Are More Crowds Coming? Walt Disney World Extends Theme Park Hours

Walt Disney World Park Hours Extended - Feature

Planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort this spring? Park hours were just extended at three of Disney World’s four theme parks, and we’ve got everything you need to know ahead of your next vacation.

It is fairly common for theme park hours to be extended at the Walt Disney World Resort when larger crowds are expected, but that may not necessarily be the case in the coming weeks. With the cost of Disney Genie+ continuing to drop, we were surprised to see Park hours increase, as the lower price of Genie+ typically corresponds to lower crowd levels.

Whatever the reason, extended Park hours are always welcome here as they can help you make the most of your next trip to “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” Here’s what you need to know before your next trip.


Credit: Disney

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Magic Kingdom Park Hours Update – May 2023

According to Disney’s official website and the My Disney Experience app, the Magic Kingdom will now be open later than previously scheduled for the first week of May 2023. Specifically, from April 30-May 6, 2023, Disney World’s original theme park will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., where the Park previously had planned to close at 10:00 p.m.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park Hours Update – May 2023

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Park hours have been extended later in the evening for the first week of May. From April 30-May 2, 2023, Park hours have been extended by a half hour to 9:30 p.m. (previously, the Park was open until 9:00 a.m. with its 8:30 a.m. opening time remaining unchanged.) From May 3-6, 2023, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will stay open one hour later until 10:00 p.m. with the same 8:30 a.m. opening time.

If you are planning a trip to Hollywood Studios in early May, there are a couple of additional dates and refurbishments you will want to note. First, Fantasmic! is scheduled to undergo routine maintenance and will be closed on May 1 and 2, 2023. The show will reopen on May 3, and if possible, we recommend seeing Fantasmic! either earlier in April or later into May as the shows immediately surrounding the refurbishment will likely be more crowded.

Second, May 4 is an important day for Star Wars fans, and while there is still availability on the theme park reservation calendar for this date, it is possible that it will fill up before next month. (May 4 is also blocked out or out of reservations for some types of Walt Disney World Annual Passes.) If it is important for you to spend “May the 4th” in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll want to make theme park reservations asap, just to be safe.

Mickey during Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Credit: Disney

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park Hours Update – May 2023

Guests will be able to spend more time exploring Disney’s Animal Kingdom this spring as the Park is now set to both open earlier and stay open later than originally scheduled.

On April 30, and May 6, 2023 Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s hours have been updated to 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Prior to the update, this Disney Park was set to open 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., which has been its regular hours lately. Additionally, on May 1 and 5, 2023, Animal Kingdom will open one hour earlier at 8:00 a.m. and will close at its original closing time of 7:00 p.m.

Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours

Guests staying at any Disney Resort hotel can enjoy early access to each of the four theme parks with early entry. A replacement for the previously offered Extra Magic Hours, early entry lets Resort Guests into the Parks 30 minutes prior to day Guests. (If 30 minutes does not sound like much, consider the advantage it could have with experiencing attractions you may otherwise purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for, like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom.

Extended Evening Hours are only available to Guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. If you are able to take advantage of this benefit, you will be able to spend extra time in the theme parks after they close on select nights. As far as the dates noted in the extended hours update go, Deluxe Resort Guests will find Extended Evening Hours in EPCOT on May 1, 2023, and at the Magic Kingdom on May 3, 2023.

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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We always recommend checking current Park hours during your trip on the My Disney Experience app, as they are subject to change.

As of this writing, no other updates to Park hours have been made for EPCOT or for other dates in May 2023; however, it would not be surprising to see hours increase around Memorial Day weekend.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."