Reader Question: Disney After Hours & Early Morning Magic

Hey Pete,

I know the Disney After Hours and Early Morning Magic are just temporary, but I can’t help but think it’s a sign of things to come. Just like you mentioned in a recent post, I feel as though Disney is testing the success of paid Extra Magic Hours.

Hypothetically, which (if any,) would be the best for Christmastime? 


Lauren, Wisconsin

Hey Lauren,

Great question! Let me start by saying that there has been no indication that Disney will continue the Early Morning Magic or After Hours Event nor does it currently plan to replace Extra Magic Hours. During the After Hours and Early Morning Hours, the Extra Magic Hours will still be available to Disney resort guests.

But… we all know Disney too well. This is more than likely a test to see if premium events, such as paid Extra Magic Hours, would work. Let’s just say it’s successful and by September, Extra Magic Hours are gone and the paid event is in full effect. What do you do?

Well, let’s first examine the two events:

Disney After Hours costs $149 per guest. According to Disney, it offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Magic Kingdom three additional hours after closing. Select attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain, the Princess meet-and-greet, Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain will all be open to guests and have a reduced wait time. Ice cream, novelties and soft drinks will also be available to guests.

Early Morning Magic is a separately ticketed event that allows guests entry into Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland from 7:45am-10:00am. It costs $69 for adults and $59 for kids, plus regular theme park admission. The event includes access to Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – a ride notorious for long waits – and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It also includes breakfast: chilled juices, coffee and teas, seasonal fruit, pastries, scrambled eggs, waffles and more.

I’m not sure I can see Disney imposing either of these events during very crowded times. It would require the park opening at 10am or closing by 12am. Closing at 12am makes much more sense, but I guess the Early Morning Magic is still possible.

If you ask me, $149 is a bit over the top for 3 extra hours in the park. If you’re only in Disney for a few days, I can see spending the extra money to make sure you get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; but those staying for a longer vacation and with access to FP+, I shouldn’t spend the money. You can easily find the time to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, even if it means waiting two hours. Both events also make far more sense for those that don’t get to visit Disney too often. My family would certainly feel bad about not getting on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but we know that we’ll be back.

Believe it or not, I’m a big fan of the Early Morning Magic. I’d hate if it meant the end of morning Extra Magic Hours, but it’s really not too outlandish of a price, especially for off-site guests who have a smaller FP+ window or don’t have access to Extra Magic Hours. It includes a breakfast, which really makes it cost effective. Think about it – most breakfast buffets run you between $40-$60. Not only do you get breakfast, but you have access to the most popular rides at a reduced wait time. That’s pretty awesome, especially during Christmas or other highly crowded times.

Look – I’m not sure what the future holds for Disney. The reduced Extra Magic Hours and addition of these paid events definitely make me skeptical. If Disney suddenly decides to extend these special events into busy times like Christmas, I can see both being very popular. But – I’d probably call it an early night and opt for the Early Morning Magic event once during the trip.




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