I’m planning a trip to DR for mid-May 2018. (May 12-18). Pandora is the big thing for us, but the more I read the more nervous I am getting about crowds and lines. We are staying on site specifically so that we can book FP+ 60 days out, and it doesn’t even look like that will guarantee being able to get a FP for FOP…
My current plan is to do AK on Sat May 12 which is a Saturday, with the crowd level predicted at 6. It also has an extra morning hour. So the thought is to be there for rope drop at 8 AM. Alternatively, we could do AK on a Tuesday that week when the crowd levels are listed as a 4. That would be a RD of 9 AM. (The downside of the Tuesday day is that we would be giving up late EMH at Epcot. )
I’m not a DW expert, so I’m not sure which option would result in shorter lines: be there for 8 AM on Saturday because who would get up at 6 AM on a Saturday to make RD (except for the 10,000 people staying onsite), or try for mid-week at 9 AM (with a later start but presumably not so much incentive for onsite guests)?
Negate your downside by getting hoppers.
I’m an early riser, and a hopper, so you know what I’d say.
You might want to check crowd level predictions vs actuals this year. It seems that Pandora + the weather issues last year have crowd level predictions wonky. Your CL4 might be misleading, and if you gave up the emh you are paying for to go to an expected cl4, and it winds up being a zoo…not the greatest experience.
Either way, I’d probably give the nod to using the emh you are paying for, but getting there at 7am to make sure you get the full benefit. AK, to me, is not a full day park, so I’d be crackin early to knock what I wanted out, and then enjoy a lazier afternoon at the hotel, or the the springs, or World Showcase.
It seems that there has been a lot of success with the following plan at AK:
- Arrive at the park 60-90 minutes before park opening (so, get there between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. on EMH day) as cast members routinely have been bringing crowds into the park before official park opening.
- Ride FOP first - enter with crowds as cast members walk the crowd back towards Pandora;
- Ride NRJ second.
There are multiple reports of this plan working for lots of people and they report having both FOP and NRJ complete by 15-30 minutes after park opening. If you score a FOP FPP for later in the day, then you get to ride twice.
I think that the crowds at Pandora mean that this is a solid plan, maybe the best plan, if you don’t have a FOP FPP regardless of what the exact crowd levels are for a given day. Meaning, that the lines build at FOP into the 100+ minute range very quickly regardless of actual crowd level.
RD for FOP will be busy no matter which day you choose. Going on a EMH morning makes sense but only if you can arrive 60-90 minutes before parking opening. If you don’t think that is realistic for your group, then I wouldn’t try it.
Also don’t give up on the idea of getting a FPP for FOP. I was able to get them over spring break this March and on the second day of our trip. And the CL for our trip is mostly 8s and 9s. Just be online and ready to make those FPP at 7 am 60 days out.
Will you have hoppers? If so, there is no reason you couldn’t go to AK on Tuesday and hop to Epcot for evening EMH, right?
What days of your trips are each of these possible days. If recent experience continues (which is more than likely,), then on day 3 you have a reasonable chance of success, on day 4 or later then you have a good chance of success for an FP for FoP.
If you can get it, then this makes planning much much less hassle.
I agree that you should plan for FoP later in your trip. I made a mistake when I sat down at 7:00 AM at 60 days to pick our FP’s for our upcoming short trip in March. I was inflexible with our schedule and didn’t want to change it up because we had dining reservations. I stuck to my plan of going to AK on Day 1 and MK on Day 4 (our final day) because we had dinner reservations at BOG. As a result, I lost out on an opportunity to get an FP for FOP on Day 4. Lesson learned: BE FLEXIBLE! Good luck!
Thank you all so much for your replies! Yes, looking over my touring plans, we can be quite flexible. Currently I have AK planned for our first day, and then an afternoon visit later in the week (so we can see Pandora at night). I think I’ll reschedule so that our first Pandora visit will be on day 3 and our second one will be on day 6-- hopefully that will give me good odds of getting at least one FPP. Plus I’ll work on scheduling the FOP first when fast pass opens up for me, and will move on to other days if needed.
I’m also hoping to convince the family to RD on the first AK day, too. Thanks for clarifying that we will really need to be there 60 to 90 minutes before RD if we want to go that route. It would have been awful to arrive at the actual RD time only to find that we were already at the end of a long queue. Most days we are doing a late start, so maybe if I promise this will be my only ninja planning for the week, they will go for it.
I haven’t gotten tickets yet, but I wasn’t considering ParkHopper. That is an extra $300 and it didn’t seem worth it. In the past, we’ve only ever used it a few times. We are all adults this trip, so my thought was to arrive late and stay to park closing without a midday break. I am considering going for an 8 day package rather than the 6 days-- that is only an extra $160, and gives us the flexibility of a quick visit on our universal days if needed. Am I being crazy here?
Could you let the rest of us know how you fared? Going later this year, so it would be valuable info! Thanks and GOOD LUCK!!! Enjoy your trip!!!’
Today was day 60, so I was able to book my FPP. (This is for May 11-17 vaca)
I was able to get everything I wanted: FOP on day 3 and day 7 at the times I wanted, all the other FPP’s I wanted at good times!
My only regret is that I intended to get Space Mountain, but when I saw 7DMM was available I just grabbed it! I didn’t really want it, but knowing it was so rare, I think I just got greedy. My fingers clicked that mouse button on their own! When I went back to switch for Space Mountain, there weren’t any available times that worked for us. DD22 is probably going to make me cancel, imagining some disappointed little kid.
At least I refrained from scooping up FEA, we will be much happier with TT.
I was also disappointed (but not surprised) that TSMM had no FPP. I had been hoping it would be back to having FPP, but no joy. TP has it at 30 minutes standby in the evening, so we will see.
Glad you got FOP. We are going same week and my FPP day is tomorrow. Looking at AK on day 4 of our trip.
Space is easy to Rope Drop. Most head to 7D and PP leaving the left and right side of the park doable. We did Space in 15-20 minutes about 5 minutes post RD on a EMH AM. Historic crowds had the day as a 8/10. I think getting the 7D FP was the right strategy.