Everyone on this planet knows how much I love Walt Disney World. While growing up, my parents instilled in me an unwavering commitment to all things Mickey Mouse and I joyfully pass the obsession down to my own three kids–like any good mom would do. 🙂
Honestly, I thought long and hard about this–Would it be CHEATING if I counted every experience we enjoyed during our most recent trip to Walt Disney World as part of our 100, especially since it was our 8th time to visit Disney!?!
Um…ethically…I think yes.
To be transparent and fair, I decided not to use the actual trip as an “official” experience adventure.
BUT, we DID enjoy something totally NEW and it was certainly an ADVENTURE!
And, I am totally counting this one! 🙂
So, for our 18th of 100 experience adventures, we super maxed out the Disney junkie-side of our family and we partied like it was 1999 at Disney After Hours!
I could post 10,000 pictures, but I will resist the urge. You are welcome. 🙂
OMGGGGGGGGG!!!! Friends and family, Disney After Hours is a GAME CHANGER!
So…what is this SUPER AWESOME Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom?
Disney After Hours first appeared in the spring of 2016, at the Magic Kingdom park inside Walt Disney World in Florida. As always, Disney constantly tweaks the original offering a little here and there, but the glorious premise remains the same: It is an extraordinary “Disney After Hours” experience.
In other words, guests purchase a ticket to the After Hours event (separate from a theme park ticket), and the ticket grants the unbelievable freedom to enjoy Magic Kingdom after it technically closes to the public–with some super awesome perks!
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! This event has our names written allllll over it!
Disney After Hours is NOT offered every night. In fact, the dates are VERY limited. At the time of this blog entry, the posted dates for 2018 were only January 19, 26, and 30, February 8 and 15 and March 1 and 8. Pretty rare.
No one knows the exact number (except the all-mighty Disney people), but Disney enthusiasts estimate somewhere around 1,000 tickets per date are sold. Obviously, it sells out quickly. Super exclusive. We are fancy like that. 🙂
More than 25 popular rides remain operational from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., with little to no wait. (Times for this event can vary depending on seasonal park closing times.)
Once the park closed to the public at 8:00 pm., only lanyard sporting guests were allowed on rides. **I did see other people walking around the park for a little while, but they were turned away at the entrances to the attractions and rides.
I hope you are sitting down for this.
From 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., my kids and I rode the following rides:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad–3 times
Pirates of the Caribbean
Under the Sea–Journey of the Little Mermaid
Peter Pan’s Flight
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Mad Tea Party
Space Mountain–3 times
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train–7 times
Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
All in 3 hours! Unbelievable!
We focused on riding all of our personal favorites, but other rides were open, such as the Astro Orbiter, It’s A Small World, and Jungle Cruise. I also noticed Mickey’s Philharmagic and the Princess Fairytale Hall were both accessible.
The event also gave guests an unlimited amount of frozen treats, popcorn and bottled beverages, sold from carts stationed around the park. If you possess the elusive lanyard, you just walk up, flash your card and get ice cream!
Disney heaven on Earth!
The event produced my own personal, magical Christmas morning–my kids and I were laughing and skipping like carefree, unattended children in a candy store–going merrily from ride to ride–without the stress of crowds, long lines and posted wait times–freely eating an obscene amount of Mickey bars and cookies-n-cream ice cream sandwiches.
We wanted to stay ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
OH! And I noticed a SUPER cool phenomenon: For those 3 short hours, all of the guests in the park were members of a special, exclusive club–everyone was OVERLY friendly to one another, all interacting like old college roommates that just won a shared lottery jackpot…a feeling of blissful celebration that I honestly find difficult to accurately describe.
The opportunity to truly act and feel like a kid again.
No stress. No sadness. Free from the weight of our crazy world.
With a little hint of elated disbelief.
We found little to no wait and NEVER a line at every ride we approached. In total, the kids and I rode 21 times (some repeats).
My final thoughts:
I LOVED every single minute of this experience. What else can I say?
Was it worth $119 a person for only 4 hours? Absolutely!
Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.
Do I think this ticketed event could replace an entire day at Magic Kingdom? Maybe. It depends on your personal ride preferences and priorities. We rode everything we loved and felt fulfilled when we returned back to our resort.
***The only thing that could make this event better is if Mickey Mouse and Walt himself stood on Main Street U.S.A. handing out Dole Whips.
I will say, this event is best suited for kids and adults that can easily and effortlessly stay up late without a break. Time flies when you are having fun! 🙂 It was the shortest 3 hours of my life! Go! Go! Go!
Once we enjoyed this amazing experience, the rush and urgency to ride the most popular rides on our next day at Magic Kingdom completely disappeared. No more pressure! It opened up our schedule to focus on other attractions and relax longer at our table service dinner at Be Our Guest. For a full restaurant review, read this.
I booked our 2018 vacation 8 months in advance, long before special event options are posted, so the dates of our trip were already in stone. About 2 months before check-in, I noticed a list of dates for Disney After Hours on the Disney website–and one of those dates–January 30th–fell right in the middle of our stay.
Luck or pixie dust?!? You decide. 🙂
Why are we attempting 100 adventures in 6 months? Read this!
How do I plan our Walt Disney World vacations? Click here.
Everything you need to know about the 2018 Disney Dining Plan–Read this.
A list of all of the Disney character meals? Yep. Right here.
Free things to do at Disney? Yes, please! Click here!