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

(Article last updated: April 7, 2018)

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.
  • Guests visiting shortly after a new land opens.  When Disney opens up a new land or a highly anticipated attraction it isn't unusual for them to extend Extra Magic Hours to a daily basis for several weeks. If you are traveling when something major and new is opening (like Pandora, Toy Story Land, or Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge) you'll likely see Extra Magic Hours on a daily basis. In those instances, make sure you still plan to arrive to the parks before they begin (at least 30 - 45 minutes before the park opens for the Extra Magic Hours).

************************

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.

Ready to book a trip for 2019?

The handpicked team of agents at Perfect Story Travel can help you out. Fill out the info below to get started.

29 Comments

  1. Margo May 1, 2018 Reply
  2. Jas November 5, 2017 Reply
  3. Barb October 17, 2017 Reply
  4. Bryaloo August 9, 2017 Reply
    • Shannon Albert August 9, 2017
  5. Ashley June 3, 2017 Reply
  6. Tawnia Lewis May 11, 2017 Reply
  7. Adrienne C May 9, 2017 Reply
  8. Jen May 4, 2017 Reply
    • Ami Kratt May 19, 2017
    • Jen May 19, 2017
  9. Laura March 16, 2017 Reply
  10. Stacy Shafto January 23, 2017 Reply
  11. Corey December 13, 2016 Reply
  12. Chalice Bailey December 6, 2016 Reply
  13. Nicole October 24, 2016 Reply
  14. Jody October 22, 2016 Reply
  15. renee October 22, 2016 Reply
  16. Erin October 21, 2016 Reply
  17. Kathe October 21, 2016 Reply
  18. Ann October 21, 2016 Reply
  19. Joe October 21, 2016 Reply
    • Jessica October 22, 2016
  20. Emma October 19, 2016 Reply
    • Jen December 29, 2016
  21. Abbie October 19, 2016 Reply
    • Lacee Gomel October 21, 2016
    • Lacee Gomel October 21, 2016

Leave a Reply