I am trying to keep up with everyone’s trip reports. With MK and AK opening at 8 AM, I am hearing that people are gathering and getting let into the parks 45 mins. ahead of time, (and this is not just resort guests). Alternatively, I am hearing of very short lines in the evening near closing time. I just reoptimized my May TP for MK due to recent changes in the crowd calendar, and it pushed a lot of the more popular attractions to the end of the day. Is it really worth getting to the parks that early anymore to beat the crowds?
I think that’s a fair question. I don’t think I would risk showing up too late in the day though.
It definitely is for those who are normally up early anyway.
If you like being out late, RD may not be necessary.
Whatever schedule works best for your family!
I think it can go both ways. I was there last week we rope dropped every park at least once. For example AK we would get there by 7:15 and rope drop FOP then dk everh other ride at least once before 11 am. We have also showed up to animal kingdom at 5 PM and were able to get all the rides done by close. FOP wasnt a walk on but only waited 30 mins. Now there is HS…we rope dropped and managed 3 or 4 rides before it got crazy busy and would return in the evening to do 3 or 4 different rides. I think there is benefit to both rope dropping and coming later right now. We really enjoyed both! The afternoons get crowded and lines get long …great time for a pool break
I’ve been thinking about this same question lately! I do think this is a prime time to take a leisurely pace since you don’t have to worry about FPPs, shows, spectaculars, etc. to schedule around. There are alternative ways to find short lines for the most popular attractions, and you probably shouldn’t be burning the candle at both ends. I would choose whichever schedule fits your family’s sleeping / nap / energy patterns best.
Here is some data to fuel your decision. I took the table for each park from this recent Touring Plans blog post. I then selected the attraction with the highest average waits and included a wait time chart from 4/13, which appeared to be a typical day when compared to days before and since. This data is available on the TP site if you have a subscription - for example, the Test Track data is at this link.
Magic Kingdom has much shorter lines between 8-11am, with only a modest decrease in the late afternoon. Probably best to avoid 12-3pm if you are going to choose a break time.
Here’s a typical day for 7DMT. Riding before 10am is your best bet, otherwise wait till after 4pm.
Animal Kingdom is best before 10:30am or after 3:30pm.
The posted wait (black dots) for FoP almost immediately shoot up to 50 minutes when the park opens, it stays in that vicinity until 5:00pm, so if the park is open late you may want to catch it at the end of the day. Some submitted times in the afternoon (green dots) are a little lower than posted, so keep that in mind.
Hollywood Studios waits build until 11am and then start going down after 3pm.
SDD wait times shoot up right after opening, then typically drop off around 2pm and are much lower in the evening. Anecdotally, you can pretty much walk on during the 45 minutes before official park opening.
Epcot waits are highest between 11am-1pm and then are much lower in the late afternoon and evening.
Test Track posted wait starts high when the park opens and pretty much drops steadily the rest of the day, with a small peak after 9pm for some reason. Because Epcot opens fairly late, rope dropping is difficult.
Well … I would (and did) do both, personally. We got up early and were inside AK at 7:06 on 4/8. We hit FoP, NRJ, breakfast snack at Harambe, EEx2, Train out to Planet Watch, Animation Experience, Affection Section, Train back to Harambe, lunch at Flame Tree and then headed back to the resort. Had a lovely nap and then went back to the park a few hours later (5:00?) for EEx2 again, KS, dinner at Satuli Canteen, snack at Pongu, then hopped in line for FoP right before park close.
Wow! Thanks everyone, and thanks for the great analysis @Jeff_AZ!
I am mostly concerned about MK and AK for 2 reasons. 1) Both parks open at 8AM and 2) Our resort is not convenient to either one, and we will have to take buses, so the afternoon break would be a pain. DH would be happy to arrive at any destination by 6AM, but is completely zonked by 5PM. I am most comfortable leaving the resort around 9 AM, but I’m good until close. DS and DD would be happy to sleep in until 9AM and leave the resort by 10 AM, but both kids drag in the afternoon. We always intend to make RD, but rarely make it in time.
Yeah to summarize my post above, it seems in pretty much all cases the worst time in the parks is between 12-3pm. So going in the morning and evening seems to be the best approach.
We’re dropping works. But it does get very busy very soon after roof drop certainly buy a like say 10 AM for an 8 AM broke up. What you really wanna do is be in the park in the last couple of hours of part time because it really empties out.
Last night I did all four mountains at MK plus hunted mansion plus filler magic in three hours or maybe a little bit less than three hours.
But you might be posting it in the wrong thread.
Are you aware that there’s an edit button
Yes. Which is why I edit it to say oops
Umm…saying “oops” isn’t actually editing. Are you drunk? I think those WERE pint size!
Best. Post. Ever.
On Saturday during the live touring plan tests the Touringplans crew does on Twitch, this question was brought up. It is suggested that, if you want to rope drop, you need to be at the park an hour before posted opening time as that is really the new rope drop time. The worst thing you can do is arrive a little after posted opening time because you are now behind all the thousands that showed up on or before official opening.
Late afternoons and evenings have seen a big drop off in wait times. All the early risers have finished their plans and are worn out and leave for the day, and there are no fireworks to entice them to stay.
A couple of weeks ago I asked if it was now possible to completely tour two different parks on the same day with a parkhopper, and Fred said that he thinks it is if the correct pair of parks are picked. For example, picking EPCOT as the evening park is normally a bad idea because it becomes more crowded in the evening with the dinner crowds.
The reason is likely that adults and families with older kids hop to Epcot after HS and MK close. The boats and Epcot bus stops were always very busy after about 7pm last week. Adults might be mainly headed for the WS, but teens and older kids want to ride the rides.
We found the later Epcot RDs to be a nice chance to have a more relaxing morning, though I think we would have preferred 10-10 hours, just because DN isn’t v quite odd enough to stay in a park until 11, but she’s old enough to like to sleep in a little.