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

Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom, castle, Disney castle, Disney resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, vacation, vacation fun

Updated for 2017!

If you ever said,”Well just stay at a cheap hotel, because with the money we save, the longer we can stay 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.  

Read: Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

waiting to get to Disney, ride Monorail to Disney, monorail, ride a monorail,

What are Extra Magic Hours?

On certain days of the week, Disney resort guests can enter one of the parks one hour earlier and stay up to two hours later than guests staying off property. Extra Magic Hours give you time in the parks, above and beyond the standard operating schedule, at no additional charge. They’ll do a different park every day. This special perk is offered only to guests of Disney property hotel. That’s where you 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. MagicBands will be scanned, and without confirmation you are staying on property, there will be no extra riding. 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! Especially late at night in the summer when the temps. are lower and the crowds can be lighter. 

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 scan your magic band or Disney room card. 

To get through the entry gate during Extra Magic Hours, you’ll need to scan your magic band or Disney room card. 

Read: 10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

Epcot monorail, Disney art, Disney,

When are Extra Magic Hours?

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

If you’re on a traditional computer, go to the Disney calendar page. You can use this link to see the page.

Disney calendar page

You can use these pages to fine tune it to your vacation.

Disney calendars to plan your vacation

If you are on a cell phone, use the My Disney Experience app. 

My Disney Experience check extra magic hours

So you may have to weigh your accommodations 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. 

Read: 11 Cheapskate Ways to Save Time (Equals Money) at Walt Disney World

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 $50 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 for an extravagance! And this is a perk that may justify all your scrimping and saving.

My favorite rides, with a cheapskate twist…

The 3 Best Cheapskate Rides in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Polynesian Resort, sunset, sunrise, Polynesian Resort beach, Disney resort beach

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess


Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


Now let our vacation planners help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin and Elizabeth, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

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

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Erin and Elizabeth. You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.


  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.

Speak Your Mind