I need some help since I’m in uncharted territory here. Our family has been to WDW several times. We like to rope drop, but we don’t usually stay til park close time unless we’re going to watch fireworks. We have an upcoming stay in about a week. Part of our stay will be at CBR and part will be at an off site hotel. One of the days that we will be arriving by car from our off site hotel is an AK day. We have always been at the front of rope drop for this park in the past, but I have just found out that the parking lots are only opening 1 hour before official park opening time. Realistically, even if we are at the front of the pack of cars waiting to get in, we won’t be at the front of the rope drop crowd. With this being the case, I’m thinking of altering our plan a bit. I was planning to hit both of the Pandora rides first, but now I’m thinking of heading straight to Navi River and saving FOP for park close. I think we can finish everything in the park but FOP before it’s time to hop. We can then hop to Epcot and finish any of the countries we missed on our Epcot day. Then hop back to AK right before closing. OK, sorry for the long post, but we’re finally to my questions. Can you catch rides right before park closing? In other words, if AK has a 7:00 close time, can I jump in line at 6:45, even if there is a 60 minute wait time posted? Secondly, how regularly do the busses run at evening time? If we are coming from Epcot back to AK, what time should we start trying to catch a bus, so that we get back in time to ride FOP? Thanks for the help–as I said, this is uncharted territory for me.
You can jump in line at 6:59 for a 7 pm park closing. It’s actually what we have done a number of times for FOP. You’re right that if you aren’t toward the front of the RD crowd, the wait for FOP could be long. People arriving by car are at a disadvantage at the moment. It’s annoying because we usually drive.
Sadly…very sporadically. They still aren’t operating with enough drivers & buses. You could be waiting 20 - 60+ minutes for a bus. You should account for at least 1 hour of travel time between each park. So that’s two hours, maybe more, of time you could’ve had in the parks that you “miss” by waiting on / riding buses. (Are those last few EPCOT countries “worth it”?)
Yes… As mentioned as long as you are in line before park close they will let you on. However, do not “push it” right to 6:59pm. The CMs / Leads will be out there ready to shut the line down ASAP, especially if it’s busy. Your watch might say 6:58pm… but they may say it’s already 7pm. I have seen & had this done to me - not often, but at least twice. It’s no big deal to me as I’m usually trying to “cram” a last second ride onto something, but if it’s your ONLY time to do an attraction I wouldn’t press my luck.
That’s a good point. You would hate to miss getting in line because you were 30 seconds too late.
Hi! Can you please explain what you mean that people arriving by car are at a disadvantage - which method of arrival enables you to be at the front of the RD crowd first? Thanks!
Buses from Disney resorts arrive before cars are allowed into the parking lot.
I wonder if this will continue in the future as WDW goes back to the old traditional “Rope Drop”.
They limited parking lot arrivals as part of Covid social distancing.
As has been stated, you can jump in a line right before park close, regardless of how long the line is. It’s a common strategy for getting a last ride in, especially for headliners.
Also, I think your plan to go to NRJ first and circle back to FOP is a good one. Unless you are truly rope dropping and get to FOP before the line builds, you may get stuck in the longest line of the day (it sometimes hits 180 min in that first hour).
However, I would recommend coming back in the afternoon after you finish the rest of your touring plan. You might end up waiting an hour (hopefully more like 45-50 min?) in the heat (or rain), but then you will be done and will save up to an hour of transport time and will be able to stay in Epcot longer without worrying about getting back. You could even use the post-park close time at Epcot to ride something there.
Just my two cents.
It makes sense though also with resort guests getting rope drop advantage with early entry to all parks. Before they were doing it for crowding, now they just giving resort guests a sly advantage.
I hope they stop the parking lot thing though when they start the early entry. I think we’ll be onsite, but driving to everywhere but MK. I’m not a fan of buses.
Sadly, cars aren’t allowed in until after the Disney buses (and after the Skyliner).
I hope it changes back.
Same. We stay on property but have a car. I feel like Disney is punishing us for driving (charging us resort parking fees and then not letting us into parking lots until after their transportation has arrived).
Have to agree with this advice.
Time involved waiting for and taking a bus to EPCOT and then waiting for and taking a second bus from EPCOT to AK and then having to go through re-entry & security at AK is probably equal to if not greater than you would spend waiting for FOP.
Ride FOP while at AK, just be flexible, monitor wait times. After you are done at AK, just drive yourself to EPCOT and you’ll have no worries about transportation at the end of your day. You will have control of the situation and not have to worry about the dependability and timing of WDW buses.
Did that a few times this week. Right at park close MMRR at HS was a 25 min wait, and in the last hour at MK I did Big Mountain with 15 min, Splash mountain and Pirates of Caribbean were walk on
Correction: Na’vi was actually 5 min wait at 7pm, although the posted wait I think was 25 min or longer
So, for those of us arriving by rideshare - what time would you recommend arriving at AK in order to be at the front of the rope drop crowd? Be on site by 6:45a for 8a open time?
Also…will there be any coffee shops open while waiting for rope drop? Somewhere I could send the DH to go get us beverages while I hold our “spot” in the crowd?
The first busses are arriving at resorts around 6:45am for an 8am opening, so arriving around then via rideshare should be fine as far as beating the crowds, but keep in mind that rideshare vehicles are held until cars are admitted to the parking lot. You may have to circle if you get there too early.
I’m curious if anyone has done this recently that knows the best time to arrive?
Interestingly, Disney’s own website says buses don’t start until 45 minutes before park opening. (I PRESUME they mean start arriving…but it isn’t 100% clear.)
This information is probably out of date, as it much of the info on their website.
That is the party line, although blatantly false. I don’t get it. Why provide a service and then insist you don’t? At GF in April we had a CM at the bus stop try to tell us to leave quoting this exact information when we lined up for a HS bus at 7:30. Bus arrived around 7:42.
I get that during COVID times they needed to spread out the time period when guests could take buses due to social distancing.
BUT, was this 45 minutes thing in effect PRIOR to COVID? Or was it just “on paper” back then as well?
@slangholdt … Please read ryan1’s insert closely
"Our resort transportation generally operate until one hour after a theme park’s closing time"
If you jump into a line several minutes before park closing, and it takes more than a hour to get through the line and walk out to the transportation terminal, you may have an issue catching a bus back to your resort.