I recently had a great opportunity to go and experience Disney After Hours (DAH) at Animal Kingdom. I thought I would start with all the things I was able to do during the 4 hours the park is only being utilized by the guests paying for DAH and ending with if I think it is worth it.
First, the attractions open included:
- Flight of Passage
- Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- Expedition Everest
- Rivers of Light
Unfortunately nothing in Africa was open (no food, no rides, no shops). Considering most of this section is Animals it is understandable (especially because it was a little chilly this night). However if you’re like me, the animals are my favorite section. I don’t necessarily mean the Safari ride, though Kilimanjaro Safaris is a great ride I really enjoy the walking trails with both the gorillas behind it and the tigers over in Asia’s walk behind Kali River Rapids.
That is getting the negative out of the way! Here are the humungous perks! These pictures above you probably recognize as an average day in Animal Kingdom. A lack of fast passes could have you waiting in line practically all day for only a couple rides. (the stacked wait times under the 2 ranged from 25-40 min on both days I snapped these screen grabs). Now take a look at the wait times from the After Hours event.
Now this screen grab is at 11 o’clock with an hour left in the event. If you know Disney and or your way around the app you know that the bottom left of the picture is Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey–the current most popular rides at Disney World, and these wait times are basically unicorns. The park closed at 8 PM and the wrist bands got you in lines after the closing time. But the kicker is they still have to clear the lines of regular park guests, that being said the wait times for Flight were not posted until around 10:30 that night but ALL the rides had us walking through the FastPass lines so I would expect that you just joined the FP line if you got to Flight at the beginning of the event.
The event also included:
- Ice Cream
- Mickey Bars
- Fruit Bars
- coke products
don’t forget to take a spare popcorn and coke for the trip back to the hotel 😉
My recommendations if you ARE Definitely going:
- Wait to go to Pandora, I know you’re excited for the short waits in Pandora! But go do the rest of the park first and let the lines from regular park admission guests die down. Go ride Everest & Dinosaur. Do pretty much everything else first.
- See Rivers of Light, if you have been putting off Rivers of Light, this is a great opportunity to see this show without being crammed in the stadium seating. Go grab a popcorn and a drink and kick up your feet.
- Do EVERYTHING multiple times, my friends and I hit every single open attraction and definitely had time to do seconds of pretty much everything.
- Take pictures, you may never see a park more empty again. Take full advantage of no one being in the background of your pictures. (there are no characters and there are no photo pass cast members at this event, so bring your good camera if you’re so inclined).
Now, if you’re on the fence. Should you go to After Hours?
- The cost: the tickets are $125 a person no matter the day, park, or age of guest. These prices are as much as a regular park ticket
- Your access to the park is for roughly 3 hrs. Depending on the day the event can be as early as 8 PM and as late as 10 PM. When I went to the event they did have an early admission but I was only there about 30 min early so I am unsure as to how early they will allow you in.
- there are SHORT waits and included goodies.
- not everything is open, however the rides with the longest wait times generally are giving you a rare opportunity to not even need a fast pass!
- I would recommend this to families with teenagers that love to stay up late. I would use this as a regular park ticket and not in conjunction with since the price is going to be basically the same as the regular ticket. Lay low for a day and go to the event and enjoy your reduced wait times 🙂