Early Morning Theme Park Entry is a new perk reserved for Disney Resort guests and guests staying at select Good Neighbor hotels. And with the change of Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom comes a slew of things to consider. Especially if you’re planning to get people-free photos or get to the parks extra early. Here are all the details about the Early Theme Park Entry so you can decide whether or not you want to get up early on your vacation.
When does Early Theme Park Entry Start?
October 1, 2021, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Celebration.
WHO CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DISNEY’s Early Morning Theme Park Entry?
All guests staying at any Walt Disney World Resort and If staying at one of the following Good Neighbor Hotels in Disney Springs you also get this perk.
- Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
- B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando
- Shades of Green
- Disney Dolphin Hotel
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- *NEW* Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
WHAT ARE THE PERKS OF Early Morning Theme Park Entry?
Guests staying at any of the included hotels or resorts are allowed to
- arrive early to any theme park, on any day 30 minutes before posted opening hours.
- get access to rides before the crowds arrive
- take advantage of emptier busses
- enjoy an emptier park
WHAT IF I JUST SHOW UP? HOW DO THEY KNOW I AM ALLOWED OR NOT ALLOWED IN?
If you’re wondering how Disney knows if you are staying on-site or not, you can look to your MagicBand and all the RFID computer coding involved with that little device. If arriving in the morning, your MagicBand or MagicMobile Wallet, linked to your My Disney Experience Account ( which stores your resort information) will tell them if you’re allowed to be in this early.
WHEN Can You Arrive at the Park for Early Theme Park Entry?
Since Early Theme Park Entry is available EVERY DAY at every Disney Theme Park for Disney Resort guests, you can arrive at any time as long as you meet the requirement of being a Disney Resort guest. If you’re using a Rope Drop Strategy for your favorite ride at any park, we highly recommend arriving at least 30-60 minutes before your early park entry time. So if the park opens at 8 am, and you’re allowed to arrive at 7:30 am, we’d say aim for a 6:30 am or 7 am arrival at the gate. This will help get you closer to the front of the gates, and at the head of the crowds when you race walk to your favorite ride.
WHAT TIME is Early Theme Park Entry?
Mornings: 30 minutes before scheduled park opening.
Get up early enough to be at the gates at least 30-60 minutes before park opening. Regardless of which park you’re visiting. Early Theme Park Entry only works if you’re able to be there early enough to make it worth it. What ride are you rope-dropping? What are you hoping to do by being there early? A 30-minute lead time isn’t a long time. Make a plan and be there early, because the crowds will be right on your tail.
SOME DISNEY CONFUSION FOR EVERYONE
Recently Disney introduced two new events that allow early and late access to the parks. Disney After Hours and Extra Magical Mornings are both ticketed events that cost extra money. Don’t get these confused with the simply early opening or late closing at the Disney Parks. Early Theme Park Entry hours are always free and just a simple time change in open hours.
Is Getting Up for Early Theme Park Entry WORTH IT?
You only have to consider a few things to see if the effort is worth it for you and your family/fellow vacationers. Ask yourself these questions.
- Are you good at getting up early? So you can arrive 30-60 minutes ahead of your Early Theme Park Entry time so you can maximize your morning?
- Are you at Disney mainly for the rides?
- Is there one ride that you absolutely MUST DO and need to rope drop at the opening?
- Do you hate lines?
- Did you fail to book an early in-park dining reservation for breakfast that would get you closer to line entrances than the incoming guests at regular park opening?
If you answered YES to these questions, then grab a pen and paper and check out Disney’s Park calendar in the link above so you can start planning your 15-hour days… you are built to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry.
If you answered NO to these questions, then you should look at the Early Theme Park Entry as a perk as opposed to a plan to maximize your Disney vacation. As a perk, Early Theme Park Entry is a delightful, nice surprise that allows you into the park a little earlier
HAS DISNEY Early Theme Park Entry CHANGED?
YES! Before the Early Theme Park entry, there were Disney Extra Magic Hours that showed up sporadically across the Disney calendar. Early Theme Park entry is available every day.