Here is this week's blog from my website and I am curious as to your thoughts and experiences.
“Should I use Extra Magic Hours (EMH) or not?”
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 resort 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 plaque 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 munber 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 teh 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.