The Simple Guide to Disney Planning

Explore Theme Parks2019-08-11T18:05:24-05:00

Explore Theme Parks

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Extra Magic Hours

Extra Magic Hours are one of the most important benefits of staying at a Disney resort. Learn what you need to know to take full advantage of them when you design your park touring strategy.

In a

Nutshell

  • One park will open early or close late FOR RESORT GUESTS every day. These are called Extra Magic Hours (magic hours). You can only enjoy them if you are staying at a Disney resort or a Disney partner resort.
  • Only select attractions and dining experiences will be open during those times.
  • Parks are less crowded during magic hours — but can be a lot more crowded during “non” magic hours on those same days. Your touring strategy should be to either avoid parks if they have magic hours (generally the case when not staying at a Disney resort) or to get a park hopper and go to another park when crowds begin to swell.


In 
Nutshell

  • One park will open early or close late FOR RESORT GUESTS every day. These are called Extra Magic Hours (magic hours). You can only enjoy them if you are staying at a Disney resort or a Disney partner resort.
  • Only select attractions and dining experiences will be open during those times.
  • Parks are less crowded during magic hours — but can be a lot more crowded during “non” magic hours on those same days. Your touring strategy should be to either avoid parks if they have magic hours (generally the case when not staying at a Disney resort) or to get a park hopper and go to another park when crowds begin to swell.

What’s Open During Extra Magic Hours?

Note that attractions are subject to change and may be closed due to refurbishments. Check official schedules here

Magic Kingdom

  • Astro Orbiter
  • The Barnstormer
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress (mornings only)

Evenings Only

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Haunted Mansion
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Swiss Family Treehouse

Epcot

  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Living with the Land
  • Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track Presented by Chevrolet®

Evenings Only

  • Advanced Training Lab
  • The American Adventure
  • American Heritage Gallery
  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Epcot Character Spot
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment
  • Mission: SPACE
  • O Canada!
  • Turtle Talk With Crush

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Primeval Whirl
  • TriceraTop Spin

Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
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Skip the Lines with FastPass Plus

With Disney FastPass+ Service, you can reserve an hour-long window to visit select attractions, entertainment experiences and Character meet and greets with either no line or very short lines. You can make FastPass+ reservations, up to 60 days in advance as a resort guest, or 30 days in advance otherwise.

Select attractions are eligible for FastPass+. You can make 3 advance reservations, per day, in a single park.

Resort guests can make these reservations 60 days in advance. Others may only make them 30 days in advance. Once those selections are either used or expired, you can make one additional reservation at a time, using the My Disney Experience mobile app or a kiosk at the parks.

This has become essential to advance planning, touring strategies and getting the most from your Disney vacation. It also means that you need to know:

Daily Park Schedule – which park you will visit, morning, afternoon, and evening so you know which parks to reserve in

Park Touring Strategy and a plan of action to check off those Must Dos on your list.

FastPass Wishlist to start making reservations as soon as you can — which can mean at exactly 7:00 am EST, 60 days in advance of your check in date.

This is where the MousePlanner tool comes in. Try it now!

Visit the Plan It section to learn how to make advance FastPass+ reservations.

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Disney Springs

Disney Springs used to be called Downtown Disney and it’s changed a lot with its recent makeover and expansion. The architecture, lightscape and soundscape has elevated it to a whole new level. It’s free to visit and is especially vibrant in the evenings when live music fills every corner.

Home to shops, restaurants, live entertainment, and more, the 120 acres is organized by 4 neighborhoods:

  • The Landing
  • The Marketplace
  • West Side
  • Town Center

Dining ranges from casual food trucks, to bustling eateries to signature dining, and features 5 James Beard-award winning chefs:

  • Morimoto Asia
  • Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Kitchen
  • Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina
  • Tony Mantuano’s Terralina
  • Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill
  • Jose Andres’ Jaleo – COMING SOON
  • The largest Disney gift shop World of Disney is also located here – and offers 20% off for Disney Visa® card holders.

It’s easy to get to by car with ample, free parking. Free Disney buses (and boats) transit between Disney resorts and Disney Springs. This also makes it possible to use it as a hub to go from one resort to another (if you have some time to kill).

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Magic Kingdom