Why EPCOT opened late and can it happen again? You need to know before you go

Flower and Garden festival at EPCOT. Image courtesy Brian Miller
Flower and Garden festival at EPCOT. Image courtesy Brian Miller /

Guests visiting Disney World today were surprised to learn that EPCOT's opening was delayed by a full hour. Can this happen again?

The quick answer is absolutely. Disney Parks will often change their hours depending on a number of factors that could be weather-related or private events like after-hours parties. At EPCOT, April 21st saw a one-hour opening delay. But don't worry, the park isn't testing a new schedule.

The Run Disney Springtime Surprise Weekend event started and as a result, the park had to delay its opening. The event is one of several popular run events throughout the year. More often than not, the events do not typically change the hours of operations.

In the past, my family and I have visited EPCOT only to discover that parts of World Showcase were roped off for the runners to complete their tour through the park. It took about an hour for the ropes to come down as the last few runners made their entry through the back entrance but it was fun to watch them run through and it didn't hinder our day walking the rope line.

For guests attending any park on any day, it is always important to check the opening times of each park you intend to visit, the night before. It can make for a miserable surprise when you arrive to find the park is not quite open.

Several months ago, I made that mistake when I rope-dropped Magic Kingdom with my son. I expected an 8 am opening but the park actually didn't open for attractions until 9 due to a special hotel guest's early entry. While we were permitted in the park, we had to sit for an hour in front of Cinderella's Castle and wait for the surrounding areas to open.

It is always good to be prepared to make sure you check your Disney phone app or jump online to verify the opening and closing hours.