My after-action report: what worked, and what didn't

Hi, all! We (DM 68, DB 37 and myself 33), just finished a 10 day Disney trip, including a 1 night side trip to universal for Harry Potter.

I highly recommend the after dark ticket for animal kingdom. Going from park close till midnight, AK had all of the big rides still open, and the ques were basically deserted. We rode Everest twice, dinosaur and primeval whirl once, and Na’vi river journey and flight of passage 3 or 4 times each. Thats like 2 or 3 days worth of rides in a 4 hour span. Plus, Pandora looks absolutely amazing at night. The soundscape, and the glowing plants make you truly feel like you are on another world. The free snacks were just bottled drinks, popsicles and ice cream. I wouldn’t count on them to replace a meal, but a few of the quick service places were open. You need to show an after hours wristband (not a magic band) to get onto the attractions. We got ours at a guest experience stand just off of the tree of life plaza around 7. We overheard a bunch of people who were frustrated because they were turned away from a ride when they bought the after hours tickets, but hadn’t gotten the wristband yet. Don’t be like them. Get your wristband early. Overall, after hours was an incredible experience, and well worth it.

For people staying on the resorts, the extra magic hours could be a blessing and a curse, I got to the rope drop of AK (did I mention I love Pandora?) And got to both Na’vi river and flight of passage by 930. The rest of the day though… 180 minute waits for flight of passage, 120 for river journey. I would recommend coming for rope drop, do flight, then river, then FP for flight again 90 minutes after park opening, then do all the other stuff around AK if you wish. Alternatively, with PH+, go do another park. For people without access to extra hours… Stay away. Not worth the struggle.

I would schedule your attempt at starwars early in your trip. Rise of the resistance is fantastic, but they are still working out the kinks. On our first attempt we tried to board 3 times, only to be turned away because the ride was down. We got an anytime fastpass for our trouble, and got to ride at a later day. Until the reliability goes up, to make sure you get a chance, go early, go often.

DM 68 was able and ready to walk all through the parks, but was very nearly wiped out by the MK fireworks. If you or any one in your party has trouble standing in 1 spot for up to 90 minutes, after a full Disney day, I would try renting a scooter just to rest on, even if you’ve been ok for the rest of the trip.

Late night Disney: Not an official thing, but I noticed a definite clearing out in the last couple hours of MK, HS, and Epcot. Pandora in AK still had pretty long lines all the way up to park close. Notably, galaxies edge cleared out quite dramatically, presumably as people left the park after their boarding group was called. Granted, this was in the slow season, but I ran smugglers run 12 times after 5 (6 in the regular line, 6 in single rider, which skips the pre-ride animatronic show.) Compared to 60-90 minutes during the day. As a guess, I would predict that as long as they are using boarding groups for rise of the resistance, HS will slow down a bit in the evening.

If you are planning a side trip to universal for Harry potter, a one day, two park ticket with express pass was enough to do everything in diafon alley and hogsmeade, including all the interactive wand stuff, Except Hagrids ride, which didn’t offer express pass entry. If you don’t spend too much time in the shops, you could probably squeeze in Hagrids as well. Universal rides don’t have the nifty on ride storage that Disney rides do, so you have to stash bags in lockers outside of the ride queue, I would recommend paring down to the bare essentials, and have one party member stash phones and wallets in a buttoned pocket. Hagrids ride is a cell phone flinger.

I had a wonderful time, and I hope you all do too! Maybe my experience will help you out.


Thanks for sharing! We are considering the animal kingdom after hours and your review is helpful. We may book it!

thanks for writing!

Thank you for posting. DS16 and I have tickets for AK after hours when we go in May, I’m really excited, we have not seen Pandora at night and did not get to ride Dinosaur or Navi on our first trip.

Thanks for the feedback. I should also note that after hours passes have limited availability, so even though they can be bought day of, they might be sold out by then.

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