I am staying at the All Star Movie resort and my touring plans hinge on being in the parks as early as possible. I will be visiting Disney from December 28- Jan 31. The first two days I will be in Magic Kingdom, then Animal Kingdom and finally Epcot for New Year's Eve. I want to know how long it takes to park, and actually get into the parks. When do I need to leave the hotel in the morning considering I am going to the parks at the busiest time of year and want to be in the park as early as possible. How long does it take to park and ferry over to (or otherwise be transported to) the actual park. Is the shuttle reliable and early enough that we ought to use that? I would love some advice from folks who have been there on this. Thanks!
For the MK I seriously recommend taking the bus. To drive means to park, take a tram (or walk) to the TTC, wait for a mono or ferry and then ride the mono or ferry. The bus will drop you off at the MK, not too far from where the ferry docks. I believe that MK has EMH starting ay 7:00, so the first bus should be leaving ASM around 6:00; I'd plan on being at the bus stop a bit earlier than that to be at "the head of the pack" at RD. If you NEED to drive, I would be pulling out of the resort parking lot NLT 6:00 for a 7:00 EMH.
Once you get to the MK (using either method) you'll have to wait to go through bag check, and then you'll get to the line at the turnstiles. Bag check is usually 5-10 min, but I've never been during the crazy crowded Christmas week, so I can't say for sure. If I'm going solo, my rule is if it doesn't fit in my pockets, it doesn't go with me into the park (except my camera which is around my neck).
Although I pretty much always use the bus vice driving, AK and EP are easier than MK. AT EP, if you're there before RD, you can usually park pretty close to the gates. At AK, even the closest parking space is a decent walk to the gates; in both cases the bus drop-off is closer than the parking lot.
Hope this answered your questions.
Awesome. Thanks for you input.