Heading down in two weeks (!!!) and currently having the “Do I throw time or money at this problem?” debate.
For context: Me, my husband, and two boys, 5 and 8. Our last trip was two years ago. On that trip my kids were too small to ride several of the big rides, plus we got lucky with PPO breakfasts, FPPs, virtual queues, etc. All that to say that while we always rope drop, we’ve never rope dropped a star attraction so I don’t know what it’s like. Assume that we’ll be showing up roughly a half hour before the early park entry starts.
Rides that I’m considering - Rise (my younger son hasn’t gotten to ride it yet, all four of us would be going on this one) and FoP (neither kid has ridden it and I think they’d like it, but no amount of money would get me back onto it because I’ve never come so close to throwing up in public so it would be just my husband and the boys). I had considered Space before I realized that my youngest son is also tall enough to ride that one now, now I think we’ll probably just rope drop or do it fairly early, I’m not too worried about it.
So what do we do? My instinct is kind of rope drop Rise (I’ve heard that HS opens even earlier than the half hour) and pay for FoP (although the idea of wandering AK alone while my husband wrangles the kids in a medium/long line is appealing) but I want some expert advice. Thanks!
You could definitely also RD FOP unless you are hoping to sleep in that day?
Personally speaking Rise is the only ILL I would contemplate buying. It has so many unexpected delays that I wouldn’t count on being able to rope drop it. Plus that would absolutely kill my day if I went through all that for it to be down. With an ILL you are guaranteed a ride unless it’s down all day.
FOP is easier to rope drop or find a lowerish wait time. Plus I feel like AK is easier to have a line eat up time in vs HS where everything always has a decent line to experience. SM is definitely a no ILL with etpe.
LT is right. We were RD’ing Rise in January, but the ride was down. We headed to MMRR and went back to Rise after and didn’t have too long of a wait (I think it was 30-40 minutes), but it could have been a disaster.
Thank you for saying it all so I don’t have to
We are rope droppers and refuse to fork over additional money to Disney for something we have already bought a park ticket for. It is possible to get the attractions you have mentioned without throwing extra money at Disney.
For RotR, you should probably try and arrive a little earlier than 30 minutes before opening. In January, they had a two-stage lineup for park entry. Near the skyliner they held people for a while. Once security was ready to scan folks, they allowed you to move up to the turnstiles.
I would suggest that you nominate DH to speed walk to the attraction while you and the DS5 and DS8 make your way to the attraction at a reasonable pace. The way the have the queue is setup, you can meet him right inside the tunnel transition into the land (on the left side). It is roped, so it will be easy for you to hop in line with DH at that point.
Another option is that you wait until the evening to ride RotR. One day we got in line around 8pm (9pm park close) and it only took us 20 minutes. That time included walking the queue and the entire ride.
FoP is possible at rope drop for you as well. I would propose a similar strategy where you send DH off to navigate the crowds over to Pandora. By the time you get there, you will most likely find him in the line that snakes back towards FotLK.
My kids are ‘wake up at 6 no matter what’ kids, sleeping in is never on the table.
HS is my least favorite park and definitely the one that has lead to the most meltdowns personally. It has the most room for disappointment and without being able to schedule fpp and G+ being shit it’s just way too much of a gamble for me to possibly waste an entire morning/half day on. I’d rather begrudgingly just pay the $16.
We just returned a week ago from a trip with our 2 DDs ages 5 and 8-turned-9-on-trip. Genie+ definitely makes later arrivals doable which is probably the one thing I liked about it, although that does come at a cost. We bought Genie+ most days and often at least one ILL at an average cost of $25 per person per park day. I knew both early AMs and late evenings were not possible and overall we are night owls and love the parks at night. And, we wanted to take advantage of extra evening hours. So we only rope dropped two days and otherwise I woke early, bought Genie+ and maybe a ILL and then tried to go back to sleep and we got there when we were ready.
For us, Slinky was a must as my girls love it so I focused on that at 7 and didn’t try for a Rise ILL. Trying to get my DH awake and explain the process so we could do both seemed futile! We ropedropped ROR once this trip and I did once in December as well. Both experiences involved delays and we got to do nothing else during the early hour. In December we ended up having to leave after the first pre show due to breakdown (after an earlier extensive wait) and were given LL for later. In February we eventually got to ride but waited from 7:50 til 9:15. So in both cases we got to ride but at significant time and experience cost. Others have had much better luck with this process however so maybe you will too.
For FOP I just bought the ILL and we went late. The early entry was 7:30 our day and I felt it was worth it not to have to drag everyone out the door at 6:30 AM.
In our experience Space is easier to get on especially late in the day. Also, it is a cheaper ILL and was pretty much always available for purchase with a window about 30 minutes out. So you can always try at rope drop or whatever and if you decide you want to buy ILL later you can.
Good luck and hope you have a great trip!!
Based on my experience this week, I would:
MK: Hit 7DMT then Space during EE. Genie+ a nice to have.
AK; Hit FoP during EE. Don’t need Genie+
HS: Hit SDD/MMRR during ER and buy Rise. Genie+ a nice to have.
EP: Hit Remy from the IG and then FEA. Don’t need Genie+
When Rise RD during EE works—- it works great. When it doesn’t? It sucks.
This is amazing, thank you!
We did not pay for any ILL’s at WDW in November/December. I refused to. We rope dropped RotR and it does open early. We were able to also ride MFSR and several other attractions after that. Can’t remember which ones. There was no delayed start. We also noticed that the wait time dropped to less than an hour about an hour before closing. We rope dropped FOP and was on that before 9am. We rode 7dmt during the fireworks. We rode Space Mountain at rope drop and right after the fireworks. We also rope dropped SDD a different day. MMRR we waited about 1/2 hour two different days. That line seems to move well. I do know it can get longer at certain times of the day.
Isn’t meeting up with family members in a line they have been waiting in line jumping? I get it if it’s incidental, but I wouldn’t encourage it as part of a strategy, especially in teaching young kids that’s okay.
I’m going back and forth too. Honestly paying for ILL or Genie+ doesn’t feel that different for me because my kids are early risers and we’ve always taken advantage of PPO breakfasts, or Early Morning Magic which were expensive but so fun for us. This year my kids (5 and 10) could make it to fireworks but only if we aren’t planning to be there at rope drop (mostly for the 5 year old, DD10 can hang) After doing a lot of reading, I do plan to buy Rise because of it’s unreliability. My plan changes by the day for the rest, we’ll be there next week when I know it will be busy so I expect I’ll probably end up doing it.
I haven’t been to Disney World since G+ came out but we’re planning on purchasing it for HS and MK for sure and some ILL attractions (FEA, MMRR, Rat, SDMT, FOP probably). We always RD because my kids don’t sleep in but I prefer to hit second tier attractions at that time.
In the grand scheme of things - $45/day for our family isn’t THAT bad and I’ll pay it to avoid standing in a long line with 3 young kids. The math obviously changes when my DD2 and DS10mo are no longer free.
ROTR breaks down a LOT. We rope dropped it two mornings. First went great, on in minutes. We were even able to ride Millenium Falcon twice right after.
Second we were in line 2 hours before they gave up and escorted us out. That 2 hour wait messed up the rest of the day, as by the time we go out of there everything was an hour+ wait.
I know a lot of people refuse to pay for ILL, but if you want to go on ROTR as rope drop only, you run a real risk. Maybe it will be fine, maybe it won’t. I just can’t see the point of long lines when I can avoid them with a few extra $$.
It really depends on the line, actually. It’s not quite so black and white as that (as I think you’ll find that the vast majority of us here frown strongly upon line jumping).
And for everything you’ve said here it’s why it’s the only one I’ll even consider.
I agree with you. Anymore than say 15’ behind when the first person joins the line, the early bird needs to wait for the last people. otherwise that is line jumping. I say 15’ because people diligently trying to stay together can be divided by that much.
My debate just got complicated by Disney extending hours - rope drop seems less appealing when AK early entry opens at 7am. I’m not sure I want to be getting my kids up at 5:30 and hopping a 6am bus just for FOP.