When visiting Walt Disney World, we had the opportunity to take advantage of extending evening hours at Magic Kingdom. Extended evening hours are currently offered at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT and soon this month in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Extended evening hours are available to Guests staying at a Deluxe Walt Disney World Resort. Those staying at these Disney Resorts can visit a Theme Park for two hours after the Disney Park closes to the general public.
Although this seems like a great option, is it worth the additional cost of staying at a Deluxe Disney Resort? I wanted to break down our experience at Magic Kingdom to help you determine if it is something that you can take advantage of during your Walt Disney World vacation.
We attended the extended evening hours on Wednesday, March 16th, at Magic Kingdom. This was an option for us during this trip because we stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
We were up early for rope drop at Magic Kingdom that morning (see our touring plan here) and then headed back to the Disney Resort for rest and relaxation.
Since we left Magic Kingdom at 12:30 pm, I started to book Genie+ return times for later in the evening.
After supper at Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we walked to Magic Kingdom to start our evening.
We enjoyed Magic Kingdom with Genie+ until the extended evening hours started at 11:00 pm until 1:00 am.
Something to keep in mind when determining if this would be good for your family is that not all rides and shows are open during this time. See the list of rides that Disney includes are below (from DisneyTips).
- “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
Thinking about how we wanted to spend our evening, our goals were around seeing how long we could stay and trying to hit up both Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, two of our favorites in Magic Kingdom.
Even though our kids are older (11 and 14), we weren’t sure how late they would be able to stay up. We went there knowing that this was bonus time, and whatever we were able to accomplish would be extra magic.
After enjoying our evening in the Park using Genie+, at 11:00 pm, we started our adventure. Keep in mind that any regular park Guests that are in a queue when the Park closes are still given the opportunity to ride. Knowing this, we knew we would need to be creative on which rides we started off with.
As we were back at Under the Seas: Voyage of the Little Mermaid when the clock hit 11:00 pm, we started our evening hitting up Dumbo the Flying Elephant. After soaring high with Dumbo, we headed on over to the Haunted Mansion.
Even though we enjoyed a lot of the Fantasyland rides such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, we had experienced them earlier in the trip, and both Peter Pan’s Flight, as well as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, still had a 60-minute wait when we walked on by.
When we got to Haunted Mansion, we had to scan our magic bands in order to show that we were Guests at a Disney Deluxe Resort. This process took the longest throughout the night. With only a few Cast Members at each ride, it caused a slight backup as Guests waited to be scanned.
After walking on Haunted Mansion, we went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where we were able to walk on three times in a row by 12:15 am.
From there, we headed across the Park to Tomorrowland, where we walked on Space Mountain by 12:26. After one run on Space Mountain, I was done, so my son and I did Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin while my husband and daughter conquered Space Mountain two more times.
At this point in time, it was 1:00 am, and we had made it to the end of the evening. I was pleased that we could grab some quick snacks from Launching Pad in Tomorrowland before heading out of the Park for the evening.
It was a magical experience for sure, with low wait times and beautiful weather.
Breaking it Down
If we break down what we were able to accomplish, we were able to do five different rides for a total of 8 experiences. Breaking this down, it would be 15 minutes per ride. During the busiest time so far this year, getting so much accomplished during a short two hours was extremely nice. We loved being able to re-ride our favorites such as Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Space Mountain.
The question comes down to whether it is worth the additional cost of staying at a Deluxe Resort compared to a value or a moderate.
Overall, Pop Century rooms start around $190 a night, with Coronado Springs Resort standard rooms starting at $350/night, and finally, Disney’s Polynesian Resort rooms start at around $655/night.
The difference between staying at Coronado Springs and Disney’s Polynesian Resort is around $300 extra. This means that we are looking at is it worth an extra $38/ride or $76/person to experience the extended evening hours.
Considering we did take time at the pool and enjoyed the monorail and food options, this doesn’t seem like a bad option for a family of four. We had a fantastic time and enjoyed that we were able to do so much in a short period of time.
I would highly recommend that families really think about whether their kids will be able to handle the late evening. Even at age 11, my son was tired and worn down the rest of the trip.
It is great that Disney is offering extended evening hours for Guests of Deluxe Resorts as an additional perk. Do some thinking to see if this is something that you could do during your vacation as well.