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.