What’s the longest day you’ve ever had at Disney World?
We’ve had some very tiring ones — festival opening days are particularly busy here at DFB, as well as any day that a new ride or land opens in the parks. And we’ve done the rope drop to park close thing more times than we can count! But, if you’re looking for a truly LONG day at Disney World…like the longest you can ACTUALLY pull off being in the parks right now…we’ve got a new challenge for you!
Typical Park Hours
On a typical day, a Disney World park is open for anywhere from 10-14 hours. This excludes shorter hours during the off-season and water parks. Generally, this should be enough time to have a pretty full park day — you may not get to do everything, but you’ll be able to get quite a few things accomplished.
Many guests strive to get the most “bang for their buck” when visiting Disney World, which means you’ll probably want to take advantage of as many park hours as possible. What’s the maximum you can reach? Well, coming up soon, there are some days where you can stay up to 18 hours! We’ll show you how!
Sometimes You Can Stay Longer!
From time to time, Disney World offers promotions or events that allow guests to stay in the parks for longer than usual. For a few years, Disney even ran a 24-Hour Disney Day promotion that opened both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park to guests for 24 hours straight! (Boy, THOSE were crazy, fun-filled, LONG days!)
Before the pandemic, Disney World frequently offered Early Morning Magic and After Hours events. Guests could purchase special tickets to visit parks well before regular opening hours or after they closed, and they’d have the parks virtually to themselves with shorter wait times, snack options, and sometimes, special entertainment.
If Extra Magic Hours happened to fall on the morning the day of one of the late-night events (or holiday after hours event!), guests could stay in the parks for much longer than usual…as long as they planned it properly.
Here’s How YOU Could Pull it Off
But can you do this now, without Extra Magic Hours? It turns out that the answer is yes! If you’re planning a trip to select dates of the Disney After Hours BOO Bash, you can be in the Disney World parks for up to 18 hours in one day.
Let’s start with the morning. On many dates this fall, Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens as early as 8AM. Disney World parks have been letting guests in early recently until they introduce Early Theme Park Entry, so you might make it inside as early as 7:30AM. (If Early Theme Park Entry comes before then, you’ll still get in 30 minutes early as a resort guest.)
Then, during some event dates, the Disney After Hours BOO Bash isn’t ending until 12:30AM. If you get in line for a ride right at the end of the night, then hang out in Magic Kingdom to take some photos and do some shopping, you might be able to stay as late as 1:30AM.
If you pull this off, starting your day at 7:30AM and ending at 1:30AM, then you’ll be in Disney World for 18 full hours! You can hop to Magic Kingdom from Animal Kingdom at 2PM (provided park capacity hasn’t been reached) or you can wait until Animal Kingdom closes then make the switch over to Magic Kingdom for the event. With that amount of time, you might even be able to fit in all four parks!
Boo Bash After Hours events are offered for select dates. Depending on your date and your ticket, your event will either be between 9pm-12am or some start a bit later running from 9:30pm-12:30am. To maximize your 18-hour plan, you’d want to shoot for the event dates that go until 12:30am. With those hours, you may not even need a Park Hopper ticket — just a day ticket to Animal Kingdom and a BOO Bash ticket for the evening! Special bonus: guests with Boo Bash tickets will be permitted to enter Magic Kingdom as early as 7pm!
If you’re traveling later this year, you could take advantage of the latest announcement from Disney. the Disney Very Merriest After Hours Event will run from November 8th through December 21, 2021.
This special ticketed event will allow guests to remain in Magic Kingdom from some special holiday festivities between 9pm and 1am! This means you could start your 18 hour day an hour later, or step up the challenge to make it a 19 hour day!
What Would 18 Hours in Disney World Be Like?
We’ll be honest with you though, 18 straight hours in Disney World is going to be more tiring than you think! It’s pretty easy to get tired doing 10 hours straight on a “normal” day, so imagine what it would be like to nearly double that! By the end of hour 18, you’ll be very sleepy (you had to wake up early for that rope drop) and your feet will probably be killing you from all of the walking and standing.
If you wanted to pull this off, we recommend going to bed early the night before and drinking some caffeine in the morning! Drink lots of water throughout the day and take frequent breaks. Try not to stand on your feet the whole time — this may be the day to do all the shows and otherwise “chill” attractions in the parks. And whatever you do, don’t stress out about completing the challenge…just have fun!
Take Advantage of the Shows
Disney is still in the process of bringing back some of its classic shows and entertainment, but there are still plenty of options in the parks to find a seat in some air conditioning and still enjoy an attraction. This can be a great way to stay in the parks and cross attractions off your list, without wearing you out!
- Carousel of Progress (in Tomorrowland)
- Country Bear Jamboree (in Frontierland)
- Enchanted Tiki Room (in Adventureland)
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic (in Fantasyland)
- Hall of Presidents — currently closed but reopening soon (in Liberty Square)
- Awesome Planet (in the Land Pavilion of Future World)
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (in Future World
- Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along or Impressions de France (in the France Pavilion of World Showcase)
- O’ Canada (in the Canada Pavilion of World Showcase) — currently closed
- Reflections of China (in the China Pavilion of World Showcase) — This one doesn’t have seating, per se, but does offer some stellar air conditioning.
- The American Adventure (in the American Pavilion of World Showcase)
- Muppet*Vision 3D (on Grand Avenue)
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (on Sunset Boulevard)
- Vacation Fun – An Original Aminated Short with Mickey & Minnie (on Echo Lake)
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (on Echo Lake)
- Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage (Sunset Boulevard) — reopening August 15th — There’s no air conditioning in this amphitheater, but plenty of benches to give your feet a break.
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug (Discovery Island)
- A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King (in Africa)
- Feathered Friends in Flight (in Asia) — There’s no air conditioning in this amphitheater, but plenty of benches to give your feet a break.
The shows are packed with entertainment, and we highly recommended planning to take in a show or two in the heat of the afternoon to provide a break from the sun and a chance to get off of your feet. And if you happen to doze off for a 15-minute power nap, your secret is safe with us!
Plan a Table Service Lunch or Dinner
Another great way to recharge for your long day is to plan a table service meal for late in the day. We recommend a late lunch/early dinner. This will get you out of the crowds during the heat of the day and dining during “off times” can help make it a bit easier to secure an advanced dining reservation.
We recommend opting for a table service option like Skipper Canteen or Plaza Restaurant. Their food is a bit lighter with some solid options that can make everyone happy. As much as we love the all-you-care-to-eat fare of Liberty Tree Tavern (Oooey Gooey Toffee Cake, how we love thee…let us count the ways…) that stick-to-your-ribs kind of food will land you in a food coma — the last thing you need for your 18-hour challenge!
Desperate Times Call for…
You’ve done everything right. You’ve hydrated, you’ve made time to rest and watch the shows, you’ve taken your midday meal to recharge. Somehow you may still find yourself struggling. If you do find yourself fading and your Park Commando energy depleting, we do have some last-ditch efforts to try to help you cross that finish line and go the distance.
Yup. Hydration is important — especially in the Floridian heat and humidity, but sometimes, you have to call in the big guns. Coffee, we’re looking at you.
It can be hot or iced coffee, it can be soda or tea — whatever your caffeinated preference is will work. Find your favorite beverage and bottoms up to making it to the 18th hour! Just remember, caffeine
Grab a Sweet Treat
There is no shortage of sugary, sweet treats in the Disney parks. And there’s no wrong answer here, either. Dole Whip, Mickey Bars, or festive cupcakes, find your favorite and use that sugar rush to help you finish strong!
We would advise grabbing a cookie from a pastry case and having a few bites throughout the night to help maintain your blood sugar at a more even rate. Remember, with great sugar highs come great sugar crashes. So, inhaling a Mickey Premium Bar before it melts would be immensely satisfying at the time, but could results in a sugar crash before the night is over. However, if you just keep eating Mickey Bars, you can avoid that sugar crash for as long as possible, right? 😂 And as much as we’re on board for that, it could create quite a tummy ache (and you’re wallet would probably regret that decision, too!).
Find a Seat
So, you’ve almost made it, Park Commando. But your feet just can’t take another step. Good news! We have your back — or your backside, to be more specific. Yup, grab a bench, take a load off and just breathe in your success.
Find a spot and people watch, gaze up at the castle, thank your poor, weary feet for all they’ve done for you, today (and maybe take an Advil or two to help those poor tootsies out). Sometimes, the best part of an 18-hour park day is the time you take to slow down and take in all of the details and magic around you. Reminisce about your favorite part of the day and why it was special to you. And just soak it all in! The best part about this bench you’ve found — no advanced FastPass+ reservations are necessary, and bonus, it’s included with the price of admission!
You Did It!
Or maybe you didn’t (depends if you demolished those Mickey Bars or not 😉). But it’s all about having fun, exploring the parks, and doing it at a pace that is enjoyable to you and your Park Commando companions. There’s always more to see, more to do, and you can never do it all. Not in 12 hours, or 18, or even 24! We’re always finding new, magical things to appreciate about this special place. Keeping visiting DFB so we can share all we discover and you’ll know where to find it on your next trip — hopefully, it won’t take 18 hours! But if it does, now you know how to do it!
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What’s the longest you’ve ever spent in a Disney World park?