Trip report from dec 11th and 12th '21 - rope dropping MK and HS - genie + advice for medium crowd days

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to celebrate DS 10th birthday. It was just a mother son trip and he is super into rope-dropping like his mama. This is my sixth time to Disney world but my first ever trip report. I’ve learned so much from these forums and hope that my experience can be helpful for someone in their planning!!

Day 1

Beach club bus came at 7:15 (don’t @ me - we stayed at the dolphin and walked over, but there were only 7 people on the bus so it wasn’t like we were talking anyone’s seat! We got the secret Priceline deal for our first night - a trick: it’s the only hotel in the “bonnet creek” area that lists a beach and has rooms with 2 double beds!)

Off the bus at MK and first 20 people in security line

7:45 10 back in turnstile (people from poly boat beat the bus line)

Front row at rope drop for Space, rope was dropped at 8:30 and we were lead by cast members to the queue. We were ten people back in the line and off the ride at 8:40. Just enough time to run to the bathroom, buy a quick Gaston’s cinnamon roll before heading over via the tangled bathroom route to join up with the regular entry rope drop at frontier land at 8:59. Took the sidewalk that goes along the water from HM and was able to bypass most of the regular entry guests that way (there was a cast member leading the way along this side route as well.) We were about 50 people back in the thunder line and off that by 9:15. Splash was still not running so we headed to pirates (posted 20, actual 15.) When we saw on app that splash opened (at 10) we headed right over, 10 min wait. Other rides that day in sequential order: JC (g+), tiki room, then after an excellent as usual Skipper Canteen lunch and an annoying monorail to Epcot (it was down for a while at TTC), test track (g+), and remy’s (LL). We could have done way more if we had been better rested, and we did not utilize genie+ well on this day. It was basically like paying for a LL for jungle cruise and test track :tired_face: two of my NOT top ten rides! - and I wouldn’t have even been able to get TT if I hadn’t known about the drop times, which I set an alarm for in order to get. Basically if you only want to do 7 or fewer rides in a day AND are able to effectively utilize a good rope drop strategy, genie+ is unnecessary. If we had been able to go back to mk after dinner it would have been worth it. For example, G+ availability for splash remained available until 4pm (with return times after 6pm).

Epic!!! Day 2

We were in line for skyliner at pop at 6:50 and about 10 people back. skyliner started at 7:15 and then we were about 40 ppl back at transfer station. (Skyliner has two lines for boarding, pick the shorter one, usually the left.) Skyliner to hs started at 7:25.

Line to walk to rise started at 7:45 and forms just before the tunnel to GE. (The walk from the exit of Skyliner to GE is really where we were able to pass buckets of people because even though we were the fifth Skyliner to board all the people who walked or ubered over beat us. There was no line at the HS entrance at all, not at security nor at tap in, and there was an army of smiling cast members waving us in at 7:32.) At GE the walk over to the ROTR entrance was escorted and the ride started operating slightly before 8. We were off the ride at 8:15. Started walking to Hollywood boulevard and walked on to RRC. Went back to GE to ride MFSR, at 8:55, posted 20 actual 10. Woody’s breakfast then 9:40 Slinky (g+), followed by ST (g+) then Oga’s at 10:30, and finally a fruitless - and DS tear-inducing- search for a specific stitch hoodie sweatshirt.

Back to the hotel for lunch and a pool break then to AK for 2:30 Safari (g+), then Everest (stand by posted 20 actual 14), 4:00 dinosaur (g+), 4:20 FOP (LL) then dinner at nomad lounge (joined the walk up list at 4, which said 50 min wait for table, at 5:10 still had not received a push notification so went over to talk to hostess and we had been marked as a no show! Lesson learned: click the box to have the app send you a text message too! We were seated at 5:30.)

Walked back over to ride Everest which was posted at 5 min wait at 6:30 but DS was too scared to ride in the dark so hit up gift shops and watched the truly magically Christmas show on the tree from Africa! Just a heads up the path from Africa to pandora closes early. A cast member told us it was closed and wished “her majesty and Loki” a good night; DS was wearing Loki ears. I love cast members so much!! They really make the whole experience so magical with little things like that !:heart_eyes:

Got on bus to Epcot at 7:30 and did Soarin (g+), mission space mars (g+ but totally did not need it, even standby was a walk on), then mission space gift shop (stitch fans! This is where you want to find the stitch clothing!!!), lastly test track, again (standby, posted 30, actual 20). By this time it was 10:35 and we watched Harmonious as we slowly walked over to the skyliner. For Harmonious fans, the refreshment port is a great place to watch! So is Canada.) We left before the finale so we could get to the skyliner before the line started. (This was a deal breaker for DS who absolutely lost his cool at this point - turns out keeping kids out more than two hours past their bedtime shouldn’t come with rosy expectations, even at Disney!) We ended the night with hugs because ohana means family and we had a wonderful time in our action packed short getaway!

Key takeaways from my experience:

  • Rope dropping ROTR is particularly useful these days!!

  • Rope dropping MK on a medium or low crowd day only makes sense if you want to ride SDMT (we could have easily rode space with a 20 min wait at another point in our 2 days, or at least ponied up $14 for that extra hour of sleep we missed.) If I didn’t care about SDMT or SM and was a resort guest I would enter the park at 8:00, get Starbucks and a castle picture then mosey over to fantasy land for a cinnamon bun (and maybe little mermaid and dumbo), then head over to the frontier land rope drop at the tangled bathrooms instead. But I’m a sucker for early morning fantasy land !:heart_eyes:

  • The real issue I have with Genie + is that if you cancel a reservation when you have two stacked (because you waited 2 hours each to book each of them!!) you can’t then get a time slot to replace the one you cancel! I know they did this because they were trying to close the previous loophole but now it is just plain annoying because you lose so much flexibility. So I would recommend if you are buying genie + to really try to stick to your planned day if you can, and don’t make that reservation unless you are certain you are going to use it. Better to wait 30 more minutes and make sure then to lose out on that 2nd reservation entirely when your plans change and you’ve decided that you are hopping to a different park! (Exception for hard to get ones: slinky, TT, NRJ, MFSR - use the drop times and book it immediately - then do use it! Also possible exception to this would be high crowd days, though not sure as highest TP crowd levels were 5 on our two days.)

  • AK at night is so magical. Do it.

  • Epcot during harmonious is a great time to ride popular rides if you can stay out late, don’t mind drunk people, and don’t care about the show (which - um - :raising_hand_woman:t3: - I don’t!)

  • Using genie +, park hopper, and just one paid “fancy ride,” we were able to ride 12 rides in one day, half of them headline attractions. You can pack a punch by combining strategies, but for a longer trip I would never pay for a “fancy ride,” I’d just use rope drop effectively. And I probably will always buy genie + just because I would have extreme FOMO (unless I were fronting the cost of a trip for extended family or a large group.)


Love this!!! Awesome touring!

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