27 August 2009 by Walt Disney World Recreation Examiner - Peggy Macdonald
As summer slips away, most Walt Disney World theme parks start to close earlier. The Magic Kingdom, which often remains open until 11 p.m. or later on busy summer nights, closes as early as 7 p.m. on select nights from September through November. Wishes, the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks show, will not be performed on the nights when the park closes at 7 p.m. Instead, a special holiday-themed fireworks show will take place later in the evening for guests at the Magic Kingdom's holiday parties.
The 7 p.m. closing time is reserved for nights when Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held between September and November 1; and when Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on select dates in November in December. Separate admission is required to attend these holiday parties, which last from 7 p.m. to midnight.
On days when there is no holiday party, the Magic Kingdom closes between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in September; at 9 p.m. in October (on five nights the park stays open until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.); and from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. most nights in November (the park stays open until 10 p.m. during Thanksgiving Week, November 21-28). Walt Disney World resort hotel guests can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom on select nights. During Extra Magic Hours, some of the theme park's most popular attractions are open to resort guests for an additional three hours after the park closes for general admission guests. In the mornings, select theme parks open an hour early for Extra Magic Hours.
Disney's Animal Kingdom closes at 5 p.m. each night in September. The park remains open an additional three hours for Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests on select dates. Animal Kingdom closes between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. in October and November; additionally, the park remains open until 7 p.m. between November 22 and 30.
Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) closes between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in September. The park closes at 6 p.m. on September 11 and 12 for Night of Joy, a Christian music festival. The park stays open an additional three hours on select dates during Extra Magic Hours for resort guests. In October Hollywood Studios closes between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. (plus Extra Magic Hours on select nights). The park closes between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. each night in November, except for November 27, when the park closes at 8:30; and on Extra Magic Hours evenings.
Epcot has the best hours in the fall. The park is open until 9 p.m. nightly in September, October, and November, with Extra Magic Hours until midnight on select nights. Epcot closes at 9:30 p.m. November 27 through 30 as the park launches the 2009 Holidays Around the World celebration. The event includes special holiday themed decorations, international holiday storytelling, a candlelight processional that accompanies a reading of the Christmas Story by different celebrity narrators, and a stirring holiday addition to the nightly fireworks celebration, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.
Both Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach waterparks will shorten their hours to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting August 30 and lasting through November. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon waterpark will close for refurbishment in November. Closing one of Disney World's two water parks is common practice during Florida's cooler months.