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Old 07-31-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
PoohJen
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Talking What PATs the busiest or least crowded?

Recent Cruisers,
Now that the pick-your-Port Arrival Time has been in place a while, do you see any trends in crowd levels? For instance, if your arrival is 11:30-12, is 11:30 noticeably a big crowd time which wanes closer to 12? Do the WDW buses still arrive around 1:30? Do you think your answer may depend on the season (e.g., summer busy no matter what; cooler months less so)?

I've been reading trip reports and there seems to be a range of what people faced when they arrived in terms of wait times and crowds. Tell me what time you arrived and what your experience was.

I'm really curious about this, but please no unsolicited slamming - it's not a complaint at all! I love the hustle and bustle of the terminal - bring it on!
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:23 PM   #2
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The first PAT almost always is gone first. It was very busy the 2 times we arrived at 11am. By 12:30 it is very thin or a walk in, check in and walk right on the ship.

Our last cruise we took Disney transportation from the resorts. We arrived about 1:35pm. We checked in and got right on the ship in 10 mins. I had time to change our dining rotation, sign up for the galley tour, drop off our carryons in the room and still had lunch. It was nice to have some park time before we boarded our bus to port as well. All in all I liked arriving after the major crowds. (This only worked for me because I already had my times for Palo brunch, dinner and Remy dinner reserved though)
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:34 PM   #3
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I know this is late, but we prefer sleeping in and walking on around 2pm. The crowds are gone, the cabin is ready and we drop off luggage and head right to deck 9 for chicken strips.

We tried the super early rush routine and I did not enjoy sitting and waiting for 1.5 hours crowded with other people, and then crowded again at Cabanas.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:45 PM   #4
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I know this is late, but we prefer sleeping in and walking on around 2pm. The crowds are gone, the cabin is ready and we drop off luggage and head right to deck 9 for chicken strips.
I know others who like that routine too! Just curious, you mentioned the chicken strips, and I know there is plenty of other food around, but do they stop serving lunch in Cabanas/MDR around 2?
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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What happens if you arrive after your PAT? Our last cruise we drove from WDW and arrived right before our 12:00 PAT. It was a great time - not busy and we got right on. Our next cruise we will be driving in from home (about 8 hrs give or take) so I worry about picking the 12:00 PAT but making good time and getting there early and having to wait around. Should I try for an earlier time even though we may be a little later?
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
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If you are traveling from the Hyatt Regency, does anyone know what time Disney transportation starts at? Last time we had a 11:30 PAT (took a different shuttle from Universal). I was going to try to get an early PAT again but does Disney not transport before 1:30?
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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If you are traveling from the Hyatt Regency, does anyone know what time Disney transportation starts at? Last time we had a 11:30 PAT (took a different shuttle from Universal). I was going to try to get an early PAT again but does Disney not transport before 1:30?
Buses from the Hyatt start anywhere from 9:30-10:00 ish..much earlier than the buses from WDW resorts.

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Old 07-31-2013, 04:35 PM   #8
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We had the 11:00-11:30 PAT for our most recent cruise. We arrived at the port a few minutes before 11:00 and parked our car, dropped our luggage off, made our way through security, filled out the health questionnaire, checked in and got our KTTW cards and had maybe a 15-20 minute wait before boarding started at 11:30. We were boarding group #3 and were on the ship by 11:35. There was a bit of a crowd but ALOT of that was people arriving BEFORE their PAT. There was no line at guest services and Cabanas was empty when we had lunch. I think we timed it pretty well and will shoot for the same PAT next year.

Last year we had 11:30-12:00 PAT and took a shuttle from the Radisson. We arrived probably 11:40 (ish) and had boarding #11. It was called before we were finished checking in so we had zero wait but there was already a crowd on the ship.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PoohJen View Post
I know others who like that routine too! Just curious, you mentioned the chicken strips, and I know there is plenty of other food around, but do they stop serving lunch in Cabanas/MDR around 2?
Think that they stop serving at 2:30 and 3:00 pm depending on the restaurant.

I'm not a huge fan of buffets, and eating at a buffet at the tail end grosses me out.

Plus, those chicken strips are AMAZING. We also love sitting outside for the atmosphere, it's easier to find seats and we get hyped up with the happy energy. It always seems kinda hectic in the restaurants on day 1.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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We usually take DCL transfers, arrive about 1:15 pm, no line ups at the terminal, walk right on, go right to stateroom, and then go for lunch (no lugging of carryon) and there were not many people so the buffet was not crowded and service was quick (we did the sit-down restaurant not the buffet restaurant so they serve your drinks). Gives us time in the morning for a not-too-early wake up, leisurely breakfast, relax before the bus arrives and not feel rushed.

We've only boarded early-ish when on Med cruises and I hated lugging around my bag for a couple of hours. I'd rather have a relaxing, leisurely morning and slightly later arrival than lugging a bag around and keeping track of it. The difference in time aboard ship is 1-2 hours max so I don't feel that you actually gain anything by being earlier.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:22 PM   #11
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Buses from the Hyatt start anywhere from 9:30-10:00 ish..much earlier than the buses from WDW resorts.

MJ
Thank you!! I was hoping they left earlier!!
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