Pros And Cons Of Walt Disney World Extra Magic Hours
The main pro of Walt Disney World Extra Magic Hours was the extended time in the park. Unlike the new program, you would get one to two extra hours to experience the attractions with only other resort guests in attendance. Another benefit was that some of these extra hours would happen in the evening. With evening hours, non-morning people could get more enjoyment out of Disney parks without waking up early.
EMH was not without its drawbacks though. For example, towards the end of the program, the park offering EMH would often have higher crowd counts all day. Many guests would flock to those parks on Extra Magic Hour days to get more park time over the parks without the EMH hours.
Another con of Extra Magic hours was that the Extra Magic Hours calendar fluctuated, making it hard to keep up. The schedule would be announced far in advance but did not often have rhyme or reason to it, making it hard to remember.
Early Entry Eligible Disney Owned Hotels
- Disneys All-Star Movies Resort
- Disneys All-Star Music Resort
- Disneys All-Star Sports Resort
- Disneys Art of Animation Resort
- Disneys Pop Century Resort
- Campsites at Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disneys Coronado Springs Resort & Gran Destino Tower
- Disneys Port Orleans Resort French Quarter
- Disneys Port Orleans Resort Riverside
- Cabins at Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disneys Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disneys Beach Club Resort
- Disneys BoardWalk Inn
What Are Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours are extended theme park hours available to Disney World Resort hotel guests and some non-Disney hotel guests. On certain days of the week, guests can enter a park one hour earlier or stay in a park up to two hours later than normal park operating hours. The Extra Magic Hours are listed with the regular Disney park hours on our Orlando Crowd Calendar so you can easily find them. It’s worth mentioning that during peak times , Disney will add additional Extra Magic Hours to the schedule.
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Disney World Releases Park Hours Through March 2022
Disney World has updated their park hours calendar once again, so we now have more information on when the parks will be open.
The calendar previously only went through March 6th, but we now have hours for all four theme parks through March 15th. If youre heading to Disney World this March, check out the current hours so that you know how to play your Disney day.
Here are the current schedules for the four Disney World parks, plus Disney Springs. Keep in mind that operating hours can change, and well let you know if we hear about any changes or additions to this calendar.
For all four parks, park hopper is available from 2PM until park close. Guests staying at a Disney World hotel also qualify for Early Theme Park Entry, which means that they can enter the parks 30 minutes before other guests. This applies to each park every day, as long as you have a park pass reservation for the one youre visiting.
From , Magic Kingdom will be open from 9AM to 8PM.
It will stay open from 9AM to 9PM from .
Magic Kingdom will have Extended Evening Hours for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts on , which last from 8PM to 10PM.
Other Access And Privileges:
Early Theme Park Entry & Extended Evening Theme Park Hours:
Starting October 1st, guests will be able to enjoy more fun with a 30-minute early entry to any Walt Disney World theme park, every day. Guests will also be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select dates.
Shades of Green has regular bus transportation to get our registered guests to all of the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Guests must show a Guest ID card and photo ID or a state-issued photo ID before being allowed to access Shades of Green bus transportation. See more about our bus schedules.
There is a separate fee to park at all Walt Disney World® Theme Parks. Read more about Walt Disney World® Theme Park parking options. Please note that Shades of Green does NOT participate in Disney Magical Express transportation to/from Orlando International Airport.
Disney PhotoPass® Service lets everybody in your family get in the picture. Disney PhotoPass® Service photographers are all around Walt Disney World® Theme Parks and will snap photos for you. With Memory Maker, you can view and download them all for one price. Eligible guests can get a discount on the Memory Maker, but you have to verify eligibility and purchase at a Guest Services location in one of the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks.
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Will Everything Be Open
During both Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours, only select attractions are open. Never fear! Fan favorites like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Avatar: Flight of Passage are usually open. Before you go, you can check the list on Disneys web site for both Extended Evening and Early Theme Park Entry to find out which rides and attractions will be open. If youre already in the park, just ask a cast member.
A Few More Considerations Disney World Planning Timeline
For those of you who are early birds, Walt Disney World room-only reservations may be booked up to 499 days in advance. Booking this far in advance is not generally necessary for most reservations, but it may ensure that you get a particular room that is in high demand.
One caveat is that you wont know the exact pricing on park tickets and dining plan packages this far in advance. In addition, you can only book room-only reservations this far in advance by calling Disney reservations or a Disney travel agent. Recent history suggests that room/dining plan/ticket packages will be available around late June for the following year, but this is always subject to change.
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How Lightning Lanes And Rider Switch Work Together
In the past, people had all sorts of tricks around combining rider switch with FastPass+, with some even going so far as to suggest you ask to speak with a manager if Cast Members didnt do your bidding .
Nowadays, there are two things you need to know about combining rider switch and Lightning Lanes.
First, if the group that rides first intends to use a Lightning Lane, everyone needs a Lightning Lane booked. Continuing the Flight of Passage example, if Emily purchased a Flight of Passage individual Lightning Lane, shed only be allowed to use it as part of our rider switch if I also had purchased a Flight of Passage individual Lightning Lane.
Will you hear your cousins neighbors mechanic was able to get around this rule? Probably. Will someone in forums link to this post and say tHeY doNt KnoW the SimPLesT HaCK? Definitely . But Ive talked to CMs about these rules at multiple rides, and while its obvious some people break the rules , you shouldnt do that.
This means that in the case of Emily and I with one small childwe usually dont need to use rider switch when we have Lightning Lanes. As long as were not too close to the end of our return window, one of us can ride first, then we switch. For a ride with an individual Lightning Lane, knowing how strict Disney is with those return times, Id definitely set up rider switch every time.
Our example was with an individual Lightning Lane, but the same idea would apply with a Genie+ Lightning Lane.
Disney World Early Entry Strategy 1 Hard To Get On Rides
The first early entry strategy is to head to the ride thats the hardest to get on later in the day. Often, this is going to be any of the rides identified as the Lightning Lane a la carte option.
Dont know what Im talking about, make sure you read myguide to Disney Genie and Lightning Lane. This is a major change coming to Disney World on October 19, 2021.
Long story short: Lightning Lane allows guests to pay extra money to skip the line on two identified rides in each park. As you can see, choosing the right ride during Early Theme Park Entry can potentially save you money or time later in the day.
Your goal in each of the parks is to ride one hard to get on ride, potentially ride a second easy access ride, and/or get in line for a second high demand ride.
Its not likely youll be able to get more than that done. And really, you might even just get on one ride. So be prepared for that outcome.
Magic Kingdom Early Theme Park Entry Strategy 1
The clear winner for the #1 ride to head to at Magic Kingdom is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Mine Train consistently has the longest waits in the park AND is a Lightning Lane option for Magic Kingdom.
However, theres a caveat with this: ONLY GO TO MINE TRAIN IF YOU ARE AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK. Yes, I put that in shouty caps.
If you are towards the back of the pack, the line will immediately become too long. Youll spend the entire extra 30 minutes waiting in that one line.
In my ideal world, this is what youll do:
Heres my plan B:
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Decide On Anything You Want To Do Outside Of The Parks
PLANNING ACTIVITY:Make a list of all the activities outside the parks you want to include.
Here are some things to ask yourself:
- Are you going to visit anything off of Disney property? If so, what is it and how long will it take?
- Are you going to visit anything on Disney property outside the four main parks? For example, will you want to visit the water parks, Disney Springs, mini golf, etc.? Will you want to resort hop?
- Will you want rest days? Many people find they have a better time if they take time off to relax in between park days. They may hang out at the resort pool, rent a boat, go bowling, see a movie, etc. Some people feel that rest days are a waste of time, and they want to hit the parks every day. Think about what will be most fun for you and plan for that.
Choose A Land & Stay There And A Park Too If You Dont Have A Park Hopper
The easiest way to do two or more attractions in those first 30 minutes is accomplishing the main ride you want to do first, then knocking out other Early Entry rides nearby. Since you wont have as much ground to cover, as long as the rides are on the short side, youll have a better chance of experiencing more than one ride.
Additionally, if you wont have a Park Hopper ticket, keep in mind that the theme park you go to for Disney World Early Entry will be the park youll have to stay at for the rest of the day. This is especially the case if you have a dining reservation for a restaurant in one of the parks.
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Pros Of Early Theme Park Entry
1. Getting in Early is ALWAYS a Good Thing
Really, I think that heading explains it all. The early morning is recognized as one of the best times of day to go to the parks.
It embodies the phrase, The early bird gets the worm. Not everyone is a morning person. Some people want to sleep in and have a leisurely start to their day.
At Disney, this is a mistake. The earlier you can get into the parks, the better. Youll be able to get on multiple rides before everyone else rolls out of bed.
2. Spreading Out the Crowds
With the creation of Early Theme Park Entry, Disney is clearly trying to spread guests out across all four of the theme parks, instead of flooding to just one of them.
In terms of park capacity, Early Theme Park Entry is probably a good idea. Its also nice that it gives guests a little more flexibility in planning out their days.
One of the major downsides of Extra Magic Hours was the fact that only one park was eligible at a time. Therefore, anyone wanting to take advantage of EMH flooded to that park.
Notoriously, the park with Extra Magic Hours was generally more crowded later in the day than it was on non-Extra Magic Hours days.
This is why many bloggers actually advised against going to a park with Extra Magic Hours.
The fact that Early Theme Park Entry splits the benefit between all four parks, every single day, should eliminate this phenomenon of higher crowds on certain days of the week due to Extra Magic Hours.
3. Flexibility is King
When Resort Guests Should Use Extra Magic Hours
ONLY if you intend to visit during EMH. There is no benefit for showing up to a park with EMH if you don’t actually attend during Extra Magic Hours. And don’t froget, it takes time to get to the parks, especially Magic Kingdom. Allow enough time to get to the park, whether you are using Disney transportation or driving and parking at the Transportation & Ticket Center. Keep in mind that evening Extra Magic Hours, especially those earlier in the evening , tend to attract more crowds than morning Extra Magic Hours.
If you are park hopping. In this situation, you can go to the park with EMH during those hours and spend the other part of the day at a less crowded park. Example: EPCOT has evening Extra Magic Hours from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. Disneys Hollywood Studios is a recommended park that day. Go to Disneys Hollywood Studios during normal park hours, then hop to EPCOT that evening during EMH.
If you have a Disney Theme Park Base Ticket and the overall crowd level is low. Example: The overall resort crowd level is a 4. Magic Kingdom has morning EMH from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. You can take advantage of the extra hour that morning for popular rides such as Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Be sure to use FastPass+ for any other must-do attractions that you don’t think you’ll get to in the morning, such as Splash Mountain.
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Attraction Lineup For Early Theme Park Entry & Extended Evening Theme Park Hours For Disney Resort Guests
Announced earlier this year, one of the new benefits of staying at a Walt Disney Resort will be a new 30-minute early entry. Extra Magic Hours have been retired and will not return. This new benefit allows guests to enter any theme park thirty minutes early, ahead of non-resort guests to get a jump on the day. Another benefit, available only to guests of Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts, gives guests extended evening hours in the parks. Disney has announced the attractions that will be open during the Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. Learn more below.
Here are all the details from the Walt Disney World website:
Early Theme Park Entry
As part of The Worlds Most Magical Celebration, Disney Resort hotel Guests and Guests of other select hotels will be able to enjoy more fun with 30-minute early entry to any Walt Disney World theme park, every day. Itll be a great way to get a jump start on your Disney day, no matter the day!
Valid theme park admission, park reservation, and Resort ID are required.
Disneys Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Its Tough to be a Bug!
- Navi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
*Please note that attractions are subject to change and may not always be operational. To learn about any unplanned closures or long-term refurbishments, please view details about the attraction on our website or mobile app.
Thinking Points To Help You Decide When Extra Magic Hours Are Right For You
Everything you need to know about Disney World Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours are an exclusive benefit for the guests of the official Walt Disney World Resort hotels and select Disney World ‘Good Neighbor’ hotels, granting them access to a Disney theme park that is closed to the general public. Depending on the season, there may be one or two extra Magic Hour parks on any given day. The Disney theme parks typically open to the public at 9:00AM but, during a morning Extra Magic Hour, Disney hotel guests can enter one hour earlier typically at 8:00AM. Evening Extra Magic Hours let Disney hotel guests stay in a park two hours past the regular closing time. Disney World park hours and Extra Magic Hours are released six months in advance though they are subject to revision. At first glance, hitting the most Extra Magic Hours possible may seem like a great idea but there are some things youll want to think through first.
Extremely Important: If you are not staying at a Disney resort, you really need to know the Extra Magic Hours schedule so that you can avoid them and the crowds that go with them. You sure dont want to get to the park just in time to get in long lines behind people who have already been there for an hour.
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How Will Early Theme Park Entry Work With Disney Genie
In addition to getting a jump start on your day using Early Theme Park Entry, Disney will debut a new service called Disney Genie on Oct. 19 at Disney World. This free planning service will provide recommendations to make the most of your time throughout your Disney day. There’s also a paid skip-the-line add-on called Genie+. These services can all work together, but there may be some strategy involved we frogs will be trying it out ourselves shortly and will be back with our best recommendations!
We are toadally excited for the opportunity to get a hop on our mornings with Early Theme Park Entry or stay late in the evening with Extended Evening Theme Park Hours! What are your thoughts? Be sure to drop us a line in the comments below!