If you're planning on getting to the parks at opening to be the fist person on a ride, you might be surprised to learn that you can't just show up at opening. Each park at Disney World has an opening procedure that allows you inside the park before actual opening time.
Find out when you should arrive and what you can expect if you want to be at Animal Kingdom for park opening (rope drop).
Cast Members will typically let guests inside the park about an hour before actual park opening. So if the park is open at 9am, you can expect guests to be allowed in to the park at about 8am.
When planning your morning, remember that you will still have to go through security at the parks. Security lines can be long in the morning.
No. When guests are let in to Animal Kingdom they can walk through the Oasis and go up to Discovery Island, but Cast Members will have the walkways to the different lands in the park blocked off.
But don't worry, there are still things to do while you wait! The shops on Discovery Island will be open. So you can shop for souvenirs while you wait.
You can also have photos taken with photopass photographers while you wait. This is a nice opportunity to grab those Tree of Life photos.
If you are looking to rope drop a certain ride, you'll want to make sure you know where to stand and where to go after the show ends.
If you are looking to get to Flight of Passage (or Pandora in general), you'll want to make sure you arrive at least 60 minutes before park opening. Cast Members have been known to open this ride up 30 minutes or so before park opening. So if you arrive right when the park opens you'll be behind a lot of other guests.
If you want to rope drop Expedition Everest, you can go through Asia to get there. Or if crowds are high, you can walk through Dinoland USA. It's a longer walk, but a faster trip on busy mornings.
If there are Extra Magic Hours happening at Animal Kingdom, the park will open to guests at that time. So if regular park hours are at 9am, and Extra Magic Hours start at 8am, you can expect to get in to the park at 8am. If you want to learn more about Extra Magic Hours and how that works, see the full article here.
All guests will still be allowed on to Discovery Island. Guests who are staying at Disney Resorts (or other resorts that participate in Extra Magic Hours), will follow Cast Members instructions on where to walk. They will have signs directing guests where to go.
All other guests will remain on Discovery Island and follow the same opening procedure as any other day.
If you have breakfast reservations at the park before regular park opening, you will be allowed in to the park and area of your reservation. You will see Cast Members holding signs for breakfast reservations. Head to those Cast Members and they will let you in to the park early, and direct you to where you need to go.
A Cast Member will check your reservation, and let you through so you can head over to the restaurant.
At Animal Kingdom there is one restaurant that participates in pre park opening breakfast. The restaurant available for pre park opening breakfast is:
For more information on getting breakfast reservations before park opening, and how it works, see the full article here.
Looking for Opening Procedures on the Other Parks?
I have created guides for opening procedures on the other parks as well as this one. You can find Hollywood Studios opening procedures here. Magic Kingdom opening procedures can be found here.
Note that because of the construction at Epcot I do not have an opening procedure guide for that park. After construction is complete, and new opening procedures are in place a guide for Epcot will be created. At this time I recommend asking a Cast Member to direct you.
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