Tips for Opening Disneyland Resort

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Have you ever arrived early enough 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.

Disneyland Rope Drop Q&A


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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 (on days featuring Magic Morning) to 10:00 am. Disneyland releases the hourly schedule 6 weeks in advance. I always recommend arriving well before Disneyland actually opens.
Disneyland Hours July
See hours for the month you’re going to Disneyland here:
  • July 2019
  • August 2019
  • September 2019
  • October 2019
  • November 2019
  • December 2019

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.

holiday inn breakfast cinnamon rolls

When opening Disneyland Resort means waking up early, it’s easier to wake up when you’re staying at nearby Holiday Inn Express and Suites. It’s one of my favorite Disneyland area hotels because it’s a short walk over to the parks. Plus, you can grab a fresh, hot breakfast to eat at the hotel or take on the go. 

Arrive at Disneyland Resort Early 

Getting up early is essential to making 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. 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 line at our turnstile 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 10:00 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.

Bonus Tip: Get prepped to use Disney MaxPass with our simple guide right here so you can ride more big rides in less time. 

Pick the Right Park

If you have Magic Morning access, remember that your 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 arrive 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. 


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

26 thoughts on “Tips for Opening Disneyland Resort

  • Ausha Benner

    If I’m driving up from San Diego and Disneyland Park opens at 8am, what time should I get to the parking structure to ensure I can be one of the first ones in to park?

    • Hi Ausha, I would arrive at the parking garage at about 6:20 am. That’s an early, early day coming up from SD but the parking lot will open at 6:30 am. I tested it myself just a couple weeks ago to make sure they do open 90 mins prior and it was on the dot. We were the 10th car in and arrived at 6:20.

  • Vanessa

    Hi. Your website has been so helpful. Our goal is to go Sunday 12/2 . We want to be the first ones through the gates 🙂 What can we do to help our chances? Website says parking opens 1 hour but we still have to go through security. What time does security allow people through? We are thinking of dropping off one of us early and then going to park the car?

    • Hi Vanessa, I like your plan. Yes, I recommend dropping one person off (if not everyone else) at the passenger pick up/drop off spot referenced in this article. Security is there well before the parking lot opens. I’ve even wandered over there before the official security screenings open (lots of people jog through Downtown Disney in the morning) and you can go right through to the gates. There are many turnstiles so being there about 90 minutes early should certainly get you in the front of one of them.

  • Amy

    We have tomorrow which is Sunday and Tuesday to go to both parks which park do u recommend which day?? I was thinking Tuesday for the big park for the best day for my kids because should be less crowded but but i may be wrong because of magic hour. We do not have hopper privileges.

    • Hi Amy, let me make sure I understand correctly. You have a 2 day ticket, visiting one park per day. You’re wondering which day to go to Disneyland Park and which day to go to California Adventure Park? This time of year it’s truly a toss up; with summer break in full swing I expect the parks to be busy either way. I would consider more if you’d like to end with Disneyland Park or not. Most people feel Disneyland Park is the most magical and want to end their visit there. For that reason, I would suggest California Adventure on Sunday and Disneyland on Tuesday. Don’t stress about not being in the park for Magic Morning (not included in 2 day tickets) and arrive at the gate by 7:15 and get ready for some fun!

  • The Hungry Mum

    The only time i happily get out of bed early is on a Disney holiday!
    Looking forward to rope drop on our Sept visit. We did rope drop @ WDW last year, (even though we were exhausted from our flight from Australia) – it makes a big difference to how much you can get done in a day.

  • Luis Hernandez

    I got a quite hyped and a little ansious too reading this post :).. me and my wife will travel from San Diego early morning on a fairly busy day (May 18), Disneyland opens at 8, California Adventure has magic morning that day and Grad Night events so it opens at 7am, i got the single day park hopper with maxpass, any recommendations or tips for our trip? thanks!

  • This sounds like so much fun! We are hoping to go to DL next year but our kids are all fairly young and I’m not sure that we’d be able to get up that early with them. I’ve heard that there is a separate rope drop at Toon Town though, so maybe we could do that instead.

  • Andy

    Hi Jessica!

    I’m coming from the FB post you did. I really liked your recommendation for a rest day in between. My wife and I did a 3 day Disney trip a year ago and we were SOOOO tired after the first two days. We bit the bullet and went back to our hotel to take a nap cause we were so exhausted. So I definitely agree that if you have the time, a break day at the beach or relaxing by the pool would be beneficial.

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