What is the earliest you have ever arrived at a WDW resort hotel?

We are trying to time out our road trip next month. Driving from central NY. Our latest idea is to leave at around 2:00 a.m., since DH does most of the driving and he typically wakes up around that time and has trouble falling back asleep. This would get us through PA (typically one of the slowest parts of our trip) early morning before rush hour, and through FL traffic overnight, if we drive straight through, which we usually do.

So here is the problem: if we make really good time, we will end up arriving at about 2:00 a.m. I don’t really think All-Star Movies would let us check-in in the wee small hours of the morning, but maybe I’m wrong? Obviously I know we wouldn’t get our room that early, but would they allow us in the lobby? Or even the parking lot?

So what is the earliest you have ever arrived at your resort? And does anyone have any suggestions for where we could spend a few hours if they don’t let us into the bubble that early? 24 hour stores or restaurants in the area, maybe?

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We once had an arrival time of 0430 hrs (at the airport). We were told we could hang out at a table in the food court until rooms were ready in the afternoon. We ended up adding a night onto our stay and were able to go straight to our room and crash until parks were open; best decision ever. Another solution is that some ppl have been staying at a hotel inside the MCO airport the night before their first touring day.

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I think most hotels would consider 2am as arriving very late for the day before. We recently arrived past midnight (not in Florida) for a Wed-Thurs one night hotel stay. You could book a hotel for the night before, offsite if necessary. That can also be a short distance out from WDW, along your route, if you want to get to sleep early so you can wake up early and drive the remaining miles - to the theme park or WDW hotel.

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I agree with @mkmuzzy, I would consider this a late arrival for the day before, not early for the day of. If you really expect to arrive by then, I would have a room reserved somewhere. What would you plan to do between 2-6am?

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I guess that is what I’m asking! We do not want to add any more nights on, we already just added two nights to our trip. I know we sound crazy, just looking for any other crazy experiences :crazy_face:

This is just a “worst-case/best-case” scenario, where we make excellent time on our drive. Typically, with extended meal stops and rest stops, it takes us more like 26-27 hours, but potentially we could do it in 24. (Google says 21, but that would be with zero breaks, so I don’t believe that could EVER happen for us!) So more likely, we will roll in at around 4 or 5 a.m., in which case I am hoping we could just find an early opening breakfast place to chill for a bit.

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To my knowledge, you can go to the lobby of any Disney resort hotel 24 hours a day. I’ve been very early and very late, but never between 2-4am so I can’t confirm. I don’t know if they would say or do anything if you were just sitting in the chairs super early, but worst case you could go back to your car and/or drive around / find a Denny’s.

There would probably be someone tending the front desk, if not someone at bell services, to store your bags. You might have to wait till 5am or so for the bell personnel to arrive on duty.

(Full disclosure: I’m speculating a bit here.)

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I found this old photo from 2016. Supposedly at value resorts, Bell Services was available only 7am -11pm. Those hours could have changed during the pandemic or for other reasons. The front desk should have someone all night, but that person may or may not be able / willing to assist with baggage.

Here’s a thread with some anecdotes. Again, it’s old, so could have changed.

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Are you guys planning on sleeping in the car while driving? I’m confused about when sleep is happening, if you’re planning on going directly to a park.

I would find a hotel room to spend that night at an appropriate location in your drive and then arrive at Disney bright and early the next morning, refreshed and ready for a big day!

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Driver will not be sleeping, no, LOL! The rest of us will attempt to sleep while riding. We also sometimes stop at rest stops overnight for the driver to sleep a little.

We are most definitely NOT going straight to a park. We are crazy, but not THAT crazy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: We actually added two nights on to the beginning of our trip. We will have two resort days before we enter the parks.

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Assuming you’ll be arriving around the 4-5AM time frame rather than the best case scenario of 2AM, I would stop at an IHOP/Perkins/Dennys before heading into Disney. Take a long, leisurely breakfast outside of the bubble, then head in to the resort afterward. By then there will be more open/available.

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I know you’re thinking that’s really early, but it’s really actually super late.

I would make a ressie for that night before (ie if you’re arriving 2am on Saturday, book a room for Friday night) and notify them that you will be arriving super late so they don’t think you’re a no-show. Then you can just fall right into bed and go to sleep a while.

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This is what I would do too. Try to stretch it out so you arrive at Disney no earlier than 6am.

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You could always look for a 24 hour steak and shake. That will slow you down tremendously.

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Are these typically open 24 hours? I know during the pandemic, many 24 hour locations changed hours, at least around here.

Thanks for this data!

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Yeah, I know that would be the best option, but not in our budget. We have already added on nights. We can leave a different time of day, it’s just a logic puzzle trying to figure out best times to avoid certain areas at certain times, along with figuring out best alertness time for DH. But thanks for the suggestion!!

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I know the IHOPs around here are back to being open 24/7. And the waffle houses. I can’t comment on other locations but I would assume several in florida have resumed normal hours.

Ok thanks! I will do some research on Orlando area ones, then.

:thinking: Maybe the solution is to deliberately avoid making good time.
Maybe grab a leisurely breakfast once you’re clear PA.
Do a little shopping to pick up some essentials.
A little later, stretch your legs and grab some snacks.

If you add on a few hours incrementally, then you’re cruising into ASMo as the sun comes up and you might have a better reception.

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I have no advice for you, but wanted to say that I’m glad to see some other crazy ideas out there. For the end of my November trip, I’m thinking about doing a Christmas party at Magic Kingdom until 1AM, then wandering somewhere until 3AM when I can catch DME to the airport for my 6AM flight.

ETA: I’ll be landing at my home airport at 8ish and hoping to make it to my office by 9 for work. Yeah, I’m nuts…

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