PlanningThe ParksTips

Why Disney After Hours Event is Worth the Money

Back for 2023 at Walt Disney World are Disney’s After Hours Events. These nighttime events are currently occurring throughout early 2023 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Guests who want to attend these three-hour events need to purchase a special ticket.

With the purchase of the ticket, Guests can enter the select Park at 7:00 pm before the party’s official start. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the party runs from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am, and at Magic Kingdom, the party is from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.

We will look at why Disney’s After Hours is worth the extra money so you can see if you want to add it to your Walt Disney World vacation experience.


Early Entry Means Nighttime Shows

With your Disney After Hours ticket, you can enter Disney Park starting at 7:00 pm. This is before the closing time for the Parks, giving you time to experience some of the regular Park hours before the party.

Why is this such a bonus? By entering the Park at 7:00 pm, you can experience the nighttime shows with your Party ticket. You can watch the fabulous and beloved Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This nighttime spectacular combines water projections, fireworks, characters, and a moving soundtrack. Following watching Fantasmic, you can also enjoy one projection show at the Chinese Theatre. This also happens before the party officially starts.

There are two nighttime projection shows that rotate. Wonderful World of Animation focuses on moments throughout favorite animated movies. See scenes from movies such as Big Hero 6, Emperor’s New Groove, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, and much more. Disney Movie Magic features projections from live-action films such as Star Wars, Indian Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Credit: Disney

At Magic Kingdom, Guests will be able to enjoy Disney Enchantment. This nighttime show features fireworks lighting up the sky above Cinderella Castle and projections transforming the castle. It celebrates magic and dreams.

Seeing the nighttime shows with your party tickets adds a huge bonus.

Ice Cream Bar

All the Snacks

A fun bonus of the Disney After Hours Events is that select snacks and beverages are included throughout the Parks. Guests can grab ice treats such as the iconic Mickey bar or Mickey sandwich. Popcorn is also available throughout the night (bonus tip, grab the popcorn in the boxes for easier carrying).

Select bottled water and other beverages such as Diet Coke and Sprite are also included. Guests can walk up and grab items as they want- no limits! This is a fun feature and allows Guests to enjoy some Mickey treats as part of the fun.

Rise of the Resistance
Credit: Disney


The BIGGEST reason Disney After Hours is worth the month is the EXTREMELY low wait times that Guests will experience throughout the night. Once the party officially starts and regular Guests begin to leave the Parks, the wait times drop drastically.

When looking at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, during a typical Park day, it is hard to experience all of the top rides without long waits. Even with the purchase of Genie+ and Individual Lightnings, getting to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Slinky Dog Dash, all with lower than an hour wait time can be hard to accomplish.

During the after-hours event, Guests can experience these top Disney attractions with little to no wait. We have seen Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as a five-minute wait. Even when purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane during regular Park hours, Guests wait at most five minutes for this experience.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, being able to experience the top attractions all within three hours due to low wait times makes this ticket worth the cost.

Carrousel Night

Guests can also experience low wait times when visiting after-hours at Magic Kingdom. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain are typically walk-ons or short waits. What is excellent about After Hours at Magic Kingdom is the number of rides open to Guests. Because most of the rides are open, it is easy to walk from ride to ride, getting to experience a lot more than you would during a typical Park day. We love being able to experience all of Fantasyland in a short amount of time.

The number of experiences that Guests can have during the After Hours Event makes the cost worth it.

batuu at night DT
batuu at night DT

Select Experiences Remain Open

Although we recommend using the After Hours Event to experience the available rides, we also like the select experiences that remain open to those attending the party.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Oga’s Canteen remains open for Guests. They use a walk-up wait list that Guests can join. Check if there are openings for Savi’s Workshop or Droid Depot. We have seen these two popular experiences remain open throughout the Party.

Some dining locations also remain open for Guests. We don’t recommend spending a lot of your party time eating a meal but be aware that you can find select food options during the party if needed.

Characters can also be seen throughout the party. Stormtroopers walk around throughout Galaxy’s Edge. In Toy Story Land, Woody and their friends often meet Guests. Over at Magic Kingdom, some of the meet and greet areas might be open, but you can also catch characters such as Stitch and Buzz in Tomorrowland having a good time.

Even though the rides are the party’s focus for most, it is nice to have these other opportunities throughout the evening.

Those are the reasons why Disney After Hours Events are worth the additional money. Consider attending during your next Walt Disney World vacation.





Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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