Home » Disney » Disney World » Why Does the Magic Kingdom Close So Early?

Why Does the Magic Kingdom Close So Early?

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is the number one theme park in the world. 

Visitors familiar with other Disney parks may wonder why the Magic Kingdom at Disney World occasionally closes earlier than many others worldwide.

The Magic Kingdom in Orlando can close early for various reasons, including Special Events, Disney Service Celebrations, and planned maintenance. These events are scheduled, and Disney World posts its hours of operation on its official website and in the My Disney Experience App 60 days in advance.

This article explores why Magic Kingdom closes early and explains how guests can schedule their visit with these events in mind.

Special Ticketed Events

People are watching the Disney Christmas Parade.

Occasionally, the Magic Kingdom offers special ticketed events during the evening, closing the park to regular ticket holders.

Depending on the event, the park can close anywhere from 5 to 7 pm.

Disney publishes its park schedules 60 days in advance and has a one-day calendar and a Five-Day Calendar where guests can preview opening and closing hours before they buy their tickets. 

Guests should check the website or the My Disney Experience App for up-to-date information right before their visit, as hours of operation can change without notice. 

One thing to remember is that fewer people tend to visit on days when the park closes early, meaning smaller crowds and shorter wait times.

Holiday Parties

Magic Kingdom offers holiday events for guests of all ages, including Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. 

Regular park access closes early, and only guests with tickets for these events can enjoy the fun.

During these festive holiday parties, guests can attend themed performances and parades, see characters dressed in seasonal costumes, and experience the rides with decorations that only appear during the event.

Magic Kingdom After Hours

During Disney’s After Hours events, the park closes early to guests with regular tickets, but those with after-hours passes can enjoy the Magic Kingdom for an extra three hours. 

Because Disney only sells a limited number of After Hours tickets, ticketholders enjoy smaller crowds and shorter lines.

With an After Hours ticket, visitors receive special treats, such as ice cream, popcorn, and beverages for free.  

Some rides are not open during After Hours events, but most are. 

Visitors should check the list of available attractions before the event to be sure their favorites are operating. 

Extended Evening Hours

Disney also occasionally offers Extended Evening Hours to visitors staying at specific Walt Disney World hotels or resorts. 

Registered guests at Disney Deluxe Resorts, Disney Deluxe Villas, or the Swan Hotel, Dolphin Hotel, Swan Reserve, and Shades of Green can take advantage of these hours.

Over twenty rides and attractions remain open during these hours, and parkgoers enjoy much shorter lines. 

Some shops, food, and beverage locations also stay open late. 

Hotel guests can confirm which dates offer extended hours on the Disney World website and must have a valid park ticket for the day they want to attend.

Disney Service Celebrations

Walt Disney World celebrates its Cast Members with special anniversary events throughout the year. 

Disney Service Celebrations occur several times a year, and the Magic Kingdom closes early, between 4 and 5 pm, to prepare for and hold these EARidescent events. 

Disney Cast Members are honored for significant service milestones starting with their tenth anniversary. 

They can choose the evening they want to visit and bring their families to enjoy special foods, beverages, rides, music, and character meetings.

Third Shift Cleaning

A male employee is mopping the floor in a restaurant.

The Magic Kingdom is the most popular theme park in the world, attracting millions of people each year. 

With so many people moving through the park, things can get broken, and it can get quite messy by the end of the day. 

Between closing and opening Magic Kingdom, Cast Members working the third shift spend the night restoring the theme park to perfection before Rope Drop in the morning. 

The Cast Members working this shift clean and disinfect all surfaces, replace burned-out light bulbs, repaint chipped or peeling paint, replace dead or dying plants, and perform maintenance on rides and attractions. 

Sometimes, this takes longer than usual, and they may need to close earlier than originally advertised.

In addition to regular cleaning and maintenance, Cast Members have to decorate before the holidays with themed decorations, which can take extra time and cause the park to close early.


The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, occasionally closes early for special events or scheduled maintenance. 

Special events include Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Magic Kingdom After Hours, and Extended Evening Hours. 

The theme park also closes early to honor Cast Members during Disney Service Celebrations that occur periodically during the year. 

At times, Disney also closes early to handle excessive overnight maintenance or cleaning. 

Parkgoers should check the schedule online or in the My Disney Experience app a few days before visiting.