Walt Disney World has added extra hours to the calendar by way of Spring 2024, whereas additionally extending hours at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom for the remainder of January and February. This submit covers the modifications plus zig once they zag technique for the parks and every thing else you must know.
We’ll begin with the most recent launch of recent working schedules. All 4 theme parks have had hours for an additional week added to DisneyWorld.com’s park hours, and the present calendar now runs by way of March 26, 2024. Listed below are the hours for many of the newly-added dates:
- Magic Kingdom: 9 am to 9 pm
- EPCOT: 9 am to 9 pm
- Hollywood Studios: 9 am to 9 pm
- Animal Kingdom: 9 am to six pm
- Blizzard Seashore: 10 am to five pm
As a reminder, Walt Disney World’s regular follow is to launch boilerplate or placeholder hours earlier than extending these primarily based on attendance and resort occupancy projections. This has been widespread follow for years, and can proceed for the rest of this 12 months and, presumably, in 2024.
Along with these newly added hours, Walt Disney World has additionally prolonged park hours all through January and February 2024. Let’s dig into what’s been prolonged…
- January 19-21, 2024: 9am to 11pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- January 22-25, 2024: 9am to 10pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- January 26-27, 2024: 9am to 11pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- January 28, 2024: 9am to 10pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- January 29, 2024: 8am to 4:30pm (beforehand 9am to 4:30pm)
- January 30-31, 2024: 9am to 11pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- February 1, 2024: 9am to 10pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- February 2-3, 2024: 9am to 11pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
We wish to draw your consideration particularly to January 29, 2024 at Magic Kingdom, which is why it’s bolded. On today, the park closes at 4:30 p.m., which is 4-5 hours sooner than it’ll shut on adjoining dates. That is good to know so that you don’t by chance go to Magic Kingdom on a day that’s closing earlier than sundown and received’t characteristic fireworks.
As a substitute, we’d suggest that you simply do Magic Kingdom on goal on January 29, 2024. Because of that 4:30 p.m. closing (for a Solid Member service milestone celebration–an awesome purpose for the early closing!), the overwhelming majority of friends will keep away from Magic Kingdom on that day. In spite of everything–why pay the identical quantity for 5-6 fewer hours, no fireworks, and no nighttime within the park?!
That is precisely why we extremely suggest visiting Magic Kingdom on that day, particularly when you have Park Hopper tickets or the chance to return on one other full working day to see the fireworks. January 29, 2024 might be one of many 5 least busy days of the whole 12 months at Magic Kingdom, and also you completely won’t want Genie+ on that day.
Magic Kingdom hosts these CM service days each single winter, and the crowds are constantly and predictably low. It’s one of many least busy days of the whole 12 months, even slower than Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Get together or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Get together days! Keep in mind: zig once they zag.
The large ‘bonus’ now could be that Magic Kingdom will open at 8 a.m. as an alternative of 9 a.m., which is vastly advantageous for Early Entry. See our 7:30 am Early Entry at Magic Kingdom ‘Get together Season’ Technique. (January will not be ‘Get together Season’, however the very same concept applies on that day!)
Talking of January not being Get together Season, the After Hours at Magic Kingdom occasion doesn’t have a lot of an impression on crowds. This can be a query that we get requested lots, with some planners anticipating one thing just like MNSSHP or MVMCP.
The distinction right here is that Magic Kingdom (or whichever park is internet hosting After Hours) doesn’t sometimes shut early for the exhausting ticket occasion. It’s, because the title suggests, after hours. There are occasions when whichever park closes an hour early on After Hours nights relative to adjoining dates (as a result of park hours extensions), however that’s not sometimes sufficient to maneuver the needle on crowds. Most individuals received’t change their plans for a single hour–however many will for 3+ hours and no fireworks!
If something, we attempt to keep away from the park throughout daytime hours on After Hours nights. This isn’t actually a ‘exhausting’ rule and it’s not backed up by a lot in the best way of wait instances information. However our anecdotal expertise is that mix-in for After Hours tends to spike crowds on the finish of the night time once they’d in any other case be falling. Although I can’t show this occurs (wait time information is unreliable on the finish of the night time), I’m assured sufficient that it does that we attempt to keep away from days of After Hours if we aren’t attending the occasion. Your mileage could range.
Past that, I’m actually mildly shocked by the 11 p.m. closings on sure nights this month and in early February 2024. That is firmly the winter low season (to the extent that exists) and crowds shouldn’t be that unhealthy. Don’t get me flawed–I like longer hours at Magic Kingdom!
I’m simply shocked, particularly since there have been a number of reasonable to excessive crowds dates through the vacation season that had 10 p.m. closings. I’d be shocked if a single date with an 11 p.m. closing in mid to late January or early February 2024 has larger crowds or worse wait instances than the busier dates final month.
My guess is that Walt Disney World is extrapolating from resort occupancy numbers, that are undoubtedly excessive for a number of of these dates. We’re coming into the guts of youth sports activities ‘season’ on the ESPN Vast World of Sports activities, with the Nationwide Dance Crew Championship and quite a lot of different huge occasions on the horizon.
These can impression crowds within the parks, however they sometimes have a extra outsized impression on the resorts. I assume we will see, although. (For the late January dates, the 4:30 p.m. closing on 1/29 will displace crowds pretty considerably and have a huge impact on 1/30-31, in order that explains the longer hours these dates. I’m nonetheless mildly shocked on the 11 p.m. closings, although.)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- January 29, 2024: 8:30am to 9pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
- February 2-3, 2024: 8:30am to 9pm (beforehand 9am to 9pm)
All the different park hours extensions are a lot much less attention-grabbing than these at Magic Kingdom.
Early Entry will as soon as once more formally begin at 8 am on the above dates that Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens at 8:30 a.m. Unofficially, Early Entry ought to start even earlier. This can be a actually huge deal. As we’ve talked about numerous instances, the sooner that Early Entry begins, the higher. There’s much less “competitors” and you will get far more completed.
Actually, that’s how I Did Each Trip at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Earlier than 11am Through Standby Strains. Don’t rely on replicating these outcomes, however the technique is sound. We’d thus extremely suggest doing DHS on certainly one of these dates if in any respect attainable.
- January 21-22, 2024: 8am to 7pm (beforehand 9am to 6pm)
- January 26-28, 2024: 8am to 7pm (beforehand 9am to 6pm)
- January 29-31, 2024: 8am to 6pm (beforehand 9am to 7pm)
- February 1-3, 2024: 8am to 7pm (beforehand 9am to 6pm)
- February 4-24, 2024: 8am to 6pm (beforehand 9am to 6pm)
For a similar purpose as above, the 8am opening time is clutch at Animal Kingdom. This implies Early Entry at 7:30am, which is fairly sparsely attended. See Animal Kingdom Park Opening & Early Entry Trip Technique (or, “How I Did Each Trip at DAK Earlier than 10:30am.”)
On the reverse finish of the day, Animal Kingdom continues to formally shut after dusk for all of nowadays! Between the later closing and earlier sundown, you will get a pair hours in DAK after darkish for the primary time shortly. We extremely suggest staying for evenings in DAK to benefit from the Tree of Life Awakenings, plus Pandora and the remainder of the park after darkish.
Our Animal Kingdom Afternoon Arrival Technique is as soon as once more the perfect method for this park. Genie+ is a waste of cash at Animal Kingdom for a minimum of the subsequent month. Please don’t be fooled by the “discount” pricing on paid FastPass at Animal Kingdom. Keep in mind, one thing is just a deal when you really want it–in any other case, you’re only a hoarder. (Nicely, you possibly can’t actually hoard Lightning Lanes in the identical sense…however you get the thought!)
As famous above, mid-January to mid-February is likely one of the final stretches of low season at Walt Disney World. It’s positively not as uncrowded because it as soon as was as a result of quite a lot of elements–the aforementioned occasions at ESPN Vast World of Sports activities, larger inhabitants in Central Florida (and higher climate getting locals to the parks), extra snowbirds visiting Walt Disney World, and many others.
Nonetheless, the subsequent couple of months are typically good instances to go to. There are some enormous asterisks to this–dates within the subsequent few months make each ‘sides’ of our checklist of the 10 Greatest and 10 Worst Weeks to Go to Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025.
As all the time, the sooner opening instances at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom make it simpler to beat crowds at these parks. There’s an enormous benefit to early risers, and savvy technique or information of easy methods to leverage Genie+ and Lightning Lanes generally is a gamechanger.
Now that Park Hopping is again to regular, we’re enormous followers of leveraging it and splitting most days into two half days. With 9 a.m. openings, I wouldn’t be doing any mornings at EPCOT, and would as an alternative begin the day doing Early Entry on the park that opens earliest and bounce round to leverage park hours and crowd dynamics.
To that finish, take a look at our Genie+ v. Savvy Technique at Walt Disney World, which is the results of intensive ‘testing’ to find out the perfect and worst methods to beat the crowds. You can too do fairly effectively within the evenings at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios–and that’s by some means nonetheless true even now that Fantasmic is again. EPCOT is extra of a wildcard now–the mud nonetheless hasn’t settled on Luminous or the opposite new stuff there (and now it’s Competition of the Arts).
In the end, an honest variety of park hours extensions from mid-January till early February, which is sweet information as a result of these dates are sometimes those that maintain the boilerplate hours. That may very well be an indication that this winter “low season” goes to be something however, and Walt Disney World is forecasting above-average crowds.
I’m personally skeptical of that, however they do have inside information and causes for making these modifications. (Facet notice: they’re inside information is imperfect they usually get crowd forecasts flawed on a regular basis, most lately through the vacation season. So it’s not as if park hours are conclusive of decrease or larger crowds!)
Trying ahead, we count on to see much more park hours extensions for the second half of February and March 2024. Mardi Gras, Presidents’ Day, and Spring Break all will spike crowds far more considerably than something occurring for the subsequent month or so. Right here’s hoping Magic Kingdom will get some midnight closures, and the opposite three parks have extra opening instances earlier than 9 a.m. These two strikes alone could be enormous in serving to scale back crowding.
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What do you consider Walt Disney World’s working hours in Winter 2024? Is that this schedule is affordable, or are extra extensions wanted to assist take up crowds? Do you suppose Magic Kingdom must be open from 8am till midnight on extra days? What about earlier opening instances on the different parks? What has been your expertise with crowds and wait instances? Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even whenever you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!