You’ve just got $1,000 lying around in a tub you can swim around in, right? Oh, no? Wait, you’re NOT Scrooge McDuck? Ah, well then you (like many of us) probably aren’t willing to invest $1,000 (or any big amount of money) into your Disney World vacation without knowing if it’s worth it. Truly, you shouldn’t spend $5 on a snack if it isn’t worth it!
But what if there was a BIG Disney World perk that came with spending that $1,000…a perk like extra time in the parks with only a limited amount of other guests? Yes, we’re talking about bonus hours in the theme parks with only a limited amount of other people around you. This is what Disney calls Extended Evening Hours. But to get this perk you’ll likely have to spend some BIG bucks. Is it worth it? That’s what we’re going to find out together.
What Are Extended Evening Hours?
Disney World paused Extra Magic Hours when the parks reopened back in July of 2020. This was a former hotel perk that allowed all guests at Disney World hotels to spend some extra time in select parks either in the evenings or the mornings.
Disney then officially replaced the Extra Magic Hours perk with two new options. Disney hotel guests now have access to Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours, but they work a bit differently.
Early Theme Park Entry is available to all Disney World Resort hotel guests and select other hotel guests. This perk allows those qualifying guests to enter any of Disney World’s 4 theme parks 30 minutes before the park officially opens every day (provided they have a Park Pass for that park).
Extended Evening Hours are a bit different. It allows select guests to stay an extra 2 hours at night (past the park’s regular closing time) in certain parks on specified dates. Basically, it doesn’t take place every day — instead, it is only available on select days. It also isn’t available for all parks. So far, EPCOT and Magic Kingdom have offered this perk, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently got added to the list for April 13 only!
But perhaps the biggest limitation of Extended Evening Hours is that they’re ONLY available to guests staying at Deluxe Disney Hotels and Deluxe Villa hotels (a.k.a. what are often Disney World’s priciest hotel accommodations). These hotels are usually significantly more expensive than the Value and Moderate options. 💵 So are those couple of extra hours in the parks worth upgrading to a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa hotel?
When you think of Deluxe Disney Hotels and Deluxe Villas a few spots might come to mind. But here’s a complete list of the hotels that fall under this category and thus qualify for the Extended Evening Hours perk:
Disney Deluxe Resorts
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Other Select Hotels
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
- Shades of Green on Walt Disney World
How Much Will It Really Cost Ya?
First, let’s get an idea of pricing. For this, we’ll look at a sample family trip with 2 adults and 2 kids (both under the age of 10) from May 22nd — May 28th, 2022. Here’s what prices look like for a standard room at each level of the hotel on Disney World property (based on the time we looked):
- Value: Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – $137.17 per night
- Moderate: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – $252.67 per night
- Deluxe: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – $391 per night
- On Property, Not Owned by Disney, but with Deluxe Perks: Dolphin – $267 per night
For the trip, the room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge would cost around $2,639.28, while the room at All-Star Sports would be $934.12. That’s a difference of about $1,705.16 (MORE than $1,000 in this case). 😳 Just keep in mind that prices can vary depending on when you choose to visit, what room you pick, and several other factors.
What’s GOOD About Extended Evening Hours?
Now, let’s get into the good things about Extended Evening Hours. Obviously, they give you extra time in the parks! Having 2 extra hours could make a big difference if you plan correctly.
Extended Evening Hours also typically come with far fewer crowds because they are so strictly limited to just Deluxe and Deluxe Villa guests. With far fewer people in the parks, you also have access to rides that usually have significantly shorter wait times. Test Track with a 15-minute wait? Don’t mind if I do. 😎
When we went to EPCOT for an extended evening hours night, most rides were either a walk-on or had a wait of 20 minutes or less by about the middle of the additional hours. That’s a massive perk!
Having this extra time might mean you don’t have to worry about fitting every single thing you want to do into the normal park hours. It could allow you to be a bit more flexible or have a more relaxing day. Maybe this bonus time gives you the ability to go back to the resort and take a nap, check out something over at Disney Springs for a bit, or opt for that table service meal that’ll take a bit longer — all without feeling like you’ve “wasted” valuable park time out of your day. (Yes, you can actually RELAX on a Disney trip! We know…shocking!!)
You can also usually enjoy the parks with a few fewer little ones because those kiddos tend to go to bed early! 😴
Another great thing about Extended Evening Hours, in EPCOT specifically, is that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is now included in the attractions open during this time! So, if the standby line gets a little too long for you during the day and you don’t want to pay for the Individual Attraction Selection for this ride, this could be a great opportunity for you to experience the ride with a more minimal wait.
With Hollywood Studios also now in the mix, the perk could REALLY be worth it depending on how often the perk is available there. April 13, 2022 was the only date for Hollywood Studios so far, but the ride list looked pretty good with Rise of the Resistance, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Slinky Dog Dash all included!
There are also a few bars and snack spots that may stay open late for Extended Evening Hours. During our time at this experience in EPCOT, we noticed that the Rose and Crown Pub in the United Kingdom pavilion was open until midnight. Of course, that is subject to change and what restaurants/bars may be open during your visit may be different. Still, if a restaurant or bar is open during that time, this could be a great time to grab a drink or quick snack because you won’t be fighting the crowds and lines that can regularly come with these spots!
If you’re someone who wants to enjoy the parks when they’re way less crowded and experience shorter wait times, Extended Evening Hours could be your jam. Also, if you like to sleep in on vacation and not get up at the crack of dawn to rope drop, this could give you the chance to really spread those night owl wings and still get in some essential attractions! You can enjoy the benefits of a less crowded park without getting up early.
You could also take advantage of Extended Evening Hours if you want to go to the parks as SOON as you arrive in Disney World! If you’re traveling into town and won’t have a full day in the parks on the day you arrive, these extra hours could make you feel like you got a little more bang for your buck.
This is a great perk, too, for those who don’t think they’ll have enough time during regular hours to get to all the rides they want to go on, especially in Magic Kingdom where there are a decent number of rides available during Extended Evening Hours. But, just make sure you check which rides ARE open, because it’s not the same as during normal park hours, and your favorites might not be included! More on that in a second.
Finally, if you’re someone who just has to squeeze every possible moment of park time out of your trip, Extended Evening Hours are something you should strongly consider.
The extra time to go on rides and enjoy a less crowded park could definitely be worth the extra dollars of staying at a Deluxe for you!
But It Might NOT Be Worth the Cost for Some
Now, let’s talk about why Extended Evening Hours might not be worth the extra cost of a Deluxe hotel for some. For one, it’s not *that* much extra time in the parks, especially if you can’t use the time to its full potential — w
whatever that means for you. From what we’ve seen, Extended Evening Hours have typically just been limited to 2 additional hours after the park’s closing time.
Whether it’s knocking out a lot of rides, getting all the empty park photos you want, or hitting all of the open bars in EPCOT — if you don’t think you can accomplish what you want to during this limited time, it might not be worth it! That time can go FAST! ⏲️
Obviously, this perk will probably not be worth it to you if you like to go to bed early, or have little kids that need to hit the hay sooner rather than later. The parks can be open until midnight sometimes for these Extended Evening Hours, so this is more beneficial to night owls than early birds! (But you could go back and take a nap to save up some energy for this perk!)
Another drawback of Extended Evening Hours is that (from what we’ve experienced) most restaurants you see during the day are CLOSED in the parks during these extended hours. So, don’t plan to eat a late dinner or grab a snack you’ve been wanting all day during this time, because the spot you want to visit most likely won’t be open! The festival booths aren’t open in EPCOT either, so this is not a workaround to those long lines you can see during normal park hours at the booths.
This also might not be worth it to you because Extended Evening Hours are only offered a limited number of days each week (typically twice each week), thus far have not been offered on weekends. From what we’ve seen, they’ve generally been available on Mondays and Wednesdays (with a rogue Friday and Tuesday thrown in there 🤔). If your trip doesn’t fall during those days of the week then you won’t be able to take advantage of the perk at all.
And, this perk only applies to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios JUST got added for one date in April. So you’re out of luck if you wanted some late night time in Animal Kingdom (those animals have to get some shut eye!).
And, like with food, not all rides or stores may be available during Extended Evening Hours. Some rides will not be open at all, like The Jungle Cruise or the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. So this probably won’t be worth it to you if your favorite attractions aren’t included on the list of attractions that will be open.
Don’t view this as the whole park staying open for 2 more hours, it’s more like some bonus time for select attractions and locations. Click HERE to see the full list of rides that are open for Extended Evening Hours.
Extended Evening Hours also probably won’t be worth it to you if you plan on rope dropping during these days and won’t physically be able to make it all the way through the end of this extra time. This is especially true if you have little kids — going from rope drop to close could be really hard for them (and you!).
This perk also might not be worth it if you find that you’re usually exhausted and/or your body is aching by the end of a normal park day. If you need an ample amount of time to put your feet up and a full 8 hours of sleep to get ready for your next park day, probably skip out on these extra hours. You gotta get your beauty sleep!!
Others who might not benefit from Extended Evening Hours are those who like to spend their evening time outside of the parks doing things like eating a resort restaurant, visiting Disney Springs, or using the hotel’s pool! You shouldn’t feel obligated to use these extra hours in the parks if you would rather be doing something else!
Also, if you’ll only be able to use the EPCOT extra hours you’ll have to consider whether that is truly worth it for you. Having Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track available during this time is GREAT, but still we think the perk is less valuable here than it would be at a place like Magic Kingdom.
There are far less rides available during this perk in EPCOT than Magic Kingdom so that’s something you’ll really want to keep in mind.
Overall (& Some Tips!)
Overall, Extended Evening Hours could be worth it you if you can and will utilize all of the extra time how you want to, are there during the week (when it’s being offered), want to enjoy the parks without crowds for a few hours, are a night owl, or simply need more time to ride everything you want to in EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios.
Extended Evening Hours will probably not be worth it to you if you were planning on eating a lot during this time, have little kids who go to bed early (or you go to bed early!), will be way too tired to fully enjoy this time, will only be there for one of the days the perk is available (especially if it’s the EPCOT day), or can get everything you want to do accomplished within normal park hours.
Make sure to check the rides that will be open at EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios (once the Hollywood Studios rides are announced) during the Extended Evening Hours before you decide if booking a Deluxe Hotel mainly for this perk is worth it for you.
Want to get this perk and save a bit of cash? Remember that you can get the Extended Evening Hours perk, along with other Deluxe perks, by staying at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, or Swan Reserve hotels, which can have less expensive rooms than Disney’s Deluxe resorts! You could also consider renting Disney Vacation Club points through David’s Vacation Club Rental to stay at some of these hotels and get the deluxe perks with a MUCH lower price tag!
What do you think? Do you feel like this perk is worth the cost? Tell us in the comments! Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney World tips, tricks, info, and news.
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What do you think — are Extended Evening Hours worth the cost of a Deluxe Disney World hotel? Let us know in the comments!