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WDW Theme Parks Discuss Should I use Extra Magic Hours or not? in the Vacation Planning forums; ...
  1. #1
    unc23's Avatar
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    Oct 2006

    Should I use Extra Magic Hours or not?

    SHould I use Extra Magic Hours or not?

    This is my latest blog from my website and I am curious of your thoughts and experiences as well.

    If you stay at a Walt Disney World resort you will have the option to utilize EMH’s most days. Each day there is one park that will have EMH in the morning, where the park opens up one hour early for guests staying on-site. In a peak season this is the key to your survival in the parks. EMH is also offered at one park each day in the evening. The park stays open three hours later for Walt Disney World resort guests. You must show your room key and obtain a wristband in order to stay in the park. EMH’s allow certain rides to be available to those guests. The EMH benefit might be the main key to staying on-property vs. staying off-site. If you are traveling during any of the peak seasons utilizing this method of touring is a must. The Magic Kingdom has even been known to stay open until 5:00 AM!

    Some “experts” will say to avoid the EMH park like the plague because it will undoubtedly bring about more people to that park, thus increasing the crowd level for that park. That may be true during off-peak times such as January or September, but during any of the Peak Seasons, it has been our experience that it is a must to utilize those EMH, especially in the AM.
    It is tough to get young children out of bed and arrive to a park by 7 AM, but I can tell you that if you have a plan, you can make your way through most of Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and into Frontierland by 10 AM. If you can provide your kids with a snack on the way to the park, that will usually tide them over until 10 or 10:30 AM. Then it is a good idea to go ahead and eat your lunch before the crowds decide to join you. After lunch you can hit a few more rides, and then by 12:30 or 1:00 PM you can head back to your resort with most attractions finished. If you sleep in and do not use EMH in the AM, then you will be with the thousands of others who had your same idea. You will encounter long lines, and enormous crowds, which will limit the number of rides you can go on.

    As for the evening EMH’s, unless you have teenagers, this is difficult to utilize. Most youngsters will have trouble staying awake this late, so if you have young ones it is better to go for the morning EMH’s. If you have teens, the evening EMH is great. They can sleep in, and then begin their day around noon, and get ready for a long night.

    All in all, the EMH perk for guests staying on-site is probably the number one reason to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort. My book goes into much detatil about the negatives associated to staying off-site and the problems that can affect your vacation by doing so. But in reality, if you have to go to Walt Disney World during any peak season, our advice is to stay on property, and make sure you utilize the EMH perk.
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  2. #2
    mattj4226's Avatar
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    Brookhaven, MS
    Typically, I stay away from Evening EMHs during busier times of the year. However, if you have the opportunity, I would defineatly try to do Animal Kingdom during an EMH. Last time I was there (it was December, so it was less crowded), my group and I rode Everest at least 10 times. And the Park is beautiful at night.
    As for morning EMHs, I say use them only if you plan on leaving before lunch.
    - Matt
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  3. #3
    Sorria's Avatar
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    We always to the EMH no matter what time, what park, or what time during the year. Even if the park is packed its less packed than what it would be if everyone was in there though. We especially make sure we get to do the evening EMH......these seem to be less crowded than the morning ones and have a lot less kids, especially if its late EMH at Epoct. We've done that a few times and we were literally the only people (besides cast members) that were walking around World Showcase.
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  4. #4
    Thumper10's Avatar
    Thumper10 is offline Missing Main Street...
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    The Laughin Place
    We always use the EMH, especially at night. Lines are great and all of the parks are so beautiful in the evening.

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  5. #5
    eyeinthesky's Avatar
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    It's been my experience to utilize the EMH morning but by 11 AM or noon, it's very crowded. This is especially true for the Magic Kingdom. By lunchtime, you should have most or all of the headliner attractions done. Then, you can either go back to hotel or do other attractions at your leisure.

    For evening EMH, I advise people to avoid the EMH park if they don't intend participate. As the afternoon goes on, the park will fill with people who are going to be staying late. Think, they've probably made ADR's for restaurants and plan to settle in for Spectromagic and Wishes.

    I also advise people to avoid the first hr. of EMH as the queues typically don't see a reduction in line as non-resort guests will still be there.

    This isn't based on extensive research but mostly from my own experiences. Hope this helps you.
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  6. #6
    Illinibee's Avatar
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    I think it truly depends on what time of the year you are going. If you are going in slower times then you can really get a lot done during the evening emh. I have been really been a fan of the early entry just because it is shorter (and i have to get up earlier). I think that EMH evenings are very good for those people who want to relax a little more on their vacation. Of course I would recommend AK EMH if you can go because that park is very magical at night.
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  7. #7
    disneyimagineer's Avatar
    disneyimagineer is offline You may notice that I'm not all here myself
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    When I go we're going to MK on a day with no EMH, so I'll see which is better.
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  8. #8
    mritty's Avatar
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    In early September 2007, my sister and I went to evening EMH at Magic Kingdom. It was crazy. The line for Space Mountain was 60 minutes. At 11pm, during EMH. I think we did one trip on Big Thunder Mountain and a ride on the TTA and then just called it quits. Wasn't worth it.

    On the other hand, in May 2006, my friends and I did evening EMH at Magic Kingdom, and everything was a walk-on.

    So I don't think there are any guarantees about EMH.

  9. #9
    unc23's Avatar
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    I just wanted to add that EMH in the morning are great during peak seasons. That is what I am speaking to in my blog. Off-seasons you may not need to use them, but they work wonders during peak seasons.
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  10. #10
    BethD's Avatar
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    I agree that it depends on the time of the year you go. I have been to EMH when we could walk on ANY ride we wanted and I have been to EMHs when the lines were longer than they had been all Day AND all fast passes were gone. So I am still undecided on this one. I do appreciate during the REALLY hot times of the year being able to come back to a park later in the evening and having several hours after the sun has gone down to enjoy the parks.
    Beth D
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  11. #11
    DisneyFamilyJD's Avatar
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    This will be my 25th trip, however, the first time that I will be able to do Extra Magic Hours, because we our staying on-site. I am sooooooooooo excited. I am going in May...the 12th-20th. Any thoughts on crowds then????

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  12. #12
    redheadbrown's Avatar
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    Lost in my Imagination
    EMH are the best!! In one day we..Went to AK in the morning. Then went to Chef Mickey's for a late breakfast. Rode the Monorail to Mk and stayed there 'till closing. Then rode the Monorail to EPCOT with EMH. One of the best Disney days of my life. Expect sore feet. Other than that it's great!!

  13. #13
    disneymaniac87's Avatar
    disneymaniac87 is offline Counting Down To My Next Trip!
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    with my experience with EMH... it has been pretty decent. The longest line I have had to wait in MK was 15 minutes. I try to avoid the morning ones because the parks always seem to be more crowded
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  14. #14
    bety's Avatar
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    i always use the extra magic hours. i usually only go to one park per day, and i use the extra magic hour schedule to help me decide which park i will go to on which day. i've never found that they were any more crowded than on a normal day; if anything they were the opposite.
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  15. #15
    Smack81's Avatar
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    I love EMH. I use the AM hours whenever possible, but I don't typically utilize the PM hours. (I'm not one to be out 'til 1 AM - makes me crabby.) To me, it makes more sense to use the morning hours because, when people are on vacation, they'd rather stay out late than get up early, so the AM hours seem to be much less crowded than the PM hours.

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