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Disney World is reducing theme park hours beginning Sept. 8

by Brooke Geiger McDonald

Walt Disney World’s theme parks have been open for nearly a month now and Disney has been regularly making operational modifications to everything from health and safety guidelines to ride procedures to dining offerings in the parks. This has now extended to park hours, with Walt Disney World’s website showing reduced opening hours across all four parks beginning Sept. 8.

Photo by Brooke Geiger McDonald

With the exception of a morning rush at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as guests attempt to join the Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, crowds have been notably light since day one. On a fiscal third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek noted that Walt Disney World has experienced a “higher-than-expected level of cancelations,” with fewer people choosing to travel to Orlando because of Covid-19.

In an apparent response to this reduced demand, beginning Sept. 8, Disney has cut park hours by between one and two hours daily as follows:

  • Magic Kingdom – 9AM to 6PM (previously closed at 7PM)
  • EPCOT – 11AM to 7PM (previously closed at 9PM)
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 10AM to 7PM (previously closed at 8PM)
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 9AM to 5PM (previously opened at 8AM and closed at 6PM)

Reductions at other Orlando theme parks

Last month, Universal Orlando announced a reduction in theme park operating hours by one hour daily for the month of August, with the Universal Orlando website currently listing those same reduced hours through October. Universal Studios Florida is open from 9AM to 5PM and Universal’s Islands of Adventure is open from 10AM to 6PM.

SeaWorld Orlando has opted to close on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of 2020 and encourages guests to review park hours one to two weeks before visiting, as park hours are subject to change.

Annual passholders weigh in

Disney’s management of low capacity has been met with criticism from Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, who have faced limited availability through the Disney Park Pass system, Disney’s new reservation-based system that requires guests to hold a dated reservation prior to visiting the park. While Disney World resort guests and regular ticket holders have been able to secure Park Passes for the park of their choice nearly every day, Annual Passholders have struggled with limited Park Pass availability by comparison.

As always, Disney World’s park hours are subject to change so be sure to check Walt Disney World’s website or the My Disney Experience app before your visit to confirm operating hours.

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