Closing Down the Magic Kingdom
Did you know Magic Kingdom does not shut down abruptly at closing time!?!? You will have about an hour or so to meander through the park. While the attractions will be closed as well as most of the restaurants, some of the shops and restaurants will remain open for up to an hour. Most of the park patrons will be rushing for the exit, but you do not have to follow suit! Below are some benefits to staying in the Magic Kingdom after closing…
Take your time - Hanging out in Magic Kingdom after closing allows you time to enjoy the details as crowds dwindle. The parks are beautiful in the dark. You can enjoy the sounds of the background music without the wall-to-wall people. With less crowds, you can also appreciate the Imagineer’s attention to detail throughout the spaces of Seven Dwarfs Mine train, Gaston’s Tavern, the Enchanted Forest by Belle’s Cottage, and Tomorrowland. Keep in mind…you will be gently moved by cast members toward Main Street USA. A quick note…when you stay late at Magic Kingdom, you will be rewarded with the ‘Kiss Goodnight’ at Cinderella’s Castle. It is a great experience few visitors get to have.
Be sure to have your camera ready - You can capture great souvenir photos during this time. Unobstructed views and not feeling rushed with guests trying to run you over often lead to some great photo shots. You can also grab pictures of your family without anyone photo-bombing you! It is also one of the best opportunities to take pictures of Cinderella Castle. Another great photo opportunity is to get a shot of your family on an uncrowded Main Street U.S.A.!
Late-night hunger - Casey’s Corner, Main Street Bakery (Starbucks), and Plaza Ice Cream Parlor will often remain open for a stretch after closing. Grabbing a late-night snack, an evening coffee, or an ice cream cone to enjoy while you wander the park is always a good idea in my eyes!
Shop until you drop - Staying in Magic Kingdom after closing allows extra time to find souvenirs in the shops along Main Street USA. The shops are usually busy during this time, but the shopping will not take away from park time!
FastPass+ selections – Be sure to schedule your FastPass+ selections for high-demand attractions during your first few hours in a park. As the crowds ease up, pick up additional FastPass+ selections for lower-demand attractions and start shifting to standby lines.
Maximize the last two hours of the day - Most early risers do not make it to park closing. But you, my friendly ‘night owl’ vacationer are a different breed! The last two hours prior to park close are when lines start dropping and crowds start diminishing, so think about what attractions you want during this time. Also, be sure to ride the attractions that are the most fun in the dark…like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, and Dumbo.
Get in line prior to park close - You can get in line right up until the park closes (except for attractions that close early or character meet-and-greet lines that are cut). This is a good time to be willing to gamble on a line with a longer wait time listed. These wait times may discourage people from doing precisely what you are doing.
Dining outside of ‘Prime Time’ – Peak meal times at restaurants and lounges are always slammed. If you are going to be up late, plan a meal early or later in the available time windows. You will get to enjoy lighter crowds and more attention from characters (if it’s a character meal).
Pool party at the resort - You are probably asking yourself what does a pool have to do with staying out late?!?!? If you are traveling with kids or you want to start your day in a leisurely fashion, staying at a hotel with a great pool allows you to spend the hottest (and most crowded parts of the day) relaxing near or in water with your beverage of choice. If you are not a pool person, take a trip down to shop or dine at Disney Springs!
Getting back to the resort - Complimentary resort transportation (including buses, monorails, and boats) generally operate from 45 minutes before a theme park’s opening time until one hour after a theme park’s closing time. The lines will likely be reduced and you will have a nice ride back to your resort!
Special Ticketed Events – If you are interested in a nighttime event filled with attractions, character greetings, and a dash of pixie dust…be sure to speak with your On The Road Disney Vacation Planner about purchasing tickets to Disney After Hours, Villains After Hours, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, or Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom.
You are now set for an awesome late night at Magic Kingdom!