Tips for Opening Disneyland

Have you ever arrived for Disneyland rope drop? It’s the name for opening Disneyland Resort at either Disneyland Park or California Adventure Park and you have got to try it!Disneyland Rope Drop opening

If you’ve never been to Disneyland Resort for the official opening keep reading here for all the magical details about opening Disneyland and California Adventure.

Disneyland Rope Drop

There’s no sleeping in on a Disneyland vacation. It’s a hard and true fact that I’ll explain more as we go along, so stay with me. We’re talking opening Disneyland Park and what regulars call “rope drop.”  I’ll also share lots of tips for planning your perfect Disneyland Resort vacation. 

Disneyland rope drop


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.

Disneyland gates

When should I arrive at Disneyland for Rope Drop?

Arrive earlier than you think! You’ll need to be at the gates above at least 30 minutes before the park is scheduled to open. When you arrive, stand in a line behind one of those planters in the photo above. Certain gates, like gate 13 . . . because the line splits so if you’re farther back your line should actually move quicker when the gates open.


Remember, cast members let you stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. and gather at the entrance where each land branches off. Our first destination is often Fantasyland or Tomorrowland, so we gather at the rope near Sleeping Beauty Castle or Astro Orbitors until we hear the announcement of the official park opening along with the sound of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.

Arrive at Disneyland Rope Drop Early

Is there really any better way to start your day? In the first 90 minutes of the park opening we typically ride 7 rides, visit the Princesses, visit Pixie Hollow and secure a handful of Disney MaxPass selections for multiple rides including Space Mountain. 

Disneyland Monorail

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!). If you’re a guest of a Disneyland Resort hotel, you get access to Extra Magic Hour which is prime ride time at California Adventure.
Pixar Pier view

The more days you go, the cheaper you per-day admission cost gets. 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.

Pixar Ticket

Plus, enjoy an extra $10 off when booking a hotel stay of two nights or more along with your discount Disneyland tickets! Get my promo code delivered to your inbox now.Package

How early do I need to arrive for Disneyland Rope Drop?

When opening Disneyland Resort, the key is to arrive at the parks gates about 30-60 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 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.

Get through Disneyland Security Fast

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. 

Jessica and Walt DCA

Remember, when the parks open later, more people are there for rope drop. I advise being at the gates 60 minutes before Disneyland opens, especially on days when they open at 10. 

Disneyland Rope Drop MaxPass Prep

When starting your day at Disneyland Park, be prepared for the type of FASTPASS system you will use during your Disneyland Resort vacation:

Kids at Disneyland


For those choosing Disney MaxPass, make certain you have a credit card linked to your Disneyland app account before entering the park on your first day. Since this is a paid upgrade, you don’t want any delay in snagging your first FASTPASS via Disney MaxPass.

Disneyland MaxPass

Bonus Tip: Disney MaxPass works via mobile device. You’ll be using lots of cell phone battery which is why I never go to Disneyland Resort without this compact portable charger. If you forget yours, they do sell FuelRods inside the parks too. 

Radiator Springs racing

Once the rope drops and the park is officially open, secure your FASTPASS for some of the most popular attractions like Space Mountain or Radiator Springs Racers. After securing your FASTPASS, head to a nearby attraction to ride something without a FASTPASS option while you wait. 


California Adventure FASTPASS


If you’re looking to stay on budget and want to go the traditional FASTPASS route, make your way toward your desired destination before the park officially opens. Be sure you have everyone’s ticket in hand to secure your FASTPASS at the kiosk. The FASTPASS will be loaded directly to your ticket and only prints a reminder slip as pictured below.

it's a small world holiday FASTPASS

*Note: If your entire party has not entered the park, you cannot claim a FASTPASS for them while they sleep at the hotel. Every ticket needs to be scanned in at the park entrance to activate FASTPASS via kiosk or Disney MaxPass.

Disneyland Rope Drop Plans

Disneyland Plan thumbnailNeed more advice on how to spend your day at Disneyland? We have ready-to-print Disneyland Plans, including our popular Disneyland Classics and Disneyland Princess plans. See all our Disneyland Plans here to plan out your day for maximum fun!

How will you spend your morning hours at Disneyland Park when you arrive at rope drop?

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