardians being a ride available during extended evening hours once it opens? Thank you!
Any idea why DHS would have hours from only 9:00-5:00pm on Wednesday, April 6? We had park reservations for that day but swapped them for another day when we saw that.
Nevermind! I just read your Fantasmic predictions and that makes perfect sense.
It is truly frustrating when you plan around these days and they change it. When we come magic kingdom is on a Tuesday. We had everything planned for a Wednesday MK evening hours. Planning a WDW vacation is just not fun anymore!
You get any and all perks for Disney resorts on both check in and check out days. Therefore, if you check in or out of a deluxe resort on an EEH day, you can take part. Tom gives the example of a split stay during which you check in on Monday and out on Wednesday allowing you to take advantage of both EEH nights for the cost of two nights at a deluxe resort while staying the rest of your trip someplace cheaper.