Slinky Dog Coaster at Toy Story Land at Disney World in Orlando; Courtesy of Disney
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The Best-Kept Secret at Disney World

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Extra Magic can be yours in 2020!

With Extra Magic Hours, Walt Disney World Resort visitors can enjoy more rides, less waiting time and more theme park fun! The amazing added value program provides more early entry and late stay theme park privileges than ever before.

Extra Magic Hours, Defined

On select days, at least one of Disney’s four Florida theme parks offers extended hours during which certain guests*can enjoy popular attractions. Extra Magic Hours are held both in the morning and in the evening. Typically, Morning Extra Magic Hours are offered for one hour prior to official park opening time, and Evening Extra Magic Hours are held for two hours past scheduled park closing time.

Extra Magic Hours: 5 Facts to Know

There are five important things to know about Extra Magic Hours:

1. FASTPASS+ is not available during this time.

2. Guests enjoy standby (walk-on) access to select (but not all) attractions with a shorter than typical wait.

3. Only certain guests are entitled to Extra Magic Hours access. Guests must possess proof of participating hotel stay AND redeem a theme park ticket in order to participate

4. If you do not have a Park Hopper ticket option, you must remain at the participating park (you can’t use your already redeemed ticket to enter another park) after Extra Magic Hours conclude.

5. There is no additional charge for this program

Extra Extra Magic Hours

A new second tier of Extra Magic Hours, Extra Extra Magic Hours was introduced in spring 2019. Offered during peak visitation times (holidays, summer and when headliner attractions open,) Extra Extra Magic Hours are limited access additional hours (i.e. very early or very late hours), which enable select guests to experience the newest and most popular attractions that they may not otherwise be able to enjoy. Extra Extra Magic Hours follow the same program guidelines as Extra Magic Hours

How to Get Extra (and Extra Extra) Magic Hours

Early entry and late stay Extra Magic Hours theme park privileges are available to Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests and guests of 13 select hotels near the park. Through December 31, 2020, they’re available with a valid regular theme park ticket and proof of hotel stay. Visit the official Walt Disney World Resort calendar page for regularly updated program hours.

Are Extra Magic Hours Worth It?

In a word, yes! During less busy times of the year, Early Morning Extra Magic Hours allow families with young and school-age children to enjoy favorite rides and character encounters with minimal waits and more elbow room. This means that the chances of meltdowns will be greatly reduced! By combining early morning Extra Magic Hours with FASTPASS+, it’s possible to knock off the majority of your “bucket list” attractions by noon, leaving the afternoon for relaxation or the option to go to a different park. For families with teens with late- night stamina, evening Extra Magic Hours can really help you maximize your time in the park. Teens can sleep in the morning, then stay up late while enjoying the thrill of Disney in the dark. To enjoy Evening Extra Magic Hours with school-age children, we recommend visiting at a less busy time of the year, when parks close earlier. Your family will still get to enjoy the nighttime thrills of a less-crowded Disney World and get to bed at a reasonable time.

When to Skip Extra Magic Hours

If you can’t make it to the theme park at the beginning of Extra Magic Hours (plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to “rope drop”), it’s best to skip them and opt to visit a different non-Extra Magic Hours park that day. You should know that Disability Access Service (DAS) cards are not valid during Extra Magic Hours. If you’re touring with someone who needs this service, it’s best to visit during regular theme park hours. During peak season (summer and holidays,) Disney’s two smaller theme parks—Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—fill to capacity quickly on days when morning Extra Magic Hours are available. In other words, you’ll still have tons of company. If you (or your kids) can’t handle crowds, choose to visit another park that day instead.

Related: 10 Ways to Get Discount Orlando Theme Park Tickets

How to Take Advantage of Extra Magic Hours When You Don’t Have Resort Access Privileges

If you’re not staying at one of the 13 resorts offering Extra Magic Hours access, you can still reference the Extra Magic Hours schedule in order to maximize your Disney parks enjoyment. Simply consult the Disney Parks schedule in order to determine which parks are NOT offering Extra Magic Hours the day of your visit, and choose one of them to visit. Particularly relevant in the case of morning Extra Magic Hours, the theory is that these parks will have fewer visitors than the Extra Magic Hours participating park, meaning more ride time and less waiting in line time for you and your family. Tip: To get front-of-the line privileges for an attraction you don’t have a FASTPASS+ for, make the earliest advance dining reservation (ADR) of the day in the land closest to the attraction. After you finish your meal, you’ll often be rewarded with early access. Chances are, you’ll be able to enjoy a ride at least twice without a FASTPASS+ before the crowds converge. Another way to beat the crowds is to purchase an Early Morning Magic or Disney After Hours ticket. These limited ticket events allow you to enjoy an elbow room enhanced experience with breakfast or favorite Disney snacks included.

More Off-Hours Access Programs

If you’re planning a short visit, visiting at an extremely busy time, or else want to treat your teens or college kids who can tour on their own, this is your quick ticket to maximum theme park fun! Two separately ticketed programs (which are different from Extra Magic Hours) are offered throughout the year:

Early Morning Magic

Available at the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this limited ticket early theme park entry program includes breakfast and early exclusive access to Fantasyland (Magic Kingdom) or Toy Story Land (Disney’s Hollywood Studios). You’ll enjoy front-row access to favorite rides, characters and plenty of elbow room before the parks open to regular visitors. You don’t need to be a guest of a specific hotel to purchase tickets, but you do need aspecial event ticket for Early Morning Magic.

Disney After Hours

Available at three of the four Disney World theme parks—Magic KingdomAnimal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—this nighttime program includes special snacks, exclusive photo-ops, and best of all, the opportunity to experience quick access to all of your favorite attractions in more lands (compared to Early Morning Magic). This program is available to all visitors, and is not tied to hotel status. A new themed Disney After Hours event – Disney Villains After Hours—is also available exclusively at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Like Early Morning Magic, you’ll need a special event ticket for your After Hours event.

Related: 10 Things We Wish We Knew Before Our Disney World Vacation

Jackie Perrin has covered the best of family travel for nearly two decades, for media ranging from newspapers and magazines to At home and on the go, she manages a crew of companions. Follow her on Pinterest, TripAdvisor and Instagram, @NYfamtravels

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