Disney After Hours at Epcot Review and Overview

Hey there, fellow Disney enthusiasts! Get ready to don your pixie-dusted adventure hats and prepare for an unforgettable night at Epcot After Hours—a truly magical, extra ticketed event that turns your favorite World Showcase into an exclusive playground of wonder! Picture this: the sun sets, the moon rises, and the regular park guests bid adieu, leaving behind only a limited number of lucky folks ready to embark on an epic journey. In this guide, we'll take you on a virtual tour of this enchanting affair, covering everything you need to know, from attractions to dining, and of course, our own personal thoughts on this extraordinary experience. So, buckle up, my friends, because Epcot After Hours is about to whisk you away on a nocturnal adventure you'll never forget!

What is After Hours at Epcot?

Disney After Hours is an exclusive event offered periodically throughout the year at Epcot. The event runs from 10 PM until 1 AM and is open only to those who have purchased tickets.

Guests will be able to enjoy most attractions at the park, as well as complimentary snacks and drinks throughout the park.

What Does Disney After Hours Cost?

Tickets for After Hours range in price from $149 to $159 for both adults and children. There are discounts available for annual passholders and DVC owners (you'll pay $119 to $129 with that discount).

You can purchase tickets on Disney's website or from a Disney travel agent. You can get a quote on your trip with Disney After Hours here.

What are the Dates for Disney After Hours?

For 2024 you can attend on the following dates:

February

  • 2/2/24
  • 2/8/24
  • 2/15/24

March

  • 3/7/24
  • 3/28/24

April

  • 4/4/24

    How Does Disney After Hours Work?

    This event starts 10pm and the park will remain open until 1am.

    You can check in to the event starting at 7pm (3 hours before actual start time). You will be given a wristband once you check in to show that you are an event ticket holder. Check in points are located at the park entrance, and also at various spots around the park for guests who spent the day at Epcot. There will be After Hours signs and Cast Members to help get your wristband.

    If you spend the day in Epcot make sure you stop by one of these check in points. Cast Members will be asking to see wrist bands throughout the night and before you enter any ride queue.

    Because this event is limited tickets, rides are mostly walk on. You could use this event as a way to experience Epcot rides without any wait at all.

    It's also a great way to just experience the park with very few guests. If you have ever wanted to explore or photograph the park without other guests this is the event for you.

    Just note that parts of World Showcase will be unavailable. You can go as far as the Norway Pavilion if you enter World Showcase from the Mexico side, and as far as France if you enter through the Canada side.

    Rides Available During Disney After Hours at Epcot

    The main draw of this after-hours event is definitely its rides! All attendees have unlimited access to Epcot attractions. 

    This includes Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, Test Track, Soarin' and more.

    This is also your opportunity to ride Guardians without having to join a virtual queue or pay for an individual lightning lane!

    The full list includes:

    • Spaceship Earth
    • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
    • Mission Space (Green and Orange)
    • Test Track
    • Soarin' Around the World
    • Living with the Land
    • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
    • Gran Fiesta Tour
    • Frozen Ever After
    • Remy's Ratatouille Adventure

    Epcot after hours flyer

    Entertainment During Epcot After Hours

    Unlike the Magic Kingdom version of After Hours, the Epcot version has some fun entertainment included.

    A DJ plays music that is piped through the entire park. It gives a totally different and fun vibe to the park. If you want to dance, you'll find the DJ located near Test Track. And you might even get a chance to dance with one of your favorite Disney characters. At our event Chip and Dale were dancing with kids!

    You'll also find Mariachi Cobre playing traditional folk music in the Mexico pavilion.

    In addition to music, there are character meets throughout the parks. We spotted Mickey over in France and Pluto in the gazebo across from Disney Traders (at the front of World Showcase). Characters are not announced ahead of time, so who you see and where you find them can change! If characters are a priority ask a Cast Member.

    Lastly, you'll find photopass photographers all over the park. We saw dozens of photographers. So this is a great opportunity to get photos with little to no wait, and with fewer people in the background. A great use of Memory Maker if you have it.

    What Else is Included in After Hours Events?

    In addition to being able to ride almost all of the rides in the park with little to no wait, you will have access to unlimited novelty treats during the event.

    Starting at 10pm  you'll find carts with complementary popcorn, soda, bottled water, and ice cream at the following locations:

    • Mission: SPACE Cart
    • Imagination Cart
    • Connections Cart
    • Fountain Popcorn Cart

    If you are looking for more substantial food, there will also be food available for purchase. 

    Is Epcot After Hours Worth it?

    Yes! This event is pricy, but it can definitely be worth it depending on your situation.

    If you have a short trip planned, this is an amazing way to do all of Epcot in a short amount of time.

    This extra ticketed event is also worth it if you can cut out park tickets for one day. So if you originally had planned on purchasing 4 days of park tickets, do 2 or 3 days instead, and add this event on to your schedule. You'll be able to do more attractions in Epcot during this event than you would be able to do during a regular park day.

    In these situations it is definitely worth it!

    Epcot After Hours Strategy

    For the longest time Epcot was the only one of the four parks that had never offered an After Hours ticketed event. But with the success of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, it really seemed to me that it might finally be worth it for Disney to offer an After Hours event.

    Disney clearly agreed!

    When we went to this event we got to the park just after 7pm, even though the party doesn't officially start until 10pm. We enjoyed this little "perk" because it gave us an opportunity to enjoy snacks that we knew wouldn't be available once the event started. We were also able to catch fireworks over World Showcase.

    If you want to ride either Guardians or Remy (or attempt to ride every ride in the park for that matter), you'll need to have a strategy. Here I'll discuss what worked for us, and our strategy for Epcot After Hours.

    First, I suggest you start riding some low wait attractions starting at 7pm. Regular ticketed park guests will still be in the park, so you'll want to start with Spaceship Earth and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Both of these rides are typically walk on or low waits. Knock these out before the party starts. You should be able to do that and still enjoy food and shopping before the park officially closes.

    If you want to watch fireworks, set up a spot near Norway. That way you can hop on the ride as soon as fireworks are over. If you aren't interested in fireworks, you can hit this ride after the show begins. If wait times are still high, ride Three Caballeros first, and try Frozen right after official park close.

    The reason we wanted to start in Norway was because Epcot has a large footprint, and World Showcase is closed off during the event past Norway on this side. You are not able to loop around.

    On the Mexico side you are stopped by Cast Members after Norway, and on the Canada side you are stopped after France. So it becomes difficult to just run to a ride when wait times drop.

    After the park is officially closed, I would then head from Norway to Test Track and Mission Space. Starting at 10pm wait times will again appear in the My Disney Experience app.

    Guardians will be right there, but most likely you wont want to ride just yet. Between 9pm and 10pm, after the park officially closes, but before the party starts, Guardians will be running the last of the virtual queue guests from the regular park day. While you wont need a virtual queue spot to ride during this event, you can expect that Guardians (and also Remy's as this is a newer ride) will have longer wait times at the very beginning of the party.

    As event guests ride and move on to other attractions, and families with kids head out early, the waits for both rides will start to drop. So while you're waiting, take this time to grab snacks from the free booths around the parks, take photos with photopass photographers, find characters, and dance with your kids in World Discovery where a DJ is playing (and if you're lucky some characters might even join you).

    At this point the wait for Remy will most likely have dropped. If the posted time is 20 minutes or less it will be anywhere from 10 minutes to a walk on. After Remy, check the wait times for Guardians. If you see 35 minutes or less, GO! If it's 45 minutes or more, ride Figment and check again after you get off. Unless the ride goes down, wait times should be pretty good starting around 11pm.

    On your way to the front of the park you can head to The Land Pavilion for the last of the rides.

    After Hours at Epcot Review

    My teenage son and I went to Epcot After Hours with the goal of riding every single ride before 1am. We arrived just after 7pm so we could enjoy some food and drinks in World Showcase before official park closing.

    We followed the strategy listed above, and it worked really well. Both Guardian's and Test Track did briefly go down. So that is always a risk at these events. But we were lucky that we rode Test Track early in the evening, and the Guardian's breakdown was only about 15 minutes (and we happened to be in line already) so we weren't inconvenienced too much.

    Overall we had a blast. The DJ played music that was piped in through the entire park, which gave Epcot a totally different vibe that we loved. The music was upbeat and fun. And just outside of Test Track, where the DJ was set up, there were kids and families dancing with Chip and Dale. My only issue with the music was that in the openness of World Showcase, there would often be overlap from speakers that were a good distance away. So it sounded like an echo in certain spots. A similar issue happened with the various construction walls in the front half of the park. The echo off of the walls would sometimes make for hilarious echos of the early 2000s dance pop.

    I couldn't help but compare this event to Magic Kingdom After Hours, which is one of my absolute favorite events. So I noticed immediately that the free food carts where you could grab drinks, ice cream, and pop corn were not as plentiful. At Magic Kingdom it felt like around every corner there were free treats. At the Epcot event I had to refer to the After Hours event flyer several times to find where the food was.

    It's also impossible not to compare the number of rides available at the Magic Kingdom After Hours event. There were way more rides offered at Magic Kingdom. And the rides are all much closer together. In Epcot the footprint is huge. The rides are incredibly spaced out. So much of your time is spent walking.

    One thing that Epcot has over Magic Kingdom is entertainment. There were no character meets available at the Magic Kingdom event, and there was no DJ playing music throughout the park. I also don't remember nearly as many photopass photographers, but that could just be me not noticing them. Either way, Epcot had a ton of photo opportunities.

    One tip we learned the hard way, was that you cannot expect the Disney Skyliner to be your transportation at the end of the night. We were staying at Pop Century, and planned to end our evening with Remy. Unfortunately for us, the Skyliner did not run past midnight. So at 1am as the party was winding down, we learned the hard way that we would need to walk all the way back to the front of the park to get the bus. This felt like an oversight to me. Disney is usually great about keeping transportation running until parks are closed, but I suppose I should have paid closer attention to the times posted at the Skyliner stations. Lesson learned.

    At the end of the night we rode everything except Living with the Land and Nemo. And we could have done both if we had wanted to. The price for this party is less than the Magic Kingdom party. So even though there aren't as many rides, the cost reflected that. We felt it was a great value! Especially since my teenager didn't have a regular park ticket for this day. It was a great value for us!

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    See you at the parks,
    -Julie

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