The Early Bird Gets the Mouse

The most important tip that I pass on to all of my clients is the importance of being at the park prior to opening. Any Disney veteran knows it is rope drop or bust!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may remember that I am not so much a morning person...(especially if I am on vacation!). So if I tell you that I never miss rope drop, you know I am serious about arriving early!

I originally planned this to be a pithy little column. After all, how much space does it take to tell you to set your alarm, even if you are on vacation? But the more I thought about it, I thought it might be best to illustrate my point with some hard numbers.

I consulted to find an "average" day (a 5 of 10 on the crowd calendar). I chose 10 attractions in Magic Kingdom and the Lines application (also by to get an average wait time for those attractions. The morning I chose happened to have early Extra Magic Hours. (On a side note: and the Lines app are both great. I highly recommend you finish up here and go check them out. And yes - the subscription is totally worth it!)

The first hour the park was open, the combined wait for the 10 selected attractions was only 24 minutes. The second hour, the wait jumped to 56 total minutes. That extra hour in bed comes with the cost of almost twice the wait! For you extra relaxed park goers who sleep in, eat a late brunch and then head off to play around noon may want to rethink your plans. The same 10 attractions have a combined average wait time of over 163 minutes! Almost seven times longer than the early birds had.

I know many of you have picked up on the fallacy of my cannot do 10 attractions in an hour..and the wait time incrementally increases as you go! Of, course you are correct. I am not suggesting that this is any sort of a feasible touring plan. This is just a quick snapshot of the numbers to prove that wait times stack up during the day. So get there early, people!

To make sure you arrive on time (and by on time I mean 30 minutes prior to park opening):
  • Be sure to set your alarm clock. (duh!)
  • Schedule a wake up serves as a great back up. Let you kids answer the phone to enjoy a great character moment.
  • Allow 45 minutes to an hour for transportation. Mornings are a busy time for Disney transportation, and that first bus might be full!
  • Once you arrive, allow 15 minutes to get through security.
  • If you are staying off property allow plenty of time for traffic, parking, taking a tram to the TTC, getting tickets if necessary, and then taking the monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom.
Since we have already covered the fact that I am not a morning person, I can confess that once I am safely through security I pull out my morning granola bar and wait for the train to pull into the station. I take a moment to review my touring plan (I'm coming, Dumbo!) and get ready for a great day. And you know what?....I don't miss my nice cozy bed one bit!

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