Who Can Take Advantage of Disney Extra Magic Hours?
All Disney Resort guests and those staying at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels are able to show up at the parks early and get in for extra magic hours in the mornings. They are also allowed to stay late and ride rides. If you’re wondering how Disney knows if you are staying on-site or not, you can look to your magic band and all the computer coding involved with that little device. While they will not kick you out… for wandering around the parks during Extra Magic Hours, you won’t be able to get on rides since that involves scanning your magic band to get in line. That said, extra magic hours should be used to ride rides and not necessarily other things like dining, shopping, parades etc.
When Do Extra Magic Hours Happen?
Extra magic hours vary throughout the year depending on the season, events, etc. Check the Disney’s Theme Park Calendar for exact hours for each park. These are often available as early as three months in advance so you can begin making your itineraries for each day of your vacation.
What Time Are Extra Magic Hours?
Mornings: 1 hour before opening | 8am- 9am
Get up early enough to be at the gates at 7:30am regardless of which park you’re visiting. Extra Magic Hours in the mornings only work if you’re able to be there right on time, giving you the full hour to explore and get on rides. An hour isn’t a long time, so even being a half hour late, totally negates the fact that you woke up early, because the crowds will be right on your tail.
Evenings: 3 hours after close | 9pm- 12am ( for a park with regular closing at 9), 11pm- 2am ( for a park with regular closing at 11pm)
Extra magic hours in the evening are best if you can try for a weeknight because then you’re mostly dealing with other vacationers staying on site and not the locals. This lightens the crowd and helps you get through the lines faster.
Some Disney Confusion for Everyone
Recently Disney introduced two new events that allow early and late access to the parks outside of regular Extra Magic Hours schedules. Disney After Hours and Extra Magical Mornings are both ticketed events that cost extra money. Don’t get these confused with the simply early opening or late closing at the Disney Parks. For Extra Magic hours are always free and just simple time change in open hours.
Are Extra Magic Hours Worth it?
While planning your days based on the availability of Extra Magic hours may not sound like a great vacation planning strategy, you only have to consider a few things to see if the effort is worth it for you and your family/fellow vacationers. Ask yourself these questions.
- Are you good at getting up early (like 645am early to be at the park gates by 7:30am)?
- Are you good at staying up late after walking 15 miles at the park all day?
- Are you at Disney mainly for the rides?
- Do you hate lines?
- Did you fail to book an early in-park dining reservation for breakfast that would get you closer to line entrances than the incoming guests at 9am.
If you answered YES to these questions then grab a pen and paper and check out Disney’s Park calendar in the link above so you can start planning your 15 hour days… you are built to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours.
If you answered NO to these questions then you should look at the Extra Magic Hours as a perk as opposed to a plan to maximize your Disney vacation. As a perk, Extra Magic Hours are delightful, a nice surprise that allows you to stay in the park a little longer or enter the gates a little earlier.
Whatever Extra Magic Hour path you choose know that your Disney Vacation will be amazing either way! Have fun planning your trip and check out all our Quick Guides for more tips.