Disney World Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland Review – IS IT WORTH IT?

The first Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland event happened on the morning of April 26th and your trusty(?), albeit excessively-and-needlessly-negative, website was in attendance.

Disney lays out the details of the event more straightforwardly than usual on their website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/early-morning-magic/ which is also the link to book it online.

And then the details are further established:

The event is scheduled on most Tuesdays and Saturdays moving forward. To be precise:

  • April 26 and 30
  • May 3, 7, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, and 31
  • June 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, and 28
  • With more dates potentially added

For your $69/adult and $59/child (ages 3-9), in addition to your regular theme park admission, you basically get:

  • Access to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh from as soon as you can reach the attraction of your choice after being let into the Park at 7:45am and continuing through 8:45am. More on what happens between 8:45am and 9am with Be Our Guest breakfast diners and guests entering from the main entrance later.
  • All-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus served from 8:30am to 10am. Or as I like to call it, The Vegetable Frittata Challenge.

With the early start, getting to Magic Kingdom no later than the 7:30am check-in time may be a challenge in its own right, particularly on Tuesdays when the monorails will likely be down for maintenance. If you’re parking at the Transportation and Ticket Center, that likely leaves the ferry and potentially buses as your mode of transportation across or around the water. If you’re attending this event and parking in Magic Kingdom parking, I suggest arriving at the toll booths closer to 6:30am than 6:45am. That gives you plenty of time to park and figure out transportation. The Resort Monorail ordinarily begins operating at 7am, but it is not currently operating until much later in the day on Tuesdays.

No matter what anyone tells you, buses begin running before 6:30am and will transport you from your Walt Disney World Resort to Magic Kingdom’s gates. I saw several arriving and departing, almost all empty, as I walked over from the Contemporary. Ideally, you’d want to be at the stop on the 6:30am side of 6:45am again. That gives you 20 minutes for the bus to arrive and depart and 20 minutes to drive over.

Lyft, which is similar to Uber, was running a promotion for 50% off rides, so I elected to be dropped off at the Contemporary Resort early in the morning, where you can then control your destiny by walking the 10ish minutes over to Magic Kingdom’s entrance. Those that don’t want to deal with concerns over when the bus will arrive or whether the monorail will be operating may elect to take a taxi/Uber/Lyft/slingshot to the Contemporary.

I arrived at bag check at 7:14am, which is one minute before the bag checkers start peering through whatever nightmares that I am sure are in most bloggers’ backpacks.

It is not essential that you arrive this early, but if you’re relying on Disney transportation for an event that basically costs $1/minute, being conservative only means you’re less likely to miss time. I arrived plenty early to see how things progressed throughout the morning.

Reservations and tours, including Early Morning Magic event guests, head left after bag check. Just about anybody here before 7:30am is going to fit that description.

Assuming your event tickets are attached to your ticket or MagicBand, a cast member will scan it and your reservation will show up on their screen. If not, they can look you up by name. After confirming your status, you will receive a wristband from the next cast member to help identify yourself throughout the morning at the rides and breakfast.

It was five minutes between when I arrived at bag check and when I arrived here with my wristband waiting to scan my Annual Pass.

You’ll then wait with a large group of people that are here this early for a variety of things, including guests with pre-opening breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Crystal Palace, in addition to early Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations and a variety of tours.

Just before 7:45am, we were let through the tunnel and into Magic Kingdom.

With a couple hundred people heading in for the Early Morning event, in addition to the hundreds headed to one of the restaurants, it’s not a particularly good opportunity to get those “empty Main Street” pictures – at least initially.

If you give the initial wave about ten minutes to hit the various PhotoPass photographers on the way towards Cinderella Castle, things begin to ease as relatively few people enter the Park from 8am-8:30am. You’ll also have success taking pictures in nooks and crannies throughout Main Street. An empty Main Street might be out, but Center Street is viable as are many of the facades.

There wasn’t much direction offered as we meandered in, but everyone seemed to figure out where to go.

You’ll shave a minute off your walk heading towards Mine Train if you take the route to the right of Cinderella Castle towards Mad Tea Party.

But since we’re not battling thousands of others at regular rope drop, you might instead elect to head through the Castle for a bit of atmosphere.

Perhaps taking a moment to appreciate the mosaics.

It was ten minutes between when the first person entered Magic Kingdom and I arrived in Fantasyland. You might want to take advantage of the sword-in-the-stone photo op in front of the Carrousel.

You never really know what to expect from the first day of the various events that Disney concocts, no doubt evilly in some laboratory helmed by Ursula somewhere in Shanghai. Disney mentions “limited” in regards to the number of tickets sold  on three separate occasions on its website description. But that number could be anywhere from one to ten thousand. Disney probably appreciates the ability to be vague and adjust the number of tickets based on what it sees, but adding something like “no more than 500 hundred tickets will be sold for any given morning” might be a powerful enough incentive to move tickets. But this particular morning “sold out” regardless.

If you’re tired of reading, I’ll tell you now that this picture sums up the morning well. There are only two people riding in this entire Mine Train vehicle and I’m the only person waiting for the next one.

I got in line for my first Mine Train ride at 7:56am.

And I finished my fifth ride at 8:20am.

I probably don’t have to tell you that that is a preposterous number.

By 9:45am on this same morning, the posted wait was 80 minutes. If you wanted to ride five consecutive times in standby at any point from 9:30am – 9:30pm, you’d wait about seven and a half hours versus the three minutes or less that I waited during the event.

While everyone had to disembark after each ride, we were able to use the FastPass+ queue with this rope removed, which meant we could basically walk 25 steps out of the unloading area and then immediately walk back through the queue and immediately load again.

This was taken on my first ride at 7:59am.

And I was in the exact same place on my second ride just four minutes later at 8:03am.

If all you wanted to do was ride Mine Train during your hour, you could easily ride more than ten times.

I moseyed over to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for a change of pace.

There’s always a moment for a flower picture.

Two rides there took 12 minutes because I had to walk ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP and ALL THE WAY BACK THROUGH THE QUEUE each time.

Does anybody have $1,000 I can borrow for a sec?

If you are dining at Be Our Guest Restaurant before regular Park opening on an Early Morning Magic day with hopes of riding Mine Train before those that arrive from the main entrance as described in this post, I have good and bad news. The bad news is that in the picture above, it’s 8:35am and some Be Our Guest diners are being told to head back to the restaurant. The good news is that they would be released at 8:45am to ride Mine Train, which still gives them an opportunity to ride Mine Train once before guests arrive from the main entrance.

From the main entrance, the Welcome Show begins 20 minutes prior to open and lasts about six minutes. Then it takes the first guests about seven minutes to arrive at Mine Train. So that puts the first guest from the main entrance at Mine Train at 8:40am + 6 minutes + 7 minutes = 8:53am. Whether the potential for one ride on Mine Train, in addition to the easier entry, food, and air-conditioning is worth the cost of the breakfast is up to you. We’ll see if this changes moving forward.

Here at the same time, one family is waiting for Princess Fairytale Hall.

Here at 8:43am, we have further proof of just how crowded Fantasyland “feels” during Early Morning Magic. I see four cast members and zero guests.

Literally me writing this post.

So between when we were allowed to enter the Park just before 7:45am and 8:50am when I got in line for Anna/Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall, I was able to ride:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train five times
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh two times
  • Peter Pan’s Flight one time
  • Take pictures of the buffet food at Village Haus and do weird blogger things
  • Harass people on Twitter

The family at the table next to me at breakfast had ridden Seven Dwarfs Mine Train six times and Peter Pan’s Flight five times over a similar amount of time. If your average wait at Mine Train is 75 minutes and your average wait at Peter Pan’s Flight is 60 minutes, that family saved 12.5 hours in line by riding that many times in an hour. And that doesn’t include the duration of 11 rides, which would add another 45 minutes or so.

Disney seems to be selling this more as a dining event than anything with the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet set up at Pinocchio Village Haus. Here’s what’s offered:











The quality of the food was pretty good with enough variety that most people should leave satisfied. It’s certainly easier to get your fill here than Be Our Guest, particularly if we’re talking about some of those measly kids’ portions on the french toast. You can go healthy with the fruit, yogurt, and vegetable frittata or indulge a bit with a plate of bacon and cheese. With the entirety of Village Haus open for seating and two identical sides to the buffet, there was plenty of food and plenty of room to spread out.

You could go one of two ways with your breakfast timing. I was surprised how many people were here dining around 8:40am, when they were paying a premium for access to several attractions with some of the longest waits in the Park later in the day. If you’re paying 70 bucks a head to ride an attraction that’s going to have a 75 minute wait in 30 minutes, why are you eating 50 cents worth of powdered eggs and a croissant baked last month?

I returned just after 9:30am and there were all of 12 people dining in the whole place. It seems like it makes the most sense to hit the three rides hard until right around 8:50am, when it makes sense to visit a nearby priority attraction. If you’re happy riding the three rides just a couple of times each and would prefer to hurry to Tomorrowland or Frontierland or something next, then breakfast at 8:30am might make sense. But during those 15 minutes you could save at least four hours in line at Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight. By racing to Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain or something you are only saving a handful of minutes by arriving at 9am rather than 9:45am.

I opted to get in line for Anna/Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall. They will be switched out for two different princesses in June after they move to Epcot, but you’re still looking at the ability to meet four characters in a short amount of time if you’re in line at the same time. Right now the other two would be Cinderella and Rapunzel. You might be able to rationalize Early Morning Magic then as a characterless character meal as popping into four princesses basically encapsulates the experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Though Village Haus is not Cinderella Castle.

Fortunately I ran into Kenny from KennythePirate.com shortly before heading in, which I guess made it slightly less awkward when two grown men go into meet Elsa instead of just one at a time. We were through that meet and greet one minute after 9am.

A 30-minute wait for Winnie the Pooh at 9:45am. It took me 12 minutes to ride twice. It would take you about 75 minutes now.

So Is It Worth It?

The age old question. I have done a lot of these kinds of events over the years and personally, I rank them based on how mad I am after they’re over. And in this case, I wasn’t mad at all. Disney delivered exactly what they said they were going to deliver – access to the three Fantasyland attractions that will see the longest waits later in the day with virtually zero waits for a full hour.

There is virtually no other opportunity to ride Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight this many times in a row with waits this short – at least when it’s light out. On the entirety of an ordinary day, you could ride Mine Train three times with a short-ish wait without spending any more money on a breakfast. Once at rope drop assuming you arrive early and hurry in front of everyone else to the ride. Then once with FastPass+ assuming you can book it when your FP+ window opens. And then last thing at night. There’s a lot of hassle there and then you still haven’t taken care of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, or another attraction like Fairytale Hall.

I had a great morning and if you do spring for the cost of the event, I’m pretty sure that you’ll have a great time too. Cast members were as friendly as I’ve seen them in years across the board. They are not stressed. You are not stressed. The family on Peter Pan’s Flight riding in the pirate ship four or five in front of you because nobody else boarded in between is not stressed. There is no stress and you can’t really say that about a lot of the upcharge events that Disney offers. At a Halloween Party, you are still trying to make characters and parades and fireworks and rides and trick or treating. At Party for the Senses you are trying to find where they have the bourbon and where the Scott Hunnel table is. At the Wishes Dessert Party, you are paying 50 bucks a head to arrive two hours before the show starts because the tables aren’t assigned anymore and otherwise you’re enjoying the show while staring at the roof of Tomorrowland Terrace. The only stressful part of Early Morning Magic is probably figuring out how you’re going to get here in time or how you’re going to explain to the cast members at Winnie the Pooh why you’re the only person on the entire ride.

So it depends on how you want to rationalize it. 70 bucks for an hour of rides and a fast food breakfast is a lot of money. With tax, that’s over $300 for a family of four on top of admission. But you can do 12+ hours worth of stuff in that time if you consider waits later in the day. On the other hand, you may well have no interest in the rides themselves, which makes it an easy pass. I find Mine Train extremely charming and it’s fun to photograph, so I was more than happy to ride a few times.

Breakfast does the job – it’s similar to Be Our Guest Restaurant in quality, though you get to eat as much as you want. But the atmosphere is arguably less enchanting. I’m not sure what value you should attribute to it, but a similar meal would cost you ~$20 elsewhere. (Be Our Guest is $24/adults while Crystal Palace with better food and characters is $30/adults.)

Now that we’re 2,500 words in, I can say that yes, I think a lot of people will find value here. It is a memorable event and something you will look back at fondly – walking through Magic Kingdom as the sun is rising, riding Mine Train eight times in a row, eating unlimited cheese at Pinocchio Village Haus. For $45 more than just breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant?

I’d consider it.

Comments

  1. Yup says

    I can’t believe it took you a whole 24 hours to post this review! What a rip-off!! Vacation ruined. I demand a full refund and a free upgrade to club level at the Grand Floridian as compensation. 😉

  2. Amber says

    Thanks so much for the great review. My family is not interested in this because my daughter doesn’t like these attractions, but I see how it could be tempting.

    I do have to say that I am very confused now. This review seems too positive. What happened to the narrative?

  3. Jen Noricks says

    I don’t know… I guess it just depends on how much you love these rides. In February, I was there at rope drop and rode Mine Train twice in 50 minutes. I was OK with that. (I didn’t have my kids with me, so I opted to skip Winnie the Pooh & Peter Pan.) Your experience looks and sounds really cool; I’m just not sure I’d pay $69 for it. At Pinocchio Haus were you able to get seating overlooking Small World? That might convince me to re-think it. : ) Great post!

  4. Adam says

    I have a Magic Kingdom day planned for a Tuesday in August…. You’ve got me considering this now. Damn you.
    Personally, if not totally skipping the breakfast, I’d do just 1-2 rides at each attraction and eat breakfast from 8:30-8:50, because I wouldn’t want to spend any of the 9-10 hour at breakfast.
    I see a big value here for park hoppers… Save your fastpasses for your night time park. Between 7:45-10, you will get in a bunch of premium Magic Kingdom attractions… (Mine Coaster, Pan and Poo before breakfast, from 9-10, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Pirates, Jungle Cruise) do the secondary attractions from 10-noon. (start circling back and doing Haunted Mansion, Small World, Under the Sea, Dumbo, and Tomorrowland attractions.. except for Space Mountain this should give you all the key attractions by around noon) Then go rest after your early morning, and do a night-time park with 3 fastpasses ready to go.

    • josh says

      You could certainly do that. I think hitting breakfast from 950am-1010am would be the best of both worlds though. If you really wanted to rush it you could be in and out in ten minutes.

      • Matt says

        My initial thought was the value of this event would depend in some part on whether there was still plenty of hot food available at 9:50.
        What are the odds Disney increases the number of tickets available per day?

        • josh says

          Disney does not typically get anywhere near running out of food. If they increased tickets, they would increase the amount of food available.

  5. MK says

    Think there’s any advantage in booking this on a Tuesday vs Saturday (June) if you’re planning to stay in the park for a few hours after event? And with breakfast being served until 10:00, do you think food will still be out and available just a few minutes before? (In order to take advantage of rope drop low crowds from 9-almost 10:00)

  6. Lynne says

    That sounds really lovely and a definite good use of $69 in WDW. Hoping they don’t stop it (or tweak it too much) before my visit in the fall.

  7. Denny says

    Thanks for the look at this event. Disappointed that there are regular waffles and not Mickey Waffles on the buffet. But the juice in resalable bottles is nice and the men folk in the family would love the little bottles of Tabasco Sauce (normally only found in MREs) Will be interesting to see how much this grows in the coming months, to see if it’s still a walk on repeated times.

  8. Mark Adams says

    Wow, I’m definitely considering this now!

    Do you think they’ll roll this out to other parks? If it were implemented at Hollywood Studios, that would be AWESOME!

  9. Kat says

    My husband and I are going on a short trip to WDW over Memorial Day weekend. We’ll be at MK on 5/31. Given the high crowds would you approach this event the same way with breakfast around 9:45 or so? I’m thinking I want to be in or on my way to Frontierland by then. We have FP’s for Mine Train (I would change it if we book this event), Jungle Cruise and Space Mountain and I’m not sure what the best plan of attack is.

    • josh says

      Depends a bit what you want to focus on and whether you have other priorities in the Fantasyland area. If you were to head to breakfast from 8:30am – 8:50am, you’d be giving up three or four rides on the available attractions in order to save 10 or 15 minutes in Frontierland. If you are headed to Frontierland/Adventureland, I could see eating from 8:50am – 9:10am or so and then you’d have the full time in Fantasyland and only be a few minutes behind of the first people to arrive in another Land.

  10. Asha says

    I think as long as they limit the number of tickets, this would be something to consider and looks like a fun morning. But….if I know Disney, they will gradually up the number and ruin it for everyone, case in point: Wishes FP+.

  11. Ang says

    When I first saw this I was so annoyed WDW would do this. Money!! Money!! But after reading this review….I’m definitely thinking about adding this to our schedule. We are a family of four but my kids absolutely LOVE mine train. It would be a wonderful experience I know they will never forget! SOLD!!! Now I just need to convince my hubby!!!

  12. AMJ says

    For a family of four (one of which has a severe egg allergy and is a vegetarian, so breakfast is basically a bust), I just could not justify the cost for three rides. I can think of a lot of other things that I would prefer to spend $300 on. I would maybe consider it if more rides were open.

  13. says

    Fantastic review! Thanks for taking the time… and for posting this: “Does anybody have $1,000 I can borrow for a sec?” That made me spit out my water. Love it.

  14. Amanda says

    I read a comment from another attendee that a CM told them this first 1 was capped at 200 and that the plan is to work up to a 400 cap. Do you think that would change your opinion on the value or would cause any of the rides to have a wait?

    • josh says

      I would doubt it. Assume 150 people at Mine Train, 50 people at WInnie the Pooh, 100 people at Peter Pan’s Flight, and 100 people at breakfast at any given time. At worst I think that would push your Mine Train wait from one minute to two and a half and even then you’d most likely be able to walk on the next departing train most of the time. If something should change I will update though. You can always cancel if things start looking terrible,

  15. IndyND says

    We all talk about how awesome it would be to have the park to ourselves, even if it is only a small area. I’d do it. There are only 2 of us, so it wouldn’t be too crazy cost wise. Maybe someday they will do this for Star Wars Land.

  16. Sue says

    Josh,
    On 5/3 we have an 8 BOG ADR. If we go to 7DMT first, what will the wait time become for A&E shortly after rope drop?

      • josh says

        Depends how quickly you move through Mine Train and how many people are headed to Anna/Elsa. Being a meet and greet they are very low capacity so a large group can throw things off. I’d expect to wait 7 – 20 minutes.

  17. Megan says

    I think provided you’re interested in these 3 rides, this is actually a decent value. You’ve got a cheap Disney breakfast buffet in the park, no less. There’s no characters, sure, but it’s all you can eat and you’re not wasting time at a resort to eat. Counter service breakfast at the Pop Century food court, which is not all you can eat, runs my family of 3 adults about $50 including water/soda/milk. A big breakfast would keep all of us full until a very late lunch or even dinner. So there’s a value in that for us right there. Plus you get the rides! While I can’t imagine marathon riding Peter Pan or Pooh, twice would be nice and the Mine Train waits are still ridiculous so the idea of going on that more than twice in a trip has a lot of appeal. This is definitely an option that I’d consider – provided of course that Disney doesn’t do what it always does and doesn’t overload the capacity of it. Parties anyone?

  18. DR. K says

    Where did all the people go from the entrance? I assume they went to CP, CRT, BOG?
    But then you got to Mine Train and nobody was there?
    So I still don’t know where the actual crowd attending EMM actually went?

    So many questions have I.

    great post

    • josh says

      There were only like 200 people doing Early Morning Magic. With three rides and breakfast, that’s 50 people per thing. Any of the rides can easily absorb that with no wait.

  19. Heather says

    Josh,

    So the mornings that this is offered, does it mean that if your in the park early for a breakfast ADR, they won’t let your ride 7DMT early as they have in the past?

    • josh says

      During the first morning, Be Our Guest breakfast diners and others were allowed to get in the standby line for Mine Train as early as 8:45am, which allows one ride with a short wait before those from the main entrance arrive.

  20. Linda says

    Did you notice what time breakfast was done serving and what time they closed up? I am thinking 9:50 for breakfast and am wondering how long we would have to still get food, and to sit & eat. Thanks for the review! I am booked for the last one now available (6/28) – hoping it does not get way more crowded by then!

    • josh says

      They should continue serving food through just after 10am. I would probably be loaded up with what I want to eat by 10am.

  21. MKS says

    I would absolutely do this if tickets stay limited. I love the MK I the early morning. Thanks for the post and pictures.

  22. Char says

    Gah!! I have 8am BOG reservations on 6/21, but since I’ll do anything to ensure short waits at Disney, maybe I’ll switch to this party. This buffet food actually looks heartier than the BOG breakfast items. If I wanted to ride Space Mountain at rope drop, what’s the recommended process getting from Fantasyland to Space Mountain? Is there a rope near the Teacups where they hold you until RD?

    • josh says

      It’s not a huge race to get to Space Mountain. If you’re headed over there by 9:15am you’re more than fine.

  23. Ava says

    Hmm. When I first read about this I balked at the price tag to ride 3 rides and eat a buffet breakfast, but this sheds some new light on the additional benefits to it. Not only do you get to ride 3 rides that typically have the longest waits (multiple times if you wish) and have breakfast, you can also get a jump on crowds for another 1-2 Fantasyland attractions AND be able to use your 3 FP+ elsewhere either in MK or in another park, all without fighting the crowds at rope drop. This would be especially useful if you are on a shorter trip and only have 1 day to spend at MK.

  24. Dan Young says

    I’m not sure that the folks who were too early for SDMT were sent back to the restaurant. If my experience 3 weeks ago is any example, they were sent to a line around the corner, across from the BOG entrance, to wait till 8:45 ish. I still managed to get 3 rides in before the crowd showed up – very very cool!

    • Ashleigh says

      I believe he’s saying the procedure has changed due to the morning event. Time will tell how they continue to handle the BOG breakfast folks.

  25. alex says

    any plans to do the evening version of this? I figure if I am going to spring the money, why not do it for the night event. and get three hours instead of one. With the cost of a one day park ticket plus the extra morning hour, would it make more sense to just do the evening?

  26. Kathy says

    I’m with the folks who thought this was a ridiculous money grab when I first heard about it, but would now consider it on a future trip. We love 7DMT but I don’t like the RD rush to it, so plan with FP for each of 2 days in the park – which often makes for extra walking on one of the days when we really weren’t in Fantasyland much. We also have done 2 character meals on our previous trips, but we all agree we are over them. This is the same price as the 2 character meals so wouldn’t make our trip “feel” anymore expensive than previous trips. And we could knock out 3 attractions that I plan a whole morning touring plan around – freeing up FP/morning touring for other things…something to think about…Of course, our next trip isn’t until May 2017, so if it’s even still happening, it will likely cost 3x as much by that point!!

      • josh says

        There might have been five or six there. As far as I know Disney was not giving away tickets which means few in attendance. I always pretend to be mute at meet and greets but Kenny was discussing pastries at length.

      • Jamie says

        Thank you. That’s all my four year old cares about – going “in” the castle. I’m worried I won’t get an ADR so was trying to figure out how to let her see it without CRT reservation.

        • josh says

          “Through” is probably the right word. The restaurant is upstairs and would require a reservation. You can walk through the Castle most of the day with the exception of the evening prior to the fireworks and around the time of the stage show.

  27. Mark says

    IDK, at Universal you can stay at Royal Pacific for under $200 and a family of 5 can get Express passes for 2 full days of no waits, plus early admission.
    Even during peak season it’s only $400 for their Deluxe hotel.
    Seems like a very nice morning, but still don’t agree with the price point.
    I can see a 3 or 4 year old not understanding that the morning is over and they can’t ride Poo & Pan anymore and throwing a fit.

  28. Amber says

    We have booked this event. The past two years my son and I have attended the Star Wars character breakfast at Sci-Fi during SWW. That ran us about $115 for the two of us. This event is a little more, but you do get access to rides and food. So for us this will just be replacing something we were already doing extra out of pocket on our Disney vacation.

  29. Joe says

    I think a bigger question (at least for me) is – how will these events effect the plans of those doing rope drop on these same days? I happen to be taking my family of 5 to MK on a recommended Tuesday, May 17 and I don’t intend to drop an extra $320 on an already expensive trip. I made plans well before Disney ever announced these early mornings and I was hoping to just show up for the opening show and then head right to fantasyland to hit all the popular rides right away, generally following your touring strategy. Is this event going to derail my plans?

  30. Mraco says

    I think I need to stop reading your blog…
    Since I’m living in Germany it just makes me too jealous seeing how often you’re visiting the parks… 😉

  31. Melissa Chapman says

    This year we have extended family with us so my price tag would jump to 7 people vs. the normal 3. I would do it for 3 but not for 7 – the youngest is 14 so the rides aren’t as appealing….I am going to stick with my 8:05 BOG and seems as though Mine Train ok to do at 8:45 or would you recommend fast passing minetrain and heading straight to Peter Pan etc. AWESOME POST!!!!!!

  32. Ru says

    Does it require a separate ticket, or can you just drop in for early morning magic and leave when you’re done? Also, can you do early morning magic and then stay in the park, how does that even work?

    • josh says

      It requires regular theme park admission. So you use that to enter the park and then stay inside like you would if you were having an early morning breakfast or whatnot. Those all require theme park admission too.

      • Ru says

        Thanks for the info. So instead of $124 per person for single day admission, admission to MK is now $193 per person or $963 for a day for a family of 5 if you want to do anything (not counting fees and taxes). Although it sounds like many of these add-ons are being given away free because people are starting to realize they’re being conned by a mouse.

  33. Zoltan says

    One of two things has happened here, either Josh was paid to submit such a positive review or he has sustained brain damage from riding 7DMT so many times in a row. Either way I hope the “normal” reviews return soon.

  34. Joel says

    On a similar note, want your opinion. Passholders are now offered 75.00 for Disney after hours. Do you think that offers better value for the 3 hours, or for a similar cost plus breakfast, do you think this morning event is a better value?

  35. Agnes says

    The early-ish morning photos of the park are fantastic! And the one of the Cinderella Castle mosaic? Pretty awesome.

  36. R&RMom says

    Hmmmm, $272.66 for my family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids). It’s tempting. I think if it were under $200 I would consider it, but nearly $300 is a bit too steep. We already have 2 fastpasses for 7DMT next week, and 1 for Peter Pan (which my kids aren’t crazy about). With our easywdw cheat sheet in hand, we can still fit in quite a bit during the morning. It is nice not to fight the crowds, which certainly has some value.

  37. Mortimor says

    While I am always up for new adventures at WDW the cost just doesn’t seem to add up. I realize some people stay at more expensive resorts, but staying an extra day at a value and adding one more day on your ticket could be break even or maybe saving some $$ depending on your group size. Yes, I realize not everyone can add another day to an already expensive vacation, but I would rather add another day at WDW than just a few hours.

    For us, we all have AP, so the cost is really difficult to justify. Even at peak times of the year, the room is much cheaper than all for of us attending this event. Okay, I admit, I would do it if I can across an extra few hundred bucks…absolutely!!

  38. amy says

    I think someone previously had a similar question. But how is this going to affect the recommended Tuesday touring plans? It seems like it would affect it some because there is that many more people in front of you already in the park. I was planning on fastpasses for Mine train and Peter Pan anyways but wanted to start my day out at Space as standby. Potentially all these people would be through with Fantasyland and on their way to other areas of the park like Space before the ropedrop . Should I be worried?

    • josh says

      I don’t think so. I will see about doing a morning rope drop on a Tuesday either next week or the week after. Probably the week after. Even if you are talking about 400 people, there are 50 reasonable directions they could be headed in. Spaceship Earth might see 25 or 30 more people but that would increase your actual wait by maybe two minutes.

  39. Nedidajohn says

    So let’s say this continues. During the peak weeks that have tradionally had 7am EMH and 8 am regular openings going to be a thing of the past?

    • josh says

      They could feasibly push the event back to 7am with an 8am open or potentially not offer it during holiday weeks. We’ll see.

  40. says

    I’m glad you said what you did about the buses! When we went in September, we were told they didn’t start pick up until 6:30am. Buses for all parks started arriving around 6:05am at POR.

  41. Steve Milz says

    The most important question that hasn’t been asked yet… in the photo above “I arrived at bag check at 7:14am” who is the interloper wearing the blue striped polo, tan shorts, and black backpack? Hmmm???

  42. Mike says

    Hi Josh, do you think WDW will continue the Early Morning Magic promo though the year? Seems like a no-brainer to me… I would definitely consider doing it during our trip this November. Thanks in advance for your time!

  43. Mike says

    Hi Josh, I have a general question I’d really like your take on; I wasn’t sure where to post it, so I figured I’d try it here: I have 7 park days planned for 19-25 November. I’m planning 2 Epcot and 2 MK days, along with 1 day each at DHS and AK; my question is, based on ride availability/most activities, etc., which park would you spend the remaining day visiting (e.g., a third day at MK, or a second day at either DHS or AK)? Thanks VERY much for your blog and your advice – I take your recommendations to heart when planning my WDW trips! Sincerely, Mike

  44. Jeff says

    The only thing that would make this blog post better would have been the picture of Josh and Kenny with A&E. You can’t have everything. c’est la vie

  45. Catherine says

    I’m curious to see if they extend this after the currently scheduled dates. It’s something I’m much more interested in after reading your review as well at KtP’s review.

    We’re going in September with normally light crowds but last year days that were anticipated to be crowds of 1-2 ended up being 6’s. If the higher crowds continues and this is offered it might be something I consider booking. How far in advance do tickets need to be purchased? Are they available day of?

    Thanks for this great review!!

    • josh says

      Hard to say I think. Assuming they move it to 400 tickets then that is not a lot of availability at a theme park that sees daily attendance around 60,000.

  46. Kelly Ellis says

    Hi Josh!
    This is Great! Thanks!
    We are going in Aug & Sept. WWYD if this was still available and you wanted to hit as much as you can before a 1 pm ADR and then move to another park?
    Would you start here and then head to Space Mountain and Buzz, then to Jungle Cruise, Pirates, Splash, working your way to the Haunted Mansion and other less busy rides. (Thunder Mountain will be closed and Princesses aren’t a priority)
    At first I poo pooed this but you got me thinking….
    Thanks!

    • josh says

      Depends on if you have one or two days at Magic Kingdom. With one you may want to hurry around to each of the lands. If you have two, I’d stick to either Tomorrowland after or Liberty Square/Frontierland/Adventureland to cut down on walking.

  47. Steve B says

    Interesting. Before this post many people considered this event to be a ridiculous money grabbing scam and blamed Disney for selling out. And yet now that what was advertised has actually taken place (i.e. limited number of people pay 2/3 the cost of a day ticket to have access to 3 rides for just over an hour plus breakfast), lots of people seem to think its now great. :/

    As someone else mentioned about 60 comments earlier, after this initial success I suspect Disney will gradually increase numbers at these events. It sounds like they could probably double or maybe triple numbers and still not have noticeable queues at the rides.

    Glad it worked out well and its good to see Disney offering this sort of experience – even if it’s well out of my price range.

    • Ru says

      Disney sold out a long time ago, this isn’t new. As Josh clarified for me earlier, it’s not 2/3s the cost of a ticket, it’s a ticket plus 2/3s the cost of a ticket to access rides you should already be able to access with a reasonable wait for the money you’ve paid in the first place. It’s not called Disney’s Bench Kingdom after all.

      • Ru says

        The way I see it, it’s like this: “Ehrmagherd, I can pay more money to access the rides I’ve already paid to access! MAGIC!” :facepalm:

  48. DisneyPoppins says

    I always enjoy your reviews because you calculate the value on various “selling point” For example the less stress happier place on earth is a “value”!
    This morning, I booked the Morning Magic event for Saturday, May 14.

    Also, my husband and I have reservations for Club Villian, Lunch with the Imagineer (we love this event) and several other locations that sell adult “sippy juice”!

  49. Dallas Young says

    The funny thing is that Disney struggled so hard to sell tickets that they were giving away free tickets to the event to DVC members. For one person to go the price isn’t bad but for families the price is ridiculous for just one hour. I’ll pass on this one.

  50. Julia says

    Josh – was the balcony at Pinocchio Village Haus open for breakfast? Could you go upstairs and eat over looking the carousel?

  51. Mike says

    I was there the following day and simply followed the touring plan Josh has posted. By 9:30 I had done all three of these rides plus Little Mermaid. That was perfect for us and saved $300+ and I didn’t have to figure out how to get there so early. We love Disney more than most and that was a perfect start to the day. Can’t see needing more.

  52. dusty cheatham says

    the most important advice that josh has ever dispensed is ROPE DROP . if you are paying the dough to visit Disney why sleep in , swim, eat ect . the ave guest can do so much in the 1st 2 hours without fastpass+ or you can buy joshs # 1 best selling book EASY GUIDE TO YOUR 1ST WALT DISNEY WORLD VISIT

  53. Andrea says

    I was considering going on Tuesday 6/7. It appears that that date is one of the few sold out dates. I wonder if there will be dropped reservations closer to the date of the event?

  54. Laura says

    I’ve booked this for Saturday 14th May! Can’t wait! Do you know if the Main Street stores are open from 7:45am? I need to pick up some Magic Bands and wanted to grab them before going to 7DMT.

  55. Christine says

    Thank you for your review. I hate to admit that in all our visits to WDW, we were never able to make it to rope drop. I especially love your photo of the castle mosaic.

  56. Wendy says

    I’m noodling a crazy idea. Usually I arrive 8:15ish for rope drop. Maybe we buy these tix and walk in at our usual arrival? Ride the 3 from 8:15-8:40, then Frontierland, HM and IASW before 9:50 breakfast? How hard would it be to navigate the rope drop crowd?

  57. Heather says

    I’ve just booked this for 6/21 and I am so excited! I thought the cost was laughable, but after reading your review and several of the comments below, we decided that it appears to be totally worth it. We’re heading straight for the Rapunzel/Cinderella line at 9am. Do you think I still need a fast pass if we’re there right at 9? My daughter will absolutely die *serious sarcasm and eye roll here* if we do not meet Rapunzel. Thank goodness we’re totally over Anna and Elsa…

  58. Jean Anderson says

    Really, really great review!! I also judge things at WDW based on how angry I feel afterwards, hahaha. One thing that just does NOT make sense to me, though… why would they NOT have Mickey waffles?!! What’s up with those Belgians?! C’mon Disney.

  59. Moe says

    What’s the difference between EMH and EMM? I see that Disney Resort guests get access to EMH with a valid theme park ticket but then what’s the difference between that and EMM (Early Morning Magic)? Thanks

    • Moe says

      Josh… Thanks for answering these on Twitter the other night. My family loves Mine Train and Peter Pan so we are def doing this…

      I agree that $300 is a lot but I love the satisfaction of enjoying these rides over n over where they are almost impossible to ride later in the day. I also read in many blogs that EMH is a lot more crowded so this will def be a good try.

  60. says

    This is my first time reading your blog and I love how sassy it is! “If you’re paying 70 bucks a head to ride an attraction that’s going to have a 75 minute wait in 30 minutes, why are you eating 50 cents worth of powdered eggs and a croissant baked last month?” You are totally cracking me up.

    I think if I had a high interest in those rides it would be a great deal, but none of them are amongst my favorites, and I also don’t see a lot of value for me personally in doing the same thing over and over again in a row. But I can see why some people like it. The breakfast definitely looks better than I thought it would be.

  61. Ric says

    Hey, why’ve i only just found your site……fab!

    Quickie, can you still get into Magic Kingdom with Just a Breakfast ADR, we have one for Crystal Palace that falls on a Tuesday which i believe is the day early magic falls on ?

  62. says

    I can see the value in doing this event, though not for a full family. It would more like a splurge if for some random reason I was in Florida for a short time. It’s the same way with the After Hours event. It looks amazing and is probably worth the money, but I couldn’t spend $600 for my family. Plus, my kids would never last. They also aren’t good early risers. With all that said, I can definitely see the value of this type of event in certain cases.

  63. Brendan says

    My family of 4 went and it was totally worth it. granted our kids were both under 3, so it wasn’t as expensive as some…on the downside, neither of them understood the magic of the event being so young. However, being able to ride pooh and Peter Pan with no wait was worth it, especially with waits hitting 45-60 min or more for most of the day (we went this past Tuesday). We hit up both kiddie rides 3 times each and my wife and I swapped the kids and rode mine train ourselves while the other watched the kids…even with the breaks to ride mine train, which may have been considered wasted, best dollars I spent at Disney (everything is overpriced, but with breakfast included, this was worth it)

  64. Ben says

    Josh, thank you very much for this review. We took our four-year-old daughter to the Magic Kingdom for one day — tacking the Disney excursion onto a week long trip to Palm Beach. We were hoping a day at the park would buy us a couple of years until our infant son is older (either that, or we’re just gluttons for punishment). Anyway, I was on the fence about whether Early Morning Magic was really worth the money — until I read your review. We paid the money and went on June 4th and were able to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train five times, Peter Pan twice, Winnie the Pooh once and took a spin on the Carrousel which they also had running early that morning. We did exactly as you advised and got in line for Anna/Elsa at 8:50 — and had our daughter meet them both as well as Cinderella/Rapunzel by 9:15. Then, we grabbed breakfast and headed to Small World, Barnstormer and Dumbo. With heavy crowds, this made our day hugely productive. Thank you for the detailed and hugely informative review.

  65. NIcole T says

    The best thing about this post was finding out when I can leave BOG after breakfast to hit the rides! Thanks!!! I am planning to pre-order for my 8:20 am ADR and my friend and I will probably share because we don’t eat a lot . But I was curious about whether we would have time to sneak of SDMT before rope drop. SO thanks!!! And I will be there on a Tuesday so I am glad I know about this!

  66. Cristin says

    I am planning to visit the parks on days they offer the sea special hours. Iam not buying the tickets. I wanted to do as many rides as quickly as possible in the morning with my toddlers. Are these bad mornings to go . Is the crowd greater at opening? Thanks

  67. Holly says

    We are going next Tuesday (9/20). The park closes early for Mickey’s Not So Scary and we are not planning to buy a ticket to that event (although we are planning to go on Friday). There are 6 in our party; which includes one child who cannot ride The Mine Train. We plan to hit Tuesday morning hard, head back to SOG at lunch time for a much needed nap and a bite to eat at Kona, and switch over to Epcot. We reserved this deal but are traveling from SOG and I have some trepidation about the unknown with regard to transportation and I’m concerned it won’t be as “worth it” as it was in the Spring. Has anyone done this recently who can provide me with some input about it’s continued value, with a particular emphasis on crowd levels b/w 8a and 10a now compared to when this review was written?

  68. John says

    I have a 7:45am reservation for Early Morning Magic in October. Will they still let us go directly to the rides and wait until 9:50 to eat?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Early Morning Magic – No – I’ve seen a lot of people do logical contortions trying to justify the value in these, but it just isn’t there unless you approach the parks as being E-Ticket checklists, with each ride on Toy Story Mania being worth $X. In which case, you should probably just buy a used Wii and a copy of this. What? Not the same experience as being at Walt Disney World? Exactly. There are easy ways to enjoy these attractions during a normal, leisurely day in the parks without paying a surcharge. (Here’s a review of it.) […]

  2. […] Early Morning Magic – No – I’ve seen a lot of people do logical contortions trying to justify the value in these, but it just isn’t there unless you approach the parks as being E-Ticket checklists, with each ride on Toy Story Mania being worth $X. In which case, you should probably just buy a used Wii and a copy of this. What? Not the same experience as being at Walt Disney World? Exactly. There are easy ways to enjoy these attractions during a normal, leisurely day in the parks without paying a surcharge. (Here’s a review of it.) […]

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