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About Extra Magic Hours at Disney World

HomeAbout Extra Magic Hours at Disney World
About Extra Magic Hours at Disney World

Extra Magic Hours were a perk available to people staying onsite at Disney World resort hotels. We didn’t usually recommend them, and now Disney has announced that they will not be returning

If you’re trying to figure out what they were, here’s an overview of how they worked.

Important Update:
Extra Magic Hours are no more

Extra Magic Hours have not been offered since the reopening, and now we know that Disney is getting rid of them completely and will soon offer Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

For information on how those work, check out our Guide to Early Theme Park Entry and Guide to Extended Theme Park Hours.

To help with planning, be sure you check the applicable crowd calendars regularly:

Read more about what you can expect at Walt Disney World after the reopening.

What were Extra Magic Hours?

Extra magic hours were among the many free benefits that guests staying onsite at one of the Disney World resort hotels could receive.

However, since the reopening, we’ve seen several of those benefits not return.

Extra Magic Hours (EMH) were times that the parks would open to onsite guests outside of the normal operating schedule. Sometimes it would be a morning EMH (where a park would open 1 hour early), and sometimes it was an evening EMH (which usually lasted for 2 hours).

The parks offering EMHs would vary from day to day. This is how it would look:

Crowd calendar showing EMH

Were Extra Magic Hours and Early Morning Magic the same thing?

The names may be similar, but they most definitely were not the same thing.

In a nutshell, Extra Magic Hours were free and open to only guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort (and some select offsite resorts).

Early Morning Magic was a specially ticketed event (so it cost extra) that is open to anybody.

As of right now, we have no word on whether or not Early Morning Magic will return.

After Galaxy’s Edge opened up, it was only offered at Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.  

Before that, Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios also used to host an Early Morning Magic event.

Crowd waiting to get into Magic Kingdom

What could you do during Extra Magic Hours?

Most people assumed that the park was fully open during EMH, but that wasn’t true. In fact, there’s actually just a subset of the overall list of available attractions.

Here’s what you could expect to find open in each park:

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom had both Morning and Evening Extra Magic Hours; however, the attractions available at each differed slightly.

Morning EMHs

Fantasyland

  • The Barnstormer
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

Tomorrowland

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Evening EMHs

Fantasyland

  • The Barnstormer
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

Tomorrowland

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Monster’s, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway

Liberty Square

  • Haunted Mansion

Adventureland

  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Swiss Family Treehouse

Frontierland

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • *Splash Mountain (Splash Mountain availability is dependent on the time of year)

Epcot

Epcot also hosted both Morning and Evening EMH’s. Here’s what you were able to see there.

Morning EMHs

Future World

  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Living with the Land
  • Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

World Showcase

  • Frozen Ever After

Evening EMHs

Future World

  • Advanced Training Lab
  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
  • Turtle Talk With Crush

World Showcase

  • The American Adventure
  • American Heritage Gallery
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Canada Far and Wide

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom had Morning EMHs only.

Pandora

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey

Dinoland U.S.A.

  • DINOSAUR
  • Primeval Whirl
  • TriceraTop Spin

Asia

  • Expedition Everest

Africa

  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (not always open depending on weather/time of year)
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris (not always open depending on weather/time of year)

Discovery Island

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!

Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Toy Story Mania!

Sunset Boulevard

Echo Lake

  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Galaxy’s Edge

  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

EMH Graphic

Now obsolete, here’s a complete list of the final attractions that were offered during the now-defunct Extra Magic Hours:

Extra Magic Hours attractions chart

Were Extra Magic Hours a good thing?

Though it’s mentioned as a perk of staying onsite at Disney World, we didn’t often recommend that people use them.

The reason for that was due to the sheer number of people staying onsite; a bulk of them would see the EMH schedule and plan to go to that park, even if they didn’t wake up early enough or plan to stay up late enough to really enjoy it.

In fact, the park recommendations on the monthly crowd calendars were based on avoiding EMHs for that reason.

However, there were some exceptions:

  • 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 the Park Hopper option on your 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 on a daily basis for several weeks. If you are traveling when something major and new is opening, you’ll likely see Extra Magic Hours daily. In those instances, make sure you still plan to arrive at the parks before they begin (at least 45 minutes before the park opens for the Extra Magic Hours).

How did Disney know I’m eligible for Extra Magic Hours?

We were asked this question a lot.

Disney determined eligibility for Extra Magic Hours by scanning your MagicBand or ticket.

And don’t think you could plan on a pre-park opening breakfast and then sneak out to ride a few things before the park opens up to all guests.

That didn’t work.

Disney made sure that only guests that are eligible to ride attractions during Extra Magic Hours do so.

What about FastPass+?

FastPass+ was never offered during Extra Magic Hours.

That’s why Extra Magic Hours were sometimes a decent idea for people with Park Hopper tickets because you could plan to use your FastPasses at either the park you are hopping to next or the one you visit before you participate in evening Extra Magic Hours.

How should you tour the parks during Extra Magic Hours?

Most people didn’t realize when planning to attend Extra Magic Hours that there wasn’t any way to ride everything that was open.

Unless you were simply looking for “bonus” rides on attractions, your goal shouldn’t have been to waste the Extra Magic Hours on attractions that are relatively easy to ride during regular park hours.

Then, whatever attractions you did during Extra Magic Hours (or plan to do in the case of Evening Extra Magic Hours), you could just “skip” when you get to them in your touring plans.

How to get the most “bang for your buck” out of Extra Magic Hours

The value of an attraction being offered during Extra Magic Hours differed.

Ideally, if you visited during Extra Magic Hours, you should have headed directly to the things that would typically gain the longest lines during the day.

Here’s what we recommended:

Morning EMHs

If you get close to the end of Extra Magic Hours, but the lines to the most popular attractions below are too long (and will make you late to rope drop the rest of the park), we recommend you go ahead and pick another of the less popular attractions that are open and are currently showing a low wait time in My Disney Experience.

Note: If your plans for the rest of the day take you to an area of the park outside of where the Morning EMH is being held, you’ll want to head towards that area about 15 minutes or so before the park opens to all guests. You’ll be held by a Cast Member at a staging area (basically a rope drop inside of the park) until the park opens up and the crowds at the front are allowed in. If you wait until the park opens to head to a different area, you’ll be behind the crowds from the front of the park PLUS all of the EMH crowds, and that could definitely mess up your plan for the day.

Evening EMHs

Lines for attractions will be the longest right when Extra Magic Hours begin. To maximize your time, save the attractions with the longest line for the last ride. As long as you are in line before the park closes for EMHs, you’ll be allowed to ride.

If all the lines for the attractions listed below are long, consider killing a little bit of time on a less busy attraction to let the crowds thin out a bit.

Note: Keep in mind, attractions can and do break down. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve saved the most important attraction for the very end of your vacation during the final minutes of an Evening EMH, only to discover that it has gone down and there isn’t any way you’ll get to ride it. If there is an attraction like that for your family, your best bet is to try to ride it at the beginning of your trip so that you have additional chances if something goes wrong.

Magic Kingdom – Morning EMH best choices

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

There are a few other attractions that, while not necessarily “must-do” attractions, are ones that can see long lines later in the day.

Those attractions are:

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Tomorrowland Speedway

Magic Kingdom – Evening EMH best choices

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • *Splash (availability during EMH is dependent upon the time of year)

There are a few other attractions that, while not necessarily “must-do” attractions, are ones that can see long lines during the day.

Those attractions are:

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

Epcot – Morning EMH best choices

  • Soarin’
  • Test Track
  • Frozen Ever After

Epcot – Evening EMH best choices

  • Soarin’
  • Test Track
  • Frozen Ever After

Animal Kingdom Morning EMH best choices

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Expedition Everest

Hollywood Studios Morning EMH best choices

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

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Shannon Albert
Latest posts by Shannon Albert (see all)

LP

Sunday 15th of September 2019

If I’m staying off campus this October and there are EMH at MK (which we can’t use) should I plan on using my FP early in the morning since the park will already be full? How does the touring plan change when you can’t make use of EMH? There are EMH at MK every day we are there so going on a non EMH day isn’t an option.

Margo

Tuesday 1st of May 2018

so if the touring plans say AK 9a-9p (AM EMH, 1 hour).....does the park open at 9a or 8a? What time would I need to be there for the AM EMH?? I'm confused! Thanks

Jas

Sunday 5th of November 2017

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

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

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.

Bryaloo

Wednesday 9th of August 2017

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

Shannon Albert

Wednesday 9th of August 2017

Yep, that's correct! It's not open during Extra Magic Hours.