Disney had for some years provided a perk to Disney resort guests called Surprise Mornings or Early Entry (EE). This perk allowed resort guests to enter one of the three main parks an hour before the scheduled opening time to the general public. Since the parks generally opened 30 minutes early anyway, EE times were actually *90 minutes* ahead of the scheduled opening times. Unfortunately, as a part of one of it's many cost-saving cutbacks during the recession of 2001-2002, Disney eliminated the EE perk for its resort guests.Return to Spencer Family's Disney Page
The good news is that there is still a strategy by which guests can tour the main parks and still minimize their time in waiting lines. The primary contributor is the tendency of most people to *not* want to get up really early while they're on vacation! So here's the #1 tip for avoiding long lines at the parks - Arrive Early! Be at the parks no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled opening time - try to get there about 40 minutes ahead of time if you can - and you'll be some of the first folks to enjoy the attractions. Assuming a normal opening time of 9 am, guests can typically expect to be able to do most attractions in the park with little wait up until about 10 to 10:30 am. Another significant influence to park touring is Disney's Fastpass system. What we've found is useful is to arrive early, ride one of the main Fastpass attractions first thing (without getting a Fastpass) and then to go to another main Fastpass attraction and get a Fastpass for it. When the ride time arrives for that Fastpass you are then able to get a second Fastpass for another of the main attractions. Do that *prior* to riding the first Fastpass attraction so that you're wasting as little time as possible. The downside of this strategy is that you'll likely be doing some criss-crossing of the park (read a good bit of walking) but it's worth it to avoid long waits in line or long Fastpass waits. As for the Animal Kingdom park, our experience is that early in the week is the worst, with the following weekdays getting progressively better right up to and through the weekend.
A few more tidbits to help avoid lines at the parks. *Don't* wait in long lines for rides/attractions in Epcot's Future World, especially Spaceship Earth. People walk into Epcot, see the "Big Ball" and are drawn to it like a magnet. Skip it and save it for later. Visit Future World in the evenings and most attractions will be walk-ons. If you arrive at Epcot early, do Test Track first, followed by "Living with the Land" and Honey I Shrunk the Audience. If you want to ride Maelstrom at the Norway pavilion with no line, make sure you're at the rope near the Mexican pavilion at 12 pm and walk directly there. At the Animal Kingdom, our experience has been that the crowds exit almost en masse from the AK between 2 and 3 pm so if you go later in the afternoon you'll find most attractions and shows to have very short lines or will be walk-ons. Make sure you check the map as Disney, in their cost-cutting mode of late, is scheduling the last performances of the live shows and last safaris on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride an hour or more before park closing. At MGM-Studios, Star Tours, Muppets, and the Great Movie Ride are usually walk-ons in the evenings with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror having waits of 40 minutes or less. At the Magic Kingdom, ride Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain first thing in the morning. Other times are guaranteed to have long lines unless there's some weather event that clears out the parks. If you have kids interested in Fantasyland, head there first and go to Dumbo first. After Dumbo, do Pooh then Peter Pan. The remaining attractions can be done with little or no wait before the crowds from the mountains make it back to Fantasyland. Also, Mickey's Toontown Fair is a good area to tour in the mornings. Crowds are minimal before 10:30 am. Reserve the following MK rides for when the park is crowded. They are cool and restful and there are usually small/no lines.
Carousel of Progress Tomorrowland Transit Authority Hall of Presidents Liberty Bell Riverboat It's a Small World The Enchanted Tiki Birds Under New Management Walt Disney World Railroad
All contents © copyright by Jeff Spencer 1997 - 2002. All rights reserved.