Tips for Opening Disneyland

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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!

Open Disneyland Park
Open Disneyland Park

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

This article is all about opening Disneyland Park and what regulars call “rope drop”. Plus, you’ll get lots of tips for planning your perfect Disneyland Resort vacation. If you’re looking for tips to open California Adventure you can catch up there first.

Disneyland gates

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.

See those trees in the planters in the photo above? You want to stand in a line behind one of those like at 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 until we heard the announcement of the official park opening along with the sound of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.

On one visit, we met up with the rope near the enterance to Tomorrowland. Check out a quick view of the crowd prior to rope drop in the videos below.


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 FASTPASS or MaxPass for multiple rides including Space Mountain. Getting up early for those rides alone was worth it. On one particular day, we had friends that went the very next day (mid-week, middle of summer) and only rode 6 rides the entire day. Get there early, it’s totally worth it.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.

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.


Disneyland Rope Drop FASTPASS Prep

Kids at Disneyland

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

  • The new Disney MaxPass which allows you to reserve a FASTPASS on your mobile device.
  • Free FASTPASS which requires walking to each kiosk for a return time.

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.

Since 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.

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

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.

Get your Disneyland discount tickets from our partner, Get Away Today before heading over to Disneyland Resort.

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.

Buy Discount Tickets Now!

Disneyland Plans

Need more advice on how to spend your day at Disneyland? We have ready-to-print touring 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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