Disney Eliminates Friday Magic Kingdom Evening Extra Magic Hours Over the Busy Summer

by josh on March 18, 2013

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.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenifer March 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Well, ain’t that a whoopin. I don’t do EMH but do plan around them. I suppose this will make Sunday evening at MK even more busy. Thanks for the update!

Jenifer
First time poster but long time reader.

Dee Yeager March 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Its crowded due to Summer and many families on vacation. We did EMH once for the Magic Kingdom . The park was crowded to begin with with EMH then insanity after it opened to guests. Not worth the aggrevation !!

Kevin March 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I missed the 3-hr EMH on our previous trip. Late nights in the Magic Kingdom are some of my favorite WDW memories (running around with my wife/daughter and riding everything with no wait). It’s a shame to see that go away.

JT March 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Limited Time Magic?

Sarah March 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

NOOOOOOOOO!!! Vacation RUINED!!

Just kidding. :P Though this does suck… I’m going to change my plans and then they’ll change their minds, I just know it.

Ayla March 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm

That blows. Expect the complete end of EMH everywhere next.

Anonymous March 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

It won’t be a big deal if the regular hours get extended to fairly late. We are fair skinned Alaskans and summer touring is better after the sun goes down!

We have APs this year which is our grand finale to Disney. After 12 years of almost yearly visits, it is time to spend our money elsewhere!

C March 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm

That is disappointing. We have a Friday as our last park day for our upcoming trip, and planned to spend it in MK as late as our kids could handle. We have never done an evening EMH. Hopefully the park will still be open fairly late and will maybe be a bit less crowded.

Adrienne March 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm

We were also going to do our first ever emh evening at MK in late August, now that my son is old enough. Bummer! Back to the drawing board.

Adrienne March 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Ok, Josh, will you update the August calendar of recommended parks? Apparently I am incapable of factoring in this change. I actually looked at my itinerary, which was looking so good, and got completely confused. I will be waiting patiently. Thank you!

Jenifer March 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Ya know, this “may” come back to bite Disney in the butt. People may not see much advantage to buying the much more expensive park hopper passes if they can only hop to MK one evening for EMH instead of two. I wonder if the bean counters penciled that factor in the equation…………..

Cheryl M March 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Well, if they keep this up they will see a drop in resort occupancy. This is one of the main reasons people overpay to stay onsite!

Betty March 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I am so sad about this. It was bad enough to lose that extra hour, but as of today, the latest we can be in MK in peak season is 1 am?? Not cool….

WTH Disney?! March 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

So Saturdays are not “expressly recommended” as in OMG do not do MK on Saturdays like ever, or as in we’ll have to wait and see? Are you going to update your recommendations for June, particularly around SWW?

What ever happened to under promising and over performing? This is more of a bite the hand that feeds you tactic.

Lisa March 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

We visit Disney every year and love EMH. We stay on Disney property just to roam the parks till the weeeee hours. Maybe we’ll cut cost and save money too by staying off property.

Rhonda March 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

So a “just for fun” Sunday night EMH now become highly not recommended? That was supposed to be our plan….GRRRRRR……….so frustrating. Will have to go back an re-look at the plans. UGH!

Sarah R March 18, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I am assuming that the crowd calendar will change? Have they actually already changed the hours?

Ronni March 18, 2013 at 9:41 pm

You know what was weird? When I was there on March 1, they came on the loud speaker sometime that afternoon and announced that as a surprise, Magic Kingdom would remain open one hour later than usual. Of course, we were flying out that night so we didn’t get to stay and experience it, but I wonder what THAT was about, and if it’s related to this?

tracey March 19, 2013 at 1:04 am

Well just great….Our first morning is saturday 13th July in MK. I was counting on that FRiday late EMH to keep crowds at least a bit the next morning. Oh well..we have 8am CP so we will just make it work.

Samantha March 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

Over the last few trips I’ve noticed prices going up and service (and now this benefit) declining. For us to stay at the Polynesian in June, with the discount they’re offering, it was going to be $470/night. We could stay in a suite at the Waldorf for less. We are staying at the Dolphin for half that. Last time we stayed at the Poly there was one bartender at the very crowded pool bar. We couldn’t find a place to sit and relax in the lounge with all the Ohana crowds. That’s not the service or experience you’d get for a $400 plus dollar/night hotel anyhwhere else. I guess my point is that Disney seems exceedingly arrogant in how they keep cutting things and raising prices. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to affect them so they can get away with it. We are excited to go back of course but these kinds of experiences were part of the reason we didn’t get an AP again. I am sorry to hear about the MK EMH – that was always fun for our family, esp my son.

mike March 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Is Disney trying to irritate it’s fans. On one hand it’s taking all its perks away and on the other hand it’s adding to all it’s Parks

WTH Disney?! March 20, 2013 at 4:36 am

The Disney giveth and the Disney taketh away.

Allan March 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

“Well, if they keep this up they will see a drop in resort occupancy. This is one of the main reasons people overpay to stay onsite!”

I’m guessing tiered versions of MyMagic + with extra benefits for on property guests will come next.

It really seems to me that the whole phasing out EMHs and implementation of MyMagic+ is aimed at mitigating big crowd fluctuations and distributing crowds more evenly across all 4 parks everyday. Sucks for those of us that know how to use those fluctuations to our advantage but should give the average WDW visitor a better experience.

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Jeanine January 6, 2014 at 6:56 am

For those of us that love riding Thunder Mountain at 2am, this really stinks. The crowds thin out during that last hour and you get to ride everything multiple times with no wait. This was one of the main perks for staying at a Disney Resort and it is sad to see it go. It seems like the new bracelet program cost them much more than expected so they are chopping at other things. Highly disappointed!!

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