Morgol

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
During Spring Break/Easter I know they were letting people into EE 30-45 min sooner than even the EE time. For example - reg park hours were 9, 8:30 for EE, but people were getting in around 7:45/8:00. Then that sort of seemed to die down and EE started close to the EE time. However I have seen more reports of people getting in sooner than the EE time and just wanted to see if people could let me know their most recent experiences. What time was EE supposed to start and when did you get in? Thanks!

I'd like to know this too. I keep seeing conflicting reports - some say 30-40 minutes before EE the rides are open and others say rides open within 5 mins of EE opening.
 

scrappinginontario

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
I'd like to know this too. I keep seeing conflicting reports - some say 30-40 minutes before EE the rides are open and others say rides open within 5 mins of EE opening.
I think both are correct as there are no hard and fast rules about when guests are actually allowed in the parks nor when attractions begin allowing guests to ride.

The same park and the same attraction can change day to day.

Reading the ‘Here Now and Just Back’ thread is a great place where people are sharing their recent experiences.

If staying onsite, the best opportunity to be towards the front of ETPE crowd is to arrive at transportation 90 mins before ETPE begins.
 

NicholeB630

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
So its kind of a late post but I got a lot of advice prior to our trip so I figured Id do a recap. We went to Disney for 4 nights (we've been many times before) but this was our first May trip. Family of 4, myself, husband (not a disney lover) son 10 and daughter 13.

Dates were May 4-8
Disney Riveria One bedroom Villa.
VIP experience on May 5th
Thursday 5th - HS and MK
Friday 6th - Epcot
Saturday 7th - AK and MK


This was hands down the best trip we've been on. We did more in three full park days then we have in years that we went for 8 nights. Three things played a huge part in that. VIP obviously, We were picked up at the resort at 8:30am and started at HS spent about 4.5 hours there. We rode our favorites more than once, our guide got us waters numerous times, got the kids a snack while we waited in a line, and she ate lunch with us which was totally ok with us. After our last ride we went to MK. Rode everything we wanted there, meanwhile I was stacking Genie+ times for when we separated from our guide. She got us all ice cream bars at MK as well. The ease of getting into parks was amazing and so worth it. We waited for nothing more than 15 min. I know this is a pricey add on but if you are able to do it its worth every penny. I was worried with being with someone all day but she was wonderful and wasn't super fast paced. We walked at a nice stroll all day. Its like being on auto pilot. We tell her what we wanted to do then she leads the way in the best order to utilize time! My husband actually really enjoyed the day and I think its because there was no moments or "What do we do now" "Which way" no one arguing etc. We did 8 hours with her, so one more hour then the minimum time! I would 100% do it again and my husband even said "NEXT TIME we go to Disney we'll do VIP" I was shocked.

Second big factor. My kids are older now. Its a given the older your kids the easier they are ha. (well in some aspects) but when it comes to theme parks its a PERK. Dont get me wrong I loved talking them younger, when my son was 2 years old and he held onto those characters like they were his best friends, just melted my heart. Or my daughter going to BBB was so magical. BUT now they dont complain, they dont tire out by noon. They ride everything! It's fun to plan and talk to them about it all. It was just easier to do long days, early mornings, later nights.

Genie+ I know this is a hot topic LOL. I do not love it BUT it worked well for us. Again VIP we didn't need it most of the day, but I was able to get us plenty of rides later in the evening at MK. Epcot it worked fine, we walked on a lot but also was able to use it for Remi, Soarin so we could ride it twice, spaceship earth and TT, other rides we didn't need it. My husband & son actually rode Mission space three times walking on. We did wait 30 min for frozen. So it was useful on Epcot day. AK day as well, just not as many rides, but it was fine. We left AK though after lunch around 2 and I continued to stack time for MK later that night. When kids and I went back to MK around 5pm to 10pm we rode 8 things and ate dinner at the plaza. 5 rides were with Genie+ 3 were walk on. I was pretty happy with that! So I do not love being on my phone non stop, its frustrating that some rides are gone so quickly in the morning. But if you know to get those top rides first you can utilize it a lot.

Crowds were completely manageable. Both times we were in Fantasyland I could walk with my arms stretched out, I was shocked. The only park that felt really crowded and we honestly had the least fun was AK, It was just a cluster, its a harder park I feel to make a good route without back tracking, my genie+ times kinda weren't the best schedule so it was a lot more back and forth and again it just felt busier and HOTTER despite it being the coolest day.

We did eat at Space 220 and I was not as thrilled as I thought, It just didn't wow me like I thought it would. From pics and blogs etc it looks so incredible but I was very underwhelmed with it. Just wasn't impressive in my opinion. Food was good but again not amazing. I liked Yak and Yeti better. HA.

The Riveria is beautiful. I would def stay there again! We rented a car which we used, but also used the sky liner for our break during epcot day and we took the bus twice in evenings from MK. Overall it was just a great trip. It was also our first trip since prior to covid we didn't have to wear masks which for my family was wonderful. Things felt so much back to normal! Cast members were friendly, we never had a hard time getting food or drinks. It was just a great trip!

If you made it this far thanks for reading!!! :)
 

farfaraway

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
We went in May too. We had a blast-not sure what all the complaining is all about. Yes, getting park reservations and changing them based on dining or park hours is a pain. That was seriously the only drawback. We didn't even utilized Genie + and we were able to ride everything we wanted.
 

Sarahsal

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 11, 2004
Just back from 7 nights, 6/20-6/27. Parks were crowded, but not Easter pre-pandemic crowded. Don't want to upset anyone or get into an argument, but once I got the hang of it I loved genie+. One day at MK we used 8 passes. Could have been more if we wanted Dumbo or IASM in the evening. Used stand-by at opening, Genie+ rides that ran out early in the morning, then headed back to the resort for a rest, during which I stacked passes for the evening. It was somewhat like the original fastpass system in that way. Even at a park where it really isn't necessary, (AK and Epcot) we used it and it worked well for us. Best of all, when we did have trouble with the technology, the Guest Experience people, located throughout the parks, were able to solve the problems. Be happy to answer any questions.
 

NicholeB630

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Just back from 7 nights, 6/20-6/27. Parks were crowded, but not Easter pre-pandemic crowded. Don't want to upset anyone or get into an argument, but once I got the hang of it I loved genie+. One day at MK we used 8 passes. Could have been more if we wanted Dumbo or IASM in the evening. Used stand-by at opening, Genie+ rides that ran out early in the morning, then headed back to the resort for a rest, during which I stacked passes for the evening. It was somewhat like the original fastpass system in that way. Even at a park where it really isn't necessary, (AK and Epcot) we used it and it worked well for us. Best of all, when we did have trouble with the technology, the Guest Experience people, located throughout the parks, were able to solve the problems. Be happy to answer any questions.

Im very torn on it bc it worked well for us too but I still dont love it. I dont know why Disney cant be like every other theme park in America and just offer a flat rate express line. But guess its better than nothing. I def think new people to Disney have a harder time with it as opposed to experienced guest who know all about rides, what goes faster, lines etc. Glad it was a good trip!
 

TXDisneyFan1

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Our family got back from a trip June 22nd - 28th. We did 5 nights in two dvc villas at the Grand Floridian and 1 night with a 2 bedroom dvc villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. There were 6 in our family.

To start....WOW, it was crowded! I have been to WDW 6 times and this was by far the most crowded the parks have been. That being said, we had a great family vacation! This was our first time staying at the GF and I was surprised by how much I liked the resort. We are normally Poly people, but GF was beautiful and did provide us a sense of luxury. The only let down was our dinner at Citricos. It just wasn't very good and it was very expensive. Almost everything we ordered was mediocre...best thing of the night was the olive bread and salty butter. However, our dinner at California Grill was outstanding! I didn't mind the high price tag because the food was so delicious.

Guardians is my new favorite ride! It was so much fun! We rode it twice and I wish I had bought it for every day of our trip. It didn't make me nauseous at all.

Weather was as good as I could hope for....only had one long rain shower.

I can't really speak to ride availability because we used genie+ in conjunction with DAS. I was worried about rides being down, but we never seemed to have a problem with that. Rides were mostly up and running....we did get trapped on Splash Mountain twice.

My one big complaint is with the new MK fireworks show. We did the dessert party so we wouldn't have to fight for a good viewing spot. I LOVED Happily Ever After....loved the music, projections and message. The new show appears thrown together, no cohesion and about half of the songs don't have words! It was such a huge disappointment for me.

We had a great family vacation and created lots of memories that I will cherish forever. Now that our kids are older teenagers, it only added to the fun. They love Disney as much as we do. However, the increased costs will force us to look elsewhere for family trips in the future. (Unfortunately)
 

saintsfan57

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
I have mostly just read this board over the years and not posted much but have always gotten good info from here.

Until now. Reading this I was convinced that the new Genie and LL system was going to be a disaster. Imagine my surprise when I spend this past week at Disney and had my best trip in years.

The fact is, the new system reminds me of the original FP system except I didn’t have to run all over. I got my LL and my ILL early each morning and we still took advantage of rope drop to tour way before the crowds built up. I got every LL I wanted and those I didn’t get, which was like 1, we waited until later when the lines were less. I enjoyed not being locked into times that I booked 2 months ago and it felt more spontaneous and we toured the parks more logically.

So, if the complaints were just about money I get it, but some people are willing to pay for a better experience and let me say, I’d rather pay for this system than get FP+ for free
 

Chernabob

I go to work mainly to support my Disney habit.
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
I have mostly just read this board over the years and not posted much but have always gotten good info from here.

Until now. Reading this I was convinced that the new Genie and LL system was going to be a disaster. Imagine my surprise when I spend this past week at Disney and had my best trip in years.

The fact is, the new system reminds me of the original FP system except I didn’t have to run all over. I got my LL and my ILL early each morning and we still took advantage of rope drop to tour way before the crowds built up. I got every LL I wanted and those I didn’t get, which was like 1, we waited until later when the lines were less. I enjoyed not being locked into times that I booked 2 months ago and it felt more spontaneous and we toured the parks more logically.

So, if the complaints were just about money I get it, but some people are willing to pay for a better experience and let me say, I’d rather pay for this system than get FP+ for free
I'm just back from a 5-day trip, and I'll echo this. We pre-purchased Genie+ with our tickets for the whole trip, and I thought it was well worth it. Would I like it better if it were free? Yes. But the system generally worked, with enough planning and effort. I didn't feel "glued to my phone" as some have worried. And with just a bit of advance research and effort on the park day, it's a great time saver.

Biggest tip--refresh (or "fiddle faddle"). We were able to pull Remy after it was sold out, and more than once get better times than was initially offered for different rides throughout the day.
 

jods

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
I have mostly just read this board over the years and not posted much but have always gotten good info from here.

Until now. Reading this I was convinced that the new Genie and LL system was going to be a disaster. Imagine my surprise when I spend this past week at Disney and had my best trip in years.

The fact is, the new system reminds me of the original FP system except I didn’t have to run all over. I got my LL and my ILL early each morning and we still took advantage of rope drop to tour way before the crowds built up. I got every LL I wanted and those I didn’t get, which was like 1, we waited until later when the lines were less. I enjoyed not being locked into times that I booked 2 months ago and it felt more spontaneous and we toured the parks more logically.

So, if the complaints were just about money I get it, but some people are willing to pay for a better experience and let me say, I’d rather pay for this system than get FP+ for free
I haven't used it yet but my complaint is the need to be up early lol. We like to sleep in and stay late at the parks. FP was great for that because we knew we at least had 3 rides. I have no desire to get up for 7, especially after the Halloween Party and deluxe after hours. Glad you had a great trip.
 

Bahamontes

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Also noticed today that while a lot of CMs at Epcot and DHS were friendly and helpful, many of the ones we encountered today at MK have not been. POTC was the worst- CMs were all bunched up talking about their plans for the evening at the entrance and at the loading area.
Saw this EXACT same huddle at Pirates in April. Had a real cringey vibe, like Universal employees. (Anytime I go to the JV parks, I feel like I’m CONSTANTLY imposing upon employees’ conversations.)

Stark contrast to the amazing CMs I had seen throughout MK that day, though - tiki room, sdmt, and fireworks CMs around the core were all fantastic. Like, fantastic for the before times, let alone today.
 

PPFlight75

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Saw this EXACT same huddle at Pirates in April. Had a real cringey vibe, like Universal employees. (Anytime I go to the JV parks, I feel like I’m CONSTANTLY imposing upon employees’ conversations.)

Stark contrast to the amazing CMs I had seen throughout MK that day, though - tiki room, sdmt, and fireworks CMs around the core were all fantastic. Like, fantastic for the before times, let alone today.
Interesting you say this. We had a similar encounter at Pirates a few days ago. 2 CMs huddled together talking and one by herself singing and not greeting or making eye contact. We found it very unusual. There are always a few few chatting CMs but someone usually smiles or welcomes you. It usually doesn't register but the Pirates encounter was enough for me and DH to mention it to each other.
 

PPFlight75

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Just back from a 9 night trip. Very hot and crowded but lots of fun. Most CMs were great.

A new favorite for us is Ale and Compass. Great late lunch and everyone enjoyed it.

We only used G+ for our HS day and ILL for GoTg a few times. G+ really doesn't fit our park style. We like to go to the park and only stay a few hours and visiting each park twice allows us to get everything done and even some multiple rides on our favorites.

We only wanted to visit HS once so used G+ for this park and it worked great. Got to the park around 7 and let in around 730. Half rode ToT(other half rode RnR), MMRR(10 min wait), Aliens (5 min wait), TSMM(G+), Star Tours(G+), RotR(ILL), lunch, and RnR(G+). We left before 2 and the only ride we didn't ride that we wanted to was Smugglers Run but we were ready for the pool. For one day at the park I would use G+ again.
 

preemiemama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Interesting you say this. We had a similar encounter at Pirates a few days ago. 2 CMs huddled together talking and one by herself singing and not greeting or making eye contact. We found it very unusual. There are always a few few chatting CMs but someone usually smiles or welcomes you. It usually doesn't register but the Pirates encounter was enough for me and DH to mention it to each other.
Saw this EXACT same huddle at Pirates in April. Had a real cringey vibe, like Universal employees. (Anytime I go to the JV parks, I feel like I’m CONSTANTLY imposing upon employees’ conversations.)

Stark contrast to the amazing CMs I had seen throughout MK that day, though - tiki room, sdmt, and fireworks CMs around the core were all fantastic. Like, fantastic for the before times, let alone today.
I'm glad it wasn't just us, but not so great that it wasn't a one-time experience. I get that hiring CMs right now is tough, but that one would need a conversation...
 

jwo1976

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
We spent 2 weeks at WDW at Fort Wilderness (5/28-6/13). We are a family of 5. The campground was wonderful and we did have a great time. Actually enjoyed cruising (looping) at the campground more so than going to the parks.
I dislike Genie+, while it did allow us to ride many things while the parks were over crowded what the trade off is someone in your party (my wife this time) had her nose buried in here phone the whole time and didn't get to enjoy family time together. To busy trying to get the next thing. THIS takes away from a FAMILY vacation. If you had the means to hire an assistant who's job it was to book your next experience then maybe that would be great. Also the food and extra experiences were VERY lacking and so not worth the money spent. We went to space 220 and after spending $600 on a meal 1. still hungry, 2. had better steaks at Applebee's, 3 the trip to space VERY underwhelming and the "scenery" out of the "window" is quite cheesy and boring. That was a total bust and a 1 and done. We also did a dessert party (which we have done in the past) and it to was lacking. Way to many people in the "party" variety of the desserts and the quality were lacking as compared to past events. Just really not enjoyable and soooo not worth $500.

We did really enjoy the Wild Africa Trek and felt this was a good value, great guides and great food. Highly recommend this. Pricey but worth it.

Overall it felt very hurried and not a family vacation.

Side note, we have gone every year since 2007 and have experienced many changes, some good and some bad. This latest round, while some of the new rides are great (Guardians) some lacking (Remy) overall the new heads have lost the magic and what it means to be the most magical place on earth. So much so the kids don't even enjoy it anymore. WDW has become just another place, not that special. With the renewal of Chapek I fear Disney is on a downward spiral they can't get out of. Meanwhile Universal seems to be stepping up their game. May have to make a change next year.
 

pens4821

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
I haven't used it yet but my complaint is the need to be up early lol. We like to sleep in and stay late at the parks. FP was great for that because we knew we at least had 3 rides. I have no desire to get up for 7, especially after the Halloween Party and deluxe after hours. Glad you had a great trip.

IMO, other than a couple rides no need to get up and book right at 7. You can start booking when you get up. You can’t make your second selection until two hours after park open, so if you can be up around park open time you won’t be far behind the curve. Unless you usually sleep until 10 instead of around 8/9 I don’t think you will have an issue for most the attractions. And even if you wait until 10 you shouldn’t have an issue with much except a handful of rides (other than being 1 LL behind since people can book their second when you’re getting your first).

When we were there for spring break the only things that sold out right away was sdd and rotr (we didn’t go to ak so not sure about there). It may have changed since then, but there was no need to be up right at 7 unless you wanted one of them, and luckily they are the same park.
 

jods

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
IMO, other than a couple rides no need to get up and book right at 7. You can start booking when you get up. You can’t make your second selection until two hours after park open, so if you can be up around park open time you won’t be far behind the curve. Unless you usually sleep until 10 instead of around 8/9 I don’t think you will have an issue for most the attractions. And even if you wait until 10 you shouldn’t have an issue with much except a handful of rides (other than being 1 LL behind since people can book their second when you’re getting your first).

When we were there for spring break the only things that sold out right away was sdd and rotr (we didn’t go to ak so not sure about there). It may have changed since then, but there was no need to be up right at 7 unless you wanted one of them, and luckily they are the same park.
I wouldn't be able to sleep on knowing I could book genie and when I'm up, I'm up 🤷‍♀️
 

SLThomas318

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
totally me too.
Same… we weren’t impressed with genie+ at all when we used it back in November so we ended up using it for only 1 day on our June trip. I was up late so I bought it at midnight, but then I didn’t even sleep well bc I was paranoid I’d over sleep… not relaxing at all. We got good value out of it the one day we used it, but it’s not something I would enjoy doing/using every day of our trip.
 









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