One of the biggest hurdles to planning a trip to Walt Disney World is knowing the hours of operation for each of the Disney Parks before you make your reservations for dining and FastPass.
- Where should you look?
- How reliable are the sources?
- Does it really matter until you get there?
All of these are questions that I’ve asked recently when I was planning my next trip and saw that there were discrepancies from site to site. This is why I’ve decided to share my thoughts on something that can actually cause you to have a great trip vs a regular trip!
Here’s How to find Disney Park Hours
The Official Disney World Website
Plain and simple – go to https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/five-day/ and you’ll be able to see regular park hours, Extra Magic Hour info and extra stuff…like times for parades and fireworks.
My Disney Experience App
I’ve found that this best when you’re on the go and not really in front of the computer. Is it a planning issue OR are you talking about stuff over a meal? This is a great resource when you’re looking at specific situations and then jumping into planning and reservation booking. I’m a HUGE fan of using this while you’re actually in the parks or on the bus when you’re in the midst of your vacation.
When you’re staying at any Resort (Disney or off-property), they’ll have an information board that shows the up-to-date hours for the parks. In addition, you’ll be able to ask questions and get paper information before starting your adventure.
Concierge are pretty awesome folks and can really improve your experience, as I share in this article.
When you head into the parks, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find a sign or two that’ll have the hours of operation. Keep in mind though…sometimes they extend the hours later in the day!
These signs are perfect if you’re at the Magic Kingdom on a day with an extra-ticketed party, like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Pretty basic, but when you walk through the turnstiles…you’ll see a fairly obvious fixture that’s stocked fully with maps, times guides and Extra Magic Hour brochures in many different languages. Not only will these provide you with the park hours, but they are also essential for character meet and greet times, parades and attractions that may open or close outside of the regular park hours (ie World Showcase opens at 11am daily, when Future World opens at 9am).
Bus Stops & Transportation Hubs
As Disney moves to a more technologically savvy system throughout their transportation hubs, you’ll start to see improvements like “Next Bus” capabilities. The nice thing is that the added piece of information that comes with the installation of the screens is that they include the opening & closing times of the various parks.
How reliable are the sources?
Well just like anything, the information is subject to change. I’ve actually been in the Magic Kingdom at around 2pm when they announced that the park would be closing at 11pm instead of 10pm. I’ve also received emails from Disney after booking FastPass reservations saying that the time had changed from closing at 9pm to now closing at 930pm.
The closer to the time that you’re looking at, the more reliable the information.
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Does it really matter until you get there?
Great Question;) Of course!
You’ll want to be prepared for events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, where the Magic Kingdom closes early (typically 7pm) for regular guests to make way for party guests.
The other thing that will affect your planning would be parks that have early Extra Magic Hours, which would clog the main attractions with resort guests and thus would make standby lines already filled by the time the park is open to regular day guests.
If you want to really get into some fun information, our friends over at UndercoverTourist.com and check out their Crowd Calendar!
Always research the park operating hours before you make decisions on reservations. It’ll help you in the long run to enjoy every minute of your next Walt Disney World vacation:)