O Dark Thirty at Animal Kingdom

Happy Saturday! We’re 14 days out and hours for our AK day went from 9am-7pm to 7:30am-8:30pm. So early entry at 7am, which is fine because my offspring hate sleep. Now they can bounce around at the bus stop instead of in a hotel room and I can force everyone to come back midday and let me nap. Plus, DD11 had her heart set on Pandora at night this time and now that’s an option.

That being said, I’ve never RD’d that early in my life. We’ll be at POR. According to The Spreadsheet, there has been a 6:24am bus at POFQ for 7:30 EE. Any thoughts on the bus situation at Riverside and for 7:00am EE?

My (revised) plan is to RD FOP with everyone else, get an early G+ for Safari (we have G+ for the whole trip so might as well use it), do Navi early and then basically do everything else at an aggressively leisurely pace with a midday rest. Does this make sense?

Also, is that Joffreys kiosk still right outside the park? Cause I’m gonna need it.


That sounds like a good plan to me. I think buses start around 90 minutes before opening so I’d expect an earlier time than the 7:30 arrival time posted. And yes, there is still a Joffreys outside the entrance to AK.


I too have a question about Animal Kingdom’s 7:00 early-entry time (7:30 regular opening). Does the standard rope-drop advice hold for such an early hour—arrive at the turnstiles half an hour before the early-entry time, in this case at the god-awful hour of 6:30? Do hordes of people really arrive in the pre-dawn?

AM Disney bus.

If I had my crew up early specifically for ee, and the bus didn’t show up as expected…

Just keep Uber/Lyft in mind if that’s an option.

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Gah. That’s what I’m worried about. Will keep rideshare in mind and get one if we need it. Thanks!

I’m really hoping everyone is still asleep!

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If you are serious about using that am time to maximize, then yes. I’d imagine that a lot of ppl PLAN to arrive early, but life gets in the way. Even more ppl plan to arrive when the gates open, and don’t account for 300 of their closest friends having the exact same idea. Also, sometimes, the gates will be open before the posted opening time, but the attractions are not yet running, so you can queue up for an attraction before the park open. I once went to AK 30 minutes before opening time, and the turnstiles were a ghost town. Ppl were just tapping in and walking thru. They let the rope drop crowd in already.

I wouldn’t expect hordes of ppl, but you might be VERY surprised at the number of folks on some days. We are early risers, so pre-dawn is no big deal. We’re not the only ones.


Wow… are those hours typical of AK? …asking for a non-morning person friend… lol


If there’s a 7 am opening time, I’d expect guests entering at 6:30 at the latest. I’d be at the bus stop before 6.

If I really wanted to be ahead of most folks, I’d be at the bus stop at either 5:15 or 5:35, hoping for an arrival at the park a full hour before 7.

We’ve been waiting at the bus stop in the dark - usually all by our onesies - but at the park, the popular ride is not a walk on. Tho we’ve usually been off the ride before the park’s opening time.


Will busses be running by 5:30? We’ll probably all be up, or at least the kids will, so we’ll be up. We could always Uber.

We just want to be there early enough so that we get on the first 2 or 3 rides with short waits. If that puts us in the middle of the rope-drop pack rather than front of pack, that’s fine!

There must be a point of diminishing returns. If you aim to be among the very first, aren’t you to some degree trading some of your wait-savings at the rides for extra wait time at the park entrance?

If you get there at the front of the pack, you’d easily knock out FOP, Navi and likely not have much of a wait at Safari. Genie plus even needed?

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You and I think alike. I will never be the person who is first through security or the first at the tap.

I strongly suspect for that ealy of an EE, getting there 30 mins beforehand will work just fine. Look for taps on the far left or right opening up as it gets closer to time so you can jump in those lines.


It’s funny you ask this as we were just talking about this idea of you’re waiting either way.

The kid in my house would like to go to bed at . . . maybe, 2 am. Sleep till 2 pm.

Unless we’re taking FoP. Then 6 am at the bus stop works. Being off that ride before the park opens and then doing EE a couple or 3 times is worth getting up for.

At HS I think we’re experimenting with earliest in the park for RotR compared to last hour or so at the end of the day and hoping it’s not down.

The rest of the family is up at 5 anyway so why not try to get on some rides. We generally leave a park about 11:30 when it’s getting hot and crowded.

Everybody’s mileage varies. Thankfully we can all still go to the parks, mostly at the times we want. I’m happy everyone wants to go at different times. :blush:

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