Review: Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom

by Guest Blogger Kay Belin

My husband and I had a short Walt Disney World vacation planned when I noticed that Disney was offering something new called Early Morning Magic. I am always one to want to experience what is new in the World so I jumped on this opportunity and made reservations for the first date it was being offered, April 26.

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We were told to be at the Magic Kingdom queues around 7:30am to check-in and we would then enter the park to be escorted to Fantasyland at 7:45. Not knowing if early morning buses would be running we hopped in a taxi and arrived in plenty of time. We checked in and received a yellow paper band for our wrists and stood in line for the queues.

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It was soon apparent that everyone who had bought this experience was grouped with all those guests who had early morning dining reservations. It was a bit of a crowded experience and a lot of waiting. We waited to go through the queue and then waited again as a mass group right before the entrance tunnel. Then one more time we waited inside the tunnel as a group. I was never quite sure why we had to wait in all of these locations and why the Early Morning Magic guests were not separated from the others. It was confusing for everyone.

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When they let us loose it was around 7:45am and it was a calm walk down Main Street to Fantasyland. We did not stop for the castle photo but also did not rush. We were not escorted as the information had mentioned but it was nice to just enjoy an empty park and stroll at our own pace.

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The Early Morning Magic event offered three Fantasyland attractions for us to enjoy: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Peter Pan’s Flight. We headed to what we knew would be the most popular choice, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We were met with no lines and no wait and hopped right on and enjoyed our first attraction of the day. When we exited you could go right back to the loading area without leaving the building which was nice.

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We opted to head to Peter Pan’s Flight and do our next attraction. Again there was no line and no wait and we were on immediately to enjoy my husband’s favorite ride. Next stop was the last attraction offered, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and again walked right on. I checked my watch and saw that we had done all three attractions and it was only 8:03am. My question to myself was now what were we going to do for another hour.

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My husband isn’t a lover of roller coasters of any kind so I decided to head back to the Mine Train and do it again solo. I actually could have done it another ten times if I had wished to ride that many times. They were asking guests to get out of the cars after each trip but you literally could just walk back on.

One of the perks to getting this extra park event was that it included a full breakfast. So that is exactly where we headed next. Breakfast is served in Pinocchio Village Haus located right in the center of Fantasyland.

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Two identical buffet sides were set up and the offerings included scrambled eggs, vegetable frittata, two kinds of sausages, bacon, potatoes, fruits, assorted pastries, assorted cheeses and cold meats, and waffles. Two juice flavors were options as well as milk and water. They also had a coffee station offering regular coffee, decaf coffee, and assorted teas. We thought the food selections adequate and everything tasted great. We were not disappointed in the all you can eat buffet that was included in this special ticket. Breakfast was offered until 10am so if you wanted to ride the attractions for the full hour you could still come and enjoy this private dining event once the park opened.

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After breakfast I decided to do the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train one last time. It was now about 8:45 and with the park opening at 9am that morning it was good to get the most popular attraction under my belt once again before the crowds descended. What surprised me and disappointed me was the fact when we walked over we saw that the stand-by line was filling up. Why? Because th queue included some of the early dining guests. We had heard the announcement of the park opening show as we left breakfast so didn’t think guests could all be there yet but wondered about the crowds building.

I walked through the FastPass line and was immediately stopped by a cast member who asked if I had a FastPass. I was stunned and said no but that I had bought the Early Morning Magic ticket and showed her my yellow wristband. She was hesitant but allowed me to join the line. Yes, I am saying the line now. They were allowing all the standby line guests to enjoy the attraction and I had to join into that line. Of course the wait was not long but I was just surprised that it was inferred that only those guests who paid for this special ticket would enjoy the three attractions until park opened at 9am.

My opinion of this event is mixed. Unless you have family members who are avid Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fans this will not appeal to older children who would rather be on Space Mountain. You will also have to be careful that your group can all enjoy the three attractions that are offered as I saw a few times that young children did not meet the height requirement for the Mine Train and they were very disappointed.

I personally felt that they certainly could have at least two more attractions open such as Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid and Its a Small World as they both are in the same area if they wanted to keep it compact. If not then Dumbo and Barnstormer would be great additions. But three attractions just didn’t offer enough to do for the hour in the park. I appreciated not waiting in the long lines those attractions draw during the day but I found we had so much extra time on our hands and didn’t know what to do.

The cost for the Early Morning Magic ticket is $69 for adults and $59 for children 3-9. This is on top of the admission ticket you must have for the park that day. It does include a full breakfast and the opportunity to experience three attractions but I felt that was a bit steep. Characters were not out and if they wanted to make it a better value for their guests it would be nice to have one character meet and greet and at least two more attractions open to enjoy. It was difficult for me to find out how many Early Morning Magic tickets are sold for each date but I finally was told that it was around 200 so if this is something you wish to experience you will need to grab a reservation quickly.

Because of the cost of the ticket I hope they will encourage the three attractions that are included to stay open only for the ticketed guests until the published time of the park opening which is 9am. I understand that the Magic Kingdom will often open early if crowds become heavy at the entrance but it was disappointing that with my ticket I lost 15 minutes of private enjoyment of the attractions.

All in all we enjoyed our quiet time in the park but I doubt we will encourage our family to purchase this special event ticket if it is continued past June unless more is added to enjoy.

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25 Replies to “Review: Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom”

  1. I agree, 69.00 plus park ticket for the day is a bit much. If you have a dining plan, there doesn’t appear to be a value for the breakfast. As an added note, we are very excited for our fall visit, staying in a Turret Suite at the Yacht Club, booked over a year ago, however, when the 30% discount became available, we were made to pay current price, which is a 15% up charge to my booking price and only allowed a discount on certain parts of our package. Trying to talk to my Disney adviser was not allowed. I feel if your staying on a Disney property, you should be allowed the luxury of early park openings at no additional charge. I,m looking forward to having a “Magical Vacation”, hopefully the greedy/ high pressure sales pitches I received on my recent calls to Disney will not hinder my vacation experience.

  2. well think about it..you could ride the 3 rides a few times, eat at 830 and be in line for a 9 am elsa/anna meet and greet. I think the writer used the extra time in the park poorly. Maybe one could have taken empty main street pictures or rode a few more times? MK always releases the crowds in early….

  3. I don’t think this is very good for the cost of the event. They should have more rides open, and maybe a little better buffet. And, at $69 and then have to have a ticket for the rest of the day is just a little too expensive. I’ll wait for early magic hours.

  4. Thanks! Your experience and perspective are interesting.

    I’m very disappointed with Disney. The cost is outrageous for what you get, or don’t get, rather. I understand why their need to charge so much, if they didn’t then everyone would have access to the park and here we go again: big crowds. But if they are going to charge such a price then please give guests access to more than 3 rides. At the very least open up all of Fantasyland to maybe 200 guests, another 200 people can access Tomorrowland, etc. Perhaps then it would fair. Otherwise, it feels like a ripoff.

    I don’t know what the cost of a buffet breakfast is at MK anymore since our dd is not interested in character breakfasts anymore; but prefers to sleep in now. But if it’s $69 per adult then I see where Disney came up with this price, after all a guest is still getting a meal. But breakfast buffets come with characters. Therefore, characters need to be included.

  5. Oh no as much as our family are avid fans of everything Disney this cost is outrageous. It’s shameful. No way. It will not be successful. Sorry, Disney.

  6. Disney has gone crazy trying to grab every penny they can. I would never pay for extra morning or evening hours and neither should anyone else. Boycott it and they will stop. They went up in price on the tickets twice last year. That is enough. I am sure Walt would not approve. They are making it so the average person cannot go. Greed. I am a person who goes frequently and lives outside Florida and that will change if they keep doing this kind of thing. The public needs to stop going to Disney World for a little while and maybe then they will appreciate the guests like they use to.

  7. I do not think that it sounds like a good value. Disney is already pretty expensive for most people. This just sounds like another way to divide the classes. Also, if the whole Magic Kingdom were open, it might be good idea to pay the extra money. As described, sounds like fool’s gold.

  8. While I find the cost to be a little too rich for my blood, I think I’d rather the nighttime hours… The pictures ALONE would be so cool! Seeing the park so empty at night must be pretty neat. Also, I think Magic Kingdom looks amazing (and so different from daytime), at night!!

  9. I agree that these ticketed events are not done properly by Disney personnel. They are not living up to the terms of the ticket. Letting non ticket holders join in on the lines before 9am is a big no no for me. I will not be partaking in this event or the late night event if only for the reason that it is not done right. If they want to do a exclusive event then keep it exclusive please

    To me this is Disney greed, Walt would be displeased IMO

  10. This is all about margins/profits for Disney. Disney will undoubtedly experiment with the mix of attractions to see how it affects participation (ticket sales) until they find the combination that generates the most ticket revenue at the least cost. Aside from maximizing the revenue side of the equation, Disney has little interest in guest satisfaction with this, or any other, ticketed event.

    That aside, this event only diminishes my interest in being at the park for rope drop. I have always enjoyed the opening ceremony show and experiencing the park as it transitions from tranquility to magical frenzy in a matter of minutes. Pre-filling the park with this event will diminish that experience greatly.

  11. While it is expensive, it is only a few dollars more than people spend to get an early ADR time at Cinderella castle for breakfast. And that meal is not all you can eat.
    While I am not interested I can see where there would be a market for this event.

  12. I agree with Michelle. If early diners get finished with their breakfast early and an attraction is running, they should not be held back from riding just because of this ticketed event. The fact that you were complaining about a short line at Seven Dwarf Mine Train after basically saying you were bored with the three available attractions seems a little hypocritical. You could have ridden it more before the others finished indulging in their breakfast. I would not be surprised if this offering is short lived as it didn’t sound appealing from the very beginning for the reasons already stated in the review (too pricey, not enough open, etc.).

  13. Wow- $300 for a family of four to ride three rides plus a breakfast that is maybe just a notch above those served at “breakfast included with stay” budget hotel. i can’t imagine to many participants will walk away viewing this as a worthwhile venture.

    Add a few more rides, a character meet and greet, and a better breakfast— maybe, but still not convinced.

  14. I just booked “extra magic” event… this morning,for May 14.

    Thank you for your detailed review. I have to agree two more rides like the Barnstormer and Little Mermaid would definitely enhance this experience. I think families would appreciate meeting three to four characters; maybe Pooh and Friend and Little Mermaid.

    My husband and I are looking forward to this event.

  15. These must be held on days when there aren’t Extra Magic Hours in the AM . A little to pricey for only 3 attractions in one area . U did go on the first day so maybe we can assume they will work out the problems …still to pricey for me for 3 rides when I can do AM EMH .

  16. I would much prefer Disney didn’t charge for what over the past several years has been known as EXTRA MAGIC HOURS. They need to keep morning and evening extra magic hours as an added value for anyone staying at a Disney resort, rather than trying to charge an obscene amount of money for what used to be included.

  17. It is standard practice to let the folks at Be Our Guest get in line/start riding Mine Train at 8:45. It is one of the perks to that early breakfast, so it wasn’t a special circumstance- it happens every day. I think that those with this pass should do as much Mine Train riding as they like upon arrival and then go to the other attractions to avoid this problem. I also would by no means eat until 9:30 at least.

  18. Thanks for the review. All sounds great, but have to agree I don’t see spending that kind of money for this event unless they add a few more rides, though I will say seeing the empty park would make for some awesome pics!!

  19. Thank you for the review. I have to be honest in saying that Disney are not really doing a great job in making these events, the morning and evening ones, feel exclusive enough to justify the cost of the tickets. Allowing dining guests to ride early having only paid for their ADR and giving free passes for the evening event to DVC members has put me off the idea of doing either and three rides isn’t nearly enough to be opened for the morning. Unless the planners tweaks these events to make them more attractive then this will turn out as an experiment that will fail and look bad on Disney who will appear to be greedy.

  20. Word is that Anna and Elsa were available for m&g. Perhaps you missed that?

    AllEars: Anna and Elsa are part of the Night Time ticketed event, but no characters were mentioned in the official description of this event. Perhaps you were lucky?

  21. I agree that only 3 rides is not enough. I like the idea of adding a few more rides, Small World, the Carrousel and Little Mermaid. Also a Meet and Greet would add to the value.