Has this ever happened to you? You’re searching for a parking spot at the mall hoping for something close to the entrance. Then there it is, the best spot in the entire complex, no one will be parked closer to the mall than you! Everyone else somehow overlooked it! But then as you get closer you notice there’s a compact car parked in it.
A similar experience can occur when trying to find availability at Magic Kingdom restaurants in the fall - Late August through December. Be Our Guest Restaurant, for example, is the most challenging ADR to get at Walt Disney World. You must be online at 6 am, 180 days in advance and even then you have only 2 minutes book it before it sells out.
But sometimes you’ll notice a flood of availability appear for dinner reservations at Be Our Guest, Crystal Palace and Liberty Tree Tavern, the 3 most most popular. Especially after 7 pm. How can this be? Is this the parking space syndrome, somehow everyone else overlooked it? Maybe. But chances are the Magic Kingdom is closing early for a party.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party usually begin at 7 pm. Magic Kingdom will close to day guests and only those who have purchased a party ticket can remain inside the park after 7 pm.
Guests who pay for the party have so many activities to explore, many don’t want to spend their time sitting down at a restaurant, thus wide-open availability at places like Be Our Guest Restaurant and Crystal Palace. They will sell out for sure, just not as fast..
Unfortunately if you’re not a party guest, you cannot stay in the park later than 7 pm even if you have an ADR for a Magic Kingdom restaurant. This can be a moment of frustration for some people and Disney’s website doesn’t make this abundantly clear. For non-party goers the last ADR for Magic Kingdom dining is 5:55 pm.
If you’re already inside the restaurant when the park closes, of course you can stay. But when it’s time to leave, a cast member will escort you to the park’s exit. “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here” kind of thing.
In the fall, it’s critical for you to know when Magic Kingdom will be hosting evening parties. There are more now than ever before. If you’re thinking of attending one, go for it! They are tons of fun. But don’t waste time at a restaurant - there’s too much to see and do.