As part of its 50th-anniversary celebration, Walt Disney World is now offering extended evening theme park hours for guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resorts or Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts on certain evenings in select parks. While this is not a DVC-specific perk, guests (DVC members or not) are eligible when they stay at a DVC resort. Since the start of this benefit in October 2021, it seems that the hours have mostly been offered for EPCOT on Monday evenings and Magic Kingdom on Wednesday evenings. During our October DVC stay, Timothy and I decided to check out the extended hours at EPCOT, which were scheduled from 10 pm to midnight.
How It Works
By the time we arrived at EPCOT, guests from earlier in the day were leaving the park. Upon reaching the tapstiles, cast members first checked if you were staying at an eligible resort by scanning your magic band and then allowing you to move on to the tapstiles where you scan in like normal to verify you have a valid ticket for entry. (Note that we had a park pass to visit Magic Kingdom that day but were able to park hop for the extended hours since we had annual passes.) Cast members also scan your magic band each time you get in line for an attraction, similar to how it worked for the now-retired Extra Magic Hours.
EPCOT offered 8 attractions in the evening:
- Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
- Mission: SPACE
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
*A ninth attraction, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, was added as of December.
This list seems light in comparison to the list of 22 attractions offered for the Magic Kingdom extended hours. However, even with fewer attractions, none of the wait times exceeded 25 minutes. The Seas with Nemo & Friends had the shortest wait of 5 minutes. By the time that we got to Frozen Ever After, the wait time was listed as 20 minutes but turned out to be closer to 15 minutes. We then headed to the Gran Fiesta Tour, which was listed as a 10-minute wait in My Disney Experience, only to find a very empty Mexico pavilion. The ride was a walk-on, and we got the entire boat to ourselves. Test Track was listed as a 20-minute wait but was essentially a walk-on since we only paused to design our cars. It was close to midnight by then, and we got the car to ourselves. One ride that was noticeably absent from the list of participating attractions was the recently opened Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Food Options and Stores
None of the Food & Wine outdoor kitchens were open, but there were a few options for food and beverages, including Joffrey’s, the popcorn stand, and the stand in the Norway pavilion that offered Scandinavian draft beers and ice cream bars. La Cantina, the quick service location in Mexico, was the only quick-service restaurant we noticed that was open. In other words, make sure you eat beforehand; chances are your favorite eatery isn’t open.
Most stores were not open, but if you were looking for souvenirs, the Creations Shop was still available as were the souvenir shops at the exits of certain attractions like Frozen Ever After and Test Track. Gateway Gifts and the Camera Center by Spaceship Earth were also open.
Although Walt Disney World is also offering early theme park entry for its resort guests, the 30-minute early access really only gives you a head start on 1 attraction, maybe 2 if you’re lucky. These extended evening hours felt much more like the Extra Magic Hours of the past and were great for someone who isn’t a morning person. We actually had a late start and arrived at EPCOT around 10:45 pm, and we were still able to squeeze in 3 rides–not shabby at all considering we were taking our sweet time! If you have the opportunity to take advantage of the extended evening theme park hours, I highly recommend it. With Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes now available, the extended hours offer a great way to get on some of your favorite rides with a low wait-time and without the additional fee.