Evenings at WDW

I’m planning for a trip later this year - we have two kids, 13 and 8 and my plan was to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours most days, come away from parks after lunch, rest/pool time in the afternoon and return to a park in the evening for dinner and possibly a ride or show.
However this is proving difficult as I’m thinking my kids will need a decent bedtime so we won’t be able to take advantage of time in the parks into the late evening.
I definitely want to see the fireworks at MK and Epcot at least once.
What else would you recommend we don’t miss out, given that we won’t have many late nights?!

Happily Ever After castle projection show + fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. Hands down one of the most impressive after dark spectaculars I have seen!


What time of year are you going? or how late do you anticipate the parks being open - 9 or 10pm is very different than 1am.

Additionally, how long is your trip? Can you do a later morning after a nighttime show? If I had to pick two, MK and EPCOT would be my choices. I haven’t seen Fantasmic yet but Rivers of Light is not up to par with the other shows.

We’re going in August for two weeks but I’m conscious I don’t want to exhaust everyone by having full days and nights in the parks. I’m planning for the 8am Extra Magic Hours start times, sometimes MK looks like it will be open til midnight but I’m avoiding it on those evenings as it will be packed!

I’m definitely planning on doing MK and Epcot fireworks and the day after that we won’t have an early start but i wondered whether HS and AK are worth visiting after dark?

You’d think 2 weeks would be plenty of time wouldn’t you but I’m trying to plan time out by the pool too - it is meant to be a holiday after all!!

Two weeks is plenty of time to fit in 3 late nights.

I’d definitely do a HS late night, but not AK. EPCOT might be skippable? Not sure what show is supposed to be running by then, or how much of a mess the park will be. Seems pretty awful now, from reports, but seems like it should be more on the mend by the end of summer.


With as much time as you have you can have some days with free mornings, then use those for the nighttime stuff. That way you can avoid being exhausted at night. 2 of my 3 kids are your kids ages and they do fine with late nights, just not night after night after night of early AM and late PM.

You have two full weeks of park tickets?

I do have 2 weeks park hopper tickets but every time I look at having a day off and a late night in a park, there’s Extra Magic Hours the next day which I’m trying to make the most of. Think I’m just going to have to miss a few early mornings so we can experience some of the parks in the evening.
I was just after ideas of evening things ‘not to be missed’.
It’s a once in a lifetime trip for us so I don’t want to come home thinking I wish we’d done that!

We’ve never had the privilege of 14 full days, but we’ve gone 5 of 7 days with our 6 kids at a variety of ages. My kids could go a solid 3 days (and maybe more) full steam. I would likely try for every day rope drop with maybe every 2-3 days of late nights. If you are wrapping up a few days at 5/6 PM and getting to bed early-ish, the spread out late nights should be fine.

Thanks, I’m probably worrying too much about how much my youngest can manage but at home he’s on the go from the second he wakes until bedtime at 8pm. It will be his first time on a plane (from the UK) and his first proper holiday so excitement levels will be off the scale!!

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AK around sunset would be nice. Pandora and the tree of life are cool, but in August you wouldn’t have to stay super late for that.

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There is a strategy which I’ve used every time that involves avoiding the park with the EMH because many people will go there. But I’ve only ever had 5 park days, and 4 the first 2 visits. Avoiding crowds was very important to me. If you miss some of the EMH those might be your happiest days because you’ll have a much lesser crowd. I should also add my days have been very crowded because we went over Thanksgiving week. So crowds might not be as important to you. Overall you won’t know how your kids will react until you get there. They will be dealing with some jet lag that mine didn’t have so I can’t speak to that. But one of our favorite memories was riding splash mtn over and over with no wait around midnight. They ranged in age then from about 9 to 4.


I’m with @kitty_ellas_mom here - there is some merit in totally going against where EMH is at. Sure, you could get everyone up early and the park in question but so will an awful lot of people so that could counter any advantage you think you might be getting. It’s in the lap of the gods - you could get lucky, or it could be horrific.

If it were me, I’d look at the EMH hours in the evening more than the morning, but then again I don’t have kids to consider, I put my hands up there!