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Extra Magic Hours – When to Use & When to Avoid

Updated: April 2013

If you think Extra Magic Hours strictly apply to Disney Resort guests, you are only partially correct. They are only available to Disney Resort guests, but Extra Magic Hours affect everyone.

Magic Kingdom® Park EntranceHere’s a helpful guide to understanding what they are, their impact on crowd levels and when you should avoid the park that has them.

What are Extra Magic Hours?
Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are extended theme park hours available to Disney Resort guests*. On certain days of the week, guests can enter a park one hour earlier or stay in a park up to two hours later than normal park operating hours.

See if a park has Extra Magic Hours by scrolling over that park on Leap’s Crowd Calendar.

How Extra Magic Hours Affect Crowds
Quite simply, Extra Magic Hours strongly affect crowd levels. Think of it this way…there are nearly 25,000 Disney Resort hotel rooms. Magic Kingdom® ParkThat total doesn’t even include non-Disney owned hotels like Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, which also offer the EMH benefit. Since most people don’t travel alone, that’s A LOT of people headed to the same park. What’s more, many of those resort guests going to the park with extra magic hours don’t actually take advantage of the extra hours, making the park more congested during regular park hours.

Therefore, we recommend you note which park has Extra Magic Hours and factor that into your planning. You can find expected crowd levels, park operating hours and Extra Magic Hours schedules on Leap’s Crowd Calendar.

When Resort Guests Should Use Extra Magic Hours

• Go to the park with Extra Magic Hours ONLY if you intend to visit during the Extra Magic Hours. You gain no benefit for showing up to a park with Extra Magic Hours if you don’t go during either the extra morning hour or the extra evening hours.

• If the overall crowd level is high and you have a Park Hopper ticket.
In this situation, you can go to the park with EMH during those hours and spend the other part of the day at a less crowded park. Example: Epcot® has evening EMH from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. Disney’s Hollywood Studios® is a recommended park that day. Go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios® during normal park hours, then hop to Epcot® that evening during the EMH.

• If you have a Magic Your Way ticket and the overall crowd level is low.
Example: The overall resort crowd level is a 3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park has morning EMH from 8 – 9 a.m. You can take advantage of the extra hour that morning for popular rides like Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition and Expedition Everest® Attraction. Then spend the rest of the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park watching great shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical and using FASTPASSes to go back and ride your favorites again.

When to Avoid the Park with Extra Magic Hours
While having a few extra hours to spend at a Disney park sounds great, there are certain circumstances when you should avoid the park with Extra Magic Hours.
Here are those times…

• If you are not staying at a Disney Resort. Since you won’t be able to go on any rides during Extra Magic Hours, we recommend avoiding the park that has them.

• If you are staying at a Disney Resort, you have a Magic Your Way ticket and the overall crowd level is high. In our opinion, the extra hour isn’t worth dealing with the bigger crowds brought on by Extra Magic Hours. Peter Pan’s Flight® AttractionUnless you have Advanced Dining Reservations at the park with Extra Magic Hours, we recommend choosing another park to visit that day.

What Rides Are Open
During Extra Magic Hours?

Jump to: Magic Kingdom® Park | Epcot® | Disney’s Hollywood Studios® | Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Magic Kingdom® Park

Morning EMH:

Astro Orbiter

The Barnstormer® Featuring The Great Goofini

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin® Attraction

Dumbo the Flying Elephant®

Enchanted Tales with Belle

It’s a Small World® Attraction

Mad Tea Party

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Mickey’s PhilharMagic® Attraction

Peter Pan’s Flight® Attraction

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Space Mountain® Attraction

Stitch’s Great Escape!

Tomorrowland® Area Speedway

Tomorrowland® Area Transit Authority PeopleMover

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Evening EMH:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad® Attraction

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin® Attraction

Country Bear Jamboree Show

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Dumbo the Flying Elephant®

The Haunted Mansion® Attraction

It’s a Small World® Attraction

Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride® Attraction

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Mickey’s PhilharMagic® Attraction

Peter Pan’s Flight® Attraction

Pirates of the Caribbean® Attraction

Space Mountain® Attraction

Stitch’s Great Escape!

Tomorrowland® Area Speedway

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Epcot®

Morning EMH: 

The Circle of Life

Living with the Land

Mission: SPACE® Attraction

Soarin’™ Attraction

Spaceship Earth

Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet

Evening EMH: 

The American Adventure

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballero

Captain EO starring Michael Jackson

Circle of Life

Journey Into Imagination With Figment

Living with the Land

Maelstrom

Mission: SPACE® Attraction

O Canada!

Soarin’™ Attraction

Spaceship Earth

Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet

The Seas with Nemo & Friends® Attraction

Turtle Talk With Crush

Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

Morning EMH:

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Muppet Vision 3-D

Rock ’n Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith

Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue Attraction

Toy Story Mania!® Attraction

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

Evening EMH:

The Great Movie Ride® Attraction

Muppet Vision 3-D

Rock ’n Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith

Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue Attraction

Toy Story Mania!® Attraction

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Morning EMH:

DINOSAUR Attraction

Expedition Everest® Attraction

It’s Tough to be a Bug!® Attraction

Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail Walking Tour

Primeval Whirl® Attraction

TriceraTop Spin

* Guests must present a valid Resort ID to board the rides during Extra Magic Hours. Non-Resort guests can remain in the park during EMH, but will not be able to go on any rides. Regular theme park admission is required.

Let us know what you think. Do you take advantage of Extra Magic Hours or avoid the park that has them?

Happy Planning!
Mommy Frog


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15 Responses to “Extra Magic Hours – When to Use & When to Avoid”

  1. Suzi Bishop says:

    We are about to put this to the test in July. With crowds and heat very high, (and adults only this time around) we plan to hit the AM EMHs most mornings then take a break during the day and head back to whichever park has PM EMH. We have Hopper passes so this will be doable. Just need the energy to stay up late and get up early :)

    • FrogBlog says:

      Suzi, Your plan is almost exactly how we schedule our Disney vacation days. And yes, Park Hoppers are a must! Hope you have a great time on your trip! Tell us all about it when you get back. -Mommy Frog

  2. [...] park crowd levels, the Extra Magic Hours has perhaps as many detractors as it does fans. Here are our guidelines for when to use it and when to avoid [...]

  3. [...] hours on certain days (Magic Kingdom is open to 11 p.m. on a handful of dates, not including Extra Magic Hours). So it’s conceivable with the lower crowds that you could enjoy the morning in Epcot, for [...]

  4. [...] of low wait times on rides and fewer crowds. Generally, we recommend you avoid the Disney park with morning Extra Magic Hours — even if you’re staying on [...]

  5. [...] full list of closings and refurbishments here. As reported back in July, starting in 2013, evening Extra Magic Hours have been shortened to two hours from three for those of you staying at one of the resorts. We [...]

  6. [...] Are you tired of fighting all the crowds at the parks? If you are staying at one of the beautiful Disney Hotels, you can get in the park before or stay after everyone else has to leave. It’s Magic. (No, it’s Extra Magic Hours.) [...]

  7. [...] Extra Magic Hours – If you are staying in a Disney Resort, Disney has a really nice special for you. Are you ready for this? You get the park all to yourself just for staying in a Disney Hotel. Yep, just you and the thousands of other Disney Hotel guests. On select days, you can enter one of the parks up an hour before and up to two hours after the park opens/closes to the public. This really can be a great perk and will definitely help you avoid Disney World crowds. (When should you not use Extra Magic Hours? Check this post.) [...]

  8. MC Doyle says:

    Was wondering if the colors are adjusted on your calendar? Like if the whole week is green, and the day is green but a park is red….is it really red? Or is that just in comparison to the total expected visitors to WDW? Can we expect the spring break wait times when a park is highlighted in red in September? Or is it just going to be more crowded than the other parks in a relatively uncrowded time?

    Thanks!!!!

  9. Kristin Vigil says:

    We use EMH as described in the article. I like having the flexibility of a hopper pass. And when the crowds get large we like to leave and do the pool or other things. My kids do much better when the lines are shorter during extra magic hours. The best always seems to be when we can get in to Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning! We always see lots of Animals that way.

  10. April says:

    I am a relative rookie to WDW and am trying to understand EMHs. Does your *note mean that anyone who has a paying ticket can enter the park during EMHs however not ride the rides? If that is the case, wouldn’t it benefit to enter during those hours simply to be in the park and near your ride when EMHs end? It is my sons 6th bday the 1st day we are going (we have 3day park hopper) and I was thinking I could use that time to take him to get his birthday pin at guest relations & take pictures? Thank you for your advice!!!

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi April,

      Unfortunately to enter the park during EMHs, you will need to show proof you are staying at the resort. One possible way around this is if you had a dining reservation before the park opened.

      Hope this helps!
      – Mommy Frog

  11. [...] entire week, which park you visit on any given day becomes more important. We generally recommend skipping the park that hosts the Extra Magic Hour/s, since it elevates the crowd level the entire day (as opposed to just the EMH). During the busiest [...]

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