Walt disney world opens more ‘disney after hours’ event nights

If all you want to do at Disney is spend a day at the Magic Kingdom, Disney After Hours might be the most efficient way to do that. Tickets cost $125 plus tax in advance (with annual pass and Disney Vacation Club discounts available), which gets you into the park at 7pm during the day of the event. Then you can stay in the park for three hours after it closes to the public, enjoying all major attractions — and free soft drinks and Mickey ice cream bars — with a much smaller crowd.

The event effectively gives you between four to six hours in the park (depending upon its public closing time), during which you could be able to do as many, if not more, attractions than you could experience on a typically crowded full day, when you would be paying between $109-129 to visit the Magic Kingdom for a one-day ticket anyway.

Throw in a few free $5 ice cream bars, and you can make this a deal.

Of course, you can reduce the cost of a single day at a Disney World park to as little as $45 by buying multi-day tickets, but as I wrote earlier, if you don’t want to spend 10 days going to all four Walt Disney World theme parks and just want a single day at the Magic Kingdom instead (hey, theme park junkies, don’t scoff — some people are actually looking for that), a night at Disney After Hours might provide a more enjoyable experience than dealing with the regular daytime crowds. YMMV, of course.

Yet another Disney "cash grab". It may be "worth it" to attend these exclusive hard ticket after hours events, but at what point do they lose their value? The MNSSHP and MVMCP used to be seen as some of the best hard ticket events of the year with short lines and exclusive shows and parades to draw interest from frequent visitors looking to keep things fresh. However, these after hours parties are almost as overcrowded as a summer weekend with lines for the most popular attractions stretching even longer than they do during a normal operational day (with no FP to help guests out), and exclusive attraction and unique character meet lines stretching for hours.

What might seem like a great value today with relatively empty parks will eventually turn into another overcrowded night with guests paying a premium for the "privilege" to stay a few hours after the official closing, buoyed by the notion of unlimited ice cream, for whatever that’s worth. This expansion is no different than Disney’s other upcharge initiatives (like the $250 "media day" ticket, obscenely-priced dessert parties, and extra FP+ selection for guests staying on Club Levels by paying an extra $50) to increase overall revenue at any cost. Sadly, the Disney Drones soak this up, and seem to have no problems overdrawing their bank accounts to feed the whims of the Mouse. I doubt that money, or lines of credit, will ever dry up, but it is getting close to the point of insanity.

That’s the thing the_man, the driving force of a business the size of Disney is the bottom line. What might be a nearly empty park today for a $120 after hours event will turn into another shoulder to shoulder encounter for 5 hours at $150 or more 3 years from now. Disney has established such high expectations from its shareholders (somewhat like Apple) that they cannot stomach the thought of flat or mere 2-3% growth curves expected from a mature/blue chip business. They will always reach for that next 5%, even if it doesn’t make sound business sense, thus building in the necessity to build another 5% the following year. This is represented in the expanded dates for the upcharge parties and expanding calendar for the seasonal events (Halloween in the middle of AUGUST?????). At some point they will run out of day in the year and hours in the day, so the only options to grow will be to increase the prices or increase the number of people they let in, which is what has already happened to the seasonally themed parties. Disney is so drunk on growth that they can’t say "no" to allowing an extra 1,000 people into the park for an after hours party.

I don’t think it’s "hating" on these events or the people that attend them to project an existing pattern on these. I also didn’t say they weren’t a good value right now. However, it’s very clear that Disney is following the same mold with these that they did with the seasonal after hours parties, and based on the expansion and now overcrowding of those events, it’s very easy to see what will happen to these events as well. Disney cannot help themselves, and will eventually see the $$$ generated from these events, and will continue to expand the dates, increase the admission cost, and slowly increase the number of tickets available to each of these events.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these events TODAY, but as has happened with the MNSSHP and MVMCP, Disney will continue to expand the dates, jack up the price, and overcrowd the parks, slowly chipping away at the value and enjoyment of these generic after hours events. By all means, enjoy them while you can, but understand that the expansion of these is a clear indication that these will end up just like the seasonal parties, which while still holding some value depending upon your individual situation, have significant lost their value and enjoyment level in a mere 3-5 year span. Disney couldn’t limit themselves with those parties (events used to "sell out" all the time but the MK remained very manageable, but now only a couple of peak days "sell out", and even parties in early September and mid-November are shoulder to shoulder with longer attraction lines during the parties than during the normal operational day). It is an inevitability that Disney will eventually start increasing the number of guests they allow into these, even as they increase the prices and number of dates.