The Ortiz family, contributors to The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, recently decided to check out one of Disney’s offerings, the Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park. Disney’s slogan “More Excitement Awaits After We Close the Gates” had caught their attention. They were in town for only one day, so what could go wrong?
Because they had plans with family during the day, they decided that the 3-hour Disney After Hours ticket would be just right for all to enjoy a little Disney magic. For once, they would be visiting the Magic Kingdom arriving late, very late. Take that, Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa! After previously following the mantra of arriving at the park at the crack of dawn and waiting for the rope drop, they were now going to arrive at leisure for their special night, and so they did–at 6:30 p.m., to be precise. Equipped with a special wristband and granted access half an hour prior to the official beginning of the event, they launched into the Kingdom of the Mouse eager to see the closing fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle.
Now they had a little less than 3 hours to enjoy the attractions open that night, with little or no wait time. A quick bite at a counter-service restaurant and a little shopping at the Haunted Mansion shop took care of the first 45 minutes.
They rode Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion twice, stood in line for 20 minutes to experience the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, greeted the Little Mermaid in Ariel’s Grotto, and enjoyed a performance of Mickey’s Philharmonic.
Included in the Disney After Hours admission price are unlimited ice-cream treats, popcorn, and select bottled drinks. But how many Mickey Bars can one eat? They hardly managed eating or drinking anything. For full disclosure, they had a total of two Mickey ice-cream bars.
Next thing they knew, time was up. There was no time to see Cindy, fly over London with Peter Pan, or brush up on the lyrics of the universal peace song of “It’s a Small World.”
Overall Assessment of the Disney After Hours Experience
The verdict was unanimous: The Ortiz family would have gladly traded the free snacks in exchange for a couple of extra hours in the park. They felt that it was not a relaxing experience, with four adults hurrying through the park, trying to take in a few attractions. They recommend leaving this sort of experience to teens on steroids, if they can swing that kind of money on their babysitting incomes.
If purchased in advance, Disney After Hours tickets are $125 plus tax per adult or child. If purchased at the gate the day of your visit, they are $129 plus tax. The price for annual passholders and DVC members is $95 plus tax. For comparison, a ticket to Magic Kingdom Park on a regular day of operation in February is $129 plus tax. On such a day, the park is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and on some days even later.