Skip to Content

A Less-than-Magical Review of Magic Kingdom After Hours and What to do if the Night is a Bust

A Less-than-Magical Review of Magic Kingdom After Hours and What to do if the Night is a Bust

For a stress-free Disney or Universal Studios vacation, let the FREE expert planners at Royal Carriage Vacations take care of every detail including dining reservations, applying discounts, and onboard cruise credit.

After Hours is an event allowing you to experience the park in a new way. But, what happens if the night doesn’t go as planned? What can you do about a less-than-magical evening at Disney?

My husband and I attended an After Hours event at Magic Kingdom as our date night during our family trip.

We spent three hours exploring the park after it closed to regular daytime guests, and it pains my heart to write this review. However, I think it’s important to see both sides of the coin, and I learned a good lesson that night that I’d like to share.

So a little back story…the night of the event we experienced bad weather. We had spent all day and evening at Epcot, and there was a downpour for a good part of the evening. I am not joking when I say my feet and shoes were so wet I could feel and hear my toes squishing around in my shoes as we were walking out of Epcot.

After getting the kids in bed (my parents were staying with us), changing clothes, and doing my best to dry my shoes with the hair dyer, we made our way to Magic Kingdom. We were staying at Shades of Green so it was a 10 minute walk to the Polynesian Resort where we caught the monorail over to Magic Kingdom at 9 pm.

Thankfully, the rain had stopped and we thought date night would be good to go!

We had no trouble getting into the park and getting our wristbands. My husband was really excited to ride Space Mountain so we headed there first. Imagine our disappointment when we found out there were electrical issues and it was not in operation.

They could not give us any time frame for when it would be back up and running so we headed over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

We were told the same thing at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – there was something going on and that ride was closed too. Our only guess was that the rain shut the outdoor rides down (even though it wasn’t raining anymore), but that didn’t really explain why Space Mountain was closed since that attraction is indoors.

We thought maybe the electrical issues only affected some of the rides, and unfortunately, the ones affected were the popular attractions.

We spent the next few hours riding the indoor rides, grabbing snacks and drinks, checking out the shops that we never get to browse with 4 kids in tow, and meeting the princesses in Fairytale Hall. My husband was not impressed with the fact that we paid $250 for us not to ride any headliner coasters as he did not care for the “kiddie” rides.

I love it all so I didn’t care one bit what we did, but I was pretty disappointed as well.

We both really enjoyed looking at all the murals on Cinderella Castle up close.

It was breathtaking seeing Main St. from Cinderella Castle. We were there at Christmastime, and it really felt like something out of a movie. I wish I had gotten better photos and videos, but I was totally lost in the moment.

We also did not have to wait for the Rapunzel Lantern photo or any of the 18 million photos we took in front of Cinderella Castle or the icon tree up and down Main St. That was nice to have several photos just the two of us at a special time of the year when Magic Kingdom is decorated so festively.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rapunzellantern.jpg

We finally got to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, grabbed some more snacks, and kept checking My Disney Experience hoping to see updated attractions. We finally saw Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was operating at like 11:30 p.m. – 30 minutes before the event was over.

Well, we got on and then the ride got stuck. We sat there for about 15 minutes, and by the time we got moving again, we were both over it. After we got off Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we had pretty much decided it was time to leave as it was nearing closing but decided to check MDE to see if Space Mountain was operating.

It was. We were disappointed because we were so ready to leave. Our feet and legs were tired. Our shoes were still a little wet. Lesson learned: bring more than one pair of shoes.

So we decided to leave. We kept telling each other the whole night we were going to talk to Guest Services and find out what the deal was and how they could help us out. Well, we didn’t but I told myself I would talk to someone before the end of our trip. We had already attended MVMCP and After Hours but still had two regular park days ahead of us.

The week was over and we went home without talking to Guest Services. I wish I had because it was a waste of $250 for us, but I also understand the weather is something Disney cannot control. The tickets do say nonrefundable and nontransferable, but I had heard stories of refunds or allowing guests to attend on a different night.

Recently, guests attending MVMCP received complimentary tickets or a refund for bad weather.

So my lesson is this: the weather (or any other uncontrollable circumstance) can put a damper on your plans. You may not get to do everything you want or feel you are getting your money worth. You should still look for the beauty in all things, though. We absolutely loved taking our time around Magic Kingdom, looking at the decor and gifts. Main St. was absolutely breathtaking at night all lit up and music playing.

It was a totally different experience than during a normal day, and I am thankful we got to experience that.

If you would like to read a more positive review, go HERE. If you are curious to see if there are any After Hours events during your trip, go HERE.

Have you ever had the weather or other circumstances ruin your plans at Disney? How did you handle it? Head over to the KtP facebook group and share your experience!

-Monica S.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Joy Vining

Thursday 9th of January 2020

I've done MK After hours this year Nov 18 and it was one of the best events we've ever been to in our 26 years going to Disney. In the 3 hours we road SDMT 9 times, did Big Thunder tons and all the other rides. Nothing was down and it was an experience I can't wait to do next summer. The park was completely empty. Even at sold out it was a ghost town. So much my daughter felt we reserved the entire park to ourselves. We also did Early Morning Toy Story last year and it was also amazing. It sounds like you guys got random pockets of bad nights and obviously weather is unpredictable but I'd defy do it again because it was so worth every penny. Sorry you didn't have the same experience.


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

We had a similar experience. We have attended several AHE at MK and one at DHS. The nights at MK 7 dwarves mine train was down all night for 2 of the 3 times we attended and I believe Space Mountain was as well. We still had a great time, but it made me wonder was it more than a coincidence that the rides were down both times. I love Disney and was really looking forward to riding 7DMT especially without a long line. Oh well I would go again, but if it happens again I am going to talk to guest services.

Tammy Bortscheller

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Our family of four paid for Early Morning Magic at the MK in July. One of the main reasons for doing this ticketed event was to ride SDMT multiple times, as we had done it in a previous year. Sadly, it was down the entire time of the event. They did extend the use of our wrist band until 10 am initially for just SDMT, but when it still wasn’t up and running, they allowed anyone with the wristband to use the FP line until noon on ALL Fantasyland rides. Luckily, Mine Train opened up and we were able to ride it twice before needing to get to our FP.


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

I would email guest services and just tell them your story. I don't know how often you go but they may offer you something for a future trip. You never know. I have found that's it's easier to deal with them by email than in the parks anyway. And on a crappy rainy day they are getting all kinds of requests and it does get overwhelming!


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Guest Services would not have done anything. I know this because we had almost the exact same experience with AK After Hours. Poured down rain for half of the evening, then an electric surge took out most of the indoor rides. They came back online in the final 75 minutes of After Hours. Cast members at River of Lights told everyone to talk to Guest Services as we were leaving, which we all did. Guest Services told everyone that because the weather eventually cleared and the rides did eventually come back online, there would be no refund or do-over for the night.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.