Tips for Opening Disneyland Resort

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Have you ever arrived for opening Disneyland Resort at either Disneyland Park or California Adventure Park?Disneyland Rope Drop tips

This article is all about opening Disneyland Resort and what regulars call “rope drop” at Disneyland. Plus, you’ll get lots of tips for planning your perfect Disneyland vacation.


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What is Disneyland Rope Drop? Rope Drop is the official opening ceremony of Disneyland Resort parks. Guests who arrive early are admitted to a certain point in the parks that are roped off. When the announcement comes over the speaker welcoming you to Disneyland Resort, the rope drops and you’re admitted into various themed lands.
What time does Disneyland open? It varies depending on the season and could open anytime from 7:00 am (for Magic Morning) to 10:00 am. Disneyland releases the opening schedules 6 weeks in advance. I always recommend arriving well before Disneyland actually opens.

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 

Getting up early is essential to make the most of your time and money, especially if you’re only visiting for one day. I recommend doing Disneyland Resort over 3 or 4 days, with a break day in-between (sleeping in is totally allowed on break day!).

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.

Plus, enjoy an extra $10 off when booking a hotel stay of two nights or more along with your discount Disneyland tickets! Use promo code Happiest10 at checkout.Disneyland Package savings

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

If you have Magic Morning access, remember that you’re opening time is one hour earlier than the regular published time. You still need to arrive early. Many people with Magic Morning assume if they arrive one hour early, they will have a successful Magic Morning and find they spent most of it in security or at the gates to check in. When using Magic Morning, make sure you start at the right park on the right day. Read all about Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour here.


We usually chose to open the park opposite of Magic Morning when we’ve already used our Magic Morning. But don’t be too concerned if your schedule doesn’t allow that flexibility. A solid Disneyland Plan can help you have the best experience at Disneyland Resort with a detailed in-park itinerary.


The schedule for Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour is typically:

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.

Are you ready to rise and shine for all the perks of opening Disneyland Resort?

Disneyland expert who also loves the beach, flip flops and pink nail polish.

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