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Did you know that if you stay in any of the Disneyland Resort Hotels that you can get early entry into Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure? This can be a huge benefit of staying in the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel where you are guaranteed early entry. This is also open to guests who stay at the Disney Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel.
You really need to know what you are doing to make the most of the Disney Grand Californian Hotel early entry perks. Read on and we have some tips for you.
Title photo Brett Kiger
How much of a benefit is the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel early entry perk? The benefit can be huge, particularly at busy times of the year when the crowds can arrive early in the morning. If you have early entry privileges you can have experienced the major rides a couple of times before the general public are allowed in.
These early entry privileges are known as Disney Magic Morning Hours. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays Disneyland resort hotel guests will be allowed to enter Disneyland one hour prior to the time that the park opens to the general public. For California Adventure Park guests are allowed to get into the park one hour early on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. If the park opens at 8 am you will be allowed to enter at 7 am.
If you are a Disneyland resort hotel guest you really must take full advantage of this early entry perk as it will make a lot of difference to your experience. We know that it can mean getting up early, and with kids that isn’t always the easiest experience, but it will be worth it when you realize you can ride Radiator Springs Racers at least twice and possibly three times before most guests are even getting out of bed.
Tips To Make the Most Out of Disney Grand Californian Hotel Early Entry
There are definitely some ways that you can get the most out of the Disney Magic Morning Hours.
Have a plan. It makes sense to ride the most popular attractions as soon as you get in the park.
If you are visiting Disney’s Californian Adventure Park head straight for the Radiator Springs Racers line. Walk quickly to the line. Get there as soon as you possibly can. This will be the plan of most people who are heading into Disney California Adventure Park so make sure that you walk quickly! The most we have ever managed to ride Radiator Springs Racers is three times in a row when we had Magic Morning Hours.
Once the general public are allowed in Disney’s California Adventure make sure that you get in the line for Fast Passes for Radiator Springs Racers. This can be one of the longest lines in the park.
Another tactic is to combine riding Radiator Springs Racers with getting a Fast Pass for a later time in the day. The only problem with this is that you will have to sacrifice one of your party to go and do this whilst you get in line for the ride! You can send a willing member of your party to get a Fast Pass (remember to give them all the tickets). Then once they have the Fast Pass they can either try and join you in the main line (we don’t like suggesting this as we find it somewhat irritating when people do this). The other more honorable thing to do is that for their first ride they join the Single Rider Line. They can then join you for the second Radiator Springs Ride.
The other option is to ride Radiator Springs and then head to get a Fast Pass for the Frozen – Live at the Hyperion. This is an amazing show, which is amazingly popular. If you want to see this show, but sure to get a Fast Pass.
Disneyland is rather more complicated with more decisions to make. You have to plan which attractions that you really want to ride so that you can prioritize your action plan.
There are certain rides which you should prioritize if you get the chance. If you don’t experience the ride and you walk past a Fast Pass distribution point you should pick up a Fast Pass.
Peter Pan has one of the longest waits in Disneyland. If you want to ride this attraction go straight there when you arrive. Walk briskly down Main Street and go to the line for Peter Pan as quickly as you can. If you don’t you will be looking at lines for over an hour most of the day at busy times (and often at times which really don’t seem that busy). This is a classic, but very popular ride which was designed before the crowds arrived at Disneyland.
Star Tours and Space Mountain have very long lines right now. Leave it too late and you will be facing lines of over an hour. If you are headed to Space Mountain get a Fast Pass for Start Tours on your way. It will add less than 5 minutes to your journey to Space Mountain and it will be worth it. This also works the other way around – if you want to ride Star Tours first go to Space Mountain and get a Fast Pass. Then go back to Star Tours.
We have saved the best tip for last. This is based on too many times getting this wrong and making the wrong decision. Do not use the Disney Grand Californian exclusive entry to get into the park early. This entry is for the exclusive use of Disneyland resort guests, but for early entry it is just a bad move.
We have waited over an hour with the line backed up to the lobby to get into the park ‘early’. On a couple of occasions we didn’t make it into Disney’s Californian Adventure park before the non Disney hotel resort staying public did. We convinced ourselves three times that it would be OK and the line really could not be that slow. We were wrong. Do not make this mistake. Go to the main entrance of Disney’s Californian Adventure and you will get in quicker.
If you want to use the exclusive Disney’s California Adventure Park entrance get there very early – and by that we mean more than 45 minutes early. The reason? This entrance just cannot cope with the capacity of guests anymore. The security checks take an absoulte age and only seem to have a maximum of two Cast Members working at the same pace the sloths do at the DMV on Zootopia! Once you are over this barrier there are only two turnstiles open for entry. We could go on. Just avoid.
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Disney Grand Californian Hotel