Impact of extra Magic Hours at the Parks

by Debbie
(Racine, WI)


We are going to Disney World 10/31/13-11/7/13. I love your site and I noticed in your FB updates that you say to avoid the parks with the Magic Hours. This is our first time staying right on Disney property (usually we stay at our timeshare). I wanted to take advantage of the Magic Hours and planned my days accordingly.

Now I’m worried that I should have done the opposite. According to your calendar most of the days we are there are green- Do you think Magic hours will have a big impact on crowds when we are going, and if so – should we stay away from parks with the night Magic Hours or if they have any Magic Hours all together?


The Magic Kingdom goes from Halloween to Christmas

Dad’s there just guidelines Answer


Boy are you going have a great time. I think that week may be the most interesting week of the year to be at Walt Disney World. You’ll get to watch the transition from Halloween to Christmas. It just doesn’t get may more colorful than that. Oh yeah, there’s also the Food and Wine Festival going on.

Oh, but that’s not what you asked about. You asked about Extra Magic Hours and the park crowd levels. You are correct. I normally recommend that you avoid the Extra Magic Hour park. The reason? It’s because that’s the park that will have bigger crowds because lots of Disney Hotel guests take advantage of Extra Magic Hours and fill up the parks early in the morning.

Dads’s Extra Magic Hours page

In the immortal words of Captain Jack Sparrow (or someone in Pirates of the Caribbean) “they’re just guidelines”. That’s right, Dad’s suggestions on avoiding crowds at Disney World including the one on Extra Magic Hours are just guidelines. Every vacation is different.

Here’s how it applies to your vacation. The term “bigger crowds” is a relative term. Let’s look at Animal Kingdom for an example. According to On Friday, November 1 the crowds at Animal Kingdom (a early EMH day) are at a 5.4 level. The next day it’s 3.5. (This is actually an extreme difference.)

Not every day is as extreme as this one. In fact sometimes the avoiding the EMH park doesn’t work at all, but as a general rule the day after Extra Magic Hours is the best day to visit a park.

Now before you start pulling your hair out, there are a couple of thing you should consider. The week you are there Walt Disney World is not very busy. Friday the 1st will be a bit busy, but after that the crowds will be pretty small.

In fact, the crowds will be small enough that Extra Magic Hours won’t mean much crowd wise. You should be able to take advantage of the extra hours without to much difficulty. Of course if you have Park Hoppers, you have the best of both worlds. Just go early and leave when the park gets busy or enjoy a slow park in the morning and hop over to a evening EMH park in the evening.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Debbie, it’s just a guideline to avoid the Extra Magic Hour park. But it’s not set in stone especially during slower times of the year. I think the week you’ll be there you won’t have a problem.

Comments for

Aug 28, 2013 Evening Extra Magic Hours
by: Anonymous

My husband and I really like the extra evening hours, since the other people have to leave the park….and it’s only people that stay at the Disney resorts that can stay! There is usually less wait for the most wanted rides….sometimes, you can get off and go right back in with absolutely no wait time!….and yes!, we have done this many times!!!

I do suggest staying away from EPCOT at night during the Food and Wine Festival….you cannot even walk the streets, it is soooo crowded….and usually with drunk people!

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