What's a "just okay" time to show up (to parks, parades, fireworks)

I know the ideal is to try to get to the parks an hour+ before opening, and stake out firework- and parade-viewing spots way ahead of time. But I’m traveling with kids who have a hard time with being stuck in a crowd or waiting for a really long time. And teens who hate waking up early. We’re okay with not having an ideal view if it means we don’t have a meltdown, and we have FPP for a lot of the things people get there an hour early to try to RD. (We have FoP, SDD, 7DMT, TT and Frozen on different days, and PPF.)

We do have one RD day planned per park. Can anyone help me get an idea of what would be an okay time to arrive if we plan to RD: BTMRR, Soarin, NRJ, and ToT/Jedi sign-up?

An okay time to show up for HEA and not be right in the center of the crowd? To watch the parade from near Frontierland?

Any guesstimate would be helpful. We’re going in a few days and haven’t been there since 2011.

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We are also a family that doesn’t like to show up an hour before RD or parades or fireworks. But I do like to arrive around park opening if possible (especially we have the hardest to get FPs). Last summer we were at the tapstiles at AK at the official opening time and we casually walked to NRJ. There was no wait. We could have ridden again with no wait if we wanted to (everyone was at FOP). Last month we had breakfast at GG at 8:40 and then went to Soarin’ about an hour later and it was just a 20 minute wait. We usually head toward Adventureland or Frontierland in the morning at MK because we find that neither area is super crowded in the first 30 (and sometimes 60 minutes) of the park being open. We tend to watch the parade from Frontierland and typically get a decent spot 15 minutes before it begins. And we are also okay with not being dead center for HEA. We have successfully watched it several times from the area just in front of CP about 10 minutes before it starts (just a warning though there are some trees so the view isn’t perfect). I haven’t done Jedi training sign up in several years so I’m not sure about that.


Thank you, that was super helpful!

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I had the same experience as @Dreamer

RD - BTMRR: We got in line at the Adventureland entrance at 8:45 (on a 9:00 opening) and we ended exiting the ride at 9:15. We rode it again, exiting our second ride at 9:30. RD - Frontierland / Adventureland is quite easy honestly.

RD - Soarin’: We arrived at the turnstile at 8:25 (9:00 opening) and we ended up on the second show. I do think you can arrive at 8:45 and wait less than 15 minutes for it. Even if the hype for FEA is fading, TT remains the most popular attraction at RD.

RD - NRJ: We arrived at the turnstile at 7:40 (8:00 opening) and NRJ was a walk-on (keep your left, as everybody is going for FoP). We rode it twice and was out of the second ride at 8:05. As long as FoP will attract 95% of Rope Droppers, the rest of the park is so easy to tour in the first hour each morning.

We have not RD ToT, but Slinky Dog Dash is playing the role of FoP in Hollywood Studios: I’d say at least 80% is going for it at RD. TSMM, RnRC and ToT are walk-on on the first 30 minutes. The hype for Jedi Training also seems to have faded. I’d arrive 30 minutes before park opening to sign-up and go for ToT/RnRC at park opening.

For HEA, a good place to watch it without being stuck in the Hub is on the WDW Railroad platform at the end of Main Street. It is far away, but still got a great view. I’d still recommand at least 30 minutes before the show.

As for the parade, I do think it is less crowded in the Frontierland section (or near Sleepy Hollow, where the path is narrow and you’re closer to the parade). 20 minutes before the parade should get you a decent spot.

Hope it helps and have a nice trip !


I would try and arrive 30 mins before opening, that way you should be in the park by 9am. I’ve heard reports that JSU isn’t as bad as it used to be especially if you’re not fussy on timing. It depends how much you want to get done in the first hour, sounds like you have 2 days in each park so you might not need that first hour. I’d make AK your first priority followed my MK because there are so many rides there.

Perfect. Thank you! I was starting to worry my plans were unrealistic but this all sounds doable.

Thanks! 30-minutes-before-opening arrival should work.

We have two days at MK and Epcot, and one day each at AK and HS. But not everyone wants to do everything, so for example at HS DH will take DS8 and DS6 to sign up for Jedi training while I take DS17 and DD14 to ToT.

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This is very helpful for my planning too. My family is all adults and none of us can stand waiting in a crowd. Did any of you have experience during peak/holiday seasons? My family is going for 5 days is late May spanning Memorial Day weekend.

Our last trip was 7 days so we were able to obtain advance FPs for all headliner attractions and didn’t RD at all. This time we are going for only 5 days and we do want to arrive at opening. We should be able to obtain FoP, SDD and 7DMT in advance as we are staying onsite.

Lots of my experience has been over Memorial Day weekend the past several years. I actually find it a decent time to go in terms of crowds.


This is good to know. We are scheduled to RD each park once with at least one other day at each park with a later start. We want to RD JC, Soarin’, NRJ, and either SDD or TSMM depending on arrival time. We have good intentions but there are 6 of us and we are always stuggling to get out in the am.

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I know how that can be.