How will your RD strategy change in Sept/Oct

With the new park hours listed for Sept/Oct, how will this change everyone’s strategy? I am, and I know a lot of folks here are, big proponents of being there for rope drop at the parks. But with every day being a 6 am (DHS) or 7 am (MK/AK) opening, that puts a lot of pressure to get there early and may result in drowsy and crabby folks. At least Epcot is still 9 am.

I’ve got 6-day park hoppers and was planning to RD every day until the new hours are released. I wonder if the parks, with the exception of DHS and SWGE, will be relatively quiet during those Extra Extra Magic Hours since there are so many of them.

Thoughts? Would love to get @len involved in this discussion.

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Historically, it is worth it to get up to be there for those early rope drops. Many people will feel, as you do, that it’s too hard to get up that early. WDW is adding those EMH just to entice people not to wait until 9am when they know the parks will start to fill.

I’d rather arrive at 5am for a 6am RD and take a break midday knowing that I can see & do more with lower crowds. Once “Mom, Dad, kids and strollers” wake-up and start flowing in at 9am capacity is going to snowball.

I get that it is better to get up for RD. I’m not arguing that point. But typically, RD is at 9 am every day and now three of the parks are at 7 am or earlier every day. It will be hard to RD every day if you have a 5 or 6-day ticket.

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We are fortunate enough to be going for 10 days and we have 6 days of tickets. So we are planning to rope drop most days that we go to a park and not stay for evening entertainment. For the one or two days we stay late we will have a resort day the next day. And I think I’m going to do one “late” day for MK. But 2 of our 6 days are also at Epcot so those will feel late to us.

I should add that I will be there with DS1 and DS4 so the “alarm” goes off around 6:30am no matter what! Probably even earlier in a hotel room!


I get ya. I can do a 15 hour park day and love it every day of my trip. My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t want to get there any sooner than 20 minutes before RD - at the earliest and still wants to go back to the hotel midday.

I still suggest early RD and if you need a break leave the park for a nap for a couple hours at lunch time. You’ll have done most of your E-Ticket rides with no waits before the majority of ppl even get to the park. =)

Our planning strategy for recent trips, whether on property or off, has been to stay away from early EMH parks if at all possible. Rope drop a non-early EMH park. If only one park has early EMH the next step would be to pick the park with lowest expected crowd level.

For September, we’re off property. So EMH or EEMH are out of the picture. Enter crowd levels. I had park days planned months ago - cuz ADRs - and the selections are still relevant currently.

We will arrive any park about 45 - 60 min prior to published opening.

If we were on property, we would not be doing EMH every day IF current crowd levels continue. What would be the point? If it’s low crowd levels and only on property guests of certain ilk are in the parks, some of the rides won’t be much fun. Three people on a Tower of Terror elevator doesn’t generate the same level of fun as a fuller elevator.

If I had 2 park mornings planned at each park, I might arrive very early for ANY of the parks just for the experience. I wouldn’t do it at every park every day.

Finally we expect to use very few fast passes. Rarely use more than one per day and have actually forgotten we had one. Blasphemy, I know.

With all the closures in March, April, and May, and the incentives to book in June, July, August, and September, I’m thinking those crowd calendars will be MUCH higher, even in the heat of the summer. The reason for the early times is that Disney is anticipating those huge crowds, too. I currently have an early June vacation scheduled, but I’m likely going to cancel it and just go for my birthday in October. It will also be crazy busy then, but I will be focusing on celebrating and not the rides, so I won’t care as much.

I was so confused by this post :smile: I was looking at my park hours for Sept 24-28, and not seeing ANY 6 AM openings…and I finally noticed that this post is from 2019… I’m sure our hours WILL change before the trip, since so many people have rescheduled from the Spring to Fall, and it will be more crowded that we were expecting.

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