One of the best ways to get the most out of your Walt Disney World Resort vacation is to stay on property. There are dozens of Disney-owned hotels with various themes, neighborhoods, and price ranges.
Disney Resort Benefits
Guests receive many perks when staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
In addition to staying inside the Disney bubble, you receive convenient (and free) transportation to and from the theme parks, can access Lightning Lanes earlier than other guests, and can get extra time in the theme parks.
This latter feature has changed over the years, with rotating theme parks and the time-varying. Currently, guests staying on Disney property are allowed early theme park entry and extended evening hours in select parks on certain days.
Starting this fall and winter, Walt Disney World Resort will offer guests extended evening hours at Animal Kingdom. As the newest Disney park in Orlando, the theme park was often considered a “half-day” park when it first debuted in 1998 and usually closed before nightfall.
Even in more recent years, as the list of attractions has grown with the addition of Expedition Everest and Pandora – the World of Avatar, Animal Kingdom Park has yet to allow guests to stay late. This is in large part because the theme park has many animal inhabitants.
As such, Disney often avoids anything that would disrupt their animals from getting a good night’s sleep. This is why Animal Kingdom avoids nighttime parades and fireworks and, until recently, didn’t allow guests to stay late into the night.
Animal Kingdom Open Late
Beginning November 8, guests staying at select hotels will be able to access certain rides and attractions within the theme park, including Avatar: Flight of Passage, DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to be a Bug!, TriceraTop Spin, Na’vi River Journey, and character meet and greets.
For the first time, extended evening hours for eligible WDW hotel guests will be available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park on Nov. 8. Additional confirmed dates: Nov. 22, Dec. 4, and Dec. 28. Here’s the list of attractions: pic.twitter.com/7O6ZBZXcCy
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) September 14, 2023
Since most of these attractions are at the front of the park rather than the back, this might be why Disney finds it acceptable to allow Animal Kingdom to stay open late. Since most animals are in the Africa and Asia sections of the park (with a few in Discovery Island), there are few, if any, inhabiting spaces in Avatar or DinoLand USA; as such, guests experiencing some of the attractions at night may not be that disruptive to the theme park’s animals. But who knows?