Big changes are hoppening at Disneyland for on-site hotel guests, as of Aug. 8, 2022. A new benefit allows early entry access to either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park (with valid admission and park reservation) thirty minutes early, every day of your hotel stay. Whether you're staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, or are staying off-site, you'll want to know how this benefit works to make the very most of your day. In this post, we're tackling the main pieces of info that you need to know.
Overview of Disneyland Early Entry
Every day, each theme park opens thirty minutes early. All guests may enter early, but most guests will stop at ropes before entering any lands or accessing rides until the park officially opens. That is called Rope Drop. But with Disneyland Early Entry, on-site hotel guests can access select lands, attractions, dining and shops that are beyond the ropes for 30 minutes before Rope Drop, when everyone else can access the park. We will go over what this means for hotel guests and for other park guests without Early Entry access. Don't worry. Rope Drop is not going away. You'll just need to strategize where to go in the morning, whether you have early entry or not! Mornings are some of the very best times to take advantage of low wait times, so rising and shining definitely has its benefits.
During their hotel stay (including arrival day), registered Disneyland hotel guests have the privilege of accessing either park 30 minutes before opening. All guests need a valid theme park ticket and theme park reservation to enter the park. Park hoppers need to select their starting park and can only hop to the other park after 1 p.m. Only select stores, restaurants and certain lands of Disneyland may be open during this hour. Guests need to show their hotel room key or proof of stay to get access to the park, including showing registration within the Disneyland app.
There may be designated turnstiles to enter for early entry. Other park guests may use the regular turnstiles to enter the park early, as well (usually about 30 minutes early). But they cannot make it past the ropes until the park officially opens for the day. When the park opens, the ropes drop and all guests have full access to the theme parks. Early entry is available each day of your hotel stay. It's valid even on check-in day if guests arrive early enough!
For all of the years we've been Disney frog-natics, we've learned the best ways to get the most from these early entry hours. While things are slightly modified, we do have a few tricks in our froggy packs on how to avoid heavy crowds during these times. Since this perk is reserved for only hotel guests at this time and is dispersed across two parks instead of one (like in the past), we anticipate it not affecting others' experiences very much.
Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions about Early Entry at Disneyland
Got questions about this new benefit? We have answers! If you don't see your question answered in this section, be sure to drop us a comment so we can help!
Who Can Use Early Entry?
Guests who are checked in and currently staying at one of the three on-site Disneyland Resort hotels have the perk of early entry. These hotels include:
When Is Early Entry?
Early entry is available every day at both parks 30 minutes before posted park opening for Disneyland hotel guests. You'll be able to access the park you have a theme park reservation for that day. Hotel guests may be able to go through security at 7 a.m. in order to access the main gates of the parks.
What Lands Are Included or Excluded from Early Entry?
Good question! Here are the available attractions, dining options and shops available during Early Entry. Keep in mind that this list is subject to change and not all these listed attractions may be operating the day you visit.
Disneyland Park early entry allows access to select Fantasyland and Tomorrowland attractions. No early access is granted to Frontierland, Adventureland, Critter Country or Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. However, if you have a reservation for Oga's Cantina, Savi's Workshop or Droid Depot right at park opening, you can enter the park early so you can get to your reservation. Arrive about 25 minutes early with your reservation confirmation. Look for the special turnstiles (they may be all the way to the left, about turnstile number one) where you can enter.
It is important for all guests to know which rides are open or not open. For example, since just Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are included in Early Entry at Disneyland Park, at Rope Drop you are going to want to head to Adventureland, Frontierland or Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge or Critter Country, where guests have yet to enter. Even if Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is not open during Early Entry, it's possible that people who have Early Entry could access a closer spot near the land and be able to get to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride before the rope droppers can get there. Hop back as we learn more!
What was Disneyland Magic Morning?
Disneyland Magic Morning was a benefit for any guests who purchased 3-day, 4-day or 5-day tickets (no hotel stay required). There has been no announcement about its return. It allowed people who were not staying on-site to enter the park an hour before opening for one day in the duration of their multi-day ticket or pass. It was only valid one of three days of the week for Disneyland Park, usually Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays. Disneyland Magic Morning occurred at the same time as Extra Magic Hours those days. There was no Magic Morning access to Disney California Adventure Park.
How Does Early Entry Affect Crowds?
Disneyland Extra Magic Hour and Disneyland Magic Morning used to affect crowd levels, although not as strongly as Extra Magic Hours did at Disney World. But so far, we are not seeing any morning crowds inside the park due to Early Entry.
There are only three on-site hotels, and there are no Magic Morning ticket holders in the mix at this time. And the benefit is spread over both parks instead of one. Back when California Adventure had Extra Magic Hour for just hotel guests, it was not as crowded as Disneyland Park, which hosted Disney Resort hotel guests as well as Magic Morning ticket holders.
We froggies had to hop over the day this perk debuted to try it out. We stayed at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and used the special entrance to Disney California Adventure Park — we lined up around 7 a.m., an hour before the park opened. We were through security in about half an hour, right on time to enter the park and head to our first pick: Soarin'! We were the very first people to take a tour around the world. Then, the fam made the call to split up. Tad and Mommy Frog headed to Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!, while Leap and Lilly headed for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. We all then walked right on Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters.
By then, the park was about to open, so we made our way to Radiator Springs Racers and were on within 20 minutes. (When we exited, the wait was 90 minutes!) We finished our morning with breakfast at Pym Test Kitchen and said hello to the Wasp. With full bellies and a thrilling start, we then headed back to the hotel to swim. All before 10 a.m.! TLDR: Using early entry, within 30 minutes, we were able to conquer 3 rides and hop in line for a fourth!
You want to find the correct entrance for you. And the turnstiles offering Early Entry aren't always in the same place. Look at the signs above the turnstiles. Some of them will be marked for Early Entry guests. These are usually the right half of the turnstiles. After the bulk of the Early Entry guests enter, many of those lines switch over to allow other guests in. Lingering near that area can mean getting a jump on the shorter lines once the cast members make the switch and open more turnstiles to guests without early access.
We've also visited at park opening without using Early Entry. We followed our Touring Plan and encountered no crowds or lines for the first hour of park opening. It could be more crowded at peak times, which is why we recommend starting at rides or lands that are not open during Early Entry.
What Is Extra, Extra Magic Hour?
Sometimes, Disneyland Resort offers an Extra, Extra Magic Hour at the end of the day for Disneyland Resort hotel guests. It is rare, but when it occurs, it is during a peak time such as summer or after a new, popular attraction has opened. They offered Extra, Extra Magic Hour in summer 2017 for hotel guests to ride Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! after the park closed for the day. In 2019, there were a few opportunities for passholders to stay in Disney California Adventure or Disneyland on certain nights for one hour after park closing to ride a certain ride.
How Does Genie+ Work with Early Entry?
All guests can purchase and start reserving individual Lightning Lane and Genie+ selections upon entering a theme park. That includes Early Entry! While you can book and reserve Genie+ selections, return times will not begin until after the park officially opens.
Tips for Early Entry at Disneyland Resort
We go deeper into strategy in our separate Early Entry tips post, but generally, here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind — whether you have Early Entry or not!
Being early means getting to the park gates earlier than Early Entry. Why? You don't want to spend your half-hour in line waiting in security lines or at the touchpoints.
And if you don't have Early Entry, this means you'll be one of the first to enter at Rope Drop.
Ride Attractions Not Included with Genie+
Use Early Entry to ride attractions that are not included with Genie+ but tend to have longer lines later in the day. Some of these include Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Alice in Wonderland at Disneyland Park, and WEB SLINGERS (an individual Lightning Lane attraction) at Disney California Adventure. If you won't be using Genie+, try to tackle Space Mountain, Soarin' Around the World and Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT.
Use the Disneyland App to Check Wait Times
Be sure to have the Disneyland app on hand so you can see which rides are open and how long the wait times are in real time. This goes for both Early Entry guests and any guest once the park opens!
Hop in Line for the Most In-Demand Ride Before Rope Drop
Why not first thing? If everyone heads to the most in-demand attraction at the start of Early Entry, you might spend your half an hour in one line. Instead, walk on a few other rides, then hop in line. Maybe all the other Early Entry people will have moved on, and you'll be in line before the park opens to everyone else.
Rope Droppers, Head to Rides Not Open During Early Entry
At Disneyland, Early Entry allows access to select rides in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, so you'll want to head the opposite direction toward Adventureland, Frontierland and Critter Country. Maybe even Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge if that's a priority (though know that some Early Entry guests may have already started a line once the land opens at park open)!
We are still learning about this new service. Have a tip for using Disneyland Early Entry? Share in the comments below. And be sure to get a jump on saving on a Disneyland Resort hotel stay or discount Disneyland Resort tickets when you book with your favorite frogs at Undercover Tourist!