June 20, 2024

Disney World Extends Hours After Spring Break, Entertainment Changes & Genie+ Price Plummets

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Walt Disney World has extended hours at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom for the post-Spring Break period in late April 2024. This covers additions along with reductions to the entertainment schedule and to




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Walt Disney World has extended hours at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom for the post-Spring Break period in late April 2024. This covers additions along with reductions to the entertainment schedule and to the prices of the Genie+ service, plus zig when they zag strategy for the parks and everything else you should know.

We’ll start with the latest release of new operating schedules. All four theme parks have had hours added to DisneyWorld.com’s park hours, and the current calendar now runs through June 17, 2024. Here are the hours for most of the newly-added dates:

  • Magic Kingdom: 9 am to 10 pm
  • EPCOT: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Hollywood Studios: 9 am to 9 pm
  • Animal Kingdom: 9 am to 6 pm

As a reminder, Walt Disney World’s normal practice is to release boilerplate or placeholder hours before extending those based on attendance and hotel occupancy projections. This has been common practice for years, and will almost continue throughout 2024.

However, given the low to moderate crowd levels anticipated during shoulder season and that Magic Kingdom has already moved to 10 p.m. closings for summer, there’s actually a chance the May through mid-June 2024 hours will be pretty close to the final schedule.

It’s likely extensions will occur once Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens, but our expectation is that will be shortly after June 17, 2024. Also, given that Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a water ride, it will probably make more sense to move to 8 a.m. openings rather than 11 p.m. or midnight closings. More daylight hours will be better for absorbing crowds on that reimagined ride.

In any case, let’s dig into what’s been extended for the second half of April 2024…

Magic Kingdom

  • April 13, 2024: 8am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 14-18, 2024: 9am to 10pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 19-20, 2024: 8am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 21, 2024: 9am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 22-25, 2024: 9am to 10pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 26-27, 2024: 8am to 11pm (previously 9am to 9pm)

Given that all of these dates are after the peak of Spring Break season, this isn’t too shabby. As noted above, 9am to 10pm is the “new normal” for Magic Kingdom park hours once May and June roll around, so many of these dates amount to no extensions from the baseline.

That’s a big signal that Spring Break season is essentially over once April 14 rolls around. While our Spring Break crowd forecast has been spotty, we’ve predicted all along that Tax Day would mark the conclusion of the season, even if there are a few straggler school districts still out that week. These hours extensions seem to confirm that.

Still, opening at 8am and closing at 11pm on the weekends is nice to see. That probably has less to do with schools being out on break and more to do with the mix of locals and tourists, both of whom will have ticket deals to take advantage of during this timeframe. (For those who have asked, we’ll be closely monitoring crowd trends in light of the new ticket deals to see if Fridays, Saturdays and/or Sundays get markedly worse.)

Our expectation is that weekends will get busier, but not to the point that we’d recommend avoiding them–especially when Magic Kingdom opens earlier and closes later.

As a reminder, we highly recommend doing Magic Kingdom on an 8am opening day if your trip straddles both 8am and 9am opening days. Between the extra hour in the morning and another 2 at night, strategy becomes much easier–and that’ll be doubly true if crowds are “only” 7/10 or below.

I know we repeat this ad nauseum, but the strategic significance of Magic Kingdom opening at 8am instead of 9am cannot be overstated. Early Entry starting an hour later is almost useless, whereas it’s incredible at 7:30am. One hour makes a world of difference. See our 7:30 am Early Entry at Magic Kingdom ‘Party Season’ Strategy.

Another major Magic Kingdom signaling the end of Spring Break season is the reduction of parade performances, with Festival of Fantasy switching from twice daily showtimes to one. In its place, more calvacades performances have been added. Here’s the new schedule:

  • Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3 p.m. (previously noon and 3pm)
  • Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade: 10:30am and 11:45am (previously 5:10pm and 6:25pm)

This schedule runs for the duration of the current entertainment calendar, which is presently through May 4, 2024. It’ll likely continue beyond that throughout shoulder season, with the possibility of two Festival of Fantasy parade performances returning between Memorial Day weekend and June 10, 2024.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • April 12-13, 2024: 9am to 9:30pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 14-18, 2024: No extension 
  • April 19-21, 2024: 9am to 9:30pm (previously 9am to 9pm)
  • April 22-24, 2024: No extension 
  • April 25-27, 2024: 9am to 10pm (previously 9am to 9pm)

Again, not a huge surprise to see no extensions at all for many of these days. Even if they end up being slightly busier as a whole (and there’s no guarantee of that), we still recommend doing DHS on the 9:30pm or 10pm closing days.

Those 10pm closings are actually quite the surprise, as DHS didn’t extend to that even during the peak of Spring Break. It’s also interesting that the 10pm closing is occurring without an earlier opening (which did happen on countless occasions during the peak of Spring Break).

My best guess is that the cheer and dance championships being hosted at ESPN Wide World of Sports on those dates will result in a lot of participants in the park late, but not early. That would make sense, and it could be a scenario where DHS actually does see a significant spike in crowd levels due to those groups. That, or this could simply be a test for later hours at DHS and not motivated by internal attendance projections. Just a possibility to be aware of, as a lot of regular guests hate being around the cheer and dance groups.

The upside here is two showings of Fantasmic. Double-bonus: the second showtime is 30 minutes after park closing. We highly recommend seeing the second showing. It’ll effectively extend your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios by 30 minutes to an hour, which is more than you’ll get by jumping in line for a ride at the end of the night.

Equally as important, we’ve managed to see the second showing of Fantasmic from spectacular seats without arriving more than 5 minutes in advance of showtime. This has been the case even on evenings when the first performance was quite busy and seats filled up 30 minutes before showtime.

On those same busier days, the late performances of Fantasmic had multiple entire sections that went unfilled. I was able to snag the third row of a great section at (literally) 2 minutes before showtime, and that was on a busy day. That followed doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance shortly before park closing with an actual wait of under 20 minutes.

Even with the fear of cheer and dance groups, we’d still do Disney’s Hollywood Studios on those later closing dates. In fact, we will be doing exactly that. So if it turns out to be a spectacularly awful idea…we’ll be making the same mistake, not simply recommending it to others!

Animal Kingdom

  • Today through April 15, 2024: 8am to 7pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • April 16-18, 2024: 8am to 6pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • April 19-21, 2024: 8am to 7pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • April 22-25, 2024: 8am to 6pm (previously 9am to 6pm)
  • April 26-27, 2024: 8am to 7pm (previously 9am to 6pm)

The 8am opening time is clutch at Animal Kingdom. This means Early Entry at 7:30am, which is pretty sparsely attended. See Animal Kingdom Park Opening & Early Entry Ride Strategy (or, “How I Did Every Ride at DAK Before 10:30am.”)

Even if those end up being high crowd level days in Animal Kingdom, you can pretty much run the table on rides by taking advantage of Early Entry and being aggressive with rope drop and the first few hours of the day. The vast majority of guests cannot/will not get up that early. (Just look how many complaints there are about virtual queue start times being at 7am!)

At the opposite end of the day, our Animal Kingdom Afternoon Arrival Strategy is once again the ideal approach for this park in the back half of the day. You can accomplish a lot in the final few hours of the day.

But, if your plan is to arrive late and leave early, Genie+ can be a good option. After experiencing 8/10 and above crowds there (and seeing the Lightning Lane actually be valuable for stage shows!), we aren’t quite so assertive about Genie+ being categorically “bad” at DAK. It really depends.

As always, the schedule changes make it easier to beat crowds at those parks. There’s a huge advantage to early risers or night owls, and savvy strategy or knowledge of how to leverage Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can be a gamechanger.

We’re huge fans of leveraging Park Hopping and splitting most days into two half days. If your family is full of early risers and staying on-site, I’d be taking advantage of those Early Entry whenever possible, especially at DHS and DAK. I wouldn’t be doing any mornings at EPCOT, and would instead start the day doing Early Entry at the park that opens earliest and bounce around to leverage park hours and crowd dynamics.

To that end, check out our Genie+ v. Savvy Strategy at Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive ‘testing’ to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds. You can also do pretty well in the evenings at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios–and that’s somehow still true even now that Fantasmic is back. EPCOT is more of a wildcard–the dust still hasn’t settled on Luminous or the other new stuff there.

One final sign that Walt Disney World is past the peak of Spring Break is plummeting prices on Genie+ starting today. Here’s the before/after per-person costs:

  • Multi-Park: $29 (previously $39)
  • Magic Kingdom: $29 (previously $39)
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: $26 (was $35)
  • EPCOT: $21 (previously $32)
  • Animal Kingdom: $18 (previously $29)

Overnight, Walt Disney World dropped from all-time high pricing to more moderate levels. This is still high by historical (and even most of 2024) standards, but it’s a dramatic drop to occur overnight.

As Genie+ prices and park hours are usually a good proxy for crowd levels, this should be a sign of 4/10 to 6/10 crowds this week. Of course, Walt Disney World’s internal forecasts aren’t perfect, so wait times could end up exceeding that. Easter falling earlier than normal this year threw a bit of a monkey wrench into those predictions, and more districts than normal have delayed their recesses to avoid Mid-Winter Break and Spring Break being too close together.

The bottom line is that between the ticket deals and later breaks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see crowds in the next two weeks a bit on the elevated side. We’re still expecting the second half of the month to be fairly quiet.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of Walt Disney World’s operating hours for the second half of April 2024? Pleased with the earlier openings or later closings? Confused about the lack of extensions for certain dates, or EPCOT every day? What has been your experience with crowds and wait times? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!




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