On a recent trip to Walt Disney World we experienced morning and evening “extra hour” hard ticket events at the Magic Kingdom as well as their Extra Magic Hours. We thoroughly enjoyed each event. There are three opportunities for additional hours in the Magic Kingdom:
Extra Magic Hours (Morning and Evening)
Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland
Disney After Hours
What we found
Hard ticket pricing for Disney After Hours and Early Morning Magic keeps the crowds way down. At times it seems like we were the only ones in an area. On the other hand, people plan to attend the free Extra Magic Hours and there is little difference in the crowd levels in the Magic Kingdom. Available attractions were fewest for Early Morning Magic. More were available for Disney After Hours and the most available for the free Extra Magic Hours. Given the crowds and ride availability Disney After Hours was our opportunity for additional hours in the Magic Kingdom.
Extra Magic Hours Summary
As a “free” extension of the regular park hours, Extra Magic Hours appeared to provide little change in the wait times or crowds. Some studies suggest that park crowds are heavier in parks offering Extra Magic Hours. I believe the studies. Even though evening Extra Magic hours offers more attractions than any other Magic Kingdom extra hours events it was still difficult to get a quick ride. We found the line for Space Mountain to be longer than any time during the day. While we accomplished a bit of what we wanted to do, the crowds prevented us from riding a number of e-ticket rides. This is a great time to shop, though, as all the stores are open and folks are trying to get in one more ride.
Early Morning Magic-Fantasyland Summary
We found that the Early Morning Magic have the smallest crowds of the Disney Extra Hours options. With the exception of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train we were able to walk directly onto any of the rides. Perhaps the Mine Train delay was caused by kids like the boy in front of us who was on his fifth consecutive ride. Still the wait was only a couple of minutes. Limited to Fantasyland, there were fewer of our favorite rides available. However, the breakfast was surprisingly good. We participated in a mini rope drop to be first in line at Haunted Mansion.
Disney After Hours Summary
We arrived at Disney After Hours 45 minutes late and out of breath from a quick march from the Contemporary. As we were about to turn toward Tomorrowland the nighttime projection show began at the castle. It was fantastic! We had never seen a projection show before and stayed for the whole thing. Now we had just two hours left of our Extra Magic Hours. However, crowds were so light we were able to circle the park and ride at least 10 e-ticket rides. We did not eat any of the free or purchased snacks (this was right after dinner at the California Grill). Still this was our Magic Kingdom additional hours opportunity due to the crowd level, e-ticket ride availability and because we aren’t morning people.
Disney After Hours and Early Morning Magic are “Hard Ticket” events. These require you to purchase a separate admission for the event. For Early Morning Magic, the cost is $89 per adult (ages 10 and older) and $79 per child (ages 3 to 9). For Early Morning Magic you must also have a valid park pass for that day. Disney After Hours costs $129. “Day of” pricing is higher for both events. Passholders get discounts.
Extra Magic Hours are free with your park admission and are available to Disney guests staying at Disney World or partner resorts.
Magic Kingdom Additional Hours Comparison: Available Attractions
Different rides are available during different extra hour events. The chart below displays the current offerings. They are subject to change without notice.
Magic Kingdom Additional Hours Comparison: Available Food Options
Food and snacks are available for purchase during Extra Magic Hours.
There is “free” ice cream, popcorn and selected bottled beverages available at multiple locations during Disney After Hours. Specialty snacks can be purchased at the Main Street Bakery.
During Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland you get a complete Breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s. Hot food (scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, sausages, breakfast potatoes and pancakes) are provide to each guest piled up on a single plate. With the exception of the eggs, the food was really good. Also there is also a cold buffet which had really flaky cinnamon rolls. We suggest that if you are planning to rope drop a ride, eat shortly before the main park opens.
During Extra Magic Hours many of the restaurants and snack venues are open.
Which of these extra hour options do you prefer for touring the Magic Kingdom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments,or on Facebook or Twitter!
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We have experienced Disney World and Universal Studios in all three phases of life; before kids, with kids and as empty nesters. We look forward to continue to vacation in Disney as we get older with friends and family.