Adults and Walt Disney After Hours Event at Magic Kingdom!
Adults and Disney After Hours Event at Magic Kingdom!
Is the Disney After Hours event at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World worth it? Based on our experience, yes! Disney After Hours gives guests the chance to experience the Magic Kingdom with minimal crowds. The extra-ticket event is 3 hours long and is perfect for adults that love rides. In addition to minimal crowds and ride wait times, guests get unlimited Mickey ice creams, popcorn, and bottled beverages.
Should Adults Do This?
The After Hours event is great for adults. The main benefit of the event is that there is little to no wait time for the rides. It is also really nice to be able to walk around the park with no real crowds. There are two categories of adults we think will particularly enjoy this event.
The first group of adults we think would enjoy this event are those adults that love Magic Kingdom, love the rides and snacks, but are sick of the crowds. If you have ever wished that you could just enjoy the Magic Kingdom without the people, this event is made for you. While other guests are still in the park, they are few and far between. Even though we go to Disney World frequently, we really enjoyed this event in large part because of the low number of other guests in the park.
The other group of adults that this event is made for are those adults that have a short Disney trip and want to get everything in. Having no crowds in the park allows guest to optimize their time during the event and get on a ton of rides. If you really want to experience as many Disney rides as possible and you only have a night or two at Disney World, this event or a VIP tour are your best options. The reason this event will probably win out, is it costs several thousand dollars less than a VIP tour.
The Cost Of The Event
The main thing to consider is that this is an extra ticket event. The price of a ticket ranges from $95 (annual passholder rate) to $129 (day of event purchases). The cost is basically a full-day park ticket. The event officially runs for 3 hours on select nights, with start times varying depending on the date. The earliest start time is 8pm with other nights starting at 9pm or 10pm. However, regardless of your event start time, you may enter the park at 7pm with your After Hours ticket.
This means that depending on your Disney trip schedule, you can easily have a pool day or go to Disney Springs in the morning and then have the After Hours ticket serve as your park ticket for the day. If you do not have a park ticket that day, the best deal is with the 10pm event start. The 10pm start time gives you 6 total hours in the park on your event ticket, helping to offset the cost.
How It Works
If you purchase your event ticket ahead of time, Disney will mail you a plastic ticket to enter the park/event on your scheduled day. We entered Magic Kingdom a little after 7pm. Even though we are annual passholders, we wanted to use the ticket to make sure it worked how Disney said it would. We had no problems. When we arrived, there was an area at the entrance of Magic Kingdom with cast members checking tickets and giving guest wristbands for the event.
We would recommend getting your wristband prior to the official start of the event. This way you do not have to waste time getting your wristband once the event is underway. The wristband is what cast members will use to check that you have a ticket for the event when getting on rides or getting your free snacks. Once you have a wristband and the event starts, you will be good to go.
When the event started, cast members immediately started checking wristbands. They did not allow non-event guests on the rides. Surprisingly, the cast members also turned away guests wanting to buy snacks from the carts that were dedicated to the event. This was really nice because it helped keep the snack lines shorter.
Our Quick Tips
As mentioned above, the start time for the event varies depending on the date that you attend. If possible, we would recommend picking a date with the 10pm start. This gives you more time in the park before the event to do some of the less popular rides. Also, many guests (especially kids) don’t make it as late in the day. So the already not crowded event should be even less crowded.
The event is only 3 hours. Be sure to be there at least a 30 minutes before the start of the event. This will give you time to get your wristband and not miss out on the event (it is a pretty expensive 3 hours). We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the normal park guests exited the park. Cast members at ride entrances checked wristbands right at the start of the event and it helped to clear people out. By 20 minutes into the event, there was already a noticeable decrease in people in the park.
The ride wait times were pretty much zero throughout the event. However, we would not recommend going to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as you first ride. If you go there first, many of the day guests will still be in line, causing you to possibly waste some of your event time. We would recommend getting free snack first and then ride whichever big ride had a shorter wait earlier in the day. By the time you are done with those two things, the lines should have died down enough to be able to go on any ride with little to no wait.
All You Can Eat Snacks!
If you have been to Mickey’s Halloween Party or Christmas party, you know about getting free event snacks. For us, the snacks at the After Hours event are far better than either of Mickey’s parties. Guests can have as many ice cream bars, sodas, waters, and popcorns as they would like. The ice creams are the premium Mickey bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, chocolate bananas, and the fruit bars that they have at the carts throughout the park. Jeff and I joked that we ate our ticket cost in ice cream.
During the event, there was no map showing the location of the food carts to get popcorn and ice cream. The snack carts are located throughout the park – Disney just keeps some of the normal ice cream and popcorn carts open for the event. One example is the snack cart in the hub, to the right of Cinderella’s castle. Another is the food cart near Thunder Mountain Railroad.
While the free snacks are definitely worth taking advantage of, we did notice a couple of locations with longer lines. By longer lines, we mean about a 5 minute wait. The choice is up to you: 5 minute wait for Space Mountain or a 5 minute wait for a Mickey Ice Cream.
There are no FastPasses during the party. This and the limited number of guests in the park for the event allows the rides to load extremely quickly. Throughout the 3 hour event, Jeff and I didn’t wait for a single ride. Every ride we went to, we just walked on.
Your party ticket lets you enter Magic Kingdom at 7pm even though the event doesn’t officially start until later. This is a great time to do some of the less popular attractions. During the event, we would recommend getting your money’s worth by doing as many big-ticket rides as possible.
Information on some of our top rides at Magic Kingdom can be found here.
Characters and PhotoPass
As a general disclaimer, we are not big character meet people. However, some of the normal characters are available to meet during the event. Check the event positing to confirm the characters, but it should at minimum include Mickey and some of the princesses. This event does not have bonus unique or hard to find characters out.
There are a couple of PhotoPass opportunities available throughout the park, but not many. If you have wanted a PhotoPass photo on Main Street with Castle and without 10 million other people, we would recommend grabbing this photo on your way out of the event. PhotoPass cast members were on Main Street even after the event ended.
How This Event Compares To Mickey’s Christmas Party or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
We do not think that the After Hours event should be viewed as a substitute to going to a Christmas Party or a Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. The holiday parties and the After Hours event are very different both in the atmosphere and what you get out of the event.
During the After Hours event, there are no parades, firework shows, or unique character meets. This is one of the biggest difference between this event and the Christmas and Halloween parties. If you care about the parades, shows, and characters the most, the After Hours event may not be right for you.
While the rides at the holiday parties have shorter waits than normal park hours, they are nothing compared to the After Hours event. If you are looking to do rides, the After Hours event is better.
The holiday parties are very popular. They often sell out and have very large crowds. If you want to experience Magic Kingdom with a small number of other guests, the After Hours event is a better option.
The After Hours event and Mickey’s Holiday Parties are usually offered at different times of the year. If you are coming to Disney at a specific time of year, you probably will not have a choice of: Do I go to an After Hours event at Magic Kingdom or Mickey’s Halloween Party? However, if your travel dates are flexible or if you are making multiple trips during a year, these trade-offs between the After Hours events and the Holiday Parties may be important to consider.
If you are not familiar with the holiday parties, see our review of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party here.
Our Overall Recommendation
We would recommend going to a Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom if you want to be able to go on a lot of rides and experience the park with no crowd. Jeff and I attended the event on February 14th. We were worried that it would be busy because it was Valentine’s Day. Even with this factor, there were still very few people at the event. We honestly were wondering how Disney could be making money from the event with so few guests in attendance. For us, the cost was definitely worth it.
Our Favorites to get more info about the our favorite things in Disney!
Magic Kingdom to get more info about the Magic Kingdom!
Adults in Disney to get back home!
Disney for Adults to get more info about our blog!