Disney World is a magical place, and although you may think that “what you see is what you get”, there’s more to the experience than presents itself on a pamphlet or planning booklet that you get from your local travel agent in the mall.
Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World
The “Extra Magic” comes in the form of a perk for guests who stay on property at a Disney Resort. Imagine being able to play in the Magic Kingdom for an hour before any other guest who’s staying off-property….or staying an extra two hours at EPCOT after all the rest of the crowds have left? These are called “Extra Magic Hours” and they are a massive way to get more time in the parks for the difference in price that it costs to stay at Pop Century vs a Disney Springs “Good Neighbor” Resort.
Each theme park participates in the program and with a resort that’s constantly evolving and growing, it’s important to stay on top of the schedule. Disney has provided a link to their calendar, so I would probably bookmark this.
WHAT’S OPEN FOR EXTRA MAGIC HOURS?
Because the parks are at a reduced capacity for this special perk, anywhere from 50-75% of the offerings are available. This changes with each park, but you can bet that the E-Ticket attractions are going to be available.
When you arrive at your Disney Resort, you’ll actually get a timetable for Extra Magic Hours and which attractions, shops and restaurants will be open.
WHAT’S THE STRATEGY FOR USING EXTRA MAGIC HOURS?
With more than 25 Disney Resort Hotels on property, that’s a significant number of guests that will be given the opportunity to use Extra Magic Hours…but most guests actually don’t use the perk. Why?
- Breakfast ADR – Maybe they got a reservation at Chef Mickeys or Akershus?
- Off-Property Day – Maybe they’ve prescheduled a trip to Universal Orlando?
- Travel – Maybe they are travelling early the next morning and need their sleep.
With this information, it’s impossible to plan an exact itinerary that is flawless. But the best strategy is to be flexible and enjoy the time. If you see the Haunted Mansion at 5 minutes, do it:)
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DO YOU STAY AT THE PARK AFTER MORNING EXTRA MAGIC HOURS?
This is a huge mistake that most guests realize after the fact…and it’s easy to predict. With guests from over 25 resorts ALREADY in the park, it’s important to get in, ride your attractions and then around 930am, head to your next park. It’ll allow the initial crowd levels to be absorbed into the attractions and you’ll be sitting pretty.
FUN TIP – Say you’re at the Magic Kingdom for Early Morning Extra Magic Hours. Schedule your FastPass+ Reservations at EPCOT starting at 10am and you’ll be able to get the most out of your day.
WHAT’S THE BEST PARK FOR EVENING EXTRA MAGIC HOURS?
I’ve always loved EPCOT, as the World Showcase after the park closes to regular guests is magical! You get to have great conversations with cast members, awesome shopping opportunities and most of the attractions in Future World are walk-ons, like Seas with Nemo and Friends & Journey into Imagination with Figment.
MY TIP FOR USING EXTRA MAGIC HOURS EFFICIENTLY
Sleeping in on vacation is perfectly fine, but with the costs associated with a vacation to Walt Disney World, you have to think about whether or not you’d rather sleep in (and get stuck in the crowds) or if you should get to the parks early…and then nap in the afternoon.
Personally, the mid-day heat and crowds are worth avoiding anyway, so naps are always the preference!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS?
Let me know on social media and I’ll add them to the article! 🙂