Disney World extends summer 2022 hours of operation, adds off-season to schedule
Walt Disney World added more hours to the schedule during the early fall low season at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, and extended hours before July 2022. This post covers the changes and an overview park reservation calendar and more.
Let’s start with the updated calendar. All four theme parks have had hours for another week added to DisneyWorld.com’s park hours, and the current schedule now runs through August 27, 2022. Here are the times for most of the newly added dates at the start of the season. Fall 2022:
- Magic Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Epcot: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Hollywood Studios: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Animal Kingdom: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Typhoon Lagoon: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Disney Springs: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays)
As a reminder, Walt Disney World’s normal practice is to publish boilerplate or fictitious hours before extending those based on projections of hotel attendance and occupancy. The norm for a few months has been an extra hour in the evening at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and a half hour in the morning at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. However, these overtime hours encompass the low season of early fall and are not likely to be extended if attendance drops as expected…
An exception to the above park hours is that beginning August 12, Magic Kingdom will close several nights a week at 6:00 p.m. for daytime guests for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2022 (MNSSHP). This separately ticketed event begins at 7 p.m. and runs until midnight, and typically takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout August 2022, with increasing frequency in September and October as Halloween approaches.
As covered in our Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2022 FAQMagic Kingdom is less people during the days when the Halloween parties take place. Due to the shorter hours, most customers avoid Magic Kingdom these days. Therefore, we recommend doing Magic Kingdom to start on those days, and Park Hopping elsewhere once MNSSHP begins.
In addition to these newly added hours, Walt Disney World has also extended park hours throughout July 2022.
For the most part, these are the same extensions that have occurred over the past few months. It started for spring break, continued through the slower period of May, and happened a few times for the start of the summer tourist season. Unsurprisingly, hours are now extended for peak dates in July…
Magic Kingdom continues to open at 9:00 a.m. daily, which has been its opening time for the past few months, even during the peak of Spring Break. It will remain open for an additional hour, until 11:00 p.m., until June 27, plus the following dates:
- June 29, 2022
- July 1-18, 2022
- July 20, 2022
- July 22-25, 2022
- July 27-30, 2022
This would suggest that Walt Disney World expects Tuesdays and Thursdays in late July to be less busy than the rest of the week; there is no data or historical precedent to back this up. However, he could become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, as planners see these dates an hour less and avoid them accordingly. Accordingly, you might consider visiting on these dates. (Wednesday evenings are slightly busier due to extended evening hours after the park is normally closed.)
UPDATE: The 10 p.m. closings in late June are due to Magic Kingdom hosting Cast Member EARidescent Evenings events. These do not seem scheduled for July 2022, and yet the same trend continues.
Epcot is extending its 8:30 a.m. opening streak through July 30, 2022. It’s still scheduled to close at 9:00 p.m. — hoping that will end up being at least 10:00 p.m. on Independence Day weekend.
Speaking of which, the calendar currently has Harmonious scheduled for 9 p.m. on July 4, and now notes that the Independence Day finale will take place immediately after.
This was expected, as New Year’s Eve took place this year, just as it had in the past following IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. (See our Guide to the 4th of July at Walt Disney World for more information.)
Therefore, we expect the Independence Day tag to be much the same as the “Heartbeat of Freedom” finale that was previously played on July 4, and will include fireworks launched from the rear of the adventure. American and barges in the lagoon for the blockbuster. , overwhelming finale offering a Hello to all nations of the showcase world, but especially to America.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also now open at 8:30 a.m., with early admission beginning at 8:00 a.m. until at least July 30, 2022. It will continue to close at 9:00 p.m. every night.
Finally, Animal Kingdom will continue to open at 8:00 a.m., with early entry starting at 7:30 a.m. It will now close at 8 p.m. until at least July 30, 2022.
On a tangentially related note, above is a preview of the Disney Park Pass schedule for the remainder of June 2022 as of this morning. At this point, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are gone for the rest of the month.
The reason it is yellow instead of gray is that EPCOT is available every day after today. Animal Kingdom also has availability for scattered dates.
Looking forward to July 2022, which is usually busier than June, and only July 4 at Magic Kingdom is booked. No other park is full for any date.
Even though July is still a few weeks away, it’s an interesting change. May and June started booking out about a full month in advance, although these months are (historically) slower than July. So that means park capacity is increasing next month, pent-up demand is starting to dry up, or people just aren’t booking theme parks that far in advance for some reason.
One (or both) of the first two explanations makes the most sense, but we don’t know which yet. While gas prices and rising airfares may start to impact attendance, we don’t expect that to happen until August 2022. Either way, we’ll be watching the data on wait times and crowd patterns to determine what is happening.
I won’t rehash my lengthy review of park hours here, except to reiterate that even Magic Kingdom’s extended park hours aren’t long enough. That’s the only red flag – the other 3 parks are generally okay, especially if you’re an early riser rather than a night owl.
During a normal summer, Magic Kingdom would be open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. most days. Those extra 2 hours a day may not seem like much, but they are important, especially at Walt Disney World’s most popular park. Magic Kingdom is still crowded until well after closing time, as it happens early by historical standards. There is never really a respite from the crowds, as there is in the other 3 parks early in the morning or in the evening.
Mornings at Magic Kingdom are even more brutal. Early entry and regular park opening (rope fall) probably isn’t even worth the work – just pay the money for the Genie+ service and arrive on your own. With more things to do in the park, crowds also tend to stay later in the Magic Kingdom, and 11 p.m. isn’t that late by historical standards. (Does anyone else remember the days of evening Extra Magic Hours that ended at 2 or 3 in the morning?!)
On the plus side, Magic Kingdom is the only park where Genie+ works quite well and provides a solid competitive advantage. You can easily score more than 5 good Lightning Lane ride reservations in Magic Kingdom, which is more than any other park.
Conversely, earlier opening hours at Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom make it easier to beat the crowds at these parks than they have in a long time. There’s a huge advantage for early risers, and savvy strategy or advanced-level know-how with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can be a game-changer.
To this end, we (once again) recommend to check Strategy Genie+ versus Savvy at Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive “testing” to determine the best and worst ways to beat mobs. You can also do very well in the evenings at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see what happens from here for the late summer and early fall off-season that begins in mid-August 2022. If Disney Park reservations Pass are a leading indicator there could be a slowdown in attendance — even a slight drop coupled with the current operating schedule would make crowds very beatable.
The good news in the short term is that EPCOT was incredibly bearable after Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened with manageable crowds and wait times. The The 1 p.m. virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind remained open for nearly a full hour several dayswhich makes joining incredibly easy (and a real benefit for customers rather than a liability!). If this trend continues, it’s likely that the virtual queue will be open after Park Hopping time by mid-August 2022 once schools resume classes and the off-season hits in full force!
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about the hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews. To save money on tickets or figure out which type to buy, read our tips for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips article takes a unique look at smart on-the-go items. To know what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of Walt Disney World’s opening hours for July and August 2022? Do you think this timeline is reasonable? Do you think Magic Kingdom should open earlier and/or later? Excited for the return of the Independence Day finale after Harmonious at EPCOT? Surprised that the Cosmic Rewind virtual queue doesn’t instantly fill up at 1pm? What was your experience with crowds and wait times? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback – even when you disagree with us – is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!