What’s the Difference Between Disney’s Early Theme Park Entry and Extra Magic Hours?

Now that Disney World’s 50th anniversary is here, we are looking forward to all the amazing experiences arriving in the parks this year.

Walt Disney World Entrance

Along with the long list of attractions, restaurants, and more popping up soon, Disney has also detailed the fact that early park entry will be returning — just not as we knew them before. As you start planning your upcoming Disney World vacation, we’ve got a guide to everything you need to know about the newly announced early park entry before you head to the parks this year.

Disney has already stated that the early park entry service will not be the same as the previous Extra Magic Hours. As of right now, we don’t have a start date or additional information about what attractions, restaurants, and stores will be open during the early entry. But, we do know what requirements and restrictions are in place for this returning feature!

Magic Kingdom

Early Theme Park Entry will be exclusive to Disney World Resort hotel guests (along with guests at other select hotels), who will have the chance to enter the park 30-minutes early. This is a key difference from the previously instated Extra Magic Hours, which typically involved early entry into a park by an hour, or two hours extended onto the end of the day for hotel guests.

Grand Floridian Walkway Sign at the Magic Kingdom

As for which hotels guests will be eligible to use the new Early Theme Park Entry, Disney has confirmed that it will be eligible for Disney World Resort hotel guests, along with “guests of other select hotels”. Extra Magic Hours had been available for guests at select off-site hotels, including those in the Disney Springs area. At this time, we don’t yet know whether these will be the same hotels eligible for Early Theme Park Entry.

B Resort ©Disney

For Early Theme Park Entry, Disney Park Passes will be required to visit guests’ first park, even if they have early entry. After using the Park Pass at their first park of choice, then they are able to Park Hop to other locations around Disney World after 2PM (if capacity measures allow it, and they have a Park Hop-eligible ticket).

Tree of Life

Additionally, Disney has noted that Early Theme Park Entry is part of Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration. That means that this is likely not a permanent addition to the parks, but one being done in celebration of the anniversary event.


In their announcement for Early Theme Park Entry, Disney confirmed that “the Extra Magic Hours benefit was suspended when Walt Disney World Resort reopened last summer, and as we continue to manage attendance with health and safety top of mind, Extra Magic Hours will not return.” 


We’ll continue to keep you updated with the latest from Disney, including more information on Early Theme Park Entry as it’s released!

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Will you be staying at a Disney Resort any time soon? Let us know in the comments below!

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Rachel Franko has been going to Disney Parks since she was a baby, and her love of Disney has only grown into a SLIGHT obsession since! She's been writing for AllEars since 2019 and loves sharing the magic with all the readers. When she's not writing, you can catch her heading to Disney and Universal Studios with a heart full of dreams and a backpack full of themed ears!

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2 Replies to “What’s the Difference Between Disney’s Early Theme Park Entry and Extra Magic Hours?”

  1. I wonder if anyone has any idea what percentage of an average day’s guest does this apply to? What percentage of an average day’s guests stay at the resorts and benefits that benefit from this? 30 minutes is not a great deal of time to enjoy shorter lines, but I guess it is better than nothing.