(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.