“Disney After Hours” is an event currently taking place at Magic Kingdom 1-2 times a week. This will continue throughout the rest of the summer, with currently no dates scheduled for after September 20, 2018. This event has been running intermittently for the past few years and dates will likely be added to the current schedule at some point.
The cost for the After Hours event is $119 per person, plus tax. When the event first debuted it cost a whopping $150 a head (what were they thinking?) and Disney had to resort to giving out free tickets to DVC members and AP holders to get anybody to show up. The new price seems to be more popular, however its still probably too expensive to justify for most families out there, mine included. But for the sake of “research”, I decided to bite the bullet and attend one night solo to see just what the event had to offer.
So what do you get for all that money? Well, you get no lines, unlimited ice cream and non alcoholic beverages, and a very empty feeling Magic Kingdom to explore. I’m not going to lie, I found all of these things to be pretty awesome. Still not enough to justify the cost for a family of 4 (or in our case, us and our 2 nieces), but enough for me to consider going solo again, even if just to snap more photos of a mostly empty park.
So, lets take a walk around the park during Magic Kingdom’s After Hours Event…
If you don’t want to pay for a full day ticket on top of the event cost, then you can use your event ticket to enter the park anytime after 7 pm. Most nights the event starts at 10 pm, and runs until 1 am. During slower parts of the year, it sometimes starts at 9 pm and runs until midnight. Either way the event is a full 3 hours, however with the 10 pm start you get an extra hour inside the park during normal operating hours.
As you will see by the photos in the post, the park feels very empty once the event actually starts. While, you are paying roughly $20 an hour on nights when the party starts at 10 pm, three of those hours will be about as productive as they could possibly be if you choose.
Seeing as I’ve been on every ride in the park many times, I preferred a more laid back approach to the event. I spent a good amount of time soaking up the atmosphere and taking photos of empty walkways, which would typically be very tough to get on a regular day, even after closing.
Storybook Circus is an underrated area once the sun sets. Its beautiful.
Taking a night time ride on Dumbo is a good way to take it all in!
While I spent a good amount of the event wandering around and snapping photos, I didn’t want to skip out on the rides completely. Obviously, having every single ride in the park be a walk on is very nice.
I enjoyed being able to walk leisurely through the Haunted Mansion queue at my own pace. This is a photo I was never able to get before due to people constantly posing next to the statues for their own photos.
The cast members for Haunted Mansion, were exceptionally great on this particular night as well. Much like the Halloween party, they seem to get really into their characters during special events. In the stretch room, 3 cast members swirled like vultures, with terrifying looks on their faces. around us. When the lights when out, they snuck real close into the middle of the crowds, giving the whole group quite the jump scare as the lights came back on. This probably doesn’t do it justice, but it was awesome!
I then decided to do what any reasonable person would do if given the chance… I rode Splash Mountain in a log by myself three consecutive times, without ever having to get out of the log.
Not going to lie, I could have gone another 3 times and been happy but I figured I better not spend up over 1/3 of the party on just one ride.
I then decided to take a couple spins on BTMR, again with no wait and maybe 4 or 5 other people in the train with me. Again, I didn’t have to exit the train car in between rides.
Tom Sawyer Island is always pretty at night, as is the Liberty Belle Riverboat.
After chowing down on a couple of Mickey Ice Cream Bars, I decided to really test the waters and see what was doing at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
The ride was a walk on, and I rode 3 times in a row. This time however, I did have to exit and re-enter the ride each time… tough times, I know. Fortunately, only the fastpass entrance was being used so It was a short walk.
By this point, the event was winding down. I didn’t get a picture of it but I witness a cool moment while walking towards the front of the park as the event ended.
All of the princesses from Fairy Tale Hall were out waving to guests as they started made their way towards the front of the park. A little boy asked if any of them could pull the sword from the stone near Prince Charming Carousel. Cinderella, Elena and Tiana all had no luck. But as Rapunzel went last, the sword rose from the stone, much to the excitement of all around, especially Rapunzel herself. Its hard to explain, but it was a really cool moment.
In conclusion, I had a really great time at Magic Kingdom’s After Hours event. I had such a good time, I considered writing this as a “Why You Should” post rather than a “Let’s Visit”. In the end however, I have a hard time recommending that a family of four drop $500 on this, no matter how much fun I had. If the event were priced the same as the Halloween or Christmas parties then I would have an easier time recommending it.
That being said, if you have the disposable income, or seeing the park mostly empty just sounds too good to miss, I can say with confidence that you will have a blast if you do decide to attend. For myself, the biggest value of the event was being able to snap photographs of places that would otherwise be very tough to do so without a lot of people in the frame. I would probably do it again in the future for that aspect alone. The rest is a lot of fun too though.
What are your thoughts on this event? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!