I haven't been to WDW since I was a kid. Taking a 7 yr old boy in a few weeks. One day of our TP is to get to MK for rope drop. I barely recall the whole RD production when I was a kid. I have my feelers out for a Crystal Palace and a BOG early (pre-rd) ADR on that same day. Wondering if anyone has an opinion on whether to try and get the whole RD "experience" at MK, vs snagging a pre-opening adr to try and get a head start on the gate "rush?" We'll be ok either way. The TP is light that day, three fastpasses, and maybe three other rides - back at the hotel around lunch. - we'll have two other MK tours during the trip. The RD day plan is basically to see the park during the day, ending with a splash mountain at noon, and heading back for lunch - the other two MK plans are for early evening / night. What do you think? Go early with the crowd, and take in the opening show, and all that? Or, just stuff our faces with a few characters before racing to 7d or Space Mountain? We are very early risers. I don't see any issue at all with us being ready for an 8am res.
I would do the reservation. That will also allow you to get a good pic in from of the castle with out 50 other people in it. I would take a character breakfast and a jump start over RD show.
If the 7 year old has never been, then I'd do the opening show, then walk with purpose to 7DMT and then use a personalized touring plan to figure the rest of the day out. Seeing the characters arrive on the train would be a pretty special way to set the stage for the rest of the day.
As for pictures, empty Main Street is nice, but if you can catch the 7 year's old reactions to some new experiences (like when he first sees the train or the castle), then those will be should be rather memorable. Whether you catch that on camera or just take the time to notice, I think those moments might remind you or what it was like to see the parks for the first time yourself!
You know your son best. My kids never really cared about the show, but it is a nice little show - some singing and dancing, the train arrives and so does Mickey and Minnie. If he likes Mickey, go for the show. If you think he won't miss it (I'm sure it's on youtube somewhere), then go for the ADR.
The first 5 minutes of this video is the show. The rest is the family walking through and behind the rope until RD
To each his own, but I'd vote for RD. Taking my almost 6-year old twins on their first ever trip to WDW and being there day one at RD for the MK welcome show -- it really was one of my favorite moments. Not that the show is all that, it's just that we'd all been talking for so long about WDW and me planning so much, and now here we are doing it. And Mickey with a host of characters and a blast of fireworks to welcome us in. Spectacular memories. I wouldn't have wanted to start our first visit any other way.
We're going for our first time and had a similar question. I opted for the ADR personally because I know my daughter (age 6) would get super antsy waiting around and whine at me the whole time if we did RD. So I went with an ADR because if we're going to get up early, at least we're eating and it gives K something to focus on! (And after watching the video, I'm glad I went that direction. The Welcome Show was super cute, but actual rope drop part is a little too intense for me).
I vote for pre-RD ADR.
Why not both?
Since you said you were early risers, do the ADR on one day, and then RD show another? You don't need to actually enter the park to see the show so there isn't any issue if you don't have park hopper added to your tickets. You can catch the show and the head off to whatever park you're planning on spending the day in. Sure, it might be 2 bus rides in the morning (assuming you're not staying on the Monorail Circuit), but it's definitely doable. At worst, it'll put you an hour after RD at the other park. If you can hit it during an "Extra Morning Magic Hour" day, you won't even lose the hour.
Or, if you do have parkhopper (which it sounds like you do), check out the RD Show on the day you're doing MK, and then on another day just do breakfast at MK. Eat breakfast pre RD, once done hang around/take pictures until the rides open, when they open hop on a few with little to no wait and/or catch some of the Main Street entertainment, then head off to whatever other park you're going to spend the rest of the day at. You're still only shaving off about an hour (with bus ride) from whatever other park you'd be visiting as the waits will be near non-existent the rides are short. Just make sure that the park doesn't open up early on whatever day you ADR or it will be all for nothing.
Or, if you're really speedy. Get an ADR at Be Our Guest (preorder obviously), woof it down, and then race back to the gate to see the show. Though probably not the most relaxing breakfast you'll ever have hehe
No matter what you do (short of maybe that 3rd crazy plan lol), you really can't go wrong. Your kids probably won't remember either route, just like you don't, and instead will just hang onto that "feeling". The more you love what you're doing, the more they will love whatever they're doing. So, if you have to choose, I would go with what would make YOU more happy, an empty park or seeing their faces during the show?
My kids (including DS7) were pretty meh about shows like the RD show. But they needed breakfast or would get grouchy, and they liked being able to go into park when others waiting. And if you can go early enough where you're done with breakfast before park opens and you can waltz to be first in line somewhere, they liked that a LOT. But I know some families love those shows, so whatever works. We really like BOG a lot, that theme prob better for a 7yo than Crystal Palace? Although CP sounds nice, too.
For my 7 year old it would have been BOG pre-open > CP=RD. if the park opens at 9:00 for example and you have an 8:30 at BOG show up by 7:45 at the entrance. You may get in before 8:00. Leaving you with enough time to eat and ride 7D before RD comes in.
Personally I would do more than 6 rides in the AM and save the sightseeing for one of your evening days when the wait times are longer.
I vote pre-rope drop ADR, especially if you can get BOG. Reasons:
1. You'll get at least one and maybe more rides on SDMT with no wait at all. We did SDMT and then Peter Pan after our BOG breakfast and we're done with both by 9:10 or so.
2. You get to sit and enjoy breakfast instead of standing in a big crowd in the heat.
3. You get to eat a nice full breakfast instead of just a pastry or something on the go. (We like breakfast on vacation)
4. BOG atmosphere is awesome! Very memorable, and I think even a 7 year old boy would appreciate the snow falling outside the windows on the main dining room and the West Wing rose and portrait effects.
5. You can get a picture in front of the castle with little or no crowd on your way to breakfast.
Ok, so aside from the adr vs rd, is BOG the preferred adr over Crystal Palace? This is just crazy for me to justify a 24.00 plate of eggs and snausage, but within the context of being able to score two highly sought after rides (which the boy will surely enjoy,) it might actually be worth it to be able to knock PP and 7D out.
We'd probably round that out with Haunted Mansion for a giggle, then head to our TP start after RD. Gotta snag the res first tho. I'm seeing that early am BOG adr's are routinely dropped the day before, if the res finder doesn't hook me up before, maybe I can snag one during the trip close to planned date.
For me, the $24 proved to be justified. You get more than the plate of whatever you order, you also get assorted pastries along with that. Couple that with the theming of the restaurant, an actual "end" to your breakfast so you can go enjoy an empty park, and being really REALLY close to both PP and 7DMT after rope drop, I found the $24 was reasonable.
I didn't walk away from BOG hungry, nor did I walk away too stuffed to move. I will also say the food, while delicious, arrived to me luke warm (i suspect because it was premade before I walked in the door). If you are one who demands perfection of your food when it's being served to you, this could be a serious issue.
If you temper your expectations and if you keep looking at it as more of "means to an end" I think you can stomach the $24 far easier.
Thanks. I'm trying to keep the budget under some kind of wraps, but to be honest, we do try not to spoil this kid at all, though this trip is turning out to be a huge exception. Just in case it turns out to be a once in his lifetime while he can "enjoy the magic" with a child's wonderment, I guess another 100 dollar breakfast on this trip is just a drop in the hat. Fact is, we're extremely frugal day to day, almost as a sport, so vacation spending just seems outlandish, even though we've earned this. The kid is not huge into Disney like I was as a kid, but we have been working some Dis movies in lately. He was enthralled by Peter Pan (2003 version) last week, but I'm guessing seeing Mickey and the gang at the open won't be too missed. If I can score a BOG at 8am, on the 9am RD day, we'll go for the ADR. Maybe I'll ask him which he'd prefer. We're going in two weeks, probably going to tell him this wknd.
Remember he doesn't have to know it's a splurge of $24 a plate. For him, it's breakfast, so while you know it's a splurge, he won't be spoiled by it.
Agree with many of the comments. We are doing an ADR at BOG for our February visit. I think the cost is worth getting those extra rides in, but that is our preference. We are traveling with DD4 and DD8. Last visit I got the most amazing pictures! It's just us and the castle! I also saw someone post that even if you have an ADR for 4 people you don't have to order that many meals. Maybe someone could confirm this. You could share a meal and if still hungry snack on something you packed or get a snack..