How were our 8 nights with G+? See inside. Daily real-time updates with pictures!

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Hi all! I posted this in the "Here now and just back" thread, but that's almost 900 pages of info and might get lost, so I thought I would create a dedicated post regarding our stay from July 19-27th at the Polynesian. Feel free to ask questions and I'll try to reply back. In the links below I provide our real-time daily experiences (with pictures 😊) I hope this information is useful for those wondering how the parks are now, and how effective, or not, G+ was for us.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Well, we’re heading out after 8 wonderful days. We feel content and happy with our trip.

Sitting on the Sunshine Flyer at the Poly as I start this post. I will use this as a way to summarize our trip and maybe give some additional tips and information that we learned after eight days of using G+ and visiting the parks this year. I’ll also probably ramble a bit. 😊

In summary, even though I don’t like paying for the G+ service, and the overall massive cost increase over the last couple of years, I feel like we have our happy place back.

We visited during this same time last year when things were standby only, and if it went back to that we would never visit again. Sounds harsh but it just didn’t work for us versus trips with paper FP, FP+, or now G+.

Here are the links, play by play, to our eight days:
Day 1: Animal Kingdom
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Day 3: Hollywood Studios
Day 4: Epcot
Day 5: Magic Kingdom - 2nd time
Day 6: Hollywood Studios - 2nd time
Day 7: Epcot - 2nd time
Day 8: Magic Kingdom - 3rd time
Day 9: This post. Heading home. Thankful for the solid family time we had together at a place we all love.


Our touring style:
We are moreso night owls than morning people. If we don’t need to rope drop, we won’t. Thankfully due to G+, we did not rope drop once this trip and still got more done than I expected. If you read the daily reports we did A LOT. So thankful. For us, still not nearly as good as the old FP+ system, but is workable. We are also more ride people than meet and greets, and we tend to do one sit-down ADR per day, and one QS meal as well. Breakfast is typically something like coffee and a KIND bar or something similar to grab and go.

G+:
I will not do Disney right now without G+. I cannot state that enough. It saved us massive time every day, with possibly the exception of AK.


We prepurchased G+ for every day. (That’s not an option now, and must be purchased each Day of your trip if you want it.) For us, the only park where I question its value is Animal Kingdom. Looking back, I would not purchase it for AK, and purchase the $ILL for FOP instead. We waited in a two hour line for FOP and that was not magical. Even though I loathe the idea of $ILL, it’s the nature of the beast right now and I would pony up for it, but not get G+ at AK. Personally, if I am paying for G+ I feel that ALL rides should be included. None of this $ILL nonsense. Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should IMO.

G+ waits on average were under 10 minutes, and most of the time under 7. Overall they were faster than the old FP+ system by a bit.

Our G+ strategy:
You will need to be flexible, make adjustments, call audibles, etc. It’s part of the G+ game.

Optimally it was important to figure out when we planned to get to the parks. The earlier the better but rope drop was not necessary. I’m not arguing its advantage. Rope drop does get you a head start, but also has its drawbacks, which for us was sleep, energy and overall happiness. 😂 For us, we tried to time that first G+ window generally before the second G+ booking window, which is two hours after park open. You are able to tap into your first G+ before that 2 hour window, and immediately book another. Then keep rolling like that. It constantly puts you ahead of all those people who at 7am booked a G+ for later in the day and had to wait until two hour after park open.

Don’t forego using G+ for less popular rides. Many times you can book a G+ window very close to the current time for less popular attractions, then when you tap in, immediately book another one, and so forth. This can easily save 15 to 40 minutes each secondary ride at peak hours. Those times savings really add up. This is ESPECIALLY true at MK, and remember you can tap in five minutes early

Watch those popular rides. They will start pushing out in the day. Work them around your schedule. Sometimes they will be more than two hours out and you will have to wait 2 hours to rebook but that is how it goes. It’s better to book them than miss them. We had afternoon breaks so typically when we were done in the parks after lunch I would try to find a popular ride for dinner time or after and then stack more every two hours for our return while back at the resort.

Set alarms or reminders. As soon as I booked a G+ I would set an alarm for 1 hour and 58 minutes later to remind me that I could book another soon (if we hadn’t already tapped into our most recently booked G+ and booked another).

G+ Booking windows:
Just a general note to remember that windows are an hour long, with a five minute early grace period and I think a 10 or 15 minute late grace period. For instance if you are looking for a 5 PM time slot, a 4:00-5:00pm would work, as well as a 5:00pm-6:00, and anything in between. Work those windows to your advantage. We tapped in five minutes early on a number of occasions so that I could look another G+ right away

Be aware of those times in the day that are two, four, six hours after park open. Those are generally times when a lot of guests can book G+ again because that is their two hour window. For instance, if Magic Kingdom opens at 9 AM and the first additional booking window is 11 AM, at 10:45am BTMRR might be sitting at 1 PM and slowly crawling later at five minute intervals, but as soon as 11 PM hits it will start taking off and easily jump by an hour later within seconds. It is like that for the popular attractions at those two hour intervals. That’s why booking your fiirst G+ selection before the two hour park interval can really make a difference. You are able to pull your second G+, or more, before a lot of guests have a chance to even book their second.

Buses and transportation:
Excellent. Our average bus wait was less than 10 minutes. Our longest wait was around 20 minutes our very first day to AK, but we had just missed the previous bus (watched it drive away 😂)
We were fortunate to stay at a monorail resort and that was amazing for Magic Kingdom especially, as well as Epcot. Our average wait to Magic Kingdom was less than five minutes and Epcot 10 minutes or less.

Park hours:
Loved the fact that we had more typical park hours again. Magic Kingdom is open until 11 PM (woohoo!) and Epcot and Hollywood studios until 9 and I think 8 PM for Animal Kingdom . Those additional one to two hours in the evening make a huge difference. A lot of the little kids can’t make it that long and it really helps with the attraction wait times.

Dining and food:
Hard to find anything to complain about here. We have dined at many many sit down and quick service locations at Disney over the past 12 years, and this year felt that the quality has not degraded and everything was still very good. Our ADR‘s tend to be at places that don’t break the bank like buffets tend to do. We like to go places where we can order entrées, share entrées etc. One highlight was steakhouse ‘71 this year. We loved the wave in that location before and Steakhouse’71 for lunch was a very fun new experience with high quality offerings. If you have any questions about these places from our trip let me know, MK area: Steakhouse’71, Jungle Skipper Canteen, Kona Cafe, QS: Columbia Harbour House, Pecos Bills, Capt’n Cooks, Plaza Ice cream parlor, Aloha Isle. HS area: Kimonos, Brown Derby, QS: ABC Commissary, Backlot Express. EP area: Nine Dragons, Via Napoli, Beaches n Cream QS: French patisserie

Amazon Fresh:
This was great. Super convenient and saved a ton versus purchasing the same items on property. We put together our orders, typically low carb Monster energy drinks, a case of bottled water, KIND bars, 2-liters of soda, and chips. We easily met the $35 requirement for free delivery. We verified the address for the Poly at the front desk, and then just noted in the delivery to drop it off to Bell services. We also noted that we did not to purchase anything that required refrigeration. That was important because the two times we made Amazon Fresh orders, we had it delivered while we were in the parks and didn't pick it up from bell services for 4-6 hours later.

Mobile order:
Mobile order might be a love or hate thing. We love it, but our kids are old enough to order for themselves. I would bring up the QS location, choose the time window we wanted to dine, and then hand the phone to the various members of our family and they would just add their items to the order and by the time we were done I would just submit the order. As we were getting close to the QS location I would hit the button that we were there and prepare the order. Much better than standing in line and I like the fact that the mobile order on the app shows pictures of the food items

Cast Members:
Overall cast members were very good. I will say that they seem to have lost a little of their magic luster. I think it is the fact that there are a lot of new hires. Hopefully over time that special magic will return once they get more seasoned.

Resort:
The Polynesian (renting DVC) was wonderful and the deluxe studios thankfully fit our family of five just fine. The two showers are a HUGE PLUS especially with two daughters. Really helps with getting ready in the morning, or at night to clean off. We don’t have a ton of extra space in the room but it is enough for us. If you typically stay moderate level, I would highly recommend looking into renting DVC for a similar(ish) cost. Canceling is less forgiving but renting DVC can pack a good “bang for the buck”

-Dan
 
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WxKristin

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Thanks for taking the time to add this. Our family is similar in that we just can't manage making rope drop happen without making people super cranky (coming from central time), so it's just not worth it.

I'm still debating on G+ for us (it adds up quickly as a family of 5), but you may have convinced me to use it most days. (As long as Disney doesn't move back multiple rides to $ILL$ after Aug 7). I like the idea of trying to get out of the normal 2 hr refill cycle when possible. My initial plan is to head back to the hotel (DVC Poly and CCV) around lunch time for pool/break, so using those two hour cool downs over that time could work as you suggest...
 

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Thanks for taking the time to add this. Our family is similar in that we just can't manage making rope drop happen without making people super cranky (coming from central time), so it's just not worth it.

I'm still debating on G+ for us (it adds up quickly as a family of 5), but you may have convinced me to use it most days. (As long as Disney doesn't move back multiple rides to $ILL$ after Aug 7). I like the idea of trying to get out of the normal 2 hr refill cycle when possible. My initial plan is to head back to the hotel (DVC Poly and CCV) around lunch time for pool/break, so using those two hour cool downs over that time could work as you suggest...
Sounds pretty much exactly how we did it, and it worked very well IMO.

I couldn't have done it without G+ though. I don't like paying for it, but the alternative (not having G+) would be terrible for our touring style and enjoyment of the parks.

I too hope they keep the $ILL to only one ride per park. Honestly I think they should get rid of $ILL altogether and have all rides on G+. $ILL is such a blatant money grab.

Dan
 

NavyDad

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Thanks for taking the time to add this. Our family is similar in that we just can't manage making rope drop happen without making people super cranky (coming from central time), so it's just not worth it.

I'm still debating on G+ for us (it adds up quickly as a family of 5), but you may have convinced me to use it most days. (As long as Disney doesn't move back multiple rides to $ILL$ after Aug 7). I like the idea of trying to get out of the normal 2 hr refill cycle when possible. My initial plan is to head back to the hotel (DVC Poly and CCV) around lunch time for pool/break, so using those two hour cool downs over that time could work as you suggest...
I am a massive fan of rope drop but my wife - not so much. Our April experience with Genie+ and $ILL were very similar to Dan's. The best part was that we just had so much flexibility.

There was a day at MK when my wife just had too much time in the sun and everything kind of caught up to her. We planned to get up early the next morning for rope drop but when my alarm went off at 6 she just rolled over and went back to sleep. I could tell she needed her sleep so I just casually made a G+ and $ILL reservation at 7 and waited for her to wake up. She finally woke up on her own, we did a relaxing breakfast at the resort and by the time we strolled in to our park that day around 11 AM, we already had 3 rides reserved and we were able to keep stacking more rides for the rest of the day. It was great - she got to sleep in but I wasn't freaking out because we were missing stuff and it was just so much easier to change plans than in the past.

A couple of other days we made Rope Drop just fine and we were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to do using standby that morning so we just started stacking rides for afternoon and evening at the park we would be hopping to that day.
 

CarolynFH

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2000
Thanks for taking the time to add this. Our family is similar in that we just can't manage making rope drop happen without making people super cranky (coming from central time), so it's just not worth it.

I'm still debating on G+ for us (it adds up quickly as a family of 5), but you may have convinced me to use it most days. (As long as Disney doesn't move back multiple rides to $ILL$ after Aug 7). I like the idea of trying to get out of the normal 2 hr refill cycle when possible. My initial plan is to head back to the hotel (DVC Poly and CCV) around lunch time for pool/break, so using those two hour cool downs over that time could work as you suggest...
We stopped being there for rope drop on our first trip, 25+ years ago - we come from Central time too, so it was actually worse than getting up for work and school! DH and I used G+ at MK earlier this month to stack LLs for use in the evening, and it worked great. I would have used it at DHS as well, but we had DVC Moonlight Magic there, so we didn't need it. We didn't and generally wouldn't use it at AK, because we didn't go until late afternoon when many guests have left the park and wait times are lower, and we didn't/wouldn't use it at Epcot because we're just not interested in enough of the G+ rides. OTOH, we did buy ILL$ for Remy and FoP!

IOW, G+ is actually pretty useful, depending on what your family wants to do and when.
 

The Mayor

How about 7"...6" is for rookies
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Thank you for taking the time to post your trip!! This is so helpful. I learned more about G+ here than everything I’ve read combined.
 

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to post your trip!! This is so helpful. I learned more about G+ here than everything I’ve read combined.
Glad it helps! It gives me a way to pass the time while waiting in the lines, and later on it is a nice way for me to go back and relive our trip.
 

jods

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Glad it helps! It gives me a way to pass the time while waiting in the lines, and later on it is a nice way for me to go back and relive our trip.
I miss your daily trip reports, lol. I looked forward to them. Really got me excited for my upcoming trip. Thanks again for sharing.
 

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
I miss your daily trip reports, lol. I looked forward to them. Really got me excited for my upcoming trip. Thanks again for sharing.
I wish I would still be there doing them LOL :):teeth: Not sure we could have kept going though.

Really was a great trip and I hope yours goes as good or better!

Dan
 

jods

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
I wish I would still be there doing them LOL :):teeth: Not sure we could have kept going though.

Really was a great trip and I hope yours goes as good or better!

Dan
Ha, thanks. Not sure my family could keep up with yours and your busy days! You did convince me to get genie +. My oldest leaves for college a few days after we get home so I keep wavering from being excited for Disney and being a mess that he's leaving🤣 should be an interesting trip. Our original plan was to be there this week but he wanted the Halloween party so party week it is.
 

kabbie

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Hi Dan! Thank you so much for your very helpful, detailed report. I have an upcoming reservation at the Poly and I was curious about your experience with requesting a specific location. You mentioned that you had asked for the north end of Tokelau - Were you able to get your request? Did you use touringplans?
 

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Hi Dan! Thank you so much for your very helpful, detailed report. I have an upcoming reservation at the Poly and I was curious about your experience with requesting a specific location. You mentioned that you had asked for the north end of Tokelau - Were you able to get your request? Did you use touringplans?
Well, here's how that went. I did put in a room request via Touringplans for an upper floor at the very North end of Tokelau. I also requested Tokelau via Disney's online check-in.

We had a super early flight on our arrival day so I think we were at the Poly by 10:30am or something. So that allowed me to go to the front desk and check our proposed room location. They had us at the South end of Tokelau, which was o.k. At least it was the building we wanted but I was hoping to luck out with one of those very northern upper rooms in Tokelau that are actually lake view rooms (even though they aren't categorized that way)

Long story short, they did help accommodate our request, but the room wasn't far enough north in that building to get a lake view, and actually our view was looking at the end of the Moorea building stairwell. It wasn't the best view and honestly we probably would have been better off with where they had us located originally for a better view of the grounds and more private. :) We would have been a little closer to the main building as well. All in all, I loved how close we were to the quiet pool and the overall location in the resort.

I do love that touring plans has photos from every room in all the Disney resorts. When you arrive, I would suggest asking where your room is located (if you haven't had the app tell you already) and if it's not in your desired location ask if you can be moved closer to your original request. We did that last year at the Boardwalk and they moved us to a wonderful location right where we wanted overlooking the courtyard. It doesn't hurt to ask. Hopefully you get just what you're looking for!

Dan
 

nicksinger8

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Don’t forego using G+ for less popular rides. Many times you can book a G+ window very close to the current time for less popular attractions, then when you tap in, immediately book another one, and so forth. This can easily save 15 to 40 minutes each secondary ride at peak hours. Those times savings really add up. This is ESPECIALLY true at MK, and remember you can tap in five minutes early

This is smart and I hadn't thought of that.

Be aware of those times in the day that are two, four, six hours after park open. Those are generally times when a lot of guests can book G+ again because that is their two hour window. For instance, if Magic Kingdom opens at 9 AM and the first additional booking window is 11 AM, at 10:45am BTMRR might be sitting at 1 PM and slowly crawling later at five minute intervals, but as soon as 11 PM hits it will start taking off and easily jump by an hour later within seconds. It is like that for the popular attractions at those two hour intervals. That’s why booking your fiirst G+ selection before the two hour park interval can really make a difference. You are able to pull your second G+, or more, before a lot of guests have a chance to even book their second.

This is also a very good point. I haven't been with Genie + and I had got into my head 'try and get the big rides ASAP and if not c'est la vie'. But a little thought and effort will make a big difference. That said, I am not too keen being so wedded to my phone.
 

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
This is smart and I hadn't thought of that.



This is also a very good point. I haven't been with Genie + and I had got into my head 'try and get the big rides ASAP and if not c'est la vie'. But a little thought and effort will make a big difference. That said, I am not too keen being so wedded to my phone.
Unfortunately there is some of the “married to your phone” experience due to how Genie+ works right now. Even if they replace Genie+ with another system I am guessing it won’t be much better as far as phone usage. It’s the nature of the Disney beast right now but I’m glad that at least some of my information helped for future planning.

Happy travels!!!

Dan
 

gorkt

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 18, 2011
This thread is great! Thanks so much for taking the time to give us a play by play of your G+ experience. Getting my family out of the hotel for Rope Drop is very challenging, and we also love mid-day breaks, so I am happy to see a report that focuses on the experience similar to how I will tour. I am kind of bummed that I have to book G+ daily, but I am personally an early riser, so getting up at 6:30am to buy G+ then book my first experience won't be an issue for me.
 

DisneyFive

When is the 3:00 parade?
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
This thread is great! Thanks so much for taking the time to give us a play by play of your G+ experience. Getting my family out of the hotel for Rope Drop is very challenging, and we also love mid-day breaks, so I am happy to see a report that focuses on the experience similar to how I will tour. I am kind of bummed that I have to book G+ daily, but I am personally an early riser, so getting up at 6:30am to buy G+ then book my first experience won't be an issue for me.

Based on our experience you should be able to have very successful days! Have a great trip! G+ isn't perfect. I would easily point out the pain points, like...
  • Having to pay for it
  • Getting up by 7am every day
  • Not being able to choose return windows
  • The lack of overall predictability
  • Still having one big headliner not included ($ILL only)

However, it is night and day better having G+ than not having it in our experience.

Dan
 









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