Review: Magic Kingdom Early Morning Magic at Disney World

The website reviewed the very first Early Morning Magic at Magic Kingdom back in April of last year in this post, which has garnered quite a bit of interest given the 150+ comments. My experience was far more positive than I was expecting given the seemingly-high price tag and the seemingly-short duration of the event.

But since it had been a while since I experienced the event and I was looking for an excuse to get up early to watch the sunrise with the love of my life from the balcony of our room at the Contemporary, I thought it would be prudent to return.

As a reminder, this is what Early Morning Magic entails:

Early Morning Magic basically grants the user unlimited rides on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with no appreciable waits from as early as you can arrive at the ride of your choice through 9am. It also includes a breakfast buffet at Pinocchio Village Haus. The cost is $69 per adult and $59 per child between the ages of three and nine, before tax.

No matter what anybody tries to tell you, Disney buses begin transporting guests from the resorts to the theme parks before 6:30am, which means there’s plenty of opportunity to hop on a bus and arrive at Magic Kingdom well before the 7:45am start time.

And with the Resort Monorail currently beginning service no later than 7am, there’s plenty of opportunity to ride over on the monorail either from the Transportation and Ticket Center/parking lot or one of the resorts connected by the highway in the sky. If you’re taking Uber or Lyft from off-site or to avoid Disney transportation, then I recommend setting the Contemporary Resort as your destination. Disney will let the driver drop you off without any trouble and you can walk the ten minutes over to Magic Kingdom rather than needing to wait for Disney to pick you up…at some point.

These pictures are from October 31st, which is the reason why we’ll see some pumpkins around Main Street.

As I went through the pictures, I realized that I would look sort of silly now that Christmas is in full swing. And with the 8am opens on Mickey’s Christmas Party dates, Early Morning Magic is on hiatus until Tuesday January 9th, when the opportunity returns to most Sunday and Tuesday mornings through May 1st, 2018. Disney should extend the offering through May and into the summer at a future date. You can find Disney’s official word and check on availability at this link.

With Disney now letting all guests onto Main Street at 7:45am as part of the usual opening procedure, the way Early Morning Magic operates is slightly different than what we saw last year. You’ll walk over to the far end of the entrance where a cast member will either scan your MagicBand/ticket to check for your Early Morning Magic participation or look your name up on their iPad.

After confirming your status, you’ll proceed through the tapstile on the far left, where a second cast member will put on your baby blue Early Morning Magic wristband.

This is 7:49am, so we are a couple of minutes later than is ideal. You’d want to be at the entrance no later than 7:40am to take full advantage of the time.

Otherwise, the walk up Main Street remains a pleasant one. 90% of the people there before 8am will be heading to a tour, breakfast, or Early Morning Magic when it’s offered.

As I’ve said for years, the “empty” Main Street pictures are largely a myth, but there are plenty of nooks and crannies to take pictures with nobody in the background.

Instead of heading through the Castle like we did last time, Early Morning Magic participants go through the same entry as those with breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table. That’s on the Liberty Square side.

But there is no wait or line or anything. Just flash your wristband like a boss.

The walk towards Fantasyland is a pleasant one this early:




While it’s not advertised, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is typically operating during Early Morning Magic, here with just two people riding. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend any time here as the ride will be a walk-on until at least 10:30am, but dad might need a break from the excitement.

Feels crowded.

We arrived at the entrance at 7:45am, were inside Magic Kingdom at 7:49am, and arrived at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 7:59am after a leisurely stroll.

And we were on our first ride through the Mine three minutes later at 8:02am.

During Early Morning Magic, participants utilize the shorter FastPass+ return line.

Disney removes a rope at the ride’s exit so Early Morning Magic guests can quickly get back in the Mine Train line without having to exit and reenter the full queue.

As pictured.

We were on our second ride three minutes later.

And three minutes after the second ride ended…

We were on our third trip.

The first three rides took less than 20 minutes total.

The queue for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at 8:21am captures the “feel” of Early Morning Magic.

There’s nobody else in line:



We were done with our first ride six minutes later and got back in line:




And we found ourselves back out in front of Mine Train at 8:34am, which meant two rides took a total of about 12 minutes.

After taking some buffet pictures, we found ourselves back at Mine Train at 8:41am.

And on-ride one minute later.

Another good example of Early Morning Magic and something you’ll never see during regular Park hours – a runaway Mine Train vehicle swinging by with only the first and last rows occupied.

Nobody else waiting to board at 8:48am:





And one last trip up at 8:54am after another zero-minute wait and some random pictures from previous rides:






At 8:58am, we arrived back out front, with six rides on Mine Train and two rides on Winnie the Pooh under our belts.

If we had arrived at the main entrance at least five minutes earlier, like you probably want to, we would have been able to add another ride somewhere.

And you probably won’t spend seven or eight minutes taking egg pictures, which would have been enough time to ride something else again.

That would bring our total up to ten rides during the hour.

Early Morning Magic also utilizes the FastPass+ line at Peter Pan’s Flight, and since we were interested in experiencing the interactive standby queue, we waited until closer to regular Park open for Peter Pan’s Flight. But that only sort of worked as we were hurried through only to find the usual backup before load.

At least the pictures came out.

We arrived at 9:01am, which was just before anyone from the main entrance got there, and were back out front at 9:08am, for a total experience time of seven minutes. As we learned from my last rope drop touring strategy post on a Mickey’s Party day, doing Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight back to back from the main entrance takes about 40 minutes for just one ride on each. During Early Morning Magic, you could ride each four times during that same 40 minutes.

Breakfast is served at Pinocchio Village Haus for Early Morning Magic guests through 10am. And typically, it makes sense to eat towards the end of that time frame. Wait times only build as the day goes on and once the Park opens along with all of the other attractions, you’ll probably want to visit nearby priorities- Princess Fairytale Hall makes a lot of sense in particular.

On the other hand, breakfast can be a quick endeavor as the food is all out and ready to go. So if you’re planning on heading to Tomorrowland, Frontierland, or another Land, then you may want to sneak in and eat before walking all the way over to something like Buzz Lightyear or Big Thunder Mountain as you’ll obviously need to double back to Fantasyland to eat. The wait at virtually any attraction outside of Fantasyland won’t be appreciably higher at 9:40am compared to 9:20am. Since Erin and I had plans to visit Haunted Mansion and then head off to Frontierland, we decided to hit the buffet at 9:10am.

There aren’t a lot of scenarios where I think it makes sense to eat breakfast during the 8am-9am time frame. Every five minutes you spend at Pinocchio Village Haus eating before 9am is one ride missed on what you’re paying a lot of money to experience.

Here’s the spread:
















It’s a very similar spread to the original with just a couple of exceptions. French Toast has replaced waffles, probably because some number of people were expecting to see Mickey on them. The orange juice and apple juice are served out of large canisters rather than the bottles we originally saw. The Vegetable Fritatta also has a lot less “stuff” baked in. As before, you can request any of the fountain beverages that Village Haus serves such as Diet Coke or Powerade. The hot beverage options provided are hot chocolate, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea. If you’re looking for something else, you might try asking one of the very friendly cast members surveying the area. They’re among the nicest people you’ll ever see inside the Parks.

The food was as good as what’s served at a character breakfast buffet and there’s enough variety to satisfy most needs.

SO IS IT STILL WORTH IT?

I remain firmly unmad about the proposition.

There’s no doubt that it’s an expensive hour at $69/adult and $59/child, but you’re able to do nine to ten rides on several of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions during that time. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sees wait times that exceed an hour by 9:30am virtually every day with peak waits that typically reach 100 or more minutes. You’ll be riding with empty seats during Early Morning Magic.

One thing that isn’t possible to capture in photos is how stress-free Early Morning Magic is. Everyone is having a good time and it’s difficult even for me to land any elbows without charging after some kid in the distance. Cast members in particular are cheerful and happy to welcome you to the Mine Train – something that you won’t experience at noon as the thousand person of the day with a Mad Tea Party FastPass+ tries to sneak into the FastPass line.

Breakfast is worth between $20 and $25 compared to other Magic Kingdom options. Be Our Guest breakfast is up to $25 for objectively lower quality food and much less variety. You could rationalize that the hour-long ride portion of the event then costs $45. Since each ride takes about six minutes, each ride costs around $4.50 as you can easily do nine or ten rides during Early Morning Magic, saving an average of 45 minutes each time through Winnie the Pooh, 60 minutes each time through Peter Pan’s Flight, and an hour-and-a-half each time through the Mine.

Based on those conservative estimations, I was able to skip 11.5 hours of waiting in line during Early Morning Magic. And that’s with two fewer rides than you’d be able to do if you only arrive on time and don’t spend ten minutes taking egg pictures.

Erin would add that during cooler months, you’ll want to check the weather report and consider bringing a jacket, gloves, etc. if the temperature at 7am is expected to be on the low side. We visited on an unseasonably cool morning when it was around 52 degrees at 8am. She was also impressed by the quality of the food, noting that it was better than a lot of other Disney breakfast buffets. I agree with both points.

Early Morning Magic remains a splurge for most people and there are certainly a lot of ways to put $70 per person to work. But as far as easy, stress-free experiences that achieve something that you can’t get with any other package, tour, or anything else, Early Morning Magic is hard to beat. And it sets you up for a great day.

I’ll cover what else we were able to accomplish after breakfast next.

Comments

  1. Scott says

    You mentioned it is on Sundays and Tuesdays. How would this affect a Sunday plan to do Be Our Guest breakfast at 8am and get to Mine Train before the crowds get there for multiple rides?

    • josh says

      With Be Our Guest breakfast, I’d plan on being able to do Mine Train one time before the rope drop crowds arrive regardless of whether Early Morning Magic is scheduled. A number of things can lead to delays with the ride opening. But Early Morning Magic probably “guarantees” only one ride on Mine Train as you’ll be a bit more delayed in your ability to head over to the ride.

  2. Jennifer says

    It was one of the best experiences my husband and I have ever had at WDW. Add in the fact that you are cutting the stress of trying to obtain 7DM and Peter Pan FP from your trip and it is so worth the money.

  3. Lauren says

    We were there the same morning, and I know this because Josh is sitting behind my son in one of our Photo Pass pictures on the Mine Train! Sadly, we didn’t make the cut for any of his blog pictures.

    The morning was the highlight of the trip. My son and husband rode the Mine Train back to back ten times until around 8:45, then squeezed in a ride on the Tea Cups which were running before 9:00 before heading off to be one of the first on Space Mountain. My daughter and I rode Mine Train (4 times), Peter Pan and Pooh and the Carousel and wandered around enjoying an empty Fantasyland before lining up for Tiana and Rapunzel at 8:50. We were second in line. It was such a nice, stress free morning and everyone was SO friendly. It was a great way to experience the park. We would do it again in a heartbeat. Totally worth the cost.

  4. Bobby says

    ” I was looking for an excuse to get up early to watch the sunrise with the love of my life from the balcony of our room at the Contemporary”

    Awwwww, it’s like the Grinch after he found the Christmas spirit.

  5. Sue says

    We have done EMM twice and would do it again, for all of the points you made. We would do it on our trip this month if it was offered. Our grandsons, ages 5 & 6, were thrilled to be able to ride Mine Train 9 times! And we also thought the breakfast was very good! Thanks for the pics! Always lovely!

  6. Judi says

    I had a fantastic morning doing this with my daughter last year at this time. One of the best parts is that after you finish riding 7DMT and grab breakfast, you can be first in line at one of the rides outside fantasyland, then you can double back and grab some pastries at the breakfast bar before heading into the crowds. Highly recommended!

  7. Sara says

    How does Early Morning Magic effect the crowds for the day? We had planned our MK day for Tuesday January 9th and now they have released the dates for EMM and we will not be attending that. Just going for a 9am open. Should we expect it to be busier?

    • josh says

      No, not at all. The event is limited to around 200 people that would probably be there anyway. And it might even be good news as those that do Early Morning Magic will probably be on their way to other attractions by 9am, which frees up Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight further. No reason to worry.

  8. Betsy says

    I love your blog Josh, and I have been reading for a couple years, but this is the first comment I’ve ever written. I just had to thank you bc it was your original post on EMM that tipped the scales in favor of my family booking it for our Sept trip. I think the line that really sealed the deal for me was when you said that you rate these events on how mad you are after they are over, and this one didn’t make you mad at all.

    We have a 3 year old son whose favorite rides are Pooh, Pan, and as we correctly guessed before the trip, Seven Dwarfs. 3 year olds don’t do well waiting in line, and 3 year olds want to repeat their favorite rides over and over and over. Disney is not always conducive to this. 3 year olds also don’t do well waiting in front of the park for half an hour for the park to open. EMM was a great thing for our family – it literally solved all of the problems I just listed and fed us too. We ate right before 10 AM, so it took care of breakfast and lunch. For a family in my situation (young kid, loves Fantasyland, isn’t great at waiting for rides or for the park to open) it is a no-brainer splurge if you are looking for something “extra” to do on your trip. Thanks again for your review. We absolutely loved EMM.

  9. Leslie says

    My husband and I did this in 2016 and loved it – 7 rides on Mine, 2 on Peter Pan, and 2 on Pooh. We had planned it again for our upcoming January trip, but when Disney After Hours was offered, we went with that instead. For less than double the price, you get 25 rides and 3 hours with no waits/crowds. Plus, we don’t need park tickets that day and should be allowed entrance around 4pm. It’s a lot of money, but I’m really looking forward to it. I had balked at the idea of the morning and evening ones when I first heard about them, but after reading some reviews they both seem totally worth it. Time is money!

    • joel says

      YOU WILL REALLY ENJOY AFTER HOURS. THERE IS JUST SOMETHING ABOUT A LATE NIGHT AT MAGIC KINGDOM THAT IS SO MEMORABLE. PLUS MY KINDS ATE ENOUGH ICE CREAM AND DRANK ENOUGH OF THE DRINKS TO GET OUR MONEY’S WORTH.

  10. Paula Hanna says

    Dude! We’re in the Mine Train blog photos! It’s like a brush with greatness! Based on your advice from the last review, we decided to do EMM. I could not recommend it more! They went ahead and opened Small World, too, so in the course of an hour, we had done Peter Pan twice, the Carrousel once, Mine Train three times, Winnie the Pooh twice, Small World once, and managed to hoof it over to Haunted Mansion right before 9 and before the crowds were even close and rode it through twice as well. It was my favorite time in the parks this trip. I just can’t thank you enough for the advice! Oh, and a cast member confirmed that Be Our Guest actually prepares the food for the buffet, so there you go!

  11. Patrice Witty says

    This article was perfect timing! I was just wondering about this, and if it was worth it. Thanks for the info, I think I’ll try to talk everyone into this for our trip in April.

  12. Jill Parrish says

    OMG I can’t believe I missed you there that morning. We were there. In fact I am super jealous, my husband made the blog photos. He is the guy in the blue sweatshirt pushing our double wide headed to Pan at 8:58.

    Anyway this is our second time doing it and we find it worth the money. Only thing I don’t like is at 8:50 they let everyone into the Mine Train line and we lost the short wait. Food is totally worth it though.

  13. Katkat says

    I will agree with everyone above. We attended in September based on your blog post. It was a bonus for my toddler to discover the carousel was running. We spent a hour going around and around. WE were second in line to meet tiana when the park opened. The whole experience was stress free, and the food was great and piping hot when we ate at 9:40 . We would do it again this December if it was offered.

  14. Michelle says

    We also did EMM in May after Josh’s review and found it to be a definite highlight of the trip. Glad to hear it’s still as worthwhile as it was last time. We’ll probably do it again next summer if it’s still offered. Thank you Josh.

  15. L says

    Loved doing this as solo back in November and booked it again for April. It just makes a MK day so much more chill, and who can argue with front-of-car-and-no-one-else-on-board Mine Train pics?

  16. Bea Arthur says

    Just bear in mind that rides do break down as was the case when we did EMM back in January. We rushed to Seven Dwarves ala Josh’s plan, get ready to board only to be told the ride is not working. Bummer! We did the other two rides but really how many times can u do those? Anyways it didn’t get going again until almost 9 but by then it was going to cut into my perfectly crafted touring schedule. We ended up getting passes for anytime any ride fastpasses for our party but it was still disappointing not being able to ride it without other people. I would still do EMM again but it’s not guaranteed all rides are operable

    • Mara says

      We had a similar experience the last week in January. We had such a great plan to do those 3 rides as many times as we could, meet the princesses, then eat breakfast and be on our way. Mine Train was down until almost 9 and on our first ride on Pooh my daughter decided it was terrifying. So we rode Peter Pan and the carousel 3 or 4 times each and ate breakfast. They allowed us to use our wrist bands as fast passes until noon, so we did get 2 more rides on Mine Train in – would have gone more but we had fast passes and other rides to do. Wish I had thought in the moment to talk to a CM to see if we could get anytime fast passes. Had Mine Train been running it would have been a really lovely morning – it felt like we had Fantasyland to ourselves.

  17. snickers says

    We attended at the end of January this year when the Mine Train went down right after the start of EMM. They did give us a couple of paper FP+s for our trouble at first as we waited in the queue, but the best part was how the handled it when it was still down at 9:00; our bands allowed us to ride the Mine Train, Pooh, and Peter Pan using the FP+ line until noon. It was awesome.

    We plan to do it again as often as it’s offered during our next trip, and I’ll be hoping it goes down again. I’d love to see similar events at AK.

  18. BP says

    We have done it twice now and loved it both times….We rode mine train 12 times one morning…Peter Pan 3 times and pooh once…the food is good too…

  19. Jen says

    Is there any rhyme or reason to when the offer early magic. Want to book on May and it looks like march was every tues and sun, April was every other and so far May has two tues no sunday? Any way to fin this out?

  20. john says

    We do EMM Every trip sometimes multipe times per trip. Hope they will bring it back in Studios once Toy story/Star wars are online.

    During one visit Mine train was down all morning during EMM. So our wristbands became fastpass entry for all Fantasyland attractions unlimited until noon. Mine train came back up around 9:30am, so we were able to ride.

    A few occasions we’ve had Small world open during EMM, I personaly think its too long of a ride to sit though when I am spending $1/min per person for EMM.

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