Disney World has a lot of great events and offerings for guests, but sometimes it can be easy to get them confused… especially if they have similar names! That’s why we’ve put together this article where we take a look at three similarly named Disney World additional park offerings that take place outside of normal park hours – Extra Magic Hours, Early Morning Magic, and After Hours – and compare each of them to help you know what’s what and help you choose the best option to add to your next vacation!
Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours are additional hours outside of normal park operating times that are offered only to guests of select Walt Disney World resort hotels and Disney Golden Oak Residents (a list of which Walt Disney World resorts participate in Extra Magic Hours can be found on Disney’s website). These Extra Magic Hours are free (meaning you won’t need to purchase a separate ticket to experience Extra Magic Hours), and they are offered at all four Disney World parks on select days.
In general, guests will be allowed into a certain park on a specific day for either one to two hours in the morning before park opening OR one to two hours in the evening after park closing. These Extra Magic Hours are optional for Disney resort guests, and they are a great time to visit the parks with less crowds since offsite guests and Annual Passholders without resort reservations will not be allowed in during these extra hours.
Extra Magic Hours schedules are randomized, but they tend to be offered several times per week in different parks and on different days. As of right now, it doesn’t appear that these Extra Magic Hours are ever offered at more than one park on the same day, but this could always change in the future.
In order to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours during your vacation, you will need to be staying at a participating Disney World resort at the time and have a valid ticket that will allow you into the park offering Extra Magic Hours.
Your ticket can be a Standard Theme Park Ticket or a Park Hopper Ticket, but it is important to note that if you don’t have Park Hopper tickets then visiting a park for Extra Magic Hours will mean that you will have to remain in that same park for the entire day. This means you won’t be able to use your park ticket to visit a different park on the same day if you only have Standard One Park Per Day tickets, so you will want to pay close attention to this when you make your park plans. You can also use an Annual Pass for entry into Extra Magic Hours so long as you are staying on property at one of the participating Disney World resorts at the time.
It’s a good idea to look ahead to see what Extra Magic Hours are being offered for a specific day or week on Disney’s website, but keep in mind that the times, days, or parks that are offering Extra Magic Hours can sometimes move around even after they have been announced.
Because this can sometimes happen, you’ll want to check the website at least a few times before your trip to make sure that they haven’t changed any Extra Magic Hours offerings – especially if you’ve planned your park days around these extra hours. Once you check into your resort, you should also be able to find a printed Times Guide in the lobby that will also provide a list of the upcoming Extra Magic Hours for the week.
Only certain attractions are open during Extra Magic Hours, and they can sometimes depend on whether these extra hours are in the morning or the evening. In general, though, a large portion of attractions should be available for all Extra Magic Hours. You can find a list of attractions open for Extra Magic Hours on Disney’s website, and they are separated by park and by time of day so you can know what to expect. You won’t be able to reserve any FastPasses during Extra Magic Hours, but since crowds should be significantly lower than they often are during regular park operating hours, the idea is that you should be able to ride at least a couple rides without the normally long standby wait times.
Extra, Extra Magic Hours
Extra, Extra Magic Hours were offered during the grand opening period of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios. While they aren’t offered at the moment, they may again be offered in the future.
When this new land opened, Walt Disney World began offering Extra, Extra Magic Hours in Hollywood Studios every day from September 1–November 2, 2019, and in Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom every day from August 29–November 2, 2019.
Essentially these Extra, Extra Magic Hours were exactly the same as regular Extra Magic Hours, except that they were offered daily and allowed resort guests to enter these three parks extra early before official park opening times. Extra, Extra Magic Hours aren’t a regular offering at Disney World like Extra Magic Hours are, so we aren’t sure if they will be offered again anytime soon, but it’s something to keep an eye out for – especially if they decide to ever use them again for future attraction or land openings!
Extra Magic Hours Overview:
- Only for those staying at select Disney World resort hotels
(as well as Disney Golden Oak Residents)
- Regular Park Ticket required for entry (can be Standard, Park Hopper, or Annual Pass)
- Generally one to two hours in the morning before park opening or in the evening after park closing
- Offered at all four parks on separate select days
- Usually includes the entire park, but not all attractions will be open
- No FastPass reservations available
Early Morning Magic
Even though it’s a similar name to Extra Magic Hours, Early Morning Magic is actually quite different. The biggest differences are: (1) Early Morning Magic isn’t free and (2) any Disney World guest can purchase a ticket for this event – even if they are not staying in a Disney World resort hotel.
Also, Early Morning Magic is generally only offered in a specific area of a park, while Extra Magic Hours usually include an entire park. For example, just the Fantasyland portion of Magic Kingdom may open before official park opening time for Early Morning Magic, and only guests who have bought a ticket for this event will be allowed into the park during the specified event time.
Disney describes this as a “limited-entry, early access experience” that requires a theme park ticket and an additional ticket for Early Morning Magic.
Currently, Early Morning Magic is only offered from around 7:45 AM – 9:00 AM on select days in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom and in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios. An Early Morning Magic ticket for Fantasyland currently costs $89 plus tax per adult, and an Early Morning Magic ticket for Toy Story Land currently costs $79 plus tax per adult.
It is also very important to know that Early Morning Magic tickets are separate from park tickets, so there is an additional cost if you want to take advantage of these extra hours. This means that even if you have a park ticket or Annual Pass, you will still not be able to participate in Early Morning Magic at any park unless you purchase a separate ticket for that specific Early Morning Magic offering. Visiting during Early Morning Magic also requires you to use a regular theme park day ticket as well, so you’ll want to factor this in when considering cost and park plans.
Early Morning Magic is much more limited than Extra Magic Hours when it comes to available attractions, with only seven participating attractions in Magic Kingdom and only three participating attractions in Hollywood Studios.
However, Early Morning Magic does include breakfast, which is available at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom or at a “select quick-service dining location outside of Toy Story Land” in Hollywood Studios.
While Early Morning Magic offerings aren’t generally themed, they can occasionally have a specific theme. From February 11 – March 3, 2020, Early Morning Magic in Fantasyland is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Cinderella, which includes a few Character appearances and some type of special sweet addition to the breakfast options.
Early Morning Magic Overview:
- Currently $79–$89 + tax per adult depending on the version you choose
- Limited number of tickets sold
- Available for all Walt Disney World guests
- Regular Park Ticket AND Early Morning Magic Ticket required for entry (regular Park Ticket can be Standard, Park Hopper, or Annual Pass)
- Usually an hour or so in the mornings before park opening
- Currently offered at two parks (Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) on separate select days
- Usually includes only a portion of the park with only a few select attractions open
- Includes breakfast at a select location
- No FastPass reservations available
After Hours is a separate ticketed event that allows you to visit a park for three hours after official closing time. Currently, After Hours events are offered on select nights in both Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
There are a couple different kinds of After Hours events, but overall you can expect that each After Hours event will allow guests to enter the park at a specific time in the evening – usually around 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM, or 10:00 PM – and remain in the park for three hours.
Even though this event is only three hours, guests with After Hours tickets do have the option to visit the park as early as 7:00 PM to spend some extra time in the park alongside the day guests. Depending on your After Hours starting time, this means that you will potentially be able to spend a total of four to six hours in the park with your After Hours ticket if you choose to take advantage of this early entry time period from 7:00 PM until the event officially begins.
After Hours tickets are currently $129 plus tax per adult if you buy tickets ahead of time, otherwise they are $139 plus tax if you wait to buy them on the day of the event (Annual Passholders or DVC Members can purchase After Hours tickets at a special price).
Like Extra Magic Hours and Early Morning Magic, not all attractions are open during After Hours. During regular After Hours events, over 25 attractions are open at Magic Kingdom and most of the attractions in Animal Kingdom are usually open.
Attendance is limited just as it is for Early Morning Magic, so you shouldn’t experience the heavy crowds that the parks usually see during the day. While there aren’t any full meals included with the price of your After Hours event admission like there is during Early Morning Magic, some select beverages, ice cream, and popcorn are complimentary with your After Hours ticket and can be found at a few locations during the event.
There is also a possibility that you may be able to reserve FastPasses with your After Hours Ticket from your early entry time (7:00 PM) up until the park closes to the day guests.
Keep in mind that there are no FastPass reservations available during the three hours of the actual event, so any FastPasses you do get will only be for the two or three hours you spend with the day guests before the After Hours event officially begins.
There doesn’t appear to be any official information about this on Disney’s website, so we can’t guarantee that you will be able to make FastPasses with your After Hours ticket, but we were able to make FastPasses in the past with our own event tickets and this matches what we have heard from others.
Villains After Hours
A newer addition to After Hours events is the Villains After Hours, which is currently the only themed version of this event. Villains After Hours take place on select nights in the Magic Kingdom and are essentially the same as regular After Hours events, except that there are specially themed entertainment and food options that are only offered for this Villains version of the event.
This event is described on Disney’s website as having “edgy entertainment”, and it definitely isn’t your typical Disney event as it is completely themed around villains and features a DJ playing “monstrous tunes”. The music is mostly electronic dance, pop, and electric guitar-based songs, so it can be incredibly loud. This paired with the villainous theme makes the atmosphere of this event completely different from regular After Hours events or any other event offered at Disney – even Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which has a much lighter tone overall compared to Villains After Hours.
Villains After Hours also features a villain-themed stage show and parade, as well as villain-themed food, though all of these special treats are not included with the price of admission like the entertainment is. Because Villains After Hours offers more than typical After Hours events, the Villains event does cost more at $145 per adult (plus tax). Just like regular After Hours events, Villains After Hours will cost around $10 more on the day of the event ($155 plus tax), and less for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
After Hours Overview:
- After Hours – Currently $129 + tax per adult in advance ($139 + tax for day-of tickets)
Villains After Hours – Currently $145 + tax per adult in advance ($155 + tax for day-of tickets)
(lower priced tickets available for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members)
- Limited number of tickets sold
- Available for all Walt Disney World guests
- After Hours Ticket required for entry
- Three hour event after park closing; early entry into park at 7:00 PM
- After Hours currently offered at two parks (Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom) on separate select days (Villains After Hours version only available at Magic Kingdom)
- Usually includes entire park, but not all attractions will be open
- Includes select snacks and beverages
- No FastPass reservations available for the event, but FastPasses may be available during early entry time before park closing (7:00 PM – park closing time)
Which One Should You Choose?
As far as which of these offerings you should choose for your vacation, it really depends on what fits your budget and your interests best.
If budget is a priority for you, then Extra Magic Hours, which are free, might be the best option. Just keep in mind that you will only be able to attend Extra Magic Hours if you are staying in a Disney World resort hotel. Currently the second cheapest option (usually the least expensive of the paid options) is Early Morning Magic, but it may not necessarily be the second best option for your needs since it is quite limited in offerings.
If spending as much time in the parks as you possibly can is your top priority, then you’ll want to consider an After Hours event as it is the longest amount of time of the three options. You will also find more attractions open during After Hours, so this also adds to the value of the event. It’s also good to keep in mind that there are also other similar ticketed events, usually holiday themed “party” nights that offer extra hours on certain evenings during the respective holiday season.
Whichever park you’d prefer to visit is also an important consideration, since not all events are offered at all the parks. Also, only certain events are themed, so if you are interested in a specific theme then you may want to choose an event based on theming.
So, to recap:
– COST – Extra Magic Hours is free, Early Morning Magic is currently around $80–$90 per person (before tax, entry also requires a regular day ticket), and After Hours is currently around $125–$145 per person (before tax)
– AVAILABILITY – Extra Magic Hours is only available for those staying at select Disney World hotels, while Early Morning Magic and After Hours are available to all Walt Disney World guests
– PARKS – Extra Magic Hours are currently offered at all four parks on select days, Early Morning Magic is currently offered in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom and Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, and After Hours is currently offered in Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom
– ATTRACTIONS – Extra Magic Hours and After Hours tend to have the most attraction options, while Early Morning Magic has very limited attractions since this event is only offered in one section of the park
– TIME – Extra Magic Hours generally offers around one to two hours before park opening OR after park closing, Early Morning Magic is the shortest with usually just over an hour of event time before the park opens and regular day guests arrive, and After Hours generally offers the longest amount of time at three hours after park closing for the event as well as one to three hours of early entry into the park before the event officially begins and the park closes to day guests (for a total of four to six hours in the park depending in the date you choose)
– SPECIAL OFFERINGS – Extra Magic Hours does not usually offer anything extra related to food or entertainment, Early Morning Magic includes breakfast at one pre-determined quick service location and occasionally features special themed character or food offerings, and After Hours includes select snacks and beverages. Currently the only After Hours event that also offers specially themed entertainment and food is Villains After Hours in Magic Kingdom
Overall, which event you should add to your vacation plans is totally up to your preferences and how much you want to spend, but hopefully our guide gives you some idea of the differences and unique offerings to help you choose the best event for you!
Last Updated February 22, 2020
ALL TIPS, PRICES, RULES, AND DATES ON THIS PAGE APPLY TO
WALT DISNEY WORLD ONLY AND CURRENT AT THE TIME OF WRITING
For official Walt Disney World information, please visit disneyworld.disney.go.com