Disney World “Rips Off” Resort Guests in Latest Move

in Walt Disney World

Rope drop crowds waiting at EPCOT during Disney Resort Early Entry.

Credit: @bioreconstruct via X

Early Entry is a perk for guests at most Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Though most guests value this time to rope drop and get in a few rides without lines, one EPCOT guest felt “ripped off” after arriving late to find thousands of others had already taken over the Disney park.

Unlike Extra Magic Hours, which disappeared after the COVID-19 theme park closures, Early Entry occurs daily at all four Disney parks. However, the early access starts just 30 minutes before the Disney park opens instead of an hour. Evening Extended Hours take place on select nights only for Deluxe Resort hotel guests. Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane windows aren’t open during Early Entry.

Reddit user u/throwaway00009000000 and their family enjoyed Early Theme Park Entry at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They arrived early and found that Disney cast members dropped the ropes around 8:17 a.m. instead of 8:30, giving them extra time before the theme park opened.

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

The experience turned sour when the Disney Resort guests tried using Early Entry at EPCOT. Just after they entered the Disney park at 8:55 a.m. (five minutes before it opened), cast members let all the offsite guests in.

“We were trying to get on Frozen Ever After before the big crowd of day guests,” the guest explained. “We were a little behind and ended up being at Spaceship Earth at 8:55. I literally looked at my partner and said ‘Well, at least we still beat this big crowd.’ And they dropped the rope right after that.”

“A huge hoard of people were literally running past us and we completely lost our early park advantage,” they continued. “It ended up being a 45 minute wait for us by the time we got to Norway…I wish we had known because I would have planned to go even earlier. I felt really ripped off when they impeded on our small 30 minute window by rope dropping early for day guests.”

Frozen Ever After in EPCOT
Credit: Brittany DiCologero, Inside the Magic

One Disney Parks fan agreed: “If the schedule says EE is to 9am – it should be until 9am,” u/indifferentunicorn wrote.

Most, however, blamed the guests for not showing up early like they did at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

“If they let resort guests in 15 minutes before the printed time and let non resort guests in 5 minutes before that means resort guests actually got 40 minutes of park time without other guests instead of the 30,” u/Run_MEG said. “Any reasonable person hoping to take advantage of early entry isn’t showing up 5 minutes before it’s over.”

rope drop magic kingdom
Credit: Screenshot via Jason Grandt

“They probably let resort guests in around 8:25,” u/AmphibianNo8598 replied. “And most parks will let everyone into certain areas including non-resort guests to wait for their rope drop time. You were late, that’s on you not Disney.”

Others pointed out that if Early Theme Park Entry started earlier than advertised, Disney Resort hotel guests got more time than expected–even if cast members dropped the rope for offsite guests a few minutes ahead of schedule.

“So you were late and are mad they let non resort guests in 5 minutes early?” u/Humble_Chip asked.

Rope Dropping at Disney World and Disney Castle on the background
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: Disney World’s Extra Magic Hour Replacement Extended

“They let you in 13 minutes early at Animal Kingdom,” u/atlhart agreed. “They let regular guest in 5 minutes early at EPCOT. Sounds like you still got 8 minutes of extra time.”

To take advantage of Early Park Entry or regular rope drop, arriving at least 30 minutes early is best. Disney transportation starts up to an hour and a half before the theme parks open.

Have you experienced any issues with Early Theme Park Entry at Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Share your story with Inside the Magic in the comments.

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks guest experience. No two guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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