With no explanation given by officials at Walt Disney World, the evening Extra Magic Hours (EMH) will apparently be shortened by one hour beginning in 2013. Currently, evening EMH runs three hours past normal park closing on select nights at one of the four theme parks of Disney World.
The change does not affect Extra Magic Hours in the remaining months of this year. Disney still lists the three hour window in its park hours through December.
Those perusing the Disney World website noticed the subtle change in the wording on the Extra Magic Hours page. It now states:
“Each day, one of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks opens one hour early or remains open up to 2 hours after regular closing time.”
Previously, the website listed three hours for EMH with:
“Each day, one of the 4 Walt Disney World Theme Parks opens one hour early or remains open up to 3 hours after regular Park closing time.”
EMH are extra hours the parks are open for qualified guests. Typically, these guests are those staying at one of the many resorts of Disney World. On select nights, the park will close to regular guests at a listed time. After that time, many of the rides will remain open but qualifying guests must show a valid resort ID to enter the queues for those rides.
Extra Magic Hours has long been touted by Disney as a benefit for those staying on Disney property. With one less hour, however, the draw of that benefit may be less.
Many who have utilized the evening EMH have noted in the past that the last hour in the park is typically relatively quiet. This allowed them to generally hop onto rides with little or no wait time. That may have been great for those guests, but evidently Disney feels the fewer guests taking advantage of that last hour are not worth the expense of staying open during that time.
This change does not affect morning EMH. On select days, one of the four theme parks of Disney World will still open to qualified guests one hour early before normal park opening.
Known park hours and Extra Magic Hours are offered by All Things Mouse on the Disney Park Hours page. Of note, the January 2013 calendar still does not offer EMH hours as they were not released by Disney at the time of posting.