Lovingly referred to as EMH by Disney World pros – Extra Magic Hours are a special benefit offered to guests staying in Disney Resort hotels. During this time one of the Disney Theme Parks will open to resort guests only allowing them time to themselves the explore the parks. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your time during EMH.
5 Tips for Maximizing the Extra Magic Hour Benefit
There are two types of Extra Magic Hours offered to Disney Resort hotel guests:
- Early Morning Hours – This is typically when one of the parks will open 1 hour before park opening
- After Hours – This is typically when one of the parks will remain open up to two hours after the park has closed for the evening.
There are pros and cons to Extra Magic Hours, but I have to say the pros far outweigh the cons for our family. Imagine being able to walk on Tower of Terror again and again or get that perfect shot of Cinderella Castle with no one in it. Both of these opportunities along with many more are available when taking advantage of EMH.
1 – Purchase Park Hopper Tickets
Many complain that the parks with Extra Magic Hours are the busiest parks of the day. While this can be true, those with Park Hopper tickets won’t have any problems.
The crowds seem to form late morning and early afternoon. We hit the park with the extra morning hour and stay until just around lunch time and then head to one of the other parks. This almost always works in our favor.
If it’s an evening EMH we’ll hit that park once the crowds leave after the parade and/or fireworks are over. After the rush is gone the park is almost silent. Easy access to all the popular rides.
2 -Take Pictures without the crowds
Have you ever wondered how people get those perfect shots of Cinderella Castle without anyone walking through their shot. Morning or Evening Extra Magic Hours are one way.
While everyone is off riding rides or in the stores shopping photographers are out snapping away to get that perfect shot. (It’s easier to photoshop out 2 or 3 people instead of 200! Ha)
3 – You Won’t Waste Valuable Park Time
I love a good Starbucks coffee and scone as I’m walking along Main Street U.S.A. During that extra hour in the mornings I can grab my coffee and not have to worry about the ride lines growing and growing.
Unless I’m at Hollywood Studios then I like to start off with a Butterfinger cupcake from Staring Rolls. Oh the sugary goodness always puts a skip in my step! We love the chance to take a seat and enjoy the view without the rush of people running to Toy Story Mania.
4 – Enjoy Lower Crowds
Early bird gets the worm… Or in this case gets to ride the best rides with little wait! I adore early morning EMH. I’m amazed each time everything we can accomplish in that short little hour.
While evening Extra Magic Hours can cause a park to be a little busier during the afternoon and early evening, it quiets down the last hour and is perfect.
The best is when you pair EMH with off-season travel. We’ve literally stayed on Splash Mountain 5 times in a row without having to get out of the log during the second week of September.
5 – See More Animals at Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Park doesn’t stay open late. It usually closes shortly after the sun goes down, which can vary from 5:00 to 7:00pm.
But it is host to early morning Extra Magic Hour which is utterly magical. The animals enjoy the cool mornings and can usually be found in abundance around the park at different attractions.
This is the perfect time to take a jeep out on the Kilimanjaro Safari! The animals are usually very active and are easy to spot during the morning hours.
Planning your next Disney World trip? Make sure to keep these tips in mind and get the most out of your Extra Magic Hours!