The Magic Kingdom is certainly no stranger to upcharge events, with guests happily paying between $60-$90 every year to experience seasonal events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Though the price is steep (and seems to keep climbing year after year), guests attending these after hours events get to enjoy special entertainment offerings, exclusive food options, and choice character meet and greet opportunities.
However, news site WDWNT reported yesterday that a new upcharge event for the Magic Kingdom is coming soon that includes…none of these. Named Magic Kingdom After Hours, this reported new event will take place select nights in April and May, and will cost guests an exorbitant $150 per person (adult or child). So what do you get for that price? Surprisingly...not a whole lot
1. Introducing Magic Kingdom After Hours
If you’ve ever stayed on property at a Walt Disney World resort, then you’re probably aware of Extra Magic Hours, which is a perk given to resort guests that allows them access to a specific park for a few hours either before it opens or after it closes. Extra Magic Hours has been a valuable benefit for onsite guests over the years especially at the Magic Kingdom, as wait times for popular attractions like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the Princess Fairytale Hall are typically nonexistant with less guests in the park.
Similarly, Magic Kingdom After Hours guests will now be able to experience attractions with lower crowds for a full three hours after the park closes on event days, without the on-property requirement.
According to the reports published yesterday, there will be no special entertainment or food during this limited time event. The park will simply remain open to those taking advantage of this upcharge event.
Although this sounds a lot like Extra Magic Hours, it's worth noting that this new event isn't scheduled on Extra Magic Hours nights at this park. During this initial test run, Magic Kingdom After Hours will be offered on April 14th, 21st, 28th and May 5th, 8th, 12th, and 19th. Of course, like any upcharge event, if Magic Kingdom After Hours proves to be popular with guests, Disney will likely extend the event out indefinitely, offering it on select dates throughout the year.
If you are interested in attending this event, reports indicate that tickets will go on sale for Magic Kingdom After Hours on April 6th for all the dates listed above.
2. So what will happen to Extra Magic Hours?
On the surface, this event seems like an easy way for Disney to make non-resort guests pay for Extra Magic Hours, and those who have benefitted from this resort perk might wonder if this might be the beginning of the end for this popular program (if Disney can monetize it, why continue to offer it for free?). However, it seems unlikely that Disney would make this move, especially since Extra Magic Hours is one of the biggest reasons why guests are willing to pay a premium for an on-site hotel stay. While it's impossible to quantify how much weight guests give to benefits like Extra Magic Hours when deciding on whether or not to stay on Disney property, it seems unlikely that Disney would gamble too recklessly with this popular perk.
However, if Magic Kingdom After Hours is indeed a success, what we could see as a reult is a reduction in evening Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom specifically, as Disney looks to monetize this new event as much as possible without getting rid of the Extra Magic Hours program completely. Though it seems crazy to pay $50 per person, per hour, to stay in the Magic Kingdom late at night, we don’t know how limited this experience will be, and depending on how many people Disney is going to allow in the parks for this “exclusive” event, it could be a success if even a few thousand people take advantage of it.