Disneyland Early Entry can help you to have an even better day at the parks. This extra 30 minutes in the parks in the morning before all guests enter can make all the difference when planning your touring strategy.
Early Entry is available to Disneyland Resort Hotel guests and allows guests to enter either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure 30 minutes early each day of their stay. SEE news in section below for details on upcoming change to Early Entry.
Early Entry into Disneyland looks different than regular park hours as only a limited number of attractions are open. We’ve put together the best tips and tricks to get the most out of your early morning entry based on our experience with the service a number of times over the last six months since it returned. Updated for 2023!
There’s been no word of Magic Morning returning for multi-day ticketed guests. As of now, Early Entry at Disneyland is for Disneyland Resort Hotel guests only.
Mornings are the best times at Disneyland to see popular attractions because lines are shorter and the California sun isn’t quite so hot. Before planning an efficient morning strategy for Disneyland there are a few key features of the Disneyland Resort that you must become familiar with. Let’s dive into using Early Entry for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
As always, we at Mickey Visit recommend planning your day in advance to avoid feeling overwhelmed (especially for Disneyland first timers!) at the parks.
Disneyland Early Entry 2023 Admission Details
There are a few details to be aware of before you utilize your Early Entry admission at the Disneyland Resort.
NEWS! Starting January 20, 2024, Early Entry at Disneyland will only happen at either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park each morning. Currently, the Early Entry offering is offered every day at both theme parks. For visits starting on Jan 20th, guests will need to check the theme park calendar for the dates that Early Entry is offered at each park.
This change is not entirely unexpected as the Early Entry mornings truly are quite empty when you visit the parks currently. All that we hope is that Disneyland will make more of an effort to have all of the attractions listed for an Early Entry start up and running if they are going to consolidate to one park (as we mention below, many attractions currently don’t make it open in time for Early Entry even though they are included with the offering). We would also like to see a dedicated line for entrance into the park in the morning (see why in our strategy below). No other changes for Early Entry were announced.
For those guests that are not staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotels, this is actually good news and means that on mornings when a park doesn’t have early entry, you can even better utilize our Disneyland Morning Strategy or Disney California Adventure morning strategy because no guests will be in front of you already in the parks. This will especially help in Disney California Adventure. We’ll test all of this out and report back when this change is made.
Until January 20, 2024, Early Entry is offered daily at both Disneyland and California Adventure for Disney Resort Guests. If you are a guest of Disney California Adventure, Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier then you can use Early Entry! More info in our Disneyland hotels review here.
The Disneyland Early Entry is not available for Good Neighbor Disneyland Hotel and is only reserved for on-property Disneyland Resort hotels.
This is a recent change from the way early park admission used to work at Disneyland. Disneyland used to grant ticket holders of 3+ day tickets access to Magic Mornings which would grant them one morning of access to the park one hour early. So far, there has been no announcement of this perk returning for ticketed guests. Keep reading for our tips based on utilizing theme park early entry a number of times over the last couple of months since the service returned.
The other change is the switch to 30 minutes for early entry as opposed to one hour along with this early entry happening daily at both parks meaning that resort guests will always be a step ahead each day at both parks.
How to Use Genie+ with Early Entry Into Disneyland
Keep in mind that Genie+ reservation times won’t be before official park opening but it’s a wise decision to start stacking those Lightning Lane reservations the instant you get in the park! You will be able to book Lightning Lanes the instant your park ticket is scanned so go ahead and book your first Genie+ reservation or purchase your individual Lightning Lane access!
Disneyland Early Entry 2023 Tips From Multiple Trips
The below are tips based on a number of visits where we utilized Early Entry at Disneyland over the last six months since it returned. These tips are updates for 2023. Here are key things to know as you utilize Early Entry that we only found out by utilizing the experience ourselves.
- On most days Early Entry is scheduled for both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. When the parks are scheduled to open for the general public at 8 am, the Early Entry offering is scheduled to start at 7:30 am. The park gates open to all guests just before 7:30 am and Early Entry guests are then able to walk through a separate checkpoint to the select attractions and experiences that were open. You’ll follow signs for Early Entry guests as seen above with the smiling Cast Member in the top photo.
- We highly recommend that you arrive to the main gate of the park an hour before official park opening if you hope to fully utilize your Early Entry. We arrive this early and did not have trouble getting into the parks as one of the first groups. By the time the gates open, there will be a line behind you. Don’t be at the back of that line. You’ll end up waiting about 20 minutes before the gates open for you to scan in.
- At this time there is still NOT a specific main gate entrance at the park marked for Early Entry Disneyland and Disney California Adventure guests. This is different than the previous Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning experiences where there were separate queues. This means that you could end up in a line of non-hotel guests who are lined up to be able to rope drop in the theme parks as opposed to be using Early Entry. This makes it even more important to arrive to security by an hour before the official park opening.
- To walk through the Early Entry checkpoint, someone in your party has to have your hotel room key and hotel reservation pulled up on your Disneyland app. Make sure that you have your reservation linked and pulled up before you arrive to the checkpoint. This becomes a bottleneck similar to the Genie Plus check ins for attractions. Do not be afraid to confidently walk up to the Cast Member with your group in tow if there are people in front of them. Many will be struggling to find their hotel reservation information.
- If you are entering either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park I recommend utilizing the main gate entrance. The hotel entrance from the Grand Californian Hotel into Disney California Adventure will get a long line outside of the security checkpoint in preparation for Early Entry into Disney California Adventure. So, when the gate opens at 7:30 am you’ll be wasting Early Entry time by waiting for security to work through the entire line.
- At Disneyland, the Early Entry experience at Fantasyland is a breeze. There are so many attractions close together that this is the perfect way to work through almost every classic attraction here that you would be interested in before the crowds arrive. At the end of Early Entry, you have a choice to either keep working through Fantasyland or rush over to one of the attractions in Frontierland, Adventureland, or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that is not part of the Early Entry experience.
- At Disney California Adventure, there are fewer small attractions open during Early Entry. Riding WEB Slingers – A Spider-Man Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! will take up the full 30 minutes if not longer. If you are lucky you may have just enough time to reposition yourself in front of Radiator Springs Racers to walk on there, but the first two attractions may take longer. If you are not off of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! before the end of the 30 minutes, consider heading to Pixar Pier to ride Toy Story Midway Mania or Incredicoaster.
- There are always a number of attractions opening late or available on again and off again. This is common in the mornings and something that you need to manage your expectations for. When we did Early Entry for Disney California Adventure we didn’t have trouble with any of the attractions we were hoping to ride during the early 30 minutes, but at park opening Radiator Springs Racers and Incredicoaster both opened late. At Disneyland, Space Mountain may end up opening late even though it was supposed to open with Early Entry. In one case it did not open until a little while into the 30 minutes. Make sure to be ready to roll with the punches.
- MOST IMPORTANT – Our Disneyland morning strategy and Disney California Adventure morning strategy still work well and are still a critical part of having a successful morning after utilizing Early Entry.
See below. This is the line at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel that you want to skip. The line for Early Entry almost wraps all the way from the entrance back to the lobby.
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How Will Disneyland Early Entry Impact Non-Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests?
Previously Disney offered early entry experiences in an alternating fashion between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. The previous offering also was for a greater number of guests – guests who purchased three day and longer tickets and Disneyland Resort Hotel guests had varying levels of access. Now, this Early Entry half hour will take place everyday at both parks and just be available to guests of the Disneyland Resort Hotels. This will impact the way that crowds are built up when non-Early Entry guests enter the parks.
After experiencing Early Entry, I am confident that the new offering will not dramatically shift crowd flows. The only impact that we witnessed during our two days of testing was that Peter Pan did reach the 45 minute line earlier in the day. Even with that said, few other attractions had impacted wait times that would cause a shift in morning strategy.
As we predicted, Disney California Adventure was barely impacted by the addition of Early Entry as there are so many E-Ticket attractions open that guests blanket across. The bigger consideration there came when park attractions opened late and funneled guests into other available attractions. See tips Early Entry into Disneyland above for context.
Disneyland Early Entry Using Disneyland App
Disneyland has an app that you can download for either Android or iPhone that will give you the most accurate wait times for rides. This app is a must have for anyone visiting Disneyland. You can link your park tickets to it, make dining reservations, use the mobile food ordering feature, link your PhotoPass tickets, and book Genie+ reservations!
Pro tip: download this app PRIOR to your trip and become familiar with it. This way when you show up to the gates you are already a pro at using the app. Take a look at the layout of each park on the app so you have a rough idea of where you are going once you enter!
Available Attractions & Experiences for Disneyland Hotel Early Entry in 2023
Not all attractions and lands are available during Disneyland Early Entry. There are only select experiences and attractions open during this time. It’s important to plan ahead so you know what is open and what attractions are priority for your family.
- Alice in Wonderland
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- King Arthur Carrousel
- Mad Tea Party
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
- Astro Orbitor
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Disneyland Monorail
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Disneyland Park Dining and Shopping
- Fantasyland Fruit Cart
- Galactic Grill
- Guide II
- Esplanade Stroller Shop
- The Mad Hatter in Fantasyland
- Market House
- Plaza Inn
PhotoPass Early Entry
One of my favorite tips for guests is to utilize at least one Photopass option during Early Entry into Disneyland. Not all PhotoPass photographers will be around but the most reliable is the photographer that is stationed in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Disneyland Early Entry is your prime opportunity to get that perfect castle picture without a crowd in the background. Don’t stop for too long here, but it is a nice time to grab a no wait photo with no lines.
During one morning, my son and I got the perfect castle picture without one single person in the picture with us. It only takes a few minutes and it’s definitely worth the time before riding the attractions! Early entry is also a great time to take your own pictures of the parks with your kids because of that limited crowd. Some of the best pictures I’ve taken at the Disneyland Resort of my family was during Early Entry.
Disneyland Early Entry Hotel Strategy Tips and Tricks
Even though there will be a limited amount of park guests during Early Entry, the most popular attraction lines will still fill up faster than the others.
We recommend families utilize the Tomorrowland attractions during Early Entry as Fantasyland will still have lower wait times when the park officially opens. If you have small children and most of Tomorrowland doesn’t fit your family- then go straight to Fantasyland and enjoy the minimal to no wait times!
After Early Entry ends, you can keep strategizing for great success. Read our morning strategy for Disneyland for all our best tips.
Should I line up for Rise of the Resistance during Early Entry?
The main two attractions in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Rise of the Resistance. Rise of the Resistance is hands down the most popular ride in Disneyland in the moment with the consistently highest wait times. You can purchase access to the attraction to the Lightning Lane via Gene+ for an average price of $15-20 per person or utilize the standby line.
Many guests may wonder if they should spend this thirty minutes waiting for the land to open which is a reasonable question to ask. Since the most popular ride in the land, Rise of the Resistance, can have large stand by lines and be costly when purchasing a la carte access via Genie+ then yes, I would say it’s worth it!
If you want to get a head start, you can utilize early entry to your advantage to be at the front of the pack heading back to the ride. At about 10-15 minutes prior to official park opening, line up to the gate at the back of Fantasyland that leads to the rest of the park and towards Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. You will walk past Red Rose Taverne to find it and the (likely) crowd waiting for it to open. Since the rest of the park without early entry has to Rope Drop the land from a considerable distance away, being at the front of this line gives you a much better chance of getting on the ride with little to no wait.
But keep in mind, you will have to walk at a pretty brisk pace to pull this off and if you have small children/strollers- this may not be the best option for you. If you don’t think you can ‘hustle’ quick enough, it’s best to come back later in the evening or purchase Lightning Lane access.
This advice and feedback also applies to Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure! You will have closer access to Cars Land since you will have access to Avengers Campus during Early Entry so you could line up facing Radiator Springs Racers (past the Quinjet and the Dr. Strange show stage) and be ready to go! You can get a jumpstart on the crowds for this attraction using Early Entry and avoid the long, long standby lines during the day and paying for access via Genie+. As you can see, early entry definitely puts hotel guests at an advantage!
Available Attractions & Experiences for Early Entry at Disney California Adventure
Not all attractions and lands are available during Early Entry. There are only select experiences and attractions open during this time. It’s important to plan ahead so you know what is open and what attractions are priority for your family.
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
- The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
- Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Disney California Adventure Park Dining and Shopping
- Cappuccino Cart
- The Collector’s Warehouse
- Esplanade Stroller Shop
- Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe
- Fillmore’s Taste-In
- Knick’s Knacks
- WEB Suppliers
Disneyland Early Entry Strategy Tips and Tricks
Even though there will be a limited amount of park guests during Early Entry, the most popular attraction lines will still fill up faster than the others.
The Little Mermaid and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree generally has a low wait time all day long so save those for later in the day. Monsters Inc. usually won’t run out of Lightning Lane spots so that one can be low priority as well. Focus on the most popular rides like WEB SLINGERS: A Spiderman Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy and Soarin’.
Once you complete your Early Entry in Disney California Adventure, you can use our Morning Strategy for Disney California Adventure for once the park is officially open.
What days are is Disneyland Early Entry Available?
Disneyland Early Entry is available every day thirty minutes before official park opening for Disneyland Resort Hotel guests. This is a change from the previous early entry offerings that alternated between parks.
More Disneyland Planning Tips
There is always a lot of information to consider before planning an Disneyland vacation. Make sure to spend time planning your days in the theme parks and become familiar with everything Disneyland has to offer. Don’t forget to subscribe to our FREE Deals Newsletter to stay on top of the current planning tips, strategies, and deals.
You can discover more about planning your trip to Disneyland from these links:
- California Adventure Touring Strategy: Guide to Maximize Your Mornings
- Disneyland Morning Touring Strategy: Guide to Maximize Your Mornings
- How to Plan Your Disneyland Trip
- Disneyland in the Summer
- 40+ Places to Find Cheap Food in Disneyland
Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.