Fall Touring Strategies for Off-Siters

Hey guys!

I’ve been out of the loop for the past 2 weeks (on a family vacation in England!) so this may have been discussed recently . . . I’m working through the posts I missed while I was away, but it’s going to take me a while to get all caught up!

Since I’m super jet-lagged and have been fully awake since 1:30am, my mind has, naturally, wandered to plans for my next Disney trip. :crazy_face:

My mom and sister and I have been talking for a while about a fall trip for Food & Wine (probably skipping SWGE on this trip, unless things shape up to be far saner than any of us are anticipating) but we haven’t booked anything yet. We’ve been eyeing the second half of October and were pretty settled on getting things booked soon after returning from England. Then Disney dropped the Daily-EMH-At-Every-Park-But-Epcot bomb just a few days before our vacation. :confounded:

We didn’t have a lot of time to think about or process this tragic news, because all of our attention and energy was focused on preparing to fly overseas.

Now I’m back and jet-lagged (sorry, did I mention that already?? :joy:) and the wheels in my brain won’t stop spinning. Has anyone come up with a decent strategy yet for how to tour the parks this fall without the benefit of EMH or 60-day FPs? I usually stay offsite and have no problem getting to do everything I want to do because I’m willing to get up early and beat the crowds. That strategy probably won’t work this time, except at Epcot.

At this point, I’m wondering if it’s even worth going at all?

If this was another solo trip, I’d go in a heartbeat. I’ve been several times over the past few years so I wouldn’t be heartbroken about missing out on a few rides here and there. But my family doesn’t get to go nearly as often, and rides are the whole point of Disney for my 13-year-old brother! I’m really torn about this.

Some possible alternatives are:

  1. Moving up the trip to pre-SWGE. But the costs and the heat are major downsides to this plan. I’m worried about how my mom will handle the weather, she’s scared of going to Florida during hurricane season (though I could probably talk her into being okay with it), and flights are a lot more expensive than I typically see during the off-season. (Yes, I was googling flights at 2am. I’m just a tiny bit jet-lagged. Have I mentioned that?)
  2. Waiting until winter or spring (2020) in the hopes for non-EMH days and lower crowds . . . but I wouldn’t bet my life on either of those scenarios, especially since we don’t know when the second SW ride will open. For all we know, Disney will extend the EMH, announce that RotR will open the day we plan to arrive, etc. It could be even more of a madhouse than October.

Sigh. Anyone have a brilliant solution? I would love to stay onsite . . . that wouldn’t solve the problem of high crowds and SWGE insanity, but at least we’d get access to EMH and 60-FPs, which would make touring so much easier . . . but I just don’t think that’s in the budget, especially since we’d need 2 rooms. :money_with_wings:

If your brother doesn’t get to go very often, how would he feel about missing SW:GE?

If it was me, I would consider a Flower and Garden festival trip instead, ie: next spring.

Rise of the Resistance is still due to be open before the end of this year. There are fairly reliable whispers that it will be ready around the time SW:GE was going to open (possibly from late October through to November).

And if you plan a trip for spring 2020, avoiding Spring Break and Easter, if possible, then by the time you need to plan you should have a good idea of what’s going to happen. Even before Spring Break could also work. Obviously Galaxy’s Edge will still be insane, it will be for months to come. But it will be less insane, and generally the parks should be quieter.

That’s a good question . . . he really likes Star Wars, so I’m sure he would love to see it. But I also know that his favorite park is AK, followed closely by Epcot, and he talks incessantly about wanting to go back and ride FOP again! So I think he’d still be super excited to go back, even if SWGE was not on the table for this trip.

Rumor or not, that is helpful information. It makes me even less a fan of the idea of going in late October, since we may end up finding ourselves there at the opening of RotR, which would be even worse!

That could be an option! My AP is good through March 6th, and looking at the historical openings for F&G, my best guess for 2020 is that it will start on Wednesday, March 4th. If I’m right, then it would work perfectly to start the trip at the end of Feb and squeeze in a couple of days of F&G at the end before my pass expires.

hmmm. . . . :thinking: Gonna have to think about this!

I’d consider the inevitable hard ticket events for SWGE, that coukd solve the problem or just create more lol.

I thought Uk travelers had god incentives, no? And October is still technically hurricane season and quite warm compared to what you typically think of as fall. How long is your trip? If it’s at least a week I’d do a split stay so you can get some time onsite. Personally I’d wait until spring to go if it were me and it was not a regularly occurring trip.

I wouldn’t count on any hard ticket events for quite done time.

I’ve been thinking bout the EEMH. While it is unfortunate for those who are off-site (as we typically are), I’m wondering if it will really matter a whole lot.

If everything has EMH, that means that of all the people who would take advantage of EMH, it means the crowds during that time is divided by three. That is to say, if 10,000 people are staying on site, and of those, 50% of them use EMH, then before, those 5,000 people would target the ONE park that day that offers EMH. Now, however, that 5,000 people would divide up three ways (roughly). This means only about 1670 people take advantage of EMH in any given park instead of 5000.

My numbers are illustrative only. But the point is that the higher numbers usually seen at the park with EMH will become more balanced and likely impact those staying off-site less than it might seem.

Hmm, but the numbers do matter a bit. There are 30,000 rooms on property so at an average of 3 people per room (no idea if that guess is close) that’s 90,000 people not even counting all the people at Disney Springs area hotels. So if rope dropping Non EMH parks was your plan, things have definitely changed.

Remember, though, that part of the reason Disney is doing this is because they do NOT fill up their rooms during this time period. Disney is trying to get as many people to stay on property as possible by offering these incentives during traditionally slow times.

I’m not suggesting things haven’t changed. My point merely is that I’m not sure the change is as big of deal as it initially seems. USUALLY, the EMH are the days to avoid going to that park for off-site guests because EVERYONE who wants to use EMH would choose that park on that day. But with ALL parks (well, three of them at least) offering this, it really splits that up. Also, it is doubtful most folks even take advantage of EMH at all. Many do. A lot do. But a lot don’t.

And, for those who ARE taking advantage of it, it could also mean they will end up leaving the park earlier, leading to THINNER crowds in the evenings than they would otherwise would have.

Anyhow, while it will make RD less attractive than it otherwise would have been, I don’t think it will be enough of a change to require a complete change of plans/date. It is STILL a time period with lower crowd levels in general!


Plus that doesn’t include the DS resorts which also have access to EMH now. According to TP, it’s nearer 37,000 rooms.

And DHS will have the lion’s share of them for some time. And by the time of park opening, the numbers will have grown considerably, even if relatively few (5,000 perhaps) got thee for 6am.

I agree that splitting onsite guests up between 3 parks will make it slightly better than if they were all headed to one park only. The problem is that it doesn’t take many people to completely eradicate the benefit of arriving pre-RD. At FOP, for example, if you’re at the very front of the pack (and can manage to stay relatively close to the front during the transition to the entrance to Pandora) then you’ll be off FOP at or even before official opening time. Find yourself in the middle of the RD pack, and you’ll be off 30 minutes after park opening…arrive right at opening and you’ll have a 2-hour wait. So even if the EMH crowd is smaller than it would have been otherwise, you’re still losing any real advantage you would have had by arriving pre-RD. Same at SDD and 7DMT. This is why people run when they’re not supposed to and rudely wedge themselves in front of the early risers who made the effort to actually get up early. Where you are in the RD pack matters.

Listening to @len and Jim Hill discussing this on last weeks Disney Dish Podcast, I think Len said that only 10% of WDW resort guest take advantage of EMH. So even if the number of guests taking advantage of EMH triple, the available EMH options has tripled as well.

People on this forum are exceptions, not the rule. We are thinkers and planners. The vast majority of people going to WDW have little idea of how to best deal with getting around WDW.

There are a lot of resort guests, but with three parks having EMH each morning it spreads out the crowd. Also, there will be guests going to the water parks, guests sleeping in because they were at HS till the 10 PM closing time, guests taking a resort day or going to the beach or Sea World or Universal, etc. etc,. etc. Not everyone will be heading to SWGE every morning of every day.

Yes, SWGE will be crowded and the morning EMH will draw many early to HS. But that should open up opportunities in different areas.

Hasn’t October been at least medium level crowds for some time now, hence the exclusions from the super popular promos like Free Dining? I wouldn’t call it slow, September yes, October not so much.

Truth is nobody really know how it will completely play out. But between GE, the Halloween parties, the opening of the skyliner, this fall will not be like any other time in history at WDW. Pandora is nothing compared to the hype surrounding Galaxys Edge.

Have you at least priced out Disney Springs area hotels? What size is your party? I’d make an effort to stay on property if at all possible.

We’ve done a trip in early September, and one in late October (that was in 2016) and while the September dates had overall shorter lines, perhaps, October date was ALMOST as low. Almost everything we did was a walk-on or under 10 minutes. (The super popular rides, the exception.) So, in my experience, October is still quite low. This year, of course, SWGE is throwing a monkey wrench into everything!

One thing that off-site guests need to take into account is the parks will be open longer for all guests.

MK will be open two hours extra from 8 AM to 10 PM instead of 9 to 9 (except for Halloween party nights)
AK will be open one & half hours extra from 8 AM to 9 PM , instead of 9 to 830PM
HS will be open one hour later till 10 PM.

I would not be surprised if these hours are expanding if the crowd levels support it.

This. This is exactly why I’m seriously considering bumping our trip up to July in spite of the heat and higher prices. At least I know what we’re in for and I can plan accordingly! October feels like a total gamble at this point, with next spring feeling only slightly less risky.

If a hotel has the “Official Walt Disney World Hotel” stamp on the first photo in Expedia, does that mean that guests get FPs at 60 days out? Like the Best Western Lake Buena Vista, for example?

From their website:

I think most of the Disney Springs hotels are like this, but just check the hotel’s main website. It will say if they offer the 60-day FPP.