• On Jan 17, 2022
    Alexandra from AL Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    If you are not staying at a Disney hotel, is there any benefit to arriving at one of the parks before the scheduled opening time?


    Thanks for asking your question to us at planDisney!

    While I do love to sleep in, when I am at Walt Disney World I always choose to arrive on time. To be honest, I always choose to get to the parks a bit early!

    There are a few benefits to early arrival, though officially you certainly do not need to do so. Let me give you a few examples of why an early arrival might benefit you

    • Rope drop. Every park has a rope drop event where guests are officially allowed to enter the park. Sometimes it can include getting through the ticket scanners and well into the park itself. Often these rope drops can also come with a bit of a show. Two of my favorites are at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park and at the Magic Kingdom Park. At the Animal Kingdom they have a release of birds that is stunning to watch. At the Magic Kingdom they often have the train roll up packed with characters and a lively song and dance. Both really set the mood for your day of magic.
    • Early entry. Guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels currently enjoy an Early Theme Park Entry perk that allows them to go into any park 30 minutes before the posted opening time. Even with this program in place, sometimes a park will open a bit earlier than posted for all guests. There is no promise this will ever happen to you, but it can, and does happen. 
    • Staying ahead of the wave. If you are at a park right as it opens, you will get so much more done than if you arrive even 1/2 an hour later. It is not just about more time in the parks, but the fact that you will be ahead of the surge of guests that arrive after you all day long.
    • Keeping time with the animals. At the Animal Kingdom Park in particular, early or at opening arrival is really essential. While the park has added a lot of great entertainment and rides to keep you busy well into the evening, the live animals found at so many of the park's marquee attractions are far more active in the morning hours than in the afternoon or evening. You want to visit those attractions that feature live animals, like the Kilimanjaro Safaris, in the morning when they are most active and visible. 
    Here are a few good reasons why an arrival just before park opening can set your day up for success. Write us back if you have any follow-up questions.

    Have a Magical Vacation!

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Meet the Panelist: Doug, Indiana

I am one of the Dads on the planDisney Panel, and I love to help parents plan their vacation, with a focus on showing them how it can be fun for them too. I am also here to help Dads plan some nice surprises for the Moms in their life (they deserve it!). Learn More About Doug

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