My thoughts on Extra Magic Hours – PREP044

Extra Magic Hours are a perk of staying on-site in a Disney World resort but they might not always make sense for you. Today, I have info on the best use of Extra Magic Hours and situations where they make sense.

I also have a quick tip of the day on using microwaves at your on-site resort.

These are notes from this episode. There's much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

Extra Magic Hours

  • Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are extra hours before or after a park's official operating times that allow on-site guests to visit
  • Not all rides are open during EMH. You can check this chart for which attractions are open.

  • On the best/worst parks charts on the monthly dashboards, I don't usually recommend EMHs because those are usually the busiest parks of the day
  • EMHs often do make sense in some situations such as:
    • Animal Kingdom which isn't as affected by crowds
    • People who have park hopper tickets
    • Late risers who can't wake up to visit parks early but can stay for late night EMHs
    • Travelers visiting during peak times
    • Those who want to ride headliners multiple times

Quick tip of the day

Most Disney World resort rooms don't have microwaves but you can use the microwave in the food court or Quick Service location.

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Bryaloo

I am hearing reports that Pandora is opening for morning EMHs? Your chart says they are not – can you confirm?

thanks!!

Rochelle White

Do you recommend EMH during the off season? I will be visiting the park at the end of January 2017. We’re trying to avoid crowds, but we dont want to miss the fireworks due to shorter operating hours.

Jeannette

Thank You So Much for all this AWESOME information!!! If we are planning a 10 day Visit with Park Hopper and Water Park Option in late March 2016 should I wait to get Ebook? Or can I get it now with Free Updates? Also, my family and I are early Risers if so we plan to have a small Breakfast in room, then Head to MK by 7:30am for EMH, we plan on doing MK 8-10am then head for Character Brunch at Contemporary by 11am then head to another (less Crowded) park for the day. Would that make sense or should we avoid MK on EMH days all together? We planned our Dining Reservations around the EMH early park Hours and wondering if I should change them!

Jen

Absolutely use the morning EMH at Animal Kingdom if you want to ride Expedition Everest. Our last visit in 2012 during Thanksgiving week we got there at rope drop on the EMH morning and by the time the park opened for regular hours we’d ridden Everest four times in a row – no waiting! We still had tons of time to explore and see all the animals at our leisure.

Annamari Curtiss

Do you have a touring plan for extra morning magic hours? That would be so helpful!

Maria B

Don’t have Facebook (I have a job that requires privacy for my personal information, so I am basically anonymous on the web), but I thought I would respond here to the question about trouble with booking FP+ at midnight. YES, I definitely had an issue with this. It didn’t work at 12:00 am, 12:30 am, or even 1:00 am. I finally gave up because I was exhausted. I woke up around 3:00 am and checked it and it finally worked. I was able to land both Anna/Elsa and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at decent times on the days I wanted them. 🙂 I guess everyone should be prepared to be up late (or wake up early) on the first day to book for the high priority rides.

Maria B

Like you, Shannon, I have always been an EMH naysayer. You may have changed my mind, however. The only EMH I’d consider right now with my young ones is the AM one. We probably won’t try it this time, since I already have a “plan” for the trip, with FP+s booked and everything (we were able to get an Anna/Elsa FP!!! Yay!). Maybe next year! 🙂

Some tips to help others –

1) If you want to do the AM EMH, try to eat a small breakfast in your room to avoid the crowds and time spent in a restaurant. Plus, you can sleep an extra 30 minutes if you don’t have to wait in line to grab a bagel, etc. I suggest keeping small boxes of cereal and milk (rooms usually have a fridge) in your room. You can purchase milk and OJ the night before and keep it in your fridge.

2) Don’t book a character breakfast the morning of an AM EMH in the park you plan to tour that day. You will miss the hour and it will be crowded at the headliners by the time you finish breakfast.

3) Also, if you have a child who wants to be a Jedi in the Jedi Training Academy, you might miss the sign up, especially during peak times, since the line forms during the AM EMH at Hollywood Studios. You will need to get there early if this is the day you plan to do this activity.

4) If you plan to use an evening EMH, get there later. Rest in the afternoon, have dinner, and then head back to the park, The crowds thin by about 9 pm, and get increasingly less crowded by the hour.

If some of these ideas apply to you, I hope they help!

Maria

Carmen Fenton

Just so I am clear, you cannot sign up for the Jedi Training during AM EMH. You can only sign up for it once the park officially opens, right?

Debbie Vanderpool

We are having a blast planning for our Christmas week trip. Was wondering what experiences people have had on New Year’s morning at Magic Kingdom. Shannon, you have it marked as a red day…there are extra magic hours there that morning. But the parks are open REALLY late the night before. Any thoughts?

Marc

Regarding quick tips
Not sure if these tips have already been offered but if you pack efficiently you can separate 24 plastic bottles of water between all checked bags so no bags go over the 50 lb weight limit. Also each night at the resort room keep as many bottles of water in the freezer section of the refrigerator. Take those frozen bottles with you to the park. By mid day you’ll have ice cold water when it’s the hottest part of the day.
Also we take packets of oat meal with us for a quick breakfast in the room. The coffee maker in the room also makes just hot water. Use the room coffee mugs as bowls. Be sure to grab a handful of plastic spoons in the resort quick service restaurants first.

Great website. Thanks for sharing your thoughts !

Roxanne

We always take advantage of the evening Extra Magic Hours. Love to “hop” over to whatever park is offering it that day and ride some of our favourites late at night, especially Soarin, Toy Story Mania or Rockin Roller Coaster, less crowds at the midnight hour.

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