Why Disney’s Extra Magic Hours Are Totally Worth a Cheapskate’s Money!

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If you ever said,”Well just stay at a cheap hotel, because we can play at Disney World longer,” then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. I’m all about finding a bargain. And there is no doubt that staying at a Disney World Resort can be more expensive than staying “off property.” But Disney offers a huge perk other off-property hotels don’t: Extra Magic Hours. Staying fewer days in a Disney resort to play longer in the parks is what a Cheapskate Princess would call a splurge.  

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What are Extra Magic Hours?

On certain days of the week, Disney resort guests can enter the parks one hour earlier and stay up to three hours later than guests staying off property. That’s where yoy get your money’s worth right there, princess, arrive early or stay later than you would you stay in a less expensive hotel of property.

Now for those who didn’t splurge on a Disney hotel, Cast Members will not ask you to leave the park in the evenings if you are staying off property, but you will not be allowed on the rides, shows, or attractions. So they won’t toss you out, but why do they allow you to stay?  Because you can still shop and eat, which can be a lot of fun!

Epcot ball, Epcot, Spaceship Earth, geosphere, Disney theme parks,

Where are Extra Magic Hours?

All the theme parks offer some sort of Extra Magic Hours, as do Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beachwater parks.

To get on rides or into shows during Extra Magic Hours, you will need to show a Cast Member your ticket and your room key. Last summer, we left my husband in the room to relax, and I mistakenly grabbed his ticket. I walked to go back to Bay Lake Tower to get the right ticket so they would let me in. (Now I know I could have my season pass re-printed from Guest Relations at the front of the park and saved myself some time.) If you lose either of these two items in the parks, they do not take your word for it.

To get through the entry gate during Extra Magic Hours, you’ll need a ticket and a valid room key.  Most of the Cast Members we have seen were inspecting the room dates on our room keys. Whatever you have to do, you better have that room key and ticket in hand and on display.

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When are Extra Magic Hours?

Here are three easy ways to determine when Extra Magic Hours occur.

1) Touringplans.com posts this information on their website.

2) Phone WDW information at 407-824-4321 or 407-939-6244. Press zero for a live Cast Member

3. Check the parks calendar at Disneyworld.com

So you will have to weigh your rooming options carefully. Staying on property is more costly than staying at a hotel off-property. But during busy times a year, those extra hours in the parks can make your added expense seem worth the financial effort. I have been at the Magic Kingdom at 2:45 in the morning, watching my kids go back through line after no-line with the only wait time being how long it took them to walk to the ride.

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Mary Blair tiles, Contemporary Resort, Contemporary Resort mural,

On the negative side, I have been to Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios and shaken my head at the long lines. I really think that the best place to take advantage of the late night hours is the Magic Kingdom, where there are more rides to enjoy than just a few roller coasters.

Extra Magic Hours are a wonderful perk for your hard earned Disney Dollars; less wait, 70 degree temps. at night in June, yet it’s definitely more expensive for a resort stay to achieve this perk.  You can snag a really cheap, yet decent,  hotel over in Kissimmee for like $30 a night, so a Disney resort will cost you nearly three or four times that amount. But how often do you go on a Disney vacation? Sometimes when you save up a lot, you have room to splurge! And this is a perk that may justify all your scrimping and saving.

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Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from  Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida


Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in the Magic Kingdom at 2 a.m. in the summer, with a cool breeze and  lighter crowds. Extra Magic Hours won’t do anything for your sore feet, by the way, but it can do wonders for your stress level.


  1. Meredith says:

    We have never stayed at a Disney resort because we have a vacation plan that was too expensive not to make use of and we can get a three bedroom suite with a dining room and a full kitchen. Admittedly, they don’t get much use except for the days we take a break from the parks. The last one had an amazing pool that I intend to try in the future, You really have to consider how your family will make use of the extra hours. My husband likes to sleep-in so Disney tests his ability to be an early riser even without the extra hours in the morning. Also, after a full day, it is questionable as to whether or not my daughter could handle staying. Now that we have a new family member, I doubt we could make use of the extra hours anyway. We don’t shop during the regular park hours. Disney lets you stay later, you just can’t get on the rides. So save the shopping for the extra magic hours if you are off-property. That way you aren’t toting bags around during the day and you can take advantage of the extra hours that way. Also, with the Magic Kingdom, you do need about an hour to get from your hotel to inside the park due to the fact that you have to get on the monorail or the ferry. However, I’ve not found it takes quite as long to get to Epcot or Hollywood Studios, about 35 minutes at the most.

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