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.

extramagichourattractionsphonejune162017 - About Extra Magic Hours at Disney World (and why I don't usually suggest them)

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

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Disneyland in California closes at midnight and all guests (onsite or offsite) can stay until closing time. Why WDW closes at 8pm (Feb 2018 schedule), so early? Why only allow onsite guests the EMH? So the offsite guests have to exit the park by 8pm, even if we don’t go on rides?

Barb
We always take advantage of the extra magic hours in the evening. Mainly because my daughter has autism and seems to get very anxious around the amount of crowds that can happen during the day. So for us it’s a nice time that she has a little bit more freedom in the park. We also really enjoy doing the extra magic hours when we go in the summer time and it’s so hot that we just don’t think that we can get a full day’s worth and we end up going mainly in the evenings anyway.

Hello! I am noticing that Enchanted Tales with Belle is not listed on the Magic Kingdom list. Is that attraction included in morning extra magic hours? Thanks!1

Are EMH just for those staying on site or can anyone with a ticket for the day take advantage of them? I wasn’t sure if I understood right.

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

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… Read more »

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!

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.

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… 🙁

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… Read more »

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!!

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… Read more »
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… Read more »

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.

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… Read more »

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 😉

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… Read more »

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.

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.… Read more »

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

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

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!

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.

This is super interesting! I feel like as someone who has read a lot about Disney, it’s almost always recommended. But, this adds new perspective to it! Thank you!

No, people who make “which park/which day” charts almost always recommend avoiding EMH. It works in some cases, as the article says. Or, if you are really going to get up early and be there for rope drop on early morning EMH. Just be prepared to hop away midday when it gets crazy (assuming you have hoppers, without them I would skip early EMH parks almost every time) For evening EMH the park will often be crowded the entire day, those are fine if you either get a really late start and plan to stay for the entire evening EMH… Read more »

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