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Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

South Dakota
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Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

I read this in the Unofficial Guide book, but I want to make sure this will actually work (I tried one of their parking tips that backfired on me).

In order to avoid the mob leaving Illuminations, they suggest booking a dinner reservation at one of the Epcot resorts, eating dinner, leaving your car in the resort lot and then walking in and out through the International Gateway to watch Illuminations.

Has anyone staying off property actually tried this? Is it a good idea? Will they tow your car?

If you think it works, if Illuminations started at say, 9:00, what time would you make your dinner reservation?

All thoughts appreciated. We can skip this idea and join the mob if it won't work.

Boston...
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1. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

You can only park at one of the EPCOT resorts for up to 3 hours, so you need to be sure to time it so dinner and Illuminations take no longer than that. Cars are subject to towing after 3 hours. Disney is well onto people that attempt those things.

If you want to park somewhere and leave EPCOT through the back, I would suggest parking over at Hollywood Studios and either taking the Friendship boat or walking between the 2 parks; however, you very well may just get jammed up with the people exiting that park as well. People will be exiting out the back to get to their hotels so expect a line for the boats as well.

Edited: 13 February 2014, 15:42
Indiana
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2. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

They give you 3 hours of parking as a non-resort guest. When you enter the resort parking area, there will be a security gate where an attendant will ask you for your I.D. and what your reason for visit. You really don't have to have a reason. Saying you are just looking around the resort is perfectly fine. I would explain to them what you are doing. Tell them you are having dinner and then walking over for the fireworks and then heading out. They will be fine with it since you have 3 hours anyway.

If they start at 9, I would eat at 7:15 at Cape May, Flying Fish, Cat Cora's or even ESPN. Those are the closest to the Int. Gate. That gives you an hour to eat, then time to walk over and enter Epcot. You will be right were the viewing is for the fireworks.

You could get to the resort at 7:00, dinner at 7:15, walk and enter the park at about 8:45 and be back at your car at 9:00. Any later that 7:15, you may have a problem if you are not seated right away. 7:30 would probably work fine, but having a little room for slow servers or slow seating would be nice. I'd tell your server that you need to be gone by 8:30. I'm sure they would be fine with that.

Edited: 13 February 2014, 15:55
Indiana
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3. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

I meant back to the car by 10!!! Already edited once..

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4. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

Really bad idea to lie to the guard when you enter a Disney resort..Tell the guard the truth;you have a dinner reservation. You get 3 hours of free parking;if you think you can get dinner done by 8:45,you should be okay getting back to your car in time to avoid it being towed. Disney has lots of experience with people trying to avoid the parking fee by parking at a resort hotel so to me,not very relaxing to have to play beat the clock. Use valet parking at one of the Boardwalk resorts or just pay for parking at Epcot

South Dakota
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5. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

It's not the money, it's the crowd in the mass exodus I'm trying to avoid. The last time we went to Wishes, it was a nightmare trying to get out. We were jammed shoulder to shoulder onto the ferry and I kept wondering what would happen if it sank. Paranoia, I know.

Chickamauga, Georgia
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6. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

The good news is that the main bus stop and monorail are in the opposite direction from the International Gateway, so about the only crowds you'd have to deal with are those heading for the Y&B Club resort, Boardwalk resort and entertainment area, and the Swan/Dolphin hotels.

These should be significantly smaller than those heading for the main exit at the front of the park.

Just be sure you pay careful attention to that 3-hour parking time; it is definitely enforced at the resorts around the Boardwalk area.

7. Re: Using the International Gateway for Illuminations

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