What are Extended Evening Hours?
Extended Evening Hours are a perk specifically for guests staying at Deluxe tier or eligible resorts at Walt Disney World (not to be confused with After Hours, a hard ticket event that anyone can purchase on select nights at select parks).
In a nutshell, Deluxe resort guests get extra park time on certain nights at certain parks after the park officially closes to other guests.
And it’s wonderful.
Note: Currently, the only parks offering Extended Evening Hours are EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. Hollywood Studios has been offered in the past, and we expect to see it again – hopefully soon!
Don’t forget! You cannot use Genie+ Lightning Lanes during extended hours.
But with a little strategy, you really won’t need to.
Is it worth it?
Extended Evening Hours usually have a fraction of the people attending than the usual daytime crowd levels. Ultimately, it will feel like a VIP event.
Fewer people translates to shorter waits, so you can get a pretty solid number of attractions done in the two hours you’re given.
But the best part?
You can hit a few of those mega headliners—you know, the ones with the hard-to-get Lightning Lanes and long standby waits?—and usually see wait times of 25 minutes or less.
Additionally, you’d be eligible to grab the 6 pm Virtual Queue drop currently offered for Guardians of the Galaxy (and we’ll see what happens with TRON when it opens at Magic Kingdom).
Navigating the parks and fitting in all the attractions you want to ride in two hours still takes a little strategy.
We’ll dive into strategies for each park to help you make the most of your Extended Evening Hours, but here are two key points to remember:
- The later into the event, the shorter the lines will get. Make sure to save any high-demand attractions until then.
- Pace yourself. A full day at a Disney park is no joke, especially if you plan to hang around after hours.
Trust us, Disney is much more fun when everyone in your party is well-rested! Dedicate your morning to a full, sit-down breakfast (our vote is Boma!) and save the parks for the late afternoon.
If you feel Rope Drop FOMO and still want to hit the park in the morning, plan to take a big midday pool break and return to the parks after ~5 pm to close it out.
Bonus strategy: If you plan a split stay (which means spending part of your Disney trip at a Deluxe resort, usually a strategy to save money), check the park hours calendar and see if you can plan to attend Extended Evening Hours on nights you’re staying at the Deluxe.
Note: We would not spend the hundreds to thousands of dollars extra to book a Deluxe resort just to attend Extended Evening Hours, but it’s a nice perk if you were already planning on going Deluxe.
Extended Evening Hours Strategy: Magic Kingdom
Despite needing a solid strategy during regular park operations, you don’t need to over-plan your evening strategy at Magic Kingdom.
Almost all of the rides will be a walk-on except for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight.
At the start of the event, we suggest starting in either Tomorrowland or Frontierland – unless you’ve got young kids and would rather focus on Fantasyland.
We recommend saving Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as your final ride of the evening since you’ll see waits of around 35 minutes during the first half of the event versus the 20 minutes or less near the end of the night.
Since Peter Pan’s Flight is near Mine Train, it’s a good idea to save both for the final 30 minutes of the event.
This way, you also end your night behind the Castle and enjoy taking beautiful nighttime photos as you walk down a near-empty Main Street USA.
Extended Evening Hours Strategy: EPCOT
The most significant factor to consider in your EPCOT nighttime strategy is picking where to start your night to avoid excessive walking and/or doubling back (it’s a spread-out park!).
- Do you plan to watch the nighttime show? If so, we recommend watching the show closer to the France Pavilion (we like Canada for easier last-minute viewing).
Head over to Remy’s in France, then hit Frozen Ever After in Norway.
Now you can head to the front of the park and knock out those attractions.
- If you are NOT watching the nighttime show, stay in the front of the park. Even in the last hour of regular park operation, most of these rides will have shorter (almost walk-on for many) waits since most people end their night in the World Showcase.
Start with Soarin’ and visit Figment, Nemo, and Spaceship Earth if you’d like.
Cross over to hit Test Track, then head to Norway to ride Frozen Ever After.
End your night in France with a spin on Remy’s.
This second option is also a solid strategy for anyone needing the International Gateway to exit via the Skyliner at the end of the night.
Extended Evening Hours Strategy: Hollywood Studios
At the time of publishing, Extended Evening Hours are not available at Hollywood Studios. But since it has been offered in the past, here’s our strategy rundown for when it is included once again!
Hollywood Studios is jam-packed with high-priority headliners, so Extended Evening Hours here are a great way to accomplish many (if not all of them) with minimal waits.
The big thing to know is that the highest waits are often seen at Slinky Dog Dash at the beginning of the event – but the waits are still manageable.
The wait time for Slinky will also keep falling (usually under 20 minutes) after the first hour, and sometimes even sooner.
Our suggested itinerary?
- Start your night at the front of the park and hit both Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first. The pure adrenaline will keep you going for the rest of the event.
- Ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
- Head to Toy Story Land and hit Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania first. Finish with a dash on Slinky Dog.
- Head to Galaxy’s Edge and ride Smuggler’s Run.
- Finish with Rise of the Resistance. Just know it’s a long ride (factoring in the preshows), so it takes up a lot of time. We usually save it for last.
Caveat: Watch your timing here. Depending on the time of year and crowd levels, you should be able to accomplish many – but not always all – of these headliners within the two allotted hours.
With any luck, you can now end your night the best way: walking out of a nearly empty Galaxy’s Edge and take (Han) solo pictures with the Millennium Falcon. Perfect opportunity to light up that lightsaber!
[Psst – are you ineligible to take advantage of Extended Evening Hours? Our post about Rise of the Resistance shares some solid how-to-ride strategies that can be applied to most high-demand attractions!]
***Looking for more inside info? The Complete WDW Parks Strategy Playbook is bursting with top-tier strategies, lesser-known tips, and exclusive insider knowledge all to make your Disney trip one for the highlight reel.***