April 2nd - April 10th Trip - Lots of Questions

Let me preface by saying I am an avid researcher, but can’t keep up with everything I read. I’m looking for confirmations, opinions, facts…whatever you have. I’m going to hop around a bit. I will be brief where I can, but definitely want to cover a good amount of info.

This is also my first trip staying off-property. This is probably the best info I can bring back from my trip with people trying to decide if it is worth staying on property or not. I will definitely report the good, the bad, and the ugly. For the record, we have previously stayed at a 1-bedroom Deluxe for the full kitchen and washer/dryer. Disney wanted a tick over $11,000 for a low-end deluxe 1-bedroom and 5-day tickets. We elected to go 2 miles across the way to the Marriott World Resort/Sabal Palms. Pools look amazing and the condo we are renting there is nearly 50% bigger than the deluxe. We are driving down to Disney, and even taking parking into account, for the 8-nights and 5-day tickets, we are coming in just under $5,000. That is $6,000 less than the privilege of getting into the park 30-minutes early and a couple extended evenings. Of course, I”m happy to buy G+ and $ILL whenever I can as a result. I did look into renting points, but would have to have a split stay, The savings of the 1-bedroom was there, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. Maybe there is just pent-up demand and point prices will drop soon. Hope we don’t regret staying offsite.

Magic Bands - Barring the release of Magic Bands +, is there really any reason to buy these?

Trip is being built around RotR, TP is saying it is a 1 day at HS. No way that is the case, but I’m hoping it is the least crowded day of the week. Not sure what my chances are of snagging a $ILL at 9 am. Nothing to be done about it I guess.

Park times have been posted and the parks open at either 9 am or 10 pm. Is there any benefit getting to the park when it opens as we don’t get early entry? If so, how early should we arrive before opening?

Planning on doing a late start day at AK. Perhaps noon or 1 pm. Park closes at 7 pm, but I’ve read the crowds really drop later in the day. Can anyone verify this or think starting late is a horrible idea?

Our commute to the different parks is anywhere from 8 minutes to 20 minutes. Would you drive and park or take Uber/Lyft?

Wanting to confirm, I can book Genie + at 7 am regardless of being at the park, but $ILL can’t be booked until official park open while on-site guests also get the advantage of booking $ILL at 7 am as well?

For those curious about the itinerary, we are leaving from Atlanta Friday and stopping overnight about two-hours from the parks. Tentative itinerary:

Saturday the 2nd - Arrive at open for MK. Leave mid-day to check-in. Return that evening to catch anything we can and catch the fireworks/show.

Sunday - Resort Day. Lazy river, pools, water slides, and unwind day.

Monday - Full day at Epcot up until the fireworks show and park close.

Tuesday - AK 12 - 7 (park close).

Wednesday - HS Park open - ?

Thursday - Resort Day.

Friday - Taking my oldest for a full-day at Universal and IoA. She is a huge Potter fan and has never been.

Saturday - MK. Not sure when we will arrive or leave. Will be based on how much we accomplished on Day 1.

I hope it isn’t bad form to have so many questions, but wanted to include my accommodations and the fact we are driving so that can be taken into account for everything.

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Not if you already have some from a previous trip and want to use them for things like admission and tapping in to the LL lines. You can also use a hard card ticket or your phone. If you have several people in your group, sometimes it can be easier if each person has their own MB instead of you trying to tap in for each one.

Yes, at 7:00 a.m. everyone can book their first regular Genie+ LL. But for ILL, offsite people have to wait for park opening time. Onsite guests can book ILL at 7:00 a.m. as one of their few onsite perks.


Yes, crowds are reported as lower in AK during the last couple of hours of the day in my experience- especially when an hour has been added to extend the day within the past month or so.

Touring Plans has a chat feature for the most recent on the ground intel:

Scroll down to WDW Planning Tools, then click WDW Chat:

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We’ll be there the same week (Atlanta area spring break!). Just an FYI in case you haven’t noticed, HS is scheduled to close at 6 on Wed 4/6. We’re planning on going that day because in theory crowds should be lower, and we weren’t planning on a full HS day anyway. Just mentioning in case you’d planned on that evening there.

I’m thinking too that is the reason for the lower crowd prediction. We’ve never been able to fill an entire day at HS or AK, but that was before Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora were opened.

Only advantage is that they are strapped to your wrist, making them easier to use/keep track of than the plastic cards. As was mentioned above, if you have old ones, you should be able to reuse them for park entry and LL & ILL entry. Since you’re offsite, you can not use them for payment. If you got Memory Maker and their batteries aren’t dead, you’ll get your on-ride photos/videos too.

Since you can not be part of the first group of people to enter the park, you are certainly at a disadvantage. However, I’d still recommend getting to the gate as soon as you are comfortable doing. The earlier you are in the park, the lower the waits will be. They only get longer as the day goes on.

I think because there is relatively little to do in AK, the people that got there at opening are done by midday and leave. I’m sure you can research this by using the TouringPlans actual wait times charts for the various rides in AK. Like this one.

If you’re gonna have a car with you already, I’d recommend driving. We relied on Uber/Lyft and buses on our most recent trip for the first time and I have to say I didn’t like it. I didn’t like having to spend the extra money for all those trips. And I did not like waiting on the cars to arrive (not that it was very long, but certainly more minutes than getting in my own car.) That being said, since you aren’t going to be in a hurry to get to parks for EE RD, then it may not matter if you spend extra minutes waiting on an Uber/Lyft to pick you up. The one bonus of using them is they’ll drop you off closer to the gate then if you have to park your car.

Since you are off-site, you can not book LL or ILL until official park opening time.

Awesome and thank you. The link for AK was great.

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To clarify, everyone who purchases G+ can book LL at 7 am.

ILL is what’s restricted to only resort guests at 7 am.

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You’re right. I read the Disney info wrong. The first sentence in the answer is about LL while the second is about ILL. Very subtle detail, but an important one. Thanks!

Genie – Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When can Guests make Lightning Lane selections?

A. Guests who have purchased Disney Genie+ service can make their first selection at 7:00 AM on the day of their visit.

For individual Lightning Lane purchases, Guests of a Disney Resort hotel and other select hotels* can make their first purchase starting at 7:00 AM on the day of their visit. All other Guests can make their first purchase at the regular time the park opens. Pricing and availability will vary by date, attraction and park. Be sure to check the My Disney Experience mobile app on the day of your visit for current prices and attraction availability.

*Available to Disney Resort hotel Guests and Guests of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, and Shades of Green.

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