Walt Disney World Officially Ends Extra Magic Hours – Introducing Early Theme Park Entry

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The Walt Disney World Resort has officially shared that Extra Magic Hours are a thing of the past. As a tie in to the 50th anniversary celebration, the resort will instead be offering Disney Resort Hotel Guests (and Guests of other select hotels) a different option. Early Theme Park Entry will soon be introduced. This perk will give Guests 30-minute early entry to ANY theme park, EVERY day.

This is very different than Extra Magic Hours, which would grant resort hotel Guests early entry to one specific theme park for an extra hour in the morning. Or it would grant resort hotel Guests two extra hours in one specific theme park in the evening.

Extra Magic Hours were technically suspended when the Walt Disney World Resort reopened last summer following the COVID closure. Disney states that the reasoning behind Extra Magic Hours not returning is because they are continuing to manage theme park attendance with health and safety top of mind. With this new early theme park entry benefit option, it helps the resort better spread Guests out across all four theme parks, while providing added flexibility. It still gives Guests staying onsite the perk of extra early park time on each day of their vacation. Now they get the bonus of being able to choose which park they visit, instead of being stuck to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours schedule.

For those wishing to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry, Guests will need valid admission and a park reservation made via the Disney Park Pass system to enter a theme park.

Disney did not say when Early Theme Park Entry would officially start, just that it was coming soon. We’ll be sure to share with you more details as we learn them about this new perk.

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Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rikkinibs

17 thoughts on “Walt Disney World Officially Ends Extra Magic Hours – Introducing Early Theme Park Entry

  • January 11, 2021 at 1:48 pm
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    As a person who stays offsite, this is very troubling to me. I am hoping that this begins soon so that the good folks at touring plans has a chance to test plans for those of us who can’t use this new resort perk. I used your Universal plans for those without the early entry perk a few years ago to great success, and I have been telling myself all morning that you all will figure this out before our next planned trip in 2022 when hopefully everything is back (or close to being back) to normal.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 1:53 pm
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    This is very disappointing. Some of my favorite Disney World memories are during evening Extra Magic Hours in the Magic Kingdom. It felt like the entire park was ours.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 2:28 pm
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    I usually stay on site, but I don’t “do” mornings, so very disappointing here to lose the stay-late magic hours.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 3:11 pm
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    So sad to lose the late night EMH’s. We go in August and the heat is more tolerable at night. I hope they bring back the After Hours parties

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  • January 11, 2021 at 3:46 pm
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    Any idea how this is going to work considering that guests are often allowed inside the park before rope drop, and occasionally some things have opened before the official start time? If they keep that practice up for all guests, the onsite guests won’t technically be getting anything that isn’t available to everyone.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 4:10 pm
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    I’m willing to bet that they will allow onsite guests in more than 30 minutes prior to scheduled opening while those who stay offsite won’t be able to get through the tapstiles until official opening time.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 4:27 pm
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    Very sad to lose extra magic hours. Seems like on site guests are losing most of the perks, while gaining little in return. Smaller rooms for a lot more money and paying to park at those overpriced resorts. No 60 day fast pass window, no extra magic and there is not even a bounce back offed right now.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 5:08 pm
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    To me this lines up
    More to Disneyland practices. Without magicband distribution id wager they are moving to their max pass system where you have to pay to utilize fastpass plus. Sad 30 minutes is nothing and less magical.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 5:21 pm
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    I would be okay with that even if I’m not willing to pay for it. Fewer people would utilize fastpass and standby lines would move faster. Money spent for custom touring plans at this site is money better spent. Pre-Covid we were able to fly though Universal parks without early entry or express passes and checked off every attraction on the adult touring plan by mid-afternoon while riding some rides more than once (Spiderman, Harry Potter e-tickets, Rip Ride Rock-It, Mummy, to name a few).

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  • January 11, 2021 at 5:57 pm
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    I hate this idea. Our absolute favorite times are evening EMH!! I have 3 teens & we love the cool, not so crowded nights. So many memories running around MK til 1 am. I feel they keep taking away things we love the most. We are huge Disney fans, but will be reevaluating the money we spend there at this point.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 6:33 pm
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    Since they have been letting guests in 30 to 45 minutes early at the parks to avoid bunching up at least since September when i last went, this is a case of slapping a marketing label on a fact and calling it a feature. Im quite sure emh will return– with a new label and price tag.

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  • January 11, 2021 at 7:09 pm
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    I am hoping that all the disappearing perks- the bus from the airport, the late night magic hours- are only gone temporarily. I am still waiting to hear that the Osborne Family Lights are coming back!

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  • January 12, 2021 at 1:30 pm
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    30 minutes isn’t really much, but since it’s at all parks I suppose this would spread the resort guests around instead of most guests all headed to the same park on the morning. We’ve rescheduled last year’s cancelled trip for this summer. I’m hoping that things will have improved enough that they will have breakfast reservations available for before park opening. I’ve found that early breakfast entry is actually better than extra magic hour anyway.

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  • January 12, 2021 at 4:20 pm
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    If you have ever taken a tour, and witnessed the crowds that litterally run into the parks at opening, you will understand why Disney is making this change. It is a discusting process.

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  • January 12, 2021 at 4:30 pm
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    Been there on both sides: as part of a pre-opening tour, and part of the rope dropping crowd. Disney does a fantastic job. I’ve watched people patiently stay behind the rope being held by the cast members as they lead park goers to the headliners. Yes, there is going to be a rush after the literal rope drop, but compared to the free-for-all that goes on at regional parks (looking at you, Six Flags and Cedar Fair) it is a well done plan that works for everyone except the few especially rude and privileged people.

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  • January 12, 2021 at 5:02 pm
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    Super disappointed that there will be no late stay options. Not everyone wants to go on vacation to wake up EARLIER than when they go to work. Even the park hours being reduced skews to the early morning crowd unfairly. Hello, its physically cooler at night, why force more people in parks during the hottest possible times of the day?

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  • January 13, 2021 at 12:01 am
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    While my default response is to be disappointed, I’m reserving judgment slightly on this one.

    IF it’s a real 30 mins (not just the 30 mins they already gave people), and IF they offer paid evening EMH, this might be acceptable. It would solve the issue of the EMH park being extra busy, making park hopping after rope drop less necessary (=less stress). A half an hour head start honestly gives you most of the benefit of single-hour EMH — just being ahead of the crowd is the key thing, not necessarily how far ahead you are. And with resort people spread between parks, that will help crystallize the benefit too.

    The big missing element is evening EMH for the fun and atmosphere. But since they did After Hours, I can see that being a paid event going forward.

    In general, I’d rather they maintain and improve the “magic” of Disney, even if it means increasing prices more. This could turn out to be an example of that.

    But then again, their general philosophy seems to be quite the opposite: they’re continually making decisions that reduce how magical WDW feels (room refurbs, Disney Magical Express, various cuts etc.). So even if I end up being okay with this, it’s clearly the exception.

    Reply

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