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Have you ever arrived for opening Disneyland Resort at either Disneyland Park or California Adventure Park?
Opening Disneyland Resort
I always tell people that sleeping in is against the rules at Disneyland Resort. Why? You’ll get so much done during those first couple of hours inside the parks when everyone else is sleeping in! Plus, local Annual Passholders tend to show up later in the day, making wait times longer and the parks more crowded.
Sometimes opening Disneyland Resort means waking up at 5:30 am even when staying at a nearby hotel, and while you’re busy thinking I’m crazy, just hang in there with me as I walk you through my top opening Disneyland Resort tips, along with a sample of one of our family days at Disneyland.
Arrive at Disneyland Resort Early
The more days you go, the cheaper you per-day admission cost gets. I get Disneyland discount tickets from our partner, Get Away Today before heading over to Disneyland Resort. Your 3+ day ticket will be cheaper than buying through Disney itself, and includes a Magic Morning admission.
How early do I need to arrive? When opening Disneyland Resort, the key is to arrive at the parks gates about 40-60 minutes before the park opens. Do not be parking your car 45 minutes before opening, do not be going through security, be at the gates. Add extra time to park and/or walk over, take the tram and go through security. This is especially important during peak summer months, holidays and events.
Summer hours means arriving even earlier! In the summer Disneyland Resort opens at 8:00 am or 7:00 am on days with early admission. One year we did a quick two day visit, that meant one day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure. It also meant waking up at 5:30 am so we could get ready, eat breakfast, walk to Disneyland and go through security. We have been the first people in front of our gate many times. If you’re an early riser or coming from a later time zone, this is the perfect chance to opening Disneyland Resort and see Disneyland and California Adventure in a way you’ve never seen it before! If you are using Magic Morning, you’ll need to arrive even earlier.
Non-peak hours means you can sleep in a teeny bit. If you simply can’t resist seeing a part of Disney Magic you’ve never seen, getting up early is a must. If you’re traveling during off-season, when the parks open at 10 am, then you get a little more time to sleep in but not much. When the parks open later, more people are there for rope drop, so I advise being at the gates 60 minutes before.
Pick the Right Park
Disneyland: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
California Adventure: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday (limited to Disneyland Resort hotel guests)
When the cast members start letting guests through the gate, take it in that you are one of very few people in the park and at that very moment. Keep in mind this is not the time to run to your destination, cast members will let you to a certain point in the park for the official rope drop at the opening time. Shops on Main Street, U.S.A. and Buena Vista Street are open.
Ride More Attractions
One of the best reasons to get there for rope drop is the amount of things you can experience before most people even roll out of bed. We often ride 10 or so rides before lunch along with meeting Disney princesses and other characters with little to no wait time. Read more about opening California Adventure and opening Disneyland here and watch a quick video of the view from the main gates of Disneyland and California Adventure just prior to opening.