Welcome to our trip report covering the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios! The primary purpose of trip reports is to supplement our existing content (in this case, heavily) to let you know how our strategies are actually working at a given time! This post covers Extra Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom (including strategy without access to that perk)!
About This Trip Report
This trip report covers a five-night visit to Walt Disney World for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the start of Extra Extra Magic Hours. As we’ve written elsewhere, the period from August 29 through November 2 is going to be a complicated one at Walt Disney World, as three parks will have daily Extra Extra Magic Hours.
For a full introduction to this report, visit Part 1. Otherwise, here are the currently available posts (links open in new tabs):
Disney World Galaxy’s Edge Trip Report Part 5 — Extra Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom (you are here)
About This Post
This post focuses on an Extra Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom. Unlike Hollywood Studios, which is having daily three-hour Extra Magic Hours through November 2, Magic Kingdom will only be having a single hour daily.
This means that, essentially, the strategy for visiting Magic Kingdom with Extra Magic Hour remains unchanged. More important is what we can say for people without Extra Magic Hour, as it’s now unavoidable.
Wake Up and Arrival At Magic Kingdom
We got on the bus at 6:09AM at Pop Century. Our goal was to be at Magic Kingdom around 6:30AM, 30 minutes before Extra Magic Hour began.
Security hadn’t opened by 6:27AM when we arrived. This in itself is fine, but the security team and the Cast Members at the park gate made multiple strange references to having been “up late” and that the park “wasn’t ready yet.”
Since the park wasn’t opening until 7AM, this was unnecessary and just caused more sensitive guests to ask more questions, which slowed the entire process and resulted in some unjustified anger at 7AM. Strange morning.
Above is the 6:42AM crowd. Pretty small and pretty chill.
Early on, the check to confirm you had Extra Magic Hours access (or a breakfast Advance Dining Reservation) was done outside the park, other guests were told to queue outside the gates. At some point (probably around 7:15AM), it moved inside the park along the Tomorrowland side of the hub.
At 7AM the park opened, and we were off. Emily went off to accomplish as much during EMH as she could. I stuck back to see how people who arrived at 8AM would do.
Magic Kingdom With Extra Magic Hour
Since the initial check for EMH privileges was done outside the gates, Emily had a clear path to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. With much of the park still roped off, the route to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still via the first bridge to the right of the castle, though guests are directed off Main Street before that.
With little by way of crowds at 7AM, she had an easy time boarding the ride at 7:10AM, pretty much all of that ten minutes having been walking to the ride and through the queue.
From Mine Train, you’re probably going to want to visit one of Peter Pan’s Flight or Space Mountain. We still recommend having a FastPass+ for one of these, but many days during EMH you can accomplish both.
Emily boarded Peter Pan’s Flight at 7:17AM with no wait, and Space Mountain at 7:32AM after a 7-minute wait.
If Astro Orbiter were working, now would be the time to ride that, as it has no FastPass+. With that ride down, she opted instead of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, boarding at 7:42AM with no wait.
This put her in a perfect position to head over to the pathway between Fantasyland and Liberty Square for Frontierland Rope Drop.
In Frontierland, they don’t run, they don’t walk, they mosey. She moseyed right onto Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 8:07AM before walking right onto Jungle Cruise (Splash Mountain was down) at 8:15AM.
This was about as perfectly as you can do Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom. While we never count on getting Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and Space Mountain done in the hour, it’s always nice to accomplish. We’ll recap our full morning schedule a bit farther below.
Magic Kingdom Without EMH
While Emily did all that, I just wandered the park. The Main Street Vehicles run during this time, so if you don’t have Extra Magic Hour (or if you do and have spare time), this is a great option.
As I said earlier, by 7:20AM the check for EMH was being done inside the park, so guests without EMH had access to Main Street USA and the hub.
This is also a good time to get pictures, as you might be able to catch the castle without anyone in front of it.
If you have a FastPass+ lineup of Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, and Space Mountain, you’re fine without Extra Magic Hour. This is our preferred FastPass+ lineup, and you just start the day in Frontierland.
Of those three rides, the “worst” to have to start with—the one with the longest 8AM wait—is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. So I naturally wanted to test that out.
By 7:55AM when the welcome show, “Let the Magic Begin” was starting, there were fewer than five people at the rope to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The rest of the ropes looked similar.
I watched that show, which was nice because usually I don’t get a good view of it on account of being further in the rope drop crowd.
The posted wait at Seven Dwarfs was 20 minutes when I got there at 8:01AM, and I boarded at 8:11AM.
Now, this day probably had low crowds, but I’d probably wait up to 30 minutes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you can get a FastPass+ lineup of Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, and either Splash or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you’re in pretty good position.
What you’ll want to do with this lineup is ride Mine Train and then try and sync up with our Frontierland Rope Drop. In this case, I met Emily as she exited Jungle Cruise. I had missed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Jungle Cruise, but with a FastPass+ for one of them, I’d be in pretty good shape.
Early Morning at Magic Kingdom
We had no plans for the rest of the day, but figured we’d probably head to Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival around noon. We decided to keep riding rides for a bit, boarding Pirates of the Caribbean at 8:29AM, Haunted Mansion at 8:54AM, and Splash Mountain at 9:17AM (with FastPass+).
Trip reports are the sort of place where I’m comfortable sharing “tricks” I might pass over in other places. As always, these are “your experience may vary,” but here’s a fun one (click through the photo gallery, explanation below):
I saw at 8:25AM that Splash Mountain was still closed. I opened the My Disney Experience app, and at 8:26AM found an 8:30AM FastPass+ for Splash Mountain.
When 8:30AM rolled around, the ride was still down and that FastPass+ converted to a Multiple Experiences / Replacement FastPass+. That can be used at anytime of the day in Magic Kingdom on any ride except Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Meet Mickey & Minnie. It’s a nice thing to have.
We wound up using it for Splash Mountain, anyways. Here’s a reminder of how the morning looked, including Emily’s Extra Magic Hour (times are boarding times, post continues below):
6:30 Security Opens
7AM Rope Drop (Start of EMH)
7:10 Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
7:17 Peter Pan’s Flight
7:32 Space Mountain
7:42 Buzz Lightyear
8AM End of EMH
8AM Rope Drop to Frontierland
8:05 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
(Splash not running)
8:15 Jungle Cruise
8:29 Pirates of the Caribbean
8:54 Haunted Mansion
9:17 Splash (with FP+)
Late Morning at Magic Kingdom
Not having any specific agenda in mind, we wandered a bit. Here are some of the highlights.
The new path past Cinderella Castle at the Liberty Square bridge is open. This should be the best route to Peter Pan’s Flight in the morning, but I didn’t get a chance to test it.
Haunted Mansion has new red gear and also some 50th Anniversary gear celebrating the Disneyland version of the ride. I love the 50th shirt, but I don’t feel right buying it in Walt Disney World.
We got a pretty nice gallery of ride photos this visit, including this one where we look thoroughly unimpressed on one of our favorite Walt Disney World rides:
Continuing my goal of visiting more characters, we were able to get pretty good FastPass+ times for both Mickey & Minnie and Tiana & Rapunzel. With FastPass+, neither of these took more than 10 total minutes.
The first set of Mickey & Minnie photos actually didn’t turn out due to a defective flash. The obvious solution was to go to guest services, but we just went and spoke with the Cast Member at the FastPass+ queue. Always avoid guest services if you can (long lines).
She let us right through when we showed the dark photos, and we got a new set. Here’s a photo from that greeting, along with Tiana and Rapunzel:
We also have a new Guide to Disney World PhotoPass and Memory Maker.
Here are some parting shots from the morning, including a reminder that Friar’s Nook has outlets, just in case you ever need to charge…
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.