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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Get there early

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday.

My apologies for the delay in this post. I just returned from a big trip to Walt Disney World last weekend. In fact, it was a trip fit for the Biggest Disney Fan! That's right! Last weekend was the big trip filled with lots of amazing experiences. The local newspaper even did a story on me.

Best of all, YOU get to share in what happened as I will be bringing reviews and articles about some of the more exclusive experiences at Walt Disney World, including the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, concierge service, fireworks aboard the Grand One and premier VIP park touring.

It was the best five days my family has ever spent at Walt Disney World.

So be looking for more on these topics coming to this blog very soon.

Now, on to today's feature presentation!

I've talked about this tip a few times in passing, but it's so important that I wanted to highlight it again -- get to the parks EARLY, especially if you're planning to catch major attractions.

Case in point: We arrived at rope drop in the Magic Kingdom on Monday morning. As soon as we entered the MK, we took the train to Frontierland (another quick reminder: the WDW Railroad doesn't stop a ToonTown until after 10am). My son and I then proceeded to walk on Big Thunder Mountain twice in a row while my wife and other two children walked onto Pirates and had an entire boat to themselves. They then walked onto Alladin's Magic Carpets.

We met up after this and just about walked onto the Jungle Cruise, and then walked again onto Pirates. After Pirates, we made our way to the Haunted Mansion where we had to wait only two minutes for the mansion doors to open and admit the next group.

Boom! Before 10am, we had hit several major attractions - some twice!

Now you might be thinking that the park wasn't all that crowded that day. Think again. At one point, Buzz Lightyear had a 70 minute wait -- the longest wait time I've ever seen for Buzz. Space Mountain was at 60 minutes and Big Thunder quickly rose to 60 minutes by lunchtime. By the afternoon, there was a line for even the smaller attractions like the TTA.

The reason getting to the parks early is so important is that most days, especially during busy times of the year such as spring break and holidays, the parks start to get very crowded around 11 a.m. Apparently most guests just don't want to get up early for a 9 a.m. rope drop. This is to your benefit.

After 11 a.m., be prepared for long lines and to make heavy use of FastPass (in fact, it's a good idea to go ahead and get some FastPasses early and not use them until the afternoon). Remember you can possibly hold more than one FastPass at a time (see this previous Tip Tuesday post for more about this).

The other benefit to arriving early and getting major attractions out of the way is that frees up time for you to enjoy some of those hidden details in shops, shows, restaurants or just out and about while other guests are standing in those massive standby queues.

So, as they saying goes: the early mouse gets the cheese, er, ride.

6 comments:

Darrin.. said...

Can't wait to hear more about your Biggest fan trip!! As for getting there early.. it's also a great opportunity for some EXCELLENT photo ops!! I shot about 30 pictures on main street while walking from the entrance to our breakfast as Cinderella's Castle!

Running Diva Mom said...

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Elizabeth said...

This is a great tip, and one we live by religiously. My upcoming trip in April is at a very high-crowd time. Our flight arrives at MCO at 9:30. I have been considering leaving the night before and paying for the hotel the extra night just to be able to be there for rope drop. THAT's how crucial it is!

So glad you had a great trip. What a fantastic story.

Kristin said...

We followed the same plan on a couple of our visits... When I was a teenager (1991) it was to ride Big Thunder Mtn, but for our last visit (marathon weekend 09) with my 4 & 1.5 year old we went from the RR stop to Dumbo, while my Dad rode Big Thursday Mtn twice. We got almost all of our rides in before having lunch at 11:30 and then took in Toontown, parades, characters & shows for the afternoon.

Another benefit of early arrival is that some of the storybook characters are out during the morning hours and not in the afternoon (Fairy Godmother, Alice & the Mad Hatter). Very important if you have a Disney obsessed preschooler!

Great blog - I can't wait until we get to back again!

Anonymous said...

that article about you was so cool. thanx for all the great stories and GREAT tips! i'll be back... btw, my granddaughter is into all things disney (taught well) and at age 3½ made her 1st trip (of now 4) to wdw. she totally 'got it' and that made it 100 x's better for all of us! ; )

Cathy said...

Absolutely. This is the one thing I tell people who are going for the first time. Not only do you get on all the rides quickly, but I just love the opening ceremony at MK. And we usually then have lunch and head OUT of the park for a break at the resort as people are just piling into the park.