About Extra Magic Hours at Disney World (and why I don’t usually suggest them)

(Article last updated: April 25, 2017)

Extra Magic Hours at Disney World are a perk available to people staying onsite at Disney World resorts, but I don't usually recommend them.

Here's an overview of how they work, who should use them, and what attractions are open during those times.

What are Extra Magic Hours?

Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are times that the parks are open to onsite guests outside of the normal operating schedule. Sometimes it's a morning EMH (where a park will open 1 hour early) and sometimes it's an evening EMH (which usually lasts for 2 hours).

The parks offering EMHs vary from day to day, but you can check the schedule in the My Disney Experience app/website, or look on the monthly dashboard for the month you're traveling.

What can you do during Extra Magic Hours?

Most people assume that the park is fully open during EMH, but that isn't true. In fact, there's a subset of the overall list of attractions that are available.

Here's what's open during AM and PM EMH. Pin it or save to your phone to have as a reference later.

(Note that there are many more attractions open during some EMHs. Also, there are way more attractions open at Magic Kingdom, so the value of an EMH can really vary depending on the time of day and park.)

Who should use EMH?

Though it's mentioned as a perk of staying onsite at Disney World, I don't often recommend that people use them.

The reason for that is due to the sheer number of people staying onsite; a bulk of them will see the EMH schedule and plan to go to that park, even if they don't wake up early enough to stay up late enough to really enjoy it. In fact, the park recommendations on the monthly dashboards are based on avoiding EMHs for that reason.

However, there are some exceptions. People who should consider using Extra Magic Hours include:

  • People visiting during super busy times, like Christmas or Easter week. If you take full advantage of the EMH and plan to hop to a park during the non-EMH part of the day, this can work well for you.
  • People who will take full advantage and use Park Hopper tickets. If you know for sure that you will wake up early or stay up late to fully use the EMH and you have Park Hopper tickets to spend the non-EMH part of the day somewhere else, then go for it. You'll likely get some less busy time to visit attractions. The effectiveness of PM EMHs varies a lot - the later the park closing time, the better the chance of crowds being relatively light.
  • Anybody visiting Animal Kingdom. When an EMH is offered at Animal Kingdom, it doesn't increase the crowds like it does in the other parks, so don't be afraid to visit, even on an EMH day.
  • Late risers who don't want to be at the parks for rope drop, but want to arrive later and use PM EMH.

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So are you planning to use Extra Magic Hours, or will you avoid them during your trip? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Joe

As park hoppers we take advantage of morning EMH at all parks. Our touring strategy is AM rope drop and stay at the park through lunch. We return to the parks after dinner and may or may not take advantage of evening EMH. We nearly always get to do all attractions and meet and greets. Of course mileage will vary for everyone as all families have different dynamics

Jessica

This is exactly what we’ve done the past 4 visits and it works well for us!

Chalice Bailey

We’ve gone to WDW every year for the last 11 and almost always plan to spend every possible moment in the parks. We’ve never left mid-day, not even when the twins were small (and we never had the crying, fussy kids either). I can only think of one time we left before a park closed and that’s when I was ill. I can count the number of times we’ve even seen our resort’s pool on one hand.

I think our record is 15 hours straight at MK, rope drop to 1 AM with EMH. We’ve almost always had great luck with late park hoping over to a park with PM EMH. Practically deserted, which is great for our family of coaster addicts. My now-pre teens were riding BTMR at age 5. The exception was last year when we hopped to MK at 10PM after EP closed. So busy! It was crazy and frustrating.

We’re late night people so making an AM EMH is brutal for us, but I wanted to say I made rope drop at least one time in my life. 🙂 So, in short, yes, we use EMH because we want to spend as much time as possible in the parks riding stuff, but I have noted the advantages of this decreasing in recent visits.

Tawnia Lewis

Is Jungle Cruise included in morning EMHs? I’m noticing it’s not on the list

Adrienne C

I would add that sometimes Disney will add a last minute EMH to a morning. People either aren’t aware of these or don’t want to change their plans, so they are almost always deserted. Check every day of your trip because they may add one on, especially if they are predicting dense crowds that day. Then you can hop to another park later in the morning, or go back to the resort to relax by the pool and hit another park in the evening. We did this on our last trip (third week of June, 2016) and we rode Splash Mountain about 10 times in a row, and were the only people on the ride. Then we got to go on BTM two times. It was fabulous. We only had one park per day tickets for that trip, so we went to the resort during the hot/busy time and went back later in the evening refreshed when the crowds were lighter again. We’ve noticed with EPCOT too, sometimes they drop the rope early and you can get in earlier than advertised. We arrived for a 9 a.m opening one day and they had started letting people in at 8:30 (unadvertised). You never know…

Jen

This is my first time going to Disney in 11 years, and I looked at the extra magic hours for the week in July that we will be there. I was disappointed to see only the morning hours as we would more enjoy the evening hours. Does anyone know why there are no evening hours the entire time we’re there? Is it possible Disney will add them on later? Thanks!

Ami Kratt

There are evening hours on July 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 & 26. In my experience they do about 2 evening hours per week and the rest are morning hours.

Jen

Thanks, Amy! Unfortunately, we have 5 day passes from July 6-10 so we won’t have any evening EMH which I was hoping to use… 🙁

Laura

We love the EMH and always use them….when paper fast passes were available, then you had a much better chance of getting on the long wait rides with a FP, now with FP+, you often have to wait for the rides & you can’t get a FP for all of them–you have to choose (for ex. can’t get Rockin’ if you have Toy Story). We use morning EM for thrill rides…Space Mountain, Rockin Roller Coaster, Test Track, On an EM day at MK, we go to Space…ride it 3-4 times and an hour isn’t even taken up…this gives us our Space fix for the entire trip & we didn’t waste a FP on it…obviously, you can do other rides if you only do Space once…but this is how we use it…totally worth it for us. At HS we go to Toy Story (which we usually have a FP for as well later)…or Rockin (which we usually don’t have a FP for)…however, the wait times for Toy Story have been much better with the addition of the 3rd track…so maybe Rockin is a better option (again we ride 2-3 times before park opening)…we do the same at AK with Expedition Everest (and don’t use a FP+ or have to wait later)…sometimes riding 5 times in that hour…SO worth it for us. Dinosaur and K Safari are other rides we frequent during EMH. Nighttime EM hours are good as well…but mostly in the MK…I find HS isn’t that great (even though we do stay) because so many people are still in the park because of Fantastic or SW Fireworks and the EM hours aren’t that late… Yes, our days are typically long…and we go often (but short in length trips)…however, to ride the rides that we want to and multiple times like we like…EMH are the ONLY way to do this!!

Stacy Shafto

We stumbled upon Magic Hours last May and it was one of the best experiences we had on our first family trip to Disney! My 13 year old daughter and I rode Splash Mt 3-4 times in a row-with no wait!! We just walked through the roped off maze. Saw the light parade, fireworks…the entire thing was perfect. I think it is an awesome use of time and worked out great for us. I enjoy your blog:) Thank you!!

Corey

I just wanted say that I think some of your information about the crowds is incorrect. We were just there December 7th – 12th. The crowds were outrageous. I’ve been there many times before and I have never seen it that busy. Everywhere we went it was wall to wall people. The average wait time for most rides was 90 minutes. Even some of the fast pass waits were long. Dining reservations were hard to come by, and there were long lines at the counter service restaurants. I bought only one souvenir because the lines were so long just to pay for it. I think more and more people are going in early December.

Nicole

We usually visit in January and like to do a second day at Magic Kingdom and use EMH for PM. We have lucked out numerous times with hitting rides right when the evening parade starts and the park closes to day guests. We have a family tradition of riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad over and over. Zero wait times during low crowd calendar visits make EMH a great perk for those who love to sleep in a few days during their stay.

Jody

During our trip last year we went to Magic Kingdom for PM EMH. Unfortunately, also everything closed the minute EMH started, including ALL of the restaurants and most stores. They closed everything at the back of the park and herded everyone toward the front. Which made a huge crowd in the hub and on mainstreet. We couldn’t even walk. People were just standing around because no one could get anywhere. We talked to a cast memeber we were stuck next to for 20 minutes and she told us that this entire mess was very typical. We were starving and couldn’t get food and didn’t get on any rides at all. We basically just lost extra sleep. BOOO! My experience may not be typical but it sure was lousy and we won’t do it again.

renee

We often take advantage of late EMH because we travel with small children–we enjoy the parks during the day, go back to our room for a midday nap and maybe a swim, then dinner and back to the parks for EMH time. Our kids are the well-rested ones NOT screaming and dissolving into tears every five minutes 😉

Erin

I’m wondering if your advice on EMH is any different if we are going on a “Lightest Crowds” day in late January? We are going for our first trip to WDW, 3 days, with a 4-year-old and 6-year-old.

I’d like to do Magic Kingdom on the Fri and Sun and Epcot on Sat. Magic Kingdom has morning EMH on Fri, but you also note that Saturdays are the worst for Magic Kingdom. So I’m wondering what might be more crowded, a Fri with morning EMH (the only EMH during our trip window) or a Sat? Thanks for any additional advice you can give!

Kathe

Always take advantage of EMH morning or evening to get some of the rides that will have long lines later in the day. Rarely use park hopper but have at times.

Ann

Are fastpasses offered during evening magic hours?

I am planning to do both Epcot and MK during extra evening hours for our Spring Break trip!

We have thoroughly enjoyed the extra hours on previous trips and it was my experience that the crowds were nonexistent late at night.

The only problem I foresee is I might be too tired to last that long. We can plan to go slower in the morning.

If FP are available, it should be a breeze!

More time in the parks, is how I look at it. Especially excited that Epcot will be open late.

Confused about AK and HS, that both seem to be closing around 7 & 8pm during Spring Break.

Emma

When the park hours were released for April 2017, I was so sad to see that Magic Kingdom has EMHs for both the Monday and Friday of our week-long trip. I was hoping to avoid them for the reasons you mentioned. However, I want to begin and end with Magic Kingdom and this outweighs the crowd prediction. It’s our first trip and my daughters are 6 and 4. I know Magic Kingdom will be the place they’ll want to see most. Wish me luck!

Jen

I read that you can add park hopper while on site for the remainder of your trip. You might want to ask about doing that to see if you could use the EMH but not get trapped all day at a busier MK on the last day of your trip.

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