Extra Magic Hours - to use or not to use

My family and I have visited WDW several times and stayed on property every time, but have never taken advantage of extra magic hours. I’ve always followed crowd calendars that advise against it and we have never had park hoppers.

This trip is different. We will be there during the extremely busy week after Christmas and we will have park hoppers. We are morning people so we have no trouble getting up early, but my daughter is far from a night owl. I’m thinking of taking advantage of the morning EMH then hopping to a different park. I think the evening EMH are out for us most of the time as we (as in my daughter) can’t hang that late. The only evening shows we will likely see are Jingle Bell Jingle Bam and the early set of NYE fireworks at MK on the 30th (using a dessert party of course).

Does this strategy of utilizing morning EMH then hopping to another park work well for you and your families or should I stick to what I know? I’m just thinking this trip is so different from any of our others as every single day is going to be busy at every single park so “regular” visit know how goes out the window.

Any advice is appreciated!

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IMO, this is WHY you pay extra for onsite and hoppers. The only thing better would be to stay Epcot area so hopping and rope dropping is walkable for two parks, eliminating most of the issue of travel time.


We have used morning EMH frequently during our trips. The number of rides that you can get in during that hour (and the hour immediately after) is great. For some parks we have been done the majority of our planned rides in the first two hours of the day. We tend to use the afternoons for shows or breaks.


I think that it is a big benefit as long as you are actually there for the EMH RD.
Especially as many people that are going to RD that are not staying on site will be in a different park.
I go back and forth about hoppers - I have done the parks without them with no problem - but I do like the flexibility they give me.
I like to RD, take a break shortly after lunch when it is the busiest & hottest (although that week not really a problem LOL) then go back in the evening. With hopper I frequently will go to a different park after the break, but I don’t usually hop to a different park after the first couple of hours - I just find it takes too much time then


This is very important. Being on time, means 15 minutes early at least.


We just got back and used early EMH once during our week long trip. We did it for DHS, arriving at 6:30am for the 7am EMH (8am park opening).

This allowed us to do AS2, TSMM, and then one person did SDD and the other two did TSMM 2x. We then did Star Tours (2x), Muppets, Star Wars Launch Bay, and then headed to our first FP at ToT and our second at RNRC.

That all was done before noon.

Within another hour we used our SDD FP (three separate rides one after another using FP) and TSMM one more time.

Early EMH is definitely worth leveraging. Ds (12yo) was quite unhappy waking up at 5:45am for this but we got SO much done!


If you’re there between Christmas and New Year, you need to be aware that the posted park hours will change. I can 99.999999% guarantee that M.K. will open for EMH at 7am each day, DHS and AK will likely also open at 8am and even Epcot May open at 8:30am.

Generally you need to be there for the opening to make use of the EMH. But we are not morning people and have never rope dropped at all. And whilst I generally plan to not go to the morning EMH park, that week it’s all but impossible to do that!

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Thanks for the feedback. I think I’m sold on the idea since we have park hoppers this time. Plus with it being extremely busy those morning EMH are probably going to be the only time of the day we can actually move around easily in the parks. Since we aren’t night owls, we don’t usually leave the parks for a break mid day (even in the summer heat), but I’m thinking the actual act of transferring to another park and maybe stopping for a nice lunch at a resort in between would serve as an excellent “break” (at least from the crowds).


AM EMH, a resort lunch break, and transferring to another park is a great plan. Keep an eye on the crowd levels. I would stay away from park hopping to the park with PM EMH, if at all possible.

At least in December, the weather is very tolerable even on warm days.

Quick tip for the NYE fireworks dessert party…we did this exact event last year on 12/30. We booked the garden view for the first show. As we were leaving after the fireworks, the cast member asked if we were planning to come back for the second set of fireworks that evening. I didn’t think this was possible, but apparently our dessert party band would let us back in. Not sure if they are still doing this, but if you book garden view then it is worth a shot if you can stay up that late one evening.

As to your question about EMHs, we have been to WDW during this time frame the past two years and always make use of EMHs, both morning and evening. They have been a HUGE help to us. In order to do this successfully, we take really long mid-day breaks (think 5-6 hours long), but the strategy has allowed us to enjoy lower crowds and cooler temperatures at both the beginning and end of each day. The one downside comes when the kids would rather swim during our mid-day break rather than nap. They can be super cranky if I don’t shut the blinds and make them rest. On the days they do rest, this is great! Park hopping is a great strategy as well and I definitely recommend the park hopper pass. I think you will find it is worth the extra money.

You are going at a wonderful time of year. I have been twice during that week, once at Thanksgiving, and once in early June. I would hands down pick that time of year due to the festive environment, long park hours, and temperatures. A good touring plan will help you manage the crowds.


Thank you so much for all the helpful information! it is also refreshing to see someone talk so positively about going that week. I feel as if every time I mention I’m going that week I need to preface it by saying we have been to WDW several times and are there to focus on our absolute favorite things and the holiday specific items because everyone always assumes you are going to have an awful time. I think as long as you know what you are up against and have proper planning (but also know enough to be flexible when you need to be in real time) then you could have a great time!

We are very excited to try out park hopping this time. I just wish they still had that express bus!

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