Howdy folks! I just saw the updated park hours around New Years and was bummed to see that most of the days the parks are opening even earlier than expect. 7am Extra Magic Hours?!? WHATTTT??? I had to twist the husband's arm to get him on board with doing 8am rope drops as it was, so I'm not sure how well I can convince him that we can rally our three kids and get our crew to the parks by 7am. I'm wondering a couple of things that I'm hoping some of you fabulous Disney veterans can help me with. 1) If the parks are now opening even earlier, can I assume that the crowd levels during the AM EMH (7am-8am) and maybe even the very first regular hour that the park is open (8am-9am) will be even lower? 2) Is it possible that travel time from my hotel to the parks might be quicker the earlier the parks open? I really appreciate your thoughts. I'm trying to balance being in the parks during low crowd levels with not wearing out the family.
WDW pretty much does this every year, so this is not unexpected. Consequently, many people will have already been planning on this, so I don't think that there will be much of a reduction in the early crowds.
My advice for reluctant rope-droppers is to treat WDW like it is in a different time zone, say 1 or 2 hours ahead. You shift your clock when going to Europe, so you just do the same in WDW and shift your schedule so that getting up early isn't as much of a shock.
I agree; I would have been surprised if they hadn't done this. The crowds might be slightly lighter right at EMH RD at 0700, but by 0800 things will be busy. With the crowds expected that week, I'd be at the gate by 0645. Crazy? Yes. But not as crazy as the crowds will be 3 or 4 hours later...
There is a reason TP tells you to get there for Rope Drop and suggests leaving the park for a midday break. Most people do not want to be at the parks when they open because they are on vacation and want to sleep-in or be leisurely about their day. So you getting there by RD allows you to take advantage of that. You taking a break mid-day also allows you to miss the bulk of people being there. That being said, no matter when you arrive, or if you take a break or not, follow a TP and you'll maximize the number of attractions you can see even during the busiest time of the year! I was there over memorial day weekend this year (very busy) and followed TPs and didn't wait more than 15 minutes for anything.
Good luck and have fun!
What time of day was this taken?
I didn't personally take it (a friend who was there sent it to me - I never have and never will go myself during Christmas week), but based on the lighting, I would guess mid afternoon.
I'd be wondering if BOG was gonna be open at 6am.
For the money you're going to be spending on your trip, being ready to walk in the gates at 7am should be a priority if you have to be at a park on a 7am emh day. Early touring time is prime time to get stuff done. Your reward will be relaxed touring later, hopefully hitting the less crowded attractions while the bulk of the crowds are still trying to get on the things you've already done. My family is generally early risers, so this is easy for me to say. I totally get that it might be tougher for sleepyheads. Conversely, however, we are the family that hits "the wall" early at night. Tough for my brood to make it much past a 10pm wishes (if they can make it at all.)
To answer your questions -
1. I'd say that lower crowds would be a decent possibility. Plenty will plan on making it for 8am rope drope, and also 7am emh, but there will be a good portion of them that are late, and probably some that hit the snooze button 10 times, and just say screw it.
- If you're not driving, and not within walking distance, I'd uber. Not even kidding. If you plan out your am, and make the plan to get everyone in bed the night before, I would NOT rely on disney transportation too heavily to get you there at 7am. I've been burned before. NOT WORTH IT. UBER IS CHEAP AND ON TIME. If you do a 7am emh, I hope you at least consider using uber. It'll probably save you time, too. If you are planning on a disney bus, you better get everyone ready with time to wait for that bus.
As far as I have observed, when WDW adjusts park hours like this they do not open the TS restaurants for ADRs any earlier than they already have. This causes much wailing and gnashing of teeth when previously pre-RD ADRs are no longer pre-RD.
Thank you for all of the replies and insight. I was able to shift around our fast passes to start a bit earlier in the morning so that we would be able to hit the major rides with minimal wait times and fill in other times with exploring the park and doing less busy attractions. Hopefully this will help us keep our sanity and we won't be walking zombies from poor sleep.