Extra Magic Hours or Extra Tragic Hours?


Main St. USA at 2:45am September, 2014

Main St. USA at 2:45am September, 2014

One of the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel is the opportunity to take advantage of "Extra Magic Hours". What is this "Extra Magic" I speak of? Every day, one Walt Disney World theme park stays open an additional one to two hours, or opens an hour early. During these hours, only Disney resort guests are allowed to enjoy select attractions. From the Spring of 2010 to fall of 2013, Extra Magic Hours were the best part of my Walt Disney World vacations. The parks were empty, and nothing was standing between myself and Space Mountain! Aside from the family taking their time as my Converses skim the back of their clean vacation-ready tennis shoes, of course! I could ride all of my favorite attractions multiple times before the lines started to build up. What an exhilarating experience it is to be one of the first people to walk down Main St. USA in the morning, or the last to leave at night. We would always visit the parks according to which park had some extra magic to offer that day. Extra Magic Hours have always been considered our favorite benefit to staying on Disney property. Why are they no longer extra magical?
  1. After my trips this year I have come to realize that crowd levels are high. This means that lines are sometimes much longer than what they used to be during Extra Magic Hours.  Due to the extra hours becoming such a draw for the increasingly large crowds, I now tour the parks differently. Guests tend to visit each park on days that Extra Magic Hours are offered, therefore, if they do not have a park hopper or annual pass, they are only able to visit that park for the remainder of the day. If you have a park hopper option on your ticket or an annual pass, I suggest taking advantage of the Extra Magic Hours. After those hours are over, consider hopping to another park that does not offer Extra Magic Hours that day. If hopping is not an option for you, think about visiting each park on a day Extra Magic is not offered, for a less crowded experience.
  2.  Now that our good friends Anna and Elsa have moved into Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom, rope drop procedures have changed. Now cast members must walk guests into the park in a slow and somewhat orderly fashion to avoid making Elsa "feel" her powers. (We wouldn't want to freeze the Magic Kingdom, right?) Or maybe it is to prevent any confrontation among guests trying to be first in line to see these famous sisters! Either way, I have to admit it takes the excitement out of being the first guests in the park. This makes Extra Magic Hours much less appealing.
  3. My Magic Plus is now in full swing, so cast members use iPhones to scan your MagicBands. As previously stated, in order to participate in Extra Magic Hours you must be a Disney resort guest. Your MagicBand must be scanned to gain access to the attractions during these hours. During my last visit in September, we stayed in the Magic Kingdom very late several nights throughout our two week vacation. The lines were stretched and winding all around the ride entrances because it was taking so long for the cast members to scan the MagicBands. After they were scanned, it took at least 30-40 seconds for the cast members to see if the guest was staying on property or not. This lead to very frustrated guests, and even more frustrated cast members. They began to let all guests in, on property or not. This is when I began to see the Extra Magic Hours I once loved and cherished become "Extra Tragic Hours".
Overall, I still believe that Extra Magic Hours are a nice perk for resort guests. I recommend taking advantage of the hours to enjoy extra park time, however, I would not count on lines being any shorter. Consider visiting attractions that are not as popular, shopping, or enjoying a Mickey bar during this time! dispic3 For more Disney related fun, add me on Facebook, Instagram: @PAIGELEU or Twitter: @Paigenevan3
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