The extra 30 minutes? If you run you'll get on on one of the first trains and then have a 5-10 minute wait until the GP is let in.
You can't see the park from the hotel, but it's only a 5 minute drive away. Oh, and definitely make reservations. The place fills up even in May and October.
You cannot see, hear, or walk to the park from BE.
Early entry will easily get you a couple of minimal-wait rides before crowds build. Plus, provided you reserve early enough, BE is nicer than most other Sandusky hotels, but no more expensive.
I've just about given up on staying in any non-CP hotel. Not because of the early entry (I have Joe Cool) but just to avoid the dives.
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