How important is it to get to the parks early?

Klayfish

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2016
As you're seeing, you'll get varied opinion. There isn't a "right" or "wrong" answer, it's about what works best for you.

Personally, I feel rope drop and/or getting there "early" is 100% unnecessary. It's no more productive than getting there later and/or staying late, especially if you know how to use FP+. We typically show up at 10am, and I'm quite confident we can get as much done as the person who shows up at 7am waiting for the park to open.

If you have reasons not to be early, then don't. You'll be fine. If you want to be early and everyone is OK with it, then do it. Either way will work.
 

cwnhokie

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Thanks everyone for you thoughts. It really does help hearing how different folks do it. Obviously we have been enough times that we don't need to see it all and know we can't and have a great trip. I usually ask everyone for their top 3 in each park and go from there. For some reason there seems to be too many variables with this trip, but it will all be great when we get there.

My son got a DAS last time but he was in bad shape then and using a wheelchair. He could only do a couple of rides and then he was ready to go. He has POTS and Scoliosis. He is doing much better now. We will request the DAS again and hopefully get some more use out of it. Since our last trip I have been diagnosed with Crohn’s and I have good days and bad days so not really sure what to expect.

We have always been a family to enjoy the experience and not race ride to ride. I think that’s probably why the kids want to keep going back. None of us are big thrill riders. None of them seems to have a big opinion of how we spend our days so I’ll just make a loose plan and we’ll roll with it. I’m thinking a combo of early and late days. We are staying in a house and want to take advantage of the pool some as well. Thanks for the tips!

Several have mentioned refresh strategy for fast pass. I’m not sure if I know what that means or not. I’ll have to check that out as well.
 

Klayfish

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2016
Several have mentioned refresh strategy for fast pass. I’m not sure if I know what that means or not. I’ll have to check that out as well.
Yes, learn refresh. In short, it's literally refreshing the MDE app to find FP+ while in the park (can be done anytime, but works best in-the-moment). We're huge fans, and really think it makes it so much easier to not have to show up early.
 
  • fbarker

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 25, 2010
    As you're seeing, you'll get varied opinion. There isn't a "right" or "wrong" answer, it's about what works best for you.

    Personally, I feel rope drop and/or getting there "early" is 100% unnecessary. It's no more productive than getting there later and/or staying late, especially if you know how to use FP+. We typically show up at 10am, and I'm quite confident we can get as much done as the person who shows up at 7am waiting for the park to open.

    If you have reasons not to be early, then don't. You'll be fine. If you want to be early and everyone is OK with it, then do it. Either way will work.
    I so agree with this. We are going in March and we have set up our first FP+ each morning at: 9:05, 9:20, 9:50, 9:50 and 9:00 with our third FP+ at around the 12:00-12:30 time period. We will then use our FP+ strategies to get additional FP's. This works well for us and we get on all the rides and attractions that we want, and no stress of getting up so early and then rushing with the masses at rope drop.
     

    Babe the Blue Ox

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2007
    We are in the same boat as you. We always get there before parks open, and yes it's extremely important. However we are traveling with extended family next month, and they refuse to get up early. 8:40am breakfast at the hotel is even too early for them, but they are at least doing that. I'm assuming we will be at the parks after a leisurely breakfast each day, around 10:30- just in time for the crowds to arrive... oh goodie. But I'm going in with an open mind...we have already seen and done everything, they have not (it's their first trip). So whatever they miss, it's their loss, we've already seen it. Just going to relax and go with the flow and realize we will not get to see and do everything. It will be a different kid of vacation for sure! But fun because we are all together!
    I’ve seen the pictures of the crowds gathering before the park opens and they look huge.

    We generally arrive between 10:30-11 am and go straight through the tapstyles with no waiting then directly to our first FP.

    I think it’s a misconception that massive crowds are arriving around 10:30.
     

    Jetta8300

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2010
    I’ve seen the pictures of the crowds gathering before the park opens and they look huge.

    We generally arrive between 10:30-11 am and go straight through the tapstyles with no waiting then directly to our first FP.

    I think it’s a misconception that massive crowds are arriving around 10:30.
    It's not about the crowds at the entrance, but the lines for the rides that I was referring to. Getting there at rope drop with those crowds is a little hectic, but worth it for the short ride lines. We usually walk on most rides for the first two hours, then the lines begin to build. We than use our fastpasses starting around 11am, and leave a little after lunch. The lines are DEFINITELY longer mid day. Either way, this trip we are going to be arriving later and we will take our time and make the best of it. And just appreciate that we are there!
     

    Babe the Blue Ox

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2007
    It's not about the crowds at the entrance, but the lines for the rides that I was referring to. Getting there at rope drop with those crowds is a little hectic, but worth it for the short ride lines. We usually walk on most rides for the first two hours, then the lines begin to build. We than use our fastpasses starting around 11am, and leave a little after lunch. The lines are DEFINITELY longer mid day. Either way, this trip we are going to be arriving later and we will take our time and make the best of it. And just appreciate that we are there!
    Yes the standby lines can get long during the middle of the day, but a few minutes of refreshing for additional FPs can easily overcome that. We visited in early June and were able to grab at least 10-12 FPs each day for a family of 5. Of course, the lines get short enough late in the evening that FPs don’t add much value.

    We only waited in one standby line longer than 20 minutes over a entire week (couldn’t get a FP for Navi River) and rode everything else as many times as we wanted to.

    I think you’ll find that arriving later to be no big deal.
     
  • White Rose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2003
    Never did a rope drop. Spirit is willing, but the body is not. I used to work nights for 10 years and it is hard to shake it from my system, especially since I am a natural night owl. We go in Oct, arrive around 10. Our trips are 5 days or more, no small children. We see everything we want several times, big rides, small rides, long wait rides etc, by using fast passes and also nighttime parties.(Halloween) do no not watch parades and might watch fireworks once, and take advantage of this time to ride rides. (Big thunder during fireworks is awesome.)

    I have a hip birth defect that effects me if I am standing still for long periods of time day after day. It cases very painful lower back stiffness. I need to sit and stretch my extreme lower back and hips for about 5 minutes after a few hours. I do not do any special accomidation, no line passes or disability cards, no scooter or wheelchair, and I just walk slower, and avoid stairs. (Stairs are fine on a normal day but after several days of my lower back /hips hurting..avoid at all costs!)

    I have never had a problem seeing everything and doing everything. Travel how you néed/want, and you will make it work.
     

    Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    Yes the standby lines can get long during the middle of the day, but a few minutes of refreshing for additional FPs can easily overcome that. We visited in early June and were able to grab at least 10-12 FPs each day for a family of 5. Of course, the lines get short enough late in the evening that FPs don’t add much value.

    We only waited in one standby line longer than 20 minutes over a entire week (couldn’t get a FP for Navi River) and rode everything else as many times as we wanted to.

    I think you’ll find that arriving later to be no big deal.
    Agreed. There's no doubt that the lines are shorter at 8am than they are at noon. However, using FP+ and refresh makes that a non-factor. Back in the old paper FP+ days, we would do rope drop because we almost had to. Now, we don't. Like Babe above, we're a party of 5. During our summer trips, which are really long, we never rope drop. We also never wait in line more than 20 minutes for anything. I absolutely love the FP+ system. :D
     

    Randomsoulshine

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    I also have a teen and we have done a couple of rope drops but mostly arrive in the afternoon and stay til closing. If you know how to work the FP system you can use the first 3 and then get about any FP you want by refreshing the app over and over. Except maybe Flight of Passage or Seven Dwarfs, although we managed to get Seven Dwarfs by refreshing the app before.We always go in the middle of summer when crowds were busy.
    If your going next week I think you will be fine arriving later.
    For our upcoming early June trip we will be arriving late afternoon (3-4pm) and staying until close whatever close may be. I’m used to having our three fast passes done by 1pm. If we don’t have our first three complete until let’s say 7pm do you find you can get fast passes that late in the day? We will be skipping any nighttime shows and hope that helps us ride a few things. Also doing quick service meals for flexibility this trip.
     

    maryj11

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2002
    For our upcoming early June trip we will be arriving late afternoon (3-4pm) and staying until close whatever close may be. I’m used to having our three fast passes done by 1pm. If we don’t have our first three complete until let’s say 7pm do you find you can get fast passes that late in the day? We will be skipping any nighttime shows and hope that helps us ride a few things. Also doing quick service meals for flexibility this trip.
    Yes we have been able to get them anytime . You may have to refresh a few times , if you find any time available for a ride you want take it then keep refreshing and different times will pop up.
     
  • Randomsoulshine

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    Yes we have been able to get them anytime . You may have to refresh a few times , if you find any time available for a ride you want take it then keep refreshing and different times will pop up.
    Thanks! I’m familiar with refresh just didn’t know how it worked later in the day.
     

    Babe the Blue Ox

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2007
    Thanks! I’m familiar with refresh just didn’t know how it worked later in the day.
    There's a point in point in time in the evenings when FPs don't add much value after the lines get short. Here's an example of a recent visit to MK from 8 pm to midnight. We did all of this without any FPs:

    Big Thunder 3x
    Splash Mtn 2x
    Space Mtn 2x
    Mine Train
    Pirates
    Jungle Cruise
    Haunted Mansion
    Pooh
    Peter Pan
    Speedway
    Barnstormer 2x

    We also watched the fireworks and had a couple of Dole Whips.
     

    Patience

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2011
    Despite getting on the computer precisely at 7:00 am on the day our fastpass window opened, I wasn't able to get fastpasses for the newer and more popular attractions until afternoon (our earliest fastpass is around 4:00-ish) for our trip in 2 weeks. My plan is to hit rope drop, ride what we can without fastpass, and then head back to Fort Wilderness around 11 for lunch at our RV. It's our first stay at Fort Wilderness so we wanted some time to explore and relax there anyway. We plan to head back to the parks in the afternoon, around 3 or 4, use our fastpasses and eat dinner. We might stay for fireworks/night shows depending on how tired we are. Does this sound like a reasonable plan? We are early to rise people so rope drop doesn't bother us. A late night with fireworks might.
     
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