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Extra Magic Hours – Are they Worth it?

One of the many perks of staying on Walt Disney World property is getting to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours. If you are unfamiliar, these hours are when WDW is ONLY open to those who have stayed at a WDW Resort.  One of the four parks, each day, will open one hour early and/or stay open three hours later.  These hours can be found at usually several months ahead of time so you can plan out what kind of ticket you will want to purchase and where to dine.

The Advantages of Early Extra Magic Hours?

Most people love to sleep in on vacation, and WDW is no different.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if people sleep MORE at WDW from pure exhaustion from the day before-if you haven’t been to WDW, be prepared to walk you feet off!  If you love to hear the birds singing as the sun rises, and enjoy a morning walk to the food court for your morning coffee, the early hours are for you!  The parks are beautiful early in the morning, and the earliest they usually open is 8 a.m. so it’s not like 4 a.m. or something like that.  Basically, it’s like getting up with the kids for school.

Strategy for Early Extra Morning Hours

Plan out what you MUST see at every park before ever stepping foot into it.  Once you have your strategy, follow it to a tee for during that first hour of the park open.  After that, if the public will come flooding in, and even then, you have another good hour before you start to feel the crowds.  We take advantage of this hour the most at the Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland.  Due to its popularity, this land seems to always be the busiest at all hours of the day except for the early morning, so do all you can in here first and then move on.Noj6

Strategy for Night Extra Magic Hours

If you purchased a park hopper, these hours really work to your advantage.  Enjoy Animal Kingdom during the day, and then go to Magic Kingdom’s Extra Magic Hours at night.  If you bought a base ticket, attend the park which has either early or night Extra Magic Hours to make the most of your day.

The Disadvantages of Early Extra Magic Hours

If this is the park you have chosen for the day, and you only have a base ticket, this is your park of choice the entire day. Make sure getting up early for that extra hour is worth your time and sleep.  Whichever park has the Extra Magic Hours that day, whether morning or night hours, they will always be the most crowded, so keep that in mind when planning.

The Disadvantages of Night Extra Magic Hours

By the time you get to them, the parks have been filling up all day.  Some of emptied due to weather or time of year, but usually the fast-pass system as to be used during these.  When the fast-passes are already gone, and this is the case most times for Toy Story Mania and Soarin’, have your family choose the ONE ride they really must go on during those hours and basically be prepared to stand in line for it.  Here is why you want to hit Fantasy Land early in the morning every time- it is insanely busy over there during Extra Magic Hours. I don’t know why anyone would wait over 60 minutes to ride Peter Pan unless that’s the only time you can – you will see more crabby and unhappy little ones in that line than anywhere else.

Extra Magic Hours and Children

The early hours are great for the little ones…they are up, fresh, and full of energy. Go early and come back to the resort at lunch to crash and take a nap or swim.  The night-time hours are rough because they can extend well past midnight if your child usually isn’t up that late on a regular weekend, what makes you think they can last after a long day in the hot sun?  Really think about it before making them stick it out! Just because the sun has gone down, doesn’t mean the humidity has well and standing in a crowded line approaching midnight isn’t very magical.

We hope this has helped anyone thinking about staying on property for this perk. Have a magical day, may all of your dreams come true!

~Carl and Ellie Peters~


  1. Do they kick out non-Disney Resort Ticket holders? Do the lines get shorter? This is for adults?


    • I am staying at All star – just trying to decide if we want to go with the hours or avoid them.


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