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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park to shorten evening hours starting this September

in Disney, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Though no official announcement has been made it’s quite clear to see if you look at the schedule on Walt Disney World’s website that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park will shorten its evening hours starting this September. Beginning September 6th, Animal Kingdom’s operating hours will change drastically, going from a late evening closing time of 11 p.m. to 9 p.m.

In October the park will have a closing time of 7 p.m. and 6 p.m. for most of November and December. The week of Christmas and New Year’s will get a smidgen more generous closing time of 8 p.m.

It’s really anyone’s guess as to why Animal Kingdom is changing its hours when they just earlier this year debuted tons of offerings to keep guests in the park during the nighttime hours.

In an email sent to Orlando My Way, Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger confirmed that the nighttime offerings would still be continuing even though the evening hours are getting slashed.

“We will continue to offer new nighttime experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including Kilimanjaro Safaris, the awakening of the Tree of Life, Tiffins restaurant and more. We will continue to adjust our hours and will remain open after sunset to deliver those experiences for our guests. As sunset gets earlier, we will be able to offer these experiences earlier than we have in the summer.”

Unfortunately the much-anticipated nighttime show ‘Rivers of Light’ seems to be no closer to a premiere date and unofficial sources has reported that the limited-engagement show ‘The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic’ will be closing September 5th, which leaves the park without a nighttime show for the foreseeable future.

Though Walt Disney World’s operating hours are always being adjusted it is hard to picture the park being able to offer guests much of a nighttime offering when closing as early as 6 p.m. Unfortunately it does seem that Animal Kingdom is regressing back to being a ‘half-day’ park, at least until Avatar land debuts next year.

Will you miss the later closing time of Animal Kingdom? Or did you still think it was just a ‘half-day’ park?

7 Comments

  1. Don’t the parks usually shorten their hours across the board during the fall and winter?

  2. Jeremy

    It’s definitely going back to a half park. During our trip, the hours are 7 and the sun sets at 6:30 which definitely isn’t enough time for “nighttime” offerings. I’m pretty unimpressed wth the progress on Animal Kingdom

  3. John Biel

    I was planning on going on November 4th. They have a closing time of 6pm with a sunset at 6:30pm. So, no, there aren’t going to be too many night time offerings like the representative said.

  4. EricJ

    They SAID it was because of the earlier fall nights, which is true of the other parks. Less crowds and earlier evenings mean MK doesn’t stay open till 11 (or 1am on EMH) like they do in the long summer.)
    And having been at AK on EMH nights with -no- “evening events” yet, I’ll add that AK is a pretty frustrating and hazardous place to walk in the dark–Hope they add a little more lighting with their new Nighttime events.

  5. Bob Foiles

    I was going to go the evening of 9/12 but after seeing all I have seen online I think I will just stay at MK that evening.

  6. PATRICIA MACIEJEWSKI

    AFTER VISITING DISNEY WORLD OVER 1,000 TIMES (WE WERE EASTERN AIRLINES EMPLOYEES AND WERE THERE IN1971 AND ORLANDO RESIDENTS FOR MANY YEARS) I MUST CONFESS THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTED. NOW LIVING ING IN GORGIA AND STILL VISIT OFTEN. HAVE RESERVATIONS AT THE ARTOF ANIMATION RESORT DEC.1 THRU DEC.8 AND WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO FINALLY GETTING TO SEE ANIMAL KINGDON AT NIGHT LIKE THE BROCHURES WEHAVE RECEIVED HAVE DESCRIBED. OTHER PARK HOURS SEEM TO HAVE BEEN SHORTENED ALSO. REALLY DISAPPOINTED – YES IT IS STILL ONLY A 1/2DAY PARK. SORRY. :=((

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