Ultimate Guide to Extra Magic Hour & Magic Morning at Disneyland

Disneyland Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hour can help you to have an even better day at the parks. This extra hour in the parks in the morning before all guests enter can make all the difference when planning your touring strategy.

Extra Magic Hours are available to Disneyland Resort Hotel guests and allows guests to enter either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure one hour early each day of their stay. Guests that aren’t staying at the Disneyland Resort hotels are eligible for Magic Morning Early Admission into Disneyland Park for one day if they’ve bought a 3+ day park pass in advance of their visit or a Southern California admission pass.

Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour at Disneyland look 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.

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.

As always, we at Mickey Visit recommend planning your day in advance to avoid feeling overwhelmed (especially for Disneyland first timers!) at the parks.

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Disneyland App To Jumpstart Your Morning

Morning strategy for Disneyland: Cast member holding plate of food

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 FastPasses with MaxPass!

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!

Disneyland Magic Morning Strategy FastPass

We have written an ultimate guide to using FastPass at the Disneyland Resort. This is definitely a must read for first time guests. Check out our guide here. FastPasses give you a return window to come ride the attraction later to help avoid guests waiting for hours in the standby line. Be sure to be familiar with FastPass because they are essential for having a smooth start at either park! Some FastPasses go quicker than others due to the popularity of the ride so that is why it is so important to grab them in the morning. Fastpasses are essential to this morning strategy for Disneyland guide!

Pro tip: check out the list of attractions that offer FastPass and see which ones are your group’s top must sees. Make those your priority in the morning!

Disneyland MaxPass Strategy

Image of cellphone with maxpass option: Morning Strategy at Disneyland

Last summer, Disney released a mobile version of the FastPass system called MaxPass. MaxPass, unlike FastPass, isn’t a free feature and costs $10 per person per day. Depending on the size of your group, this feasibly may not be an option. But it is a great feature that makes touring the parks a breeze.

MaxPass allows you to book FastPasses from your mobile device so it saves you a walk across the park. This not only helps you grab FastPasses efficiently but it also helps save energy! MaxPass also comes with unlimited PhotoPass downloads for the day which is a great additional feature. If you only have one day in the parks, MaxPass is highly recommended for your group. Be sure to read our full guide to Disneyland MaxPass.

Magic Morning Early Admission Details

Sleeping Castle is still beautiful during summer at Disneyland.

There are a few details to be aware of before you utilize your Magic Morning early admission at the Disneyland Resort. You can only use your early entry on certain days of the week and only certain park passes are eligible. Here are the nitty and gritty details on how and when to use that Magic Morning pass!

Eligible Park Tickets:  3+ day park passes bought in advance of park arrival when bought online or at the ticket booth. (You can get these tickets for a steep Disney discount here.)

Eligible Parks: Disneyland Resort. Magic Morning cannot be used at California Adventure.

Schedule for Magic Morning: Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays. Guests may pick from one of these days to use their early admission.

MaxPass: Guests can purchase their MaxPass experience and book FastPasses as soon as they enter the gates for Magic Morning. However, FastPass arrival times will only be issued for times that experience is open to the general public after the park officially opens.

Available Attractions & Experiences for Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour at Disneyland

King Arthur's carousel

Not all attractions and lands are available during Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour. 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.

Fantasyland

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures

Tomorrowland

  • Astro Orbitor
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Space Mountain
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Other Available Experiences

Generally speaking, there will be some food carts or quick service options (in the designated lands open) during Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour. These options will vary and we recommend bringing snacks during this valuable morning hour rather than waste precious attraction time hunting down food.

One of my favorite tips for guests is to utilize at least one Photopass option during Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour. Not all PhotoPass photographers will be around but the most reliable is the photographer that is stationed in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. This is your prime opportunity to get that perfect castle picture without a crowd in the background. During one Magic 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! Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour 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 Magic Morning hour.

Magic Morning: close up of Walt and Mickey statue

Strategy Tips and Tricks

Even though there will be a limited amount of park guests during Magic Morning hour, the most popular attraction lines will still fill up faster than the others. If Peter Pan’s Flight is a must for your family, we recommend going there first. Here is a simple strategy to help maximize your Magic Morning time.

  • Buy MaxPass upon entry
  • Book MaxPass for Space Mountain
  • Ride Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
  • Ride Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Ride Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Ride Astro Orbitor
  • Book your next MaxPass the instant you are able to which will likely be thirty minutes after you booked the first one. If you accomplished everything on this list, pick a FastPass option over in Adventureland so you can head that direction once the park opens.

We recommend families utilize the Tomorrowland attractions during Magic Morning and Early Magic Hour 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 Magic Morning ends, you can keep strategizing for great success. Read our morning strategy for Disneyland for all our best tips.

Keep in mind that MaxPass reservations won’t be before official park opening time but it’s a wise decision to start stacking those FastPasses the instant you get in the park!

Extra Magic Hour Admission Details

The outside of the Disneyland hotel

There are a few details to be aware of before you utilize your Extra Magic Hour early admission at Disneyland or California Adventure. Here are the nitty and gritty details on how and when to use that Extra Magic Hour pass!

Eligible Guests:  Guests that are staying at an official Disneyland Resort hotel enjoy early hour admission every day of their hotel stay to either Disneyland or California Adventure. More info in our Disneyland hotels review here.

Eligible Parks: Disneyland and California Adventure

Schedule for Disneyland: Tuesdays, Thursdays,  and Saturdays

Schedule for California Adventure: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

MaxPass: Guests can purchase their Disneyland MaxPass experience and book FastPasses as soon as they enter the gates for Magic Morning. However, FastPass arrival times will only be issued for times that experience is open to the general public after the park officially opens.

Available Attractions & Experiences for Extra Magic Hour at California Adventure

Not all attractions and lands are available during Early Magic Hour. 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.

Attractions

  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Incredicoaster
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • World of Color FASTPASS Kiosk

Other Available Experiences

Generally speaking, there will be some food carts or quick service options (in the designated lands open) during Early Magic Hour. These options will vary and we recommend bringing snacks during this valuable morning hour rather than waste precious attraction time hunting down food.

One of my favorite tips for guests is to utilize at least one Photopass option during Early Magic Hour. Not all PhotoPass photographers will be around but you can check the Disneyland App to see which ones are. This is your prime opportunity to get that perfect park picture without a crowd in the background. It only takes a few minutes and it’s definitely worth the time before riding the attractions! Early Magic Hour is also a great time to take your own pictures of the parks with your kids without a crowd clogging up the background of your photos.

Outside of the Cozy Cone

Strategy Tips and Tricks

Even though there will be a limited amount of park guests during Early Magic hour, the most popular attraction lines will still fill up faster than the others. Especially since some of California Adventure’s most popular rides are included in the open attractions! Here is a strategy to help maximize your time in this hour at California Adventure.

  • Buy MaxPass upon entry
  • Book Radiator Springs Racers with MaxPass
  • Ride Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Ride Incredicoaster
  • Pull World of Color FastPass located near The Little Mermaid- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Ride Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Ride Goofy’s Fly School
  • Book your next MaxPass the instant you are able to which will likely be thirty minutes after you booked the first one. If you accomplished everything on this list, pick a FastPass for Guardians so you can ride it twice! Or grab it for something you may have missed on the list. Either way, keep grabbing those FastPasses!
  • Ride Soarin’
  • Ride Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

We prioritized the most popular attractions with high wait times in this strategy. The Little Mermaid generally has a low wait time all day long so save that one for later in the day. Soarin’ usually won’t run out of FastPasses until late afternoon so that one can be low priority as well. Focus on the most popular rides that are hard to get FastPasses for during the day like Radiator Springs Racers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Toy Story Midway Mania, and the Incredicoaster.

Once you complete your Extra Magic Hour in Disney California Adventure, you can use our Morning Strategy for Disney California Adventure for once the park is officially open.

Keep in mind that MaxPass reservations won’t be before official park opening time but it’s a wise decision to start stacking those FastPasses the instant you get in the park!

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:

Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.

2 comments add yours

  1. Great information! Can you use MaxPass/Fastpass during the early magic hour tho? I’ve been playing with the disneyland app and see that all Fastpass Return times start after the parks open for everyone, not for the early magic hour.

    • You can start booking your FastPasses but they won’t be for times before official opening. It’s still great to get a head start! Sorry for the late comment, hopefully this will still be helpful to you.

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