For those of you who don’t know what Extra Magic Hours are, in a nutshell, it is a perk available to those staying on Walt Disney World property which allows you into the parks an hour early, or to stay in the parks after closing time. Certain parks open early/close late on different days, and you can check out a calendar of Extra Magic Hours here
Personally? I prefer early Extra Magic Hours, I don’t mind getting up early and I love an empty theme park in the morning – especially the Magic Kingdom, and we were lucky enough on our last trip to get to see the trolley coming out of storage and got the first ride of that morning on it (we hadn’t ridden it in years so that was a real treat for us!)
When it comes to Extra Magic Hours, I like to have a plan of attack for each Park, that extra hour is priceless and I want to get as much out of it as possible, so here’s what I recommend:
Magic Kingdom: After getting some nearly empty Main Street/Castle photos, I rush (speedwalk aka almost sprint) to Tomorrowland, where I ride Space Mountain 2 or 3 times in a row while the wait is still under 10 minutes, and once I have gotten the proper amount of adrenaline rush from that, I get a Fastpass for it so I can return and ride it again later! Then I hightail it over to Fantasyland where I get in an early morning spin on the Mad Tea Party teacups, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh - which are all rides that I enjoy a lot, but not enough to stand in line for 45 minutes to an hour (the waits can get super long for these later in the day!). By this point, my “extra magic hour” is pretty much used up, and the Park is already starting to fill up, so I head over to grab some breakfast from the Main Street Bakery, and then start my more leisurely stroll around the park, where I find that rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain still have a relatively short wait time, so I will try and do those in the morning too!
Animal Kingdom: Since I am fairly new to this park (having only been there twice!), I am still trying to figure out the best way to utilize my extra morning hour. I like to start by hitting up Expedition Everest once or twice, then grabbing a Fastpass for it for later in the morning. I will also try and do Kali River Rapids at this time, as the wait for this can get longer as it gets hotter (since its a great way to cool off!). Speaking of temperature, it can get HOT at Animal Kingdom, for some reason I feelt the heat the most at this Park, so once the mid morning sun starts beating down, I like to escape to the Dinosaur ride (since it’s indoors!), then I will take a leisurely stroll over to the Kimilamjaro Safaris, stopping for some breakfast and shopping along the way
Epcot: I still have not been on Soarin’, so I would have to say that this would be my #1 priority as soon as I got to the Park. Then I would head over to Test Track (which is currently closed, but slated to reopen this November!) for a spin, and then hit up some classics like Spaceship Earth, The Land, and Journey Into Imagination
Hollywood Studios: This is another park where having long legs comes in handy, as I like to speed over to Tower of Terror right away, and follow that up with Rock N Roller Coaster, and then I get a Fastpass to come back to the Coaster later. Then I hit up some of my favorites – Star Tours (usually multiple times in a row as the waits tend to be very short early in the morning!), and the Backlot Tour. I find that the Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3D, and The Magic of Disney Animation are good ones to save for later in the morning, as they both tend to move pretty fast and they are both inside (a bonus on those rainy or hot Orlando days!)
Moral of the story is, Extra Magic Hours is a great perk that those of us who stay at the WDW Resorts get to enjoy, and even though it may only be 1 extra hour, early morning Extra Magic Hours can equal a lot more time on rides, which is a whole lot better than standing in line!!
What about you – do you use Extra Magic Hours in the morning or evening?