Park hours, historically speaking

I was playing around with some of my May touring plans when I realized something.

On Sunday, May 17, my plan is to stay for the fireworks. It is the only day we plan to stay beyond dinner at the MK. As such, I also wanted to tour around Tomorrowland to see the lights at night.

Touring Plans currently has the park listed as closing at 9:00 pm, even though last year, same day (not date) it was open until 10:00. Anyhow, when I check the Sunrise/Sunset calendar for Orlando, the sun doesn’t even set until after 8:00, and twilight isn’t until after 9:00…so, wouldn’t Disney keep the park open later to ensure the fireworks isn’t until after it is dark?

This gives me an extra hour to work with in planning. I’m just kind of surprised TP has it defaulting to 9:00 pm.

I was very frustrated planning my last trip b/c we were going over Thanksgiving again like we did the previous 2 times (2014 and 15) and yet the closing hours listed were soooooo early. As predicted by pretty much every WDW blogger I read they extended them at about a month out, and to levels that were on par with our past experiences. And they extended them again very shortly before we arrived. However, I did look back at the TP historical hours for those days (not the exact days, but the days around when Thanksgiving week was those years) and saw that there were much shorter hours in the years we didn’t go (2016 - 18)—so I guess we just got lucky. I guess the moral of my story is that you have a pretty good chance but not 100% chance of getting the extra hour.

In your experience, would this change the time of the fireworks and the dessert party? I’ve already booked a dessert party at MK in May and I fear if it starts any later and my littles will be asleep or ridiculously cranky.

When in May?

May 5. The reservation is for 7:30. I can’t imagine they would change everyone’s reservation times, right? Or no…?

Same day last year, while park closed at 10:00, the fireworks were at 9:00.

Hmm. Come to think of it, I didn’t notice until just now that the same is true for our day from last year…park closed at 10:00, but fireworks were at 9:00. Interesting. I guess it is “dark enough”.

I mean, TP uses last years hours as the park hours estimate UNTIL Disney release hours 180 days in advance. Then they change to match Disney.

Yeah…I think the hours Disney releases at 180 days are the MINIMUM hours so that dining reservations can begin…but later they can expand the hours.

Anyhow, I submitted a request to TP to allow the user to override the park hours, including beyond what is advertised as park hours (but with just a warning) so that we can plan. Right now, if I change the closing time to 10:00 pm, it won’t let me, and reverts back to 9:00.