We have received some BIG Disney news recently!
Disney World will have a ticketed Halloween party is returning this year — but it’ll look a little different! Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been canceled, but Disney After Hours BOO BASH will be taking its place and kicking off this August. We couldn’t be more excited for the treats, character encounters, and more. But what does this After Hours event’s return mean for other After Hours events (think Moonlight Magic and Villains After Hours) around the parks? These events were all canceled in 2020, with no word on when they could return.
Now, though, we’re starting to see some signs that these events could return soon! And while Disney World hasn’t announced anything official just yet, we’ve got a glimmer of hope. Here’s why.
The Previous After Hours Events
Prior to the park closures, we saw a number of After Hours events offered all throughout Disney World, including Disney After Hours in Magic Kingdom, Disney After Hours in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney After Hours in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Moonlight Magic for Disney Vacation Club Members, and Disney Villains After Hours.
During these After Hours Events, guests typically got the opportunity to stay in the park for about 3 hours after it was closed to other guests. Only those with tickets to the special event would be able to access the festivities, meaning there were typically some lower crowds at these events since they had fewer guests at them than a full park day.
For most of these events, the event’s cost also included snacks like ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages. There were generally other items available for purchase as well.
The Villains After Hours event featured a whole bunch of party-exclusive treats, a special stage show, a Villains caravan, special ride overlays, and more.
All of these events have been temporarily suspended over the past several months, and none of them are currently available for booking. But, could they be coming back?
The biggest sign that After Hours events could be on their way back is BOO BASH! After all, this Halloween party is its very own After Hours event, but with a spooky spin.
The announcement of BOO BASH COULD be a sign that other After Hours events are on their way back. However, it is worth mentioning that this party is not identical to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which it’s replacing this year. While we’ll get to see character encounters, sweet treats, and more at BOO BASH, the event will have shorter hours, and we won’t see entertainment like the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular (the Villain Spelltacular is not included in Disney’s list of entertainment offerings coming to BOO BASH).
So yes — while BOO BASH is a GREAT sign that other After Hours events may return, it’s also an indicator that these events may not return in the exact same form we experienced them before. There may need to be some modifications made for them to return. But it’s also important to note that not all after hours events prior to the closures had parades in the first place. Some of them, like the simple After Hours experience for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, merely provided guests with select snacks for free and access to select rides with low waits.
Park Passes Are Booking Up
In order for other After Hours events to return, Disney will likely have to see a demonstrated demand to visit the park. Remember, these After Hours events are separately ticketed events, meaning that you can’t get in with a regular theme park ticket. You need to buy a separate ticket to attend this event, and Disney will want to know that there will be sufficient demand for what they’re offering.
But reservations aren’t just getting snatched up for summer. We’ve seen days book up in October and even November this year (although some have later been restocked). That’s likely just the proof of demand that Disney needs to bring these events back. If there are enough guests making Park Pass reservations and filling up existing park demand, then Disney may figure that there are likely enough guests who are willing to pay extra to get into the parks with even lower crowds or special offerings.
But, of course, Disney will also need to weigh out if adding on another After Hours Event will be profitable enough right now. With capacity limits and travel still impacted by the pandemic, these are all things that will be weighing in favor of waiting a bit longer before offering more After Hours Events again.
More Things Are Reopening
Disney World is steadily continuing with its phased reopening, and things are slowly returning to “normal.” In the next few months alone, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney Beach Club Resort, and several other hotels are reopening; Cape May Café and Tusker House Restaurant will serve guests once more; and Festival of the Lion King in Disney’s Animal Kingdom will resume shows in a modified format.
That’s a LOT of things returning to the parks! Disney’s ability to reopen hotels, restaurants, and shows proves it’s looking forward. An eventual next step could be to bring those After Hours events back, too. The question is just when?
Health Measures Are Going Away
The parks reopened in July 2020 with a series of health and safety measures in place. As the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, we’ve seen a number of changes made to these policies and procedures.
While a face covering IS still required on property, we’ve seen mask rules changed and other health measures get eliminated. Recently, Disney has approved the removal of masks while taking outdoor photos, announced a phased elimination of temperature checks, and removed hand-washing stations from the parks.
Again, the disappearance of these health measures is a sign that the parks are slowly returning to “normal.” And a logical next step might be to reinstate some of the other suspended offerings — like those After Hours events.
Early Theme Park Entry
In January, Disney World annoyed that it will be offering Early Theme Park Entry for resort guests this year to celebrate Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Once put into action, this special perk will allow visitors staying at Disney hotels enter the parks half an hour before opening.
This replacement for Extra Magic Hours hasn’t officially kicked off yet — Disney never announced a start date, so we are still waiting for that announcement. But these early hours could hint that late hours may return soon, too.
But, There Are a Lot of Factors at Play
While there are a number of things that could point to other After Hours events coming back, there are some things that could weigh in favor of NOT bringing back these events just yet.
Disney is already operating at a limited capacity so lines might already somewhat lower than what they would be during normal times. Guests might not feel the need, as much as they used to, to pay an additional fee for a separately ticketed event to experience the park with lower crowds. Now, we have seen large crowds in Disney World on some days, and some of these ticketed events (like Villains After Hours) offer much more than just shorter wait times. But still, Disney will have to evaluate whether they feel there will be enough demand to make these events worth it.
For those events that featured special entertainment (like Villains After Hours), Disney might not be able to bring back some of those offerings due to the situation with the pandemic and concerns surrounding social distancing. Without those special entertainment offerings, some guests might not feel like the events are worth the additional cost. Again, this is something Disney would have to consider before deciding to bring back these ticketed events.
Disney’s decision may also hinge, as we sort of discussed above, on how the situation with COVID-19 develops, what Disney feels like it may bring back safely, whether there will be sufficient guest demand, and whether offering these events is more beneficial than say extending park hours or things of that nature.
It’s important to note that Disney has NOT given the official word on when After Hours events could return (other than the BOO BASH, of course). But some of these signs might point toward a potential return for more of these events in the future. We’ll be sure to let ya know as SOON as we hear any updates (and we’ll keep you posted with plenty more Disney news!), so stay tuned to DFB.
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Are you looking forward to After Hours events returning? Let us know in the comments!