Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 1242: Disney After Hours

Extra Magic Hours has been a part of Walt Disney World for almost as long as I can remember. There's something really magical about being in the parks when the crowds (and wait times) are low, and really, there are few things in this world I enjoy more than walking through an empty Magic Kingdom or deserted Epcot.

When they announced the Disney After Hours event at Magic Kingdom a while back, I was pretty skeptical. After all, this is literally just a paid version of Extra Magic Hours, which I could enjoy basically any other night at no expense, and so I wrote it off as something hardly worth my while. Of course, my mom realized that the final night scheduled for the event happened to be while we were in Florida, and with a discount, we managed to get our tickets at half price.

Overall, there were both pros and cons of the event. The largest, and really only disadvantage really, was the price, although I do believe it was noted that you don't need a ticket purchased prior to gain entry to the park. Since you could get in earlier in the day (7 I believe, although it may have been earlier), you could enjoy the park before closing as well. I headed over around 9 myself and spent some time in Tomorrowland enjoying the Peoplemover and the Carousel of Progress, which was a nice, easy way to start things off despite the larger crowds before park closing. Plus, both attractions weren't part of the After Hours Event, and I still wanted to make sure I hit them both.

After the fireworks, however, the park seemed to empty quickly, and within maybe a half hour, we were able to walk right onto Splash Mountain and Big Thunder, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, all attractions that usually have relatively long wait times. From there, we hit most of the park, slowly working our way from Adventureland all the way back to Tomorrowland. Personally, I was able to head on a good number of additional attractions: Peter Pan's Flight (which I went on twice with no wait), it's a small world, The Mad Tea Party, Haunted Mansion and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. There may have been a few more attractions, but I was running back and forth so much it's sort of a blur. I do know that I also made a visit to Princess Fairytale Hall to meet Cinderella, Rapunzel, Anna, and Elsa, all with minimal wait!

The overall concept of Disney After Hours is sort of a narrowed down Extra Magic Hours, but you pay for it. For somewhere around $150 I believe, you can be one of no more than 3000 people in all of Magic Kingdom and experience some of the top attractions at little to absolutely no wait. In addition, the Princesses meet in Fairytale Hall, and you can enjoy complimentary ice cream treats and bottled beverages throughout the night from stands around the park.

As I'm sure we can all figure out, that's not worth $150, although it was quite the enjoyable night having no one around and walking right onto Peter Pan's Flight more than once. The trouble here is that if Disney charges much less, they'll be losing money on this endeavor. They could fix that by selling more tickets, but then you loose some of the emptiness and overall aspect of the event itself: a VIP sort of experience where you (and 3000 of your closest friends) roam Magic Kingdom without everyone else.

Then again, I don't think we'll need to be worrying much about this anymore. It sounds like tickets for the event trials didn't sell well, and I have the feeling that I attended the last ever Disney After Hours event. Still, I don't regret going, and I'm really glad I got to. I mean, after all, if for nothing else, it gave me a chance to spend some extra time in the parks when I love them most.

Would you pay to go to Disney After Hours? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a magical day!