Monday, April 8, 2013

Morning Extra Magic Hours with Kids

Prior to having children, I rarely stayed on Disney property.  Heck, I rarely did more than 1 or 2 days and usually drove up day 1 and drove home late on day 2.  Extra Magic Hours weren't part of my plan.  But, all of that changed when we went on Noah's first trip.

Now, my trips are planned around 2 things: Morning Extra Magic Hours and dining reservations (ADR's).

With morning risers like my boys, taking advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour (EMH) makes perfect sense.
Mickey Mouse and the Family of the Day - Rope Drop, 2/28/13

I've heard many times on the WDW Today podcast that only about 30% of resort guests take advantage of morning EMH.  And, since only the resort guests are eligible, that's really a small number of people who take advantage of that special opening.

Tips for taking advantage of EMH:
  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to opening.  The rope drop/welcome show is generally 10-15 minutes prior to scheduled opening and then the park opens a few minutes prior to scheduled opening.  During the peak season, these are often much earlier and then guests are admitted even earlier than planned!  We usually leave our resort an hour prior to scheduled EMH park opening. 
  • Be there bright and early or skip that park until later altogether!  If you miss the first hour, you're missing the advantage.  But, many still head to that park 30 minutes late or so making the park more crowded than it would normally be.  
  • Don't plan to have breakfast in the park during the first hour!  Use that park to hit the attractions that will get crowded quickly after the park opens to the public.
    • Eat breakfast in your room/pack a snack
    • Eat once the park opens to everyone
    • Skip sit down meals for the same time that the park has EMH. 
  • Know that not all of the parks are open during this extra morning hour.  My fellow Magical Blogorailer, Dave from Your First Visit, has it very clearly written out for you here.
Over the next week or so, I'll be posting specific tips/experiences per park with the extra morning magic hours!  Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comment or on facebook!  

**If you want to get in a character breakfast, absolutely get the earliest ADR - normally 8 am for a 9 a.m. park opening - but make sure that the park doesn't have EMH the same morning as your ADR.  You'll simply be entering behind the crowds if you do that and won't get to take advantage of seeing the park before it's actually open!  Too many acronyms?  I blame the Army for making me get used to them!

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