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!
So I see that they will be offering Disney After Hours as a ticketed event on Mondays and Wednesdays when I am in the park in March. These seem to be on Mondays and Wednesdays – will deluxe hotel guests now have to compete with ticketed guests or will the be moving the nights for the Extended Evening Hours?
I think you’re misreading it. The only MK After Hours events are happening on Mondays or Thursdays. The Extra Evening Hours for Deluxe guests are scheduled for Wednesdays.
Oh my, I was reading the calendar wrong. So used to calendars that start on Monday, not Sunday. Thank you!
I don’t expect Bob Iger to make a profit until park hours are open till midnight and xmagic hrs are open till 3am
As a night shift worker I used to spend many late nights in the parks on my nights off!
I hope he remembers how Disney World used to be…10am to midnight open for all guests. And 1am 3am hotel guests could ride back to back. And Annual passholders could stay up till midnight and be happy at the most magical place! Ceos don’t realize from 10pm to 3am is when people on vacation do their most shopping. When you take that away you don’t make money.
Tom, if I have a split stay and check out of my deluxe resort on Monday then move to a value to stay Monday and Tuesday nights….will I be able to do the Monday evening hours at Epcot? I’ve heard 2 different opinions – one says yes because you’re allowed in your checkout day. One says no – when they scan you Monday night it will show you as a value guest. Thanks!
I can confirm from experience that you will be able to experience Extended Evening Hours on both check-in day and even check-out day.
Curious as to whether you’d recommend going to it avoiding these parks on days extended evening hours are offered if you’re in a value or moderate resort and don’t have access. Or do you find it doesn’t change daytime crowds on those days?
Would love to hear from someone staying at the WDW dolphin hotel on extended hours. We check out on Wednesday, how do we utilize the extended hours after check out?
Is this tied to the park reservation system? I’ve got hard-won dining reservations (for a six_top) which would make it impossible (or at least annoying) to shift my park res plans around. Also, some parks are starting to get tight in my week. Does the Evening Hours park count as my one hop that day, or can I do, say, AK In the AM, Epcot at 1pm and then MK for extra evening hours? Or is that not allowed? There’s no mention of it; only that you must have the hopper. Thanks, Tom, you’re a goldmine of great, clear information as always.
Hopping after 2 is not limited..if you have a hopper..1 park 4 parks doesnt matter. If u do not have a hopper then whichever park u have a reserv for is your 1 park for the day
You can hop as many times as you’d like in a day as long as you start hopping after the official time (I think it is still 2pm.). We’ve gone to all 4 parks in one day, mostly for the fun of having done it.
My husband is military and we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside back in March with our military appreciation discount. mainly because shades of green is always full. The extended hours was included back in March 2022. Mainly because a lot of the other what I call luxury hotels were being renovated. We had two more military appreciation park days to use so we decided to go again in November back to the same beautiful Princess Tiana’s resort Port Orleans Riverside amd are staying in a Royal Room this time. Well now it’s not included in the extended hours. Thanks for the military appreciation and the sacrifice my husband gave to our country. Talk about a kick in the head.
Looks like no luck for me- only one night during week im there snd its at Epcot while im at HS.
Would be nice if they gave us deluxe folks a chance to do this every night honestly
I know there is no or little food offered..or that has been the case. How about shopping?
What are the times generally in the spring (late March)? We are fortunate to be staying deluxe, but my kids won’t be able to make it to 1AM! Wishing it was a bit earlier for our stay. Thanks!
Do you see this continuing to be offered in January?
Gosh, I hope so! That was one of my main reasons for booking Deluxe. I will be super disappointed if it ends right before I get there!
I’m especially concerned that they will be ending them since the ticketed after hours events will come back in January. Our trip is Jan 1-8, if they are ending them and don’t announce soon, the after hours part tickets may sell out….on pins and needles until they announce January extended hours schedule
Do we see these nights staying longer term do we think?
Recently found your blog and thoroughly enjoy it. Thank you. I first visited WDW 50 years ago. As an infrequent visitor I’m loving the insight.
The extended hour post just changed my itinerary for the better.
Why? I’m planning to bring my mid 85 year old mother to see WDW during the 50th celebration and also thank her for bringing me 50 years ago.
I plan to use a wheel chair for her while in the park and will make some notes as I saw a reference in a previous post about lack of experience in this area.
Anyway, thanks again for the insight.
It is so sad Disney is excluding hotel guests staying at moderate and value resorts from participating in the extra evening hours. Creating a class distinction among resort guests is really unfortunate. A simple way to decrease the crowd size for extra evening hours without excluding certain resort guests would be to allow ALL Disney resort guests to participate but rotate resorts on different nights. Those staying in deluxe resorts have fancier accommodations and amenities, that is the perk for staying there.
We stay at Fort Wilderness and the resort amenities are not the same as the amenities at The Grand Floridian…that is the price difference.
Fort Wilderness still exudes the Disney Magic (at least for now) where it doesn’t matter if you are staying in a tent, a cabin or a million dollar RV… ALL are welcome…as Walt said “To all who come to this happy place…welcome “
If you are not staying on Disney property, are the parks any busier on these extra hour days versus non? I booked two days in august that are coincidentally now extra evening hour days and wondering if I should try to flip flop?
I am curious about the same thing, that is if the parks are “busier” on the Extended Hours days. I have a feeling that there won’t be much a difference as Tom indicates that the parks are a ghost town on the nights of EH. We are staying in Sept at Caribbean Beach (non-EH hotel) and currently have a Monday at Epcot (EH) day and Wednesday at MK (EH day), and thought of flipping them, but probably won’t I feel the EH days probably don’t lead to larger day crowds. I’m sure some people will pick a day specifically for EH, but you may also have park hoppers just coming over in the evening too. All just my thoughts, Tom perhaps has first hand feel for crowds on EH days.
Great strategy until Disney doesn’t let you walk around World Showcase after the Rat Ride to get to Frozen and it’s only 10:50. Poor form Disney. Overall though we were happy to ride Remy without the wait. Cute ride but not if we had to wait over an hour. Cosmic Rewind, however, was incredible!
Just wondering If I check out of a deluxe on a Monday morning and check into a Value same day will I still be eligible for Epcot extended hours on the Monday?
From everything I’ve read, yes, that is the case.
The dates for Deluxe Evening Hours have been released into September!
If you are eligible for extended hours ( e.g. bay lake tower sun night) how do you get to (e.g. pop century stay monday night) after monday night extended hours