When helping people come up with their day to day itinerary for the parks, I always recommend that you get to the park at rope drop (park opening). In fact, getting to the park BEFORE official opening is your best bet. Sure, you'll have to wait a bit before they let you in, but you'll get through security and be ready to go when they let everyone head in.
Can I be honest with you? I have a hard time getting to the parks at rope drop sometimes.
But what I do LOVE to do to ensure that I am at the parks and ready to ride at opening is to make breakfast reservations at the parks BEFORE they open. Each park has restaurant options that are often available before park opening.
Here I will discuss what options you have, and what perks might be available if you take advantage of this fun option.
Some things to note about Magic Kingdom when making breakfast reservations:
- All guests are let on to Main Street before park opening. You will still need to get through security and lines still might be long, so give yourself time.
- Reservations at Crystal Palace or Plaza Restaurant wont get you any extra perks, as these restaurants are located on Main Street.
Be Our Guest Breakfast
You can usually get reservations as early as 8am. This is my favorite breakfast spot. The restaurant is beautiful. You are in Fantasyland (which is often where I like to start my day anyway). It is a quick service restaurant, so you can eat quickly and head over to the rides.
The Perk: If you finish breakfast before park opening you can often ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before park opening. It isn't a guarantee, of course. But even if they aren't running the ride before opening you will be able to get in line to be one of the first to ride.
Cinderella's Royal Table Breakfast
You can usually get reservations as early as 8am. This is a wonderful character breakfast. It is a table service meal, so be sure to order quickly and pay as soon as you sit down to make sure you can get out before park opening. This breakfast may take longer than the others listed here, so the earlier the better.
The Perk: This restaurant is located in Cinderella's Castle, which is where the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show takes place. This means there is a good chance you will see characters from the show! You probably wont be able to get autographs, but you might be able to get some photos before they go onstage. If you finish breakfast before park opening you can often ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before park opening. It isn't a guarantee, of course. But even if they aren't running the ride before opening you will be able to get in line to be one of the first to ride.
This is a Princess character meal located in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. The breakfast is somewhat of a combo family style and buffet. If you pay as soon as you sit down you should be able to eat and meet Princesses, and then head out to the park as soon as you are done.
The Perk: This restaurant is located right next to Frozen Ever After. If you finish your breakfast before park opening you can often get on this ride before guests are let in to the park. Even if they aren't running the ride before opening you will be able to get in line to be one of the first to ride.
You can usually get reservations as early as 8am. This is probably my favorite character meal of all time. The food is great, the characters are fun, and the restaurant rotates while you eat. This is a family style restaurant. So if you ask to pay as soon as you are seated you should be able to eat quickly to get out in to the empty park.
The Perk: This restaurant is located in The Land Pavilion, which is the same building as Soarin'. If you finish your breakfast before park opening, you can often ride Soarin' before official opening. Even if they aren't running the ride before opening you will be able to get in line to be one of the first to ride.
This is a fun character breakfast that you can usually get reservations as early as 8am. It is a buffet meal, so you can pay as soon as you get seated. You'll be able to eat quickly and meet Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy.
The Perk: This restaurant is located in the Africa section of the park, which is near Kilimanjaro Safari. If you are able to eat quickly you can get to Kilimanjaro Safari as soon as tours start. This is especially great because the animals are often more active first thing in the morning.
Hollywood and Vine
This character meal accepts reservations as early as 8am. You will be able to enjoy a buffet and meet some of the awesome Disney Junior stars. Since the meal is a buffet you can pay as soon as you sit down so that you can get out in the park quickly.
The Perk: The perk of this pre-park opening reservation has unfortunately diminished as of lately. This restaurant is located right by Jedi Training sign ups, and so the perk would be that you can quickly sign up for this experience and get your pick of times.
With Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge being so popular, the opening procedures at Hollywood Studios have now let guests head right over to those land entrances before opening. And this restaurant is nowhere near those lands. So breakfast at Hollywood and Vine would most likely put you behind the pack if you are looking to rope drop one of those lands.
Important Tips for Booking Breakfast Before Park Opening
- Breakfast before park opening can fill up quickly. If you want to take advantage of this option, make sure you book as soon as your 180 restaurant booking window opens up.
- If your plan is to to try to get on rides, take photos, and walk around a mostly empty park, make sure to book your reservations as early as possible. With the exception of Be Our Guest, all of these meals are table service AND character meals. So it can definitely take time to eat and meet the characters. If the park opens at 9am, try to get reservations at 8:20 or earlier if possible.
- Get to the parks EARLY. You will still need to get through security and navigate the parks to get to the restaurant.
- Most importantly... Keep an eye on park hours! Disney has been known to change hours, add Extra Magic Hours, and add Early Morning Magic (a morning ticketed event) after hours are announced. This can change your chances of getting on rides before opening.
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See you at the parks,