Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel? You lucky thing you! Staying on-site comes with a whole host of perks but arguably one of the biggest is a wonderful little creation called Extra Magic Hours.
First of all – what are Extra Magic Hours?
On designated days, one of the 4 main Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) opens an hour earlier and usually stays open up two hours later especially for Disney hotel guests. These are known as Extra Magic Hours.
Can I still go on the rides during Extra Magic Hours?
Not every attraction, show and ride will be open during these times, but the majority of the headliners should be available.
Also, not all of the restaurants or shops will be open (especially during the early Extra Magic Hours) but you will be able to make an Advanced Dining Reservation at most of the table service restaurants.
Do I have to pay extra to get into the parks?
Nope! If you’re staying at a Disney hotel there is no additional cost, this fantastic benefit comes as part of your Disney resort package.
How do I enter the parks during Magic Hours?
You need to show your Magic Band or Magic Card which will be linked to your resort, and of course you’ll need valid Disney park admission.
The Benefits of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours:
You’ll probably be waking up early anyway!
From my experience, the time difference between the UK and Florida means you’ll most likely be waking up at silly o’clock anyway during your first few days. So if an early Magic Hour falls within the first few days of your trip (and if you can drag your family out of bed) then this is the best use of your extra time.
…But if you’re a night-owl, that’s fine too
If you are not a fan of waking first thing or you are more of a night-owl, then the late Extra Magic Hours may fit better with your plans. The Magic Kingdom is often open until midnight in the busiest summer months.
You can beat the queues
Early magic hours are also usually less crowded, which means shorter queues as not many people want to get up super early on vacation (unless you’re a ‘commando tourer’ like myself who thinks the day is wasted if you are not at a park before opening time!)]
It’s easier to do the big rides
If you are able to get most of your must-do attractions done before the queues get too long, you will have more time to meet the characters, explore hidden nooks and crannies and literally smell the roses, smug in the knowledge that you have already experienced the headliners!
You’ll have some great photo ops
You can take some really cool photos when the parks are quieter. You will be able to get to vantage points that would usually be too crowded to access and that dream picture of your family in front of Cinderella’s Castle without hordes of people in the background might just become a reality!
Things to remember:
Evening Magic Hours can be a little busier, as they do not make day guests leave the park. However they are still generally quieter than normal park hours as only Disney Hotel guests are allowed to go on any rides or attractions after closing time. You will have your magic band or card scanned to make sure.
When a park has early Magic Hours, it stands to reason that it will already be pretty busy by the time it opens to the public (usually at 9am) – so can quickly become packed. In fact, the guides will often tell guests to AVOID parks when they have Extra Magic Hours!
My Top Tip for getting the most out of Extra Magic Hours? Get a park-hop ticket!
We often make use of morning Extra Magic Hours as we are early birds, but will then park hop somewhere else before lunchtime when the park fills up. Disney tickets from FloridaTix include unlimited park-hops which makes it way easier to avoid the crowds!
If you are staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel then you should 100% take advantage of this amazing perk.
If you are not staying on-site, you should still try to find out when each park lets guests in early – and avoid it like the plague!!!