Most Efficient Method to Arrive at Parks for Opening

tommcp516

Member
The basics: We'll be staying at CBR from April 3-8, then one night at AK-Kidani from April 8-9. Since it's Easter week, I'm anticipating very large crowds and wait times, so I want us to arrive at the parks each day to be in prime position when they open to reach our high-priority rides with as little lines as possible.

In reviewing these forums, it looks like are options are:

1. Get in line at the bus stop/skyliner entrance at our resort 60-90 minutes before they start running in the morning; or

2. Rent a car for the week and drive from CBR to our chosen park that morning.

What has me confused is that I've seen references to there being a line up for cars before they can enter the parking lot. I had just assumed that we could park whenever and then attempt to join the lines at the entrance on foot prior to opening. If that's the case then I don't see the need to spend an extra $300-$400 on a car if we're going to be waiting a similar amount of time (60-90 minutes) before we can enter the park.

I've also seen people mention taking an Uber to a nearby location (the Speedway by HS or the Contemporary near MK) and walk to the park. If you choose that route, can you then hop out of your Uber and walk over to the entrance and get in line whenever you arrive, or is there some more distant gate/barrier that prevents that?

Finally, I've read that the posted times are just the operating hours, and that they've been permitting people to enter the park and get in line/go on rides sometimes as much as 30-45 minutes prior to the posted "opening hour" for that park that day.

As a hypothetical, say that our park reservation was for Magic Kingdom, and the scheduled opening that day was for 9 AM. As I understand it, buses start running to the parks 45 minutes before opening, so we could either get in line at the MK bus pickup at CBR at 7 AM for an (estimated) 8:15 pickup and bus ride to MK (arriving 8:35?), or drive our rented car to MK parking lot at around 8 AM and wait in our car until some specified time before 9 AM when we could enter the parking lot, park, and walk to the entrance to get in line, or take an Uber from CBR to Contemporary sometime between 7 and 8 AM (with an ADR/QS order there to allow us to be dropped off) and then walk to the MK entrance to get in line.

I'd rather not be at the whim of the bus/Skyliner arrivals, so I'd prefer to take agency of our arrival at the park entrance and either drive or Uber there--and if we're going to wait in line for an hour or more I'd rather it be closer to the park than back at the CBR bus stop. But I also don't want to spend money on car rentals/parking or Uber fares if I still wouldn't have more direct and timely access to join the lines at the entrance.

Any suggestions/feedback from your own experiences (post-Covid)?
 
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nickys

Premium Member
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As of now, they are opening the parks around 30-45 minutes before the official park opening times.

And yes, they are stopping people entering the parking lots until about an hour or so before the official park opening. And cars arriving earlier will be turned away, not even allowed to queue up. So if you are on the first resort bus then you actually have a slight advantage. In addition where thee are security checks between a resort and MK (Contemporary and the path from GF) those will only open around an hour or so before.

I would expect things to be much the same by your trip. If you can be at the bus stop 30-45 minutes before buses start running you should be able to get on the first bus. Otherwise I would just get an Uber to the park - but not too early.
 
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HoustonHorn

Well-Known Member
Stayed at CBR last week. Only did MK and MGM. Here's what we did:

MK - we were on the first bus leaving Riviera (we were in Aruba, which meant that we were the last stop on the CBR bus route, a LONG way from the front of the resort, but really close to Riviera, so we used their bus stop) about an hour before the park opened. When we arrived, the park was already open, we went straight to 7DMT and had about a 30 minute wait. Quick tip on 7DMT if that is your first stop - do not go straight through the castle and turn right; instead, take the branch to the right after the hub, as that is where the line is forming. We beat hundreds of people into line by guessing correctly.

If you choose to Uber/Lyft, I would recommend having them drop you off at Contemporary and walking instead of being dropped at the TTC.

MGM - I would call for your ride 1:15 before the park opens and ask to be dropped at Boardwalk by the tennis courts and walk over. You should get there around an hour before the park officially opens and be relatively close to the front of the line. The park opened for us about 50 minutes before posted opening each day.
 
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Cowboy Steve

Premium Member
As stated above... Uber/Lyft is the way to go. Hands down. Cheaper than renting a car, faster than queueing for a bus. And the drop off points are closer than any parking spot you are likely to get...
 
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brifraz

Well-Known Member
We've been twice since July's reopening. During our 2.5 weeks on-site in July, we found that busses tended to be running a little earlier than 45 minutes before park opening, but you would need to get to the bus stop early. Since CBR has multiple bus stops, you might be able to request a building where you can see the busses before they get to your closest stop and then make a quick break for it. We didn't find the app to be very accurate with busses this summer, though. A couple weeks ago, we found that the taking a car to the parking lot was most likely the worst way to get in earliest.

For Epcot, we were in our car waiting to get in (about 6th car to be allowed to queue up) and watched at least 5 resort busses enter and that was at 45 minutes before park opening. At Studios, getting breakfast and walking from Boardwalk was great for us, but watching others arrive, the Skyliner guests and the first couple resort busses were the first to arrive besides walkers. At MK, resort busses were easily the first guests that were getting to the gates. Animal Kingdom is the only one where I feel we had any advantage with driving as it appeared that we got in before more than a bus or two had shown up.

I'm a pretty cheap person, so I'm not going to do Uber/Lyft thing when I have free options. :)
 
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KTK

Member
I just got back today from The World (was there since 12/11/20). I found the bus system very reliable. Buses were at the hotel stop 60-75 minutes before park opening consistently (for Epcot, AK, and HS). Stayed at GF so used the monorail for MK. We were first in line at one of the touch spots at the entrance at Epcot and Animal Kingdom on two separate days by using the Disney buses. HS had many more people waiting to get in when we arrived but we still had no problem getting on rides (our last day we did Slinky Dog x 2, Smuggler's Run and ROTR all before 10 am for 9 am opening (parked actually opened at 8:15 am, Disney bus picked us up at 7:50 am). Granted, we only had one bus stop to pick up guests. Of note, the three days we went to HS, the Skyliner was running each time when we arrived.
 
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