Disney has elected to eliminate evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom on Fridays over the summer. They were originally scheduled this year, but Disney has apparently canceled them. As recently as three years ago, Magic Kingdom offered morning Extra Magic Hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to evening Extra Magic Hours on Sundays and Fridays. Two years ago, they eliminated the Tuesday morning Extra Magic Hours. This year, they’ve eliminated evening Extra Magic Hours on Fridays, leaving only evening Extra Magic Hours on Sundays and a morning Extra Magic Hour on Thursdays from the last week in May through August. That means people visiting over July, in the oppressive heat and crowds, will see the exact same number of Extra Magic Hours as those who elect to visit in January or September. That’s on top of this year’s reduction of the length of evening Extra Magic Hours from three hours to two. As of today, regular hours have not been extended.
While Disney’s Next Generation and MyMagic+ initiatives have been characterized as exercises in data mining, the overarching goals are cost reduction and increasing guest satisfaction among those that will spend the most money on property now and in the future. Obviously, labor is Disney’s largest expense, and “trimming the fat” will save the company money, resulting in higher profits. I’m expecting Disney to continue phasing out Extra Magic Hours. Expect “new perks” from MyMagic+ to entice visitors to the Disney-owned properties. While these perks will undoubtedly benefit guests, they won’t cost the company anywhere close to as much money as keeping the theme parks open for an extra 15+ hours a week.
For those visiting over the summer, the cancellation means a few things. While Fridays generally weren’t recommended, the early mornings and late evenings were excellent times to tour, particularly with the afternoon heat and humidity. Resort guests tended to amass around 11am and leave no later than immediately after Wishes. With evening Extra Magic Hours pulling away resort guests on Fridays and Sundays, Saturdays opened up as being less crowded for locals and those that follow this sort of website. Without evening Extra Magic Hours on Fridays, most Fridays should change to being recommended, while Saturdays are not expressly recommended.