Reviews of Early Theme Park Entry
Reviewed by TeamJW Review Date: 10/18/2021
Rating: (10) Recommended
We had originally planned to come to Disney in May 2020, but when Covid forced the parks to close, our trip was postponed to now. For the first trip we were trying to plan for the extra magic hours, taking into account the crowd calendars etc and it was a headache to say the least, because when you chose the park that had extended hours, you inevitably wound up at the busiest park.
Early theme park admission for resort guests was introduced recently and we were beyond thrilled to have this additional perk. We still have Epcot to do, but at all three other parks we were able to knock out big attractions plus a few others with almost no wait. At Animal Kingdom we were among the first on Flight of Passage and then made our way to Kilamanjaro because we wanted to see the animals right at the start of the day and it was so worth it (yes, we caught the lions roaring)! We basically didn’t wait at either attraction except for it to open (Kilamanjaro isn’t open for early park admission). At Hollywood Studios, they let us line up and onto the ride before early park admission hours even started and managed to get on Rise, Smugglers Run and Toy Story Mania before official park opening. At Magic Kingdom we were among the first on Seven Dwarves Mine Train, then we knocked out Haunted Mansion and Small World before official park opening.
Our strategy was to get on the bus at the resort about 1.5 hours before early park hours to get on the big headliners we had never experienced first and then to get a few done in the area, if possible (to save energy, because holy step count!)
Overall we were extremely happy with the strategy. Admittedly we were also extremely lucky because our bus always seemed to be one of the first three buses at the parks every single time (we’re staying at Coronado Springs).
Of course, one could point out that the wait time you’re skipping on line at the ride, you pretty much make up for waiting to get into the park 😂 HOWEVER, there’s a lot to be said for how much easier it is to wait for that length of time in the early morning in cooler temps rather than in the blazing sun in the middle of the day for the rides with outdoor lines (this seemed particularly brutal at Hollywood Studios).