Early Theme Park Entry for Walt Disney World Resort Guests Extended for a Limited Time

Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort, Central Florida / Credit: Disney

Early Entry prior to park opening is one of the major perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel during your Disney vacation. When Disney revamped this program from its previous version as Extra Magic Hours, the timing of early access to the Walt Disney World theme parks went from one hour prior to park opening and up to three hours after park close to simply 30 minutes before park opening.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

While entry to the theme parks 30 minutes prior to park opening does certainly give Disney resort Guests an advantage over day Guests while planning their days, especially if they visit popular attractions first thing in the morning, like Flight of Passage for instance, many Guests have mixed feelings on the change from Extra Magic Hours still. If you are missing the early theme park entry that came with the Extra Magic Hour benefit, you may be in luck if you are visiting the Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season.

Credit: Disney

For a very limited time from December 19, 2021-January 3, 2022, Walt Disney World will be extending the Early Entry time from 30 to 60 minutes. During this peak time of year while the holiday crowds are present, Walt Disney World Resort Guests will be able to enter the theme parks up to one hour prior to opening.

To take advantage of Early Entry Guests must be staying at either a Disney resort, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel or Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, Shades of Green at the Walt Disney World Resort, an official Disney Springs area hotel, or select good neighbor hotels. Early Entry is only available for those resort Guests, and you will need the same valid theme park admission and park reservation to enter.


During those same dates, December 19-January 3, Disney has also expanded Genie+ attraction selections to include select rides that were previously part of Lightning Lane. Learn more about Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane changes this holiday season for attractions like Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Frozen Ever After in EPCOT, Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in this post.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

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