8 Reasons to Get to the Parks Before Opening
Picture this, you are at Walt Disney World, and your days are packed with attractions, shows, parades, dining reservations, and fireworks. Every night you get back to your hotel exhausted from all the fun you managed to cram in during the day. The last thing you want to do is get up early tomorrow and get to the parks for Early Entry or before opening, right? Wrong! Getting to the parks early has many great benefits, read on to find out the top eight reasons you should get to the parks before opening each day!
Everything Has Changed – Early Entry for Resort Guests
In October 2021, Disney launched a benefit for Disney Resort guests that has significantly changed how busy the parks are at park opening. Now that we’ve seen the benefit in action, much of what we knew about getting to the parks right at opening has changed. Basically, most of the benefits of getting to the park at opening have shifted to Disney resort guests and away from non-resort guests. There are still reasons to get to the park before opening if you are a non-resort guest; you’ll just deal with new issues. Throughout the article, we’ll address these with notes to resort and non-resort guests.
8 – Easier Transportation
If you are a Disney resort guest, do yourself a favor and get to the bus stop at least an hour before Early Entry to the park is scheduled. To fully take advantage of Early Entry, you want to be one of the first in the park, and that means you want to get on one of the first buses. By doing that you can jump ahead of guests who might be straggling a bit. If you drive, you will also find less traffic on the roads, at the parking plazas, and on the monorail or ferryboat up to thirty minutes prior to Early Entry. Plus, you can often get a great parking spot, which may not require you to ride the parking tram!
Non-resort guests must plan to get to the park at least thirty minutes before the park’s opening. At Magic Kingdom, you can still enter the park and enjoy the Hub area, and you just won’t be able to get past that area. At the other parks, you’ll be held outside of the park, where a queue will form. The closer you are to the front of the line, the better.
7 – Excitement of Being the First Guests in the Park
There is something extremely exciting about waiting just outside the gates as they announce the park is open for the day and guests begin rushing in. This also makes for some great photo opportunities with fewer people in the background.
6 – Time to Get Organized
If you arrive after park opening, you may find yourself feeling a little frazzled. Arriving before opening allows you time to adjust your stroller, apply sunscreen, and sort through your backpack for your camera, all while waiting for the park to open for the day. Once the gates open, you are ready to go and don’t need to stop once inside the park to do these things.
5 – Enjoy “Let the Magic Begin”
While the other parks have phased out their welcome shows, there is still one daily at the Magic Kingdom. “Let the Magic Begin” opens the park five minutes before the posted opening time. Mickey and friends open the park in a magical way. This fun show sets the tone for a special day at Magic Kingdom. If you are a Disney resort guest, we highly recommend you skip this show. Hopefully, you are already in line for an attraction. If you are a non-resort guest, enjoy the show since you won’t be able to leave the Hub area until it concludes.
4 – Shorter Lines for Big Attractions for Resort Guests
This is one of those benefits that has shifted entirely to resort guests and is no longer true for those coming in thirty minutes later at park opening. Are you wanting to ride Pandora – The World of Avatar, Soarin’, Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure without having to purchase Lighting Lane access? Be a resort guest, and walk as quickly as you can to your chosen attraction when you’re able to enter the park. These attractions will have the longest wait times later in the day; this is your best chance for a shorter wait! Why wait 120 minutes later in the day when you can wait significantly less during those first thirty minutes? Non-resort guests, be aware that when you arrive at park opening, the lines for these attractions will be over an hour, maybe even two hours. However, wait times still tend to get longer as the day goes on, so still get there early. Your wait just won’t be short like it was in the past.
3 – Beat the Crowds as a Resort Guest
Getting to the park at Early Entry will give you a leg up against other non-resort guests or resort guests who sleep in. Many guests will arrive between 9:30 and 11 am, meaning it won’t start to feel crowded until mid-morning. Use this time to get in as many attractions as possible before their lines begin to get longer. Save attractions that typically have shorter lines, such as shows and 3-D movie attractions, for later when it starts to get busy. Guests coming at park opening will still have a good chance of getting a few things done since many guests don’t arrive until later in the morning.
2 – Beat the Heat and the Rain
Florida’s weather can be extremely hot and humid and often features an afternoon thunderstorm. You can avoid these by getting to the park before opening. The weather is cooler in the morning and often features clear skies. Since you will be arriving before the crowds start to get heavy, you will have time to get in a lot of attractions before it gets too hot or starts to rain. Then during the hottest part of the day, you can head back to the hotel or take a leisurely lunch in the air conditioning because you will have already accomplished so much! After your afternoon break, you will feel refreshed and ready to take on the evening as the weather cools down.
1 – Because You’re at Disney!
Yes, you are tired, your feet hurt, and your family is driving you nuts, but you are at Disney! Get out there early and get some of that Disney Magic. You can always sleep once you get home, right?
There you have eight great reasons to get up early and get to those parks for Early Entry or park opening! So set your alarm and reap all the benefits of being some of the first guests into the parks!
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