Your “Extra Magic Hour” at Disney World is your admission into a designated theme park one hour before it opens to the public or up to two hours after a park closes to the public. How do you get this privilege? Easy – you simply stay on Disney property, the Hilton by Downtown Disney, or Shades of Green Resort.
You’ll likely hear mixed reviews of the Extra Magic Hour- some say avoid the parks on days that offer the Extra Magic Hour(s), but I disagree. That extra time is very valuable and a lot can be done during an hour with no crowds. In fact, on a recent trip to Disneyland, my family was able to pretty much do every ride offered in Fantasyland during the Extra Magic Hour. I can agree, however, that if you do not have the Extra Magic Hour privilege (due to not staying on Disney property) that you may opt choose other parks on Extra Magic Hour days.
Please do not use your Extra Magic Hour to eat breakfast or dinner! Use it to see and do as much as possible with reduced crowds.
Here are more details about the Extra Magic Hour:
Morning Extra Magic Hour – This happens one hour prior to a park’s scheduled opening. This means if the park is to open to the public at 9 am, the Extra Magic Hour begins at 8 am. To prove you are able to enter the park early, you’ll need your Magic Band or admission card with your ticket at the park’s entrance. Arrive about 10 minutes early and you’ll be one of the first people in the park!
Evening Extra Magic Hours – This is an extension of usually of two hours beyond a park’s scheduled closing time. You’ll need to present a valid room key card/resort ID at each attraction during these extra evening hours.
In Magic Kingdom, typically Fantasyland and Tomorrowland open early for the Extra Magic Hour. These restaurants open early as well: Main Street Bakery, Cheshire Café, Gaston’s Tavern ,and Auntie Gravity’s. Have breakfast already eaten at your hotel so you don’t need to spend your Extra Magic Hour at a restaurant!
In Epcot, usually the main attractions in Future World open early for the Extra Magic Hour, including Test Track, Soarin’, Living with the Land, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth.
If Hollywood Studios opens early on an Extra Magic Morning, most of the rides open early with it. Even a couple places will open for a quick breakfast: Fairfax Fare and Starring Rolls. Have breakfast already eaten at your hotel so you don’t need to spend your Extra Magic Hour at a restaurant!
When Animal Kingdom opens early, you’ll find DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to be a Bug!, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Pangani Forest Exploration Trail are ready for visitors.
Usually Animal Kingdom doesn’t stay open late for evening Extra Magic Hours, but you’ll find most attractions and restaurants stay open late at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios during their evening Extra Magic Hours.