Disney World is a pretty awesome destination.
When you’re headed to The Most Magical Place on Earth, you might be trying to decide whether to sat onsite or offsite. Well, this year, the on-property hotels have definitely had WAY fewer perks than they have in the past. BUT…there’s a NEW perk coming soon. Or at least…there’s supposed to be one coming soon. Umm…did Disney totally forget about this perk they announced?
Early Theme Park Entry is supposed to arrive this year.
Earlier this year, Disney announced that Early Theme Park Entry will arrive as a new perk for Disney World Resort hotel guests. This perk will allow those staying at Disney-owned resorts and other select resorts to enter ANY theme park 30-minutes early on ANY day.
This is a change from the old system of Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours allowed guests entry one hour prior to the opening of the park or one to two hours after the closing of the park, but it was always one or two specific parks on any given day.
The new Early Theme Park Entry system will bring a benefit back to resort guests while helping to disperse early morning crowds to ALL FOUR parks (whichever park they chose) ahead of their posted opening times. Extra Magic Hours would draw guests to only one park if reintroduced, which could be a problem with current health concerns. The new setup could give back a guest perk of early entry without everyone cramming in the same park.
Perks are limited for Resort Guests right now.
This perk is exciting considering resort guests don’t have a lot of perks going for them right now. In the past, Extra Magic Hours was a MAJOR draw.
Now, pretty much the ONLY perks for resort hotel guests are a few extra days of Advance Dining Reservation access (They get their length of stay added to the standard 60-days-in-advance window.) and complimentary transportation. But, even that complimentary transportation is changing soon — Disney’s Magical Express service to and from the Orlando Airport is ending this year.
The introduction of Early Theme Park Entry would bring back the same kind of plus that Extra Magic Hours offered. Extra park time is a pretty big bonus!
But how much of a perk is it really?
But, we’re not sure this perk will really be THAT much of an actual perk. At the time of writing, Disney is already letting guests into the parks well before opening.
On most days, you can head into a Disney World theme park about 30 minutes prior to the posted opening time. We’ve even seen Disney’s Hollywood Studios allow guests in about an hour in advance of opening!
What’s going on here? If everyone is getting into the parks 30 minutes prior to the posted opening, will this even be a perk when it’s rolled out? Well, yes, but Disney might need to make some changes before that happens.
In anticipation of this perk, we may see Disney start to stick closer to the posted opening time. A similar tightening up of timing happened during the opening of Rise of the Resistance. For some time, park guests were being allowed in the gates prior to the posted park opening until Disney shifted to sticking closely to the posted time.
So, as we near the 50th, we may see informal park entry scale back to allow for Early Theme Park Entry. This way, resort guests actually get the perk! Time will tell if this happens whenever this perk actually…you know…happens!
We’ll be keeping an eye out for these changes and for the announcement of this perk. Stay tuned to DFB for all the updates!
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What do you think about this interesting situation? Tell us in the comments!