Staying off site but early entry now every day

So how do I handle the fact we won’t be able to rope drop now that people on site will already be in the park when we can get in? Every day is really unfair, I’m gutted because this trip should’ve been May 2020

I wouldn’t call it unfair. But it does change the dynamic.

It is hard to say yet what things will look like, but in some ways this might help off site guests, not hurt them. This is because onsite guests get a thirty minute headstart on the rides…which means you aren’t fighting to rope drop against ALL guests. Instead, you can still be at the front of the line of off site guests…but 30 minutes worth of on site guests will already have been through the line.

I actually think the early entry change will ultimately benefit everyone…not just the on site guests. But in different ways.

Think of it this way. Before, if you wanted to RD 7DMT, you would have to fight with ALL RDers, both on site and off. But now, 30 minutes worth of on site RDers will have gone through the line. Now you just have to be at the front of the on site RD crowd. And remember that the on site RD crowd is roughly 1/4 the number of folks it used to be when they only had limited extra magic hour park days.

On site guests are paying a hefty premium to stay on property, with many on site benefits gone or reduced…so this change is good for them. So I don’t think it is unfair. I relate, as one who almost always has stayed off site, to be fearful of such changes…but I honestly think this change will be a good one. One of the smartest changes Disney has made in a while, in fact. But we shall see how it plays out in practice soon enough.


Know how you’re feeling. Our September 2019 trip was affected the same way.
Because of Starwars Land opening in HS two or maybe 3 days before our arrival. 2 out of 4 parks with an hour of early entry and HS with 2 hours.
Our trip was a special birthday bash. With 19 people. Figuring logistics wasn’t even happening as no one knew what to expect ahead of time.
I finally figured out we get there as early as possible. Make the best of it.

Having Hurricane Dorian in the vicinity didn’t hurt either . . .

Len was talking about this on an episode of the Disney Dish. He did say the models were showing significant waits at opening for off site guests.

I wonder if a later arrival might actually help?

I would say forget rope drop or going early altogether. Just come a little bit later when the first crazy crowds of opening are already throughout the park. Think about staying until park close as well. Also, it’s not ‘unfair’ - if you pay more to stay on site, you should get these types of additional perks.


I’m going to try to be a late person after Oct 1 :rofl: I know the crowds go down in the evening, but I rarely make it to then because I’ve always been a rope dropper. I arrive on the 26th, so I can still RD for 4 days if I like. Then we can switch to staying more in the evenings and taking it easy in the mornings. (Which would make the transition to Boo Bash on Oct 5 easier)

We are staying in off-site timeshare. So it’s always hard to justify the on-site cost when there is a timeshare to be used. I’ve only done it once (my last trip) and while I thoroughly enjoyed it - even without the perks at time (Nov ‘20) I don’t know when I’d do it again. I would need a really good discount to do so.

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I actually think it will not be too bad.

Think of this. The past year, the on-site visitors had a slight advantage because of the Disney transportation being allowed in first. I know many people (including me) that were still able to arrive before the majority of the crowd and have early success, even though many folks that stay on-site had the advantage over me. No, the rides weren’t walk-ons but short waits anyway.

It’s estimated that 35% of guests stay on-site. (25% to 50% depending on who you ask) So, the majority of visitors are in the same boat as you. Also, there is some portion of the 35% that do not get up early and won’t take advantage of ETPE. For various reasons. Small kids, not morning people, etc. So in actuality, maybe closer to 20-25% of guests will actually enter pre-opening.

To be in one of the first off-site groups entering the parks, plan on arriving early and having to wait before the taps open. Of course we do not yet know the exact timing on this, so time will tell.

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We got back a few weeks ago and really recommend “rope raising”. Parks are more empty later, ride times are lower (though really inflated), and it’s cooler outside too. I am not sure we will ever rope drop again!


Those numbers are really encouraging for those that can go early and are on-site. I will be watching closely what the Liners figure out about how to do early-entry. If I were going when it was in place but before Liners figure things out, my plan would be to target a ride that usually has long waits AND that we’d probably want to do again. Then circle around that ride until the hordes arrive.

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We tried rope raising (only once which really shouldn’t count) in early June 2004. We might have had high expectations. We were at Fort Wilderness (:heart: campgrounds) for 9 days. Had great evening ADRs, etc.
Our evening touring was rained out so many times - sometimes park actually closing early - we saw and did less in our 9 days than on a usual trip. Ate 3 extra suppers at Trails End Kitchen because of the rain. This trip wound up being epic. We have great fun memories, but being soggy isn’t one of them. :sweat_smile: We had two teens with us, happy about sleeping in. After this trip they begged to go back to rope drop . . .

I really feel we should give rope raising more than one try. I’ll be able to sell it to others better if we’re not going the first week in June. (Yes. It’s still too early.)

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Decided to take the kids on a very last minute trip to Orlando - will be going to HS from off-site on August 19 and trying to get up to date on all of the park info. To clarify, the ETPE hasn’t begun yet? I spent the last few days of planning thinking it was already in place and we would be a little behind the game for rope dropping HS. But as a I read more, it looks like this actually starts October 1? So for our trip next week, we really should arrive 8ish and can rope drop as usual? Thanks!

Yes! Arrive the same time as everyone! Enjoy!

Wonderful! Thank you very much - game changer! Not sure how that escaped me in my obsessive planning over the past 5 days. Another question Principal - we are staying at Portofino Bay and I thought we would just Lyft/Uber over directly to HS leaving Universal around 7:30/7:45, but on Chat, someone recommended being dropped off at Swan and walking over. I’m open to either option - maybe the Lyft drop off at HS itself gets too backed up and that is the reason for the drop off at Swan?

Direct drop off at HS doesn’t start until the parking lot opens. You can get dropped off at Swan anytime and walk over and be at security before the parking lot opens.

Get dropped off where the yellow blob is and then walk the direction of the red arrow. (You do NOT need to drive through a security checkpoint to get to the yellow blob.)


This is just the info I needed! Thank you very much. I understand why the drop off at Swan now. We will definitely do this!


Touring Plans has plans for the Universal parks for those who stay offsite and cannot get in the parks early, and they work very well. I know @len and company will be testing plans for offsite guests as soon as Disney starts this perk for resort guests. They actually were playing around with it in the early summer shortly after the announcement was made, and talked about the results in their live in-park Twitch streams.

@malinMN Did you try this? Curious how it worked out for you.

We ended up taking an Uber, left Portofino about 8:15 and were at HS gates around 8:50 (can’t remember for sure) - plenty of people in in the park already in front of us as gates must have opened a bit early, but MFSR was still only a 20 or 25 minute wait so it worked well for us! Stayed all day without a break so I didn’t want to arrive toooooo early.

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Sorry, to be more specific, we had Uber drop us off right at HS.

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