Disney World Early Theme Park Entry provides an extra 30 minutes of fun for all Disney World Resort and some select hotel guests each day. Use our Disney World early entry strategy to get the most out of your park day.
- What Is Early Entry?
- Who Is Eligible For Early Theme Park Entry?
- How Do I Use Early Entry?
- What Can I Do During Early Entry?
- Early Theme Park Entry Strategy For Each Park
- Early Entry Attractions
What Is Disney World Early Theme Park Entry?
Access rides, shops, and areas before off-site guests during early entry.
Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom open 30 minutes early each day for guests of Disney World and select area resorts.
Who Is Eligible For Early Entry at Disney World?
Registered guests of any of the following resorts enjoy Disney World Early Theme Park Entry perks. Early Entry Resorts include every on-site Disney World resort plus several select hotels.
Disney World Resorts With Early Theme Park Entry:
- All-Star Movies, Music, or Sports Resorts
- Art of Animation Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- The Campsites and Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort
- Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter or Riverside
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Contemporary Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Polynesian Village Resort
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club Resort
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House or Kidani Village
- Beach Club Villas
- BoardWalk Villas
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Riviera Resort
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Additional Select Hotels With Early Theme Park Entry:
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Swan Reserve
- Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World® Resort
- 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
- Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
- Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista
How Do I Use Disney World Early Theme Park Entry?
Find Early Entry Hours
Disney park hours fluctuate constantly. For the most up to date early entry time use the Disney World app to find “Park Hours & Info”. Then choose your date and scroll to the correct park.
Under the park name find sets of different park hours. The top number is the official park hours and just below find early entry hours.
Have Valid Theme Park Tickets And Park Reservations
Disney World guests must have a valid theme park ticket PLUS a theme park reservation to enter the parks. Theme park reservations have been in place since Disney World reopened, but not making them is the most common mistake I see people make.
Use Disney World early entry only where you have a theme park reservation. For example, if your park reservation is for Magic Kingdom, you are only eligible for Magic Kingdom Early Theme Park Entry.
Guests with one park per day tickets must then spend the rest of the day at the same park where they did early entry. Those with park hopper tickets can move to another theme park anytime during the day if there’s capacity.
Know Which Attractions Are Part of Disney World Early Theme Park Entry
Not all attractions are up and running during early hours. Verify which attractions are part of early entry to avoid wasting time and potential disappointment.
For example, Kilimanjaro Safari is a popular attraction people might plan to ride during early hours. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the offered attractions. If you walk all the way back to Kilimanjaro Safari just to find it closed you’ll have wasted your whole time advantage.
Arrive 60 Minutes Before Disney World Early Theme Park Entry Begins
Security opens early and people line up at the entrance gates 60 to 90 minutes before park opening for rope drop. There is no difference in lines outside the park for Disney World Early Theme Park Entry and regular daytime guests.
Be in line about 60 minutes before early hours begin. Then once the tapstiles open, use your MagicBand or MagicBand+, Disney MagicMobile pass, or Key to the World Card to enter the park.
Once inside the park, follow signs for Early Theme Park Entry. Disney World and select hotel guests scan in again at this special entrance point.
After confirming Early Theme Park Entry eligibility, guests are allowed access to areas of the park while off-site guests wait in a different holding area.
If you’ve arrived 60 minutes before early entry, you should be inside the park and lined up near the front for rope drop. You’ll still have some time to wait before attractions begin running for early entry hours.
Scan In And Enjoy Early Access By Linking Your Disney World Resort To My Disney Experience
Linking your resort stay to My Disney Experience usually makes the scanning process easy with just a MagicBand+ tap.
However, there are times where, for no obvious reason, the MagicBand+ doesn’t scan correctly. In these cases, show the linked resort stay on the Disney World app and cast members can verify eligibility.
How Much Can I Really Do During Disney World Early Theme Park Entry?
Realistically thirty minutes isn’t a lot of time in a theme park. Combine the short time with the amount of guests from over forty hotels and it can seem pointless to use Disney World early entry.
However, despite the obvious limitations of rope drop with early entry, this extra time can knock out at least one premium attraction before official park opening.
Staying at a Disney World Deluxe or Deluxe Villa? Take advantage of the less crowded, and longer, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours on select nights at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios.
Magic Kingdom Early Theme Park Entry Strategy
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the main draw during Magic Kingdom early theme park hours. A majority of guests queue up in the area around Cheshire Cafe for easy access to this mild coaster.
While Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the most popular choice, there are several attractions that make sense for early entry rope drop.
Other popular Magic Kingdom attractions during early entry are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and sometime in spring of 2023 Disney World’s newest coaster, TRON Lightcycle Run, if it opens with a standby line.
Epcot Early Theme Park Entry Strategy
Entering Early Hours At Epcot International Gateway
Guests staying at resorts like Beach and Yacht Club, Boardwalk, or arriving by skyliner will queue up for early entry at Epcot’s International Gateway. When entering between the France and United Kingdom pavilions your best Epcot Early Theme Park Entry Strategy is to choose an attraction inside the World Showcase.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is the closest to the International Gateway entrance while Frozen Ever After is another popular option.
Although Test Track is tempting during Epcot early hours, guests entering from the front of the park have a shorter walk there. This means you’ve wasted most of your early entry time and advantage walking instead of riding an attraction.
Front Entrance Epcot Early Theme Park Entry Plan
Entering the front of Epcot means your best Epcot early entry Strategy is to pick either Test Track or Soarin’. Test Track is my personal preference since Genie+ times tend to fill up quickly and wait times are often longest in the park.
If Test Track is not your speed, Soarin’ is another great Epcot front entrance early entry option.
Hollywood Studios Early Theme Park Entry Strategy
There are several great attractions to rope drop during Hollywood Studios Early Theme Park Entry.
The most obvious choice for Hollywood Studios early entry is Rise of the Resistance, but is this actually the best option?
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a popular attraction with long wait times, but has inconsistent reliability. This means Rise of the Resistance is a high risk, but also high reward Hollywood Studios Early Theme Park Entry Strategy.
If Rise of the Resistance is important to you and you don’t want to buy an Individual Lightning Lane, rope drop is worth a shot. Then if Rise is closed you can try for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run instead. However, it is a decent walk from Rise and wait times will be higher than if you head straight to Smugglers Run.
Assuming weather is good, Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land is a great early entry choice. Lightning Lanes for Slinky Dog Dash run out quickly and wait times stay high throughout the day.
Looking for something more family friendly to start your Hollywood Studios early entry? Head straight to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway to avoid long waits common for this cute, new attraction.
Animal Kingdom Early Theme Park Entry Strategy
Avatar Flight of Passage is my favorite Animal Kingdom early entry attraction. This exciting ride lets you soar through the skies on the back of a banshee.
Buying an Individual Lightning Lane for Flight of Passage or looking for a traditional coaster? In that case head to Expedition Everest for low wait times during Animal Kingdom early hours.
What Rides Are Available For Disney World Early Theme Park Entry?
Each Disney World park has several options available during Early Theme Park Entry, but none are guaranteed. Weather, or other operating issues, means a ride listed below might not run during early hours.
Magic Kingdom Park
- “it’s a small world”
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
- Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
Disney World Early Theme Park Entry Transportation
Resort guests have access to free on-site transportation which includes a variety of options. Fortunately, Disney World buses, boats, and skyliner all run early enough to whisk guests to early entry hours.
Those staying at select hotels with early park hours access should check with their individual resort for transportation information.
Final Thoughts On Disney World Early Theme Park Entry
The extra 30 minutes of Disney World Early Theme Park Entry is a great way to accomplish one big ride before most visitors get into their first line. Getting a popular ride done, plus early access to other areas of the park, is a surprising advantage.
While Early Theme Park Entry provides a good start to the day, Disney’s Extended Evening Theme Park Hours are an even better experience. Those staying at Disney World Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts should take advantage of both of these extra park time options.
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