Let’s Talk about Extended Evening Hours
EPCOT hosted its first Extended Evening Theme Park Hours this week. I know you have questions. So, let’s talk about how the process works.
What Is Extended Evening Theme Park Hours?
This new amenity falls somewhere between the old Extra Magic Hours and the recent Moonlight Magic program for DVC members.
This month, Disney offers a new, spectacular benefit for guests staying at Disney Deluxe resorts or villas.
So, all you need to do is stay at a DVC resort to qualify. In exchange, you’ll receive exclusive access to a theme park after it closes to the general public.
While the old Extra Magic Hour offering was usually, you know, an hour, this program works differently.
You’ll get two hours at the park, which is a massive amount of time when the place is otherwise empty.
Thus far, Disney has only announced two participating theme parks. Also, there’s a fixed schedule of sorts.
On Mondays, you’ll get two extra hours at EPCOT. On Wednesdays, you’ll get two extra hours at Magic Kingdom.
As such, you won’t get to experience the stuff at Pandora: The World of Avatar or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Also, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure isn’t available as part of the Extended Evening Theme Park Hours program, at least not yet.
The other complaint I’m hearing stems from the decision to offer this on weekdays.
Obviously, Disney doesn’t want to cut into its weekend crowds by closing the parks early.
Similarly, it doesn’t want to keep guests there two hours later on those dates. Cast members need time to clean the place and perform maintenance on the rides.
Ergo, Disney has chosen Mondays and Wednesdays, which may force you to reconsider your visitation plans.
I know that my party has fallen into a five-day/four-night pattern lately, where we arrive on Thursday and leave on Monday. So, we must approach our next trip differently.
How Opening Night Worked
Frankly, those are the only drawbacks to Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. Otherwise, you’ll do nothing but smile while you’re at the parks after dark.
Guests entered EPCOT whenever they wanted before the event. However, please understand that you DO need a Park Pass plus standard admission.
You cannot just show up for the event and expect to get in. Honestly, you can’t do much at Walt Disney World these days without a Park Pass anyway.
Once the park officially closes to the public, a new process begins. Cast members verify that you qualify before letting you enter the line queue.
You’ll use your MagicBand, MagicMobile, or Key to the World card to prove that you’re staying at a qualifying resort.
This process applies to every attraction. So, if you ride eight attractions, you’ll go through it eight times.
Let’s Talk Wait Times
I’m saying eight attractions for a specific reason. That’s how many were operating at EPCOT for this event.
The currently listed attractions are:
- Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along*
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros*
- Mission: SPACE*
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends*
- Soarin’ around the World
- Spaceship Earth*
- Test Track
EPCOT counts as a mixed bag on this stuff because the wait times for the attractions with an asterisk are often 15 minutes or less anyway.
Mission: SPACE generally requires a longer wait for the Orange mission over the Green, but it still counts.
So, you’re really just saving time on three rides: Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track.
The lines for the other five attractions were virtually nonexistent during the two-hour window.
My Disney Experience did list wait times at EPCOT during this event. That’s something you can use to your advantage during your visit.
Nothing ever showed a wait of more than 15 minutes that I noticed. Frozen and Test Track usually had the longest lines. Everything else showed as either five or ten minutes.
Obviously, the trick with EPCOT involves navigating a large area during a two-hour window.
I doubt anybody can ride everything, but some YouTube influencer will probably prove me wrong.
Still, what you can do quite easily is ride your favorite EPCOT rides several times.
You’ll face minimal crowds in doing so. In this regard, this amenity works even better than Disney After Hours events.
The place looked like a ghost town at towns, although that might be due to a lack of awareness.
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