When the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened last month, the hours for the parks seemed to be set in stone for a while. Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been open 8:00-6:00, Magic Kingdom 9:00-7:00, Disney’s Hollywood Studios 10:00-8:00, and Epcot 11:00-9:00. Each park has been open ten hours, and the openings and closing were staggered. The hours were listed that way on the Walt Disney World calendar as far as hours were released for. Things are going to change next month.
On August 7, new hours were listed on the Walt Disney World website. The change will begin on September 8. The new hours in the same order as above are Disney’s Animal Kingdom 9:00-5:00, Magic Kingdom 9:00-6:00, Disney’s Hollywood Studios 10:00-7:00, and Epcot 11:00-7:00. Disney Springs remains open 10:00-10:00. The hours are listed that way through October 31. No hours are given starting November 1, except for Disney Springs.
Disney is not trying to pull over anything on anyone by cutting back the hours that the theme parks are open. In fact, I received a notification on the My Disney Experience app, stating that hours have changed. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but right after the notification was sent out I was no longer able to get onto the Disney Park Pass reservation page, I received an error message. The error didn’t last long. Also, it clearly states “Operating Hours Subject to Change” on the Walt Disney World calendar. That’s a direct copy/paste.
I can understand why hours are being cut back. With the exception of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it is easy to do everything that you want in the theme parks right now, and still have time left over. People have been leaving early, which makes for empty parks the last couple of hours of the day. Disney is a business, and the final one or two hours have not been profitable. Plus after Labor Day the Value Season begins, which always means shorter park hours. Labor Day this year is September 7.
There are a couple of things that make me sad about the new hours, though. I miss seeing the theme parks after dark. I have enjoyed staying at Epcot until closing just so I can see Spaceship Earth in her glorious nighttime colors. The other thing that I’m sad about is that this will make it even harder to get a Boarding Pass for Rise of the Resistance. There will be one less hour that people will be able to ride.
I have enjoyed almost every second that I’ve been back at Walt Disney World. The short lines are wonderful, and it’s nice to not be tripping over people. I haven’t been kicked or pushed while waiting in a line since before the parks closed! If Disney needs to cut back on hours in order to remain open, I’ll take it. If I were coming on vacation, though, I am not sure how I would feel. Then again, knowing me, I’d look at it as a chance to sleep in a little bit later and go to bed a little bit earlier. A full day in a theme park can be exhausting.