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 Magic 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 Magic Kingdom they are held on Main Street USA. You can go as far as the castle, 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 Main Street will be open. So you can shop for souvenirs or grab coffee or breakfast while you wait. The Main Street Bakery even sells Starbucks coffee (but know that lines can get long!)
You can also have photos taken with photopass photographers while you wait. This is a nice opportunity to grab those castle photos.
Finally, right before opening you can watch the show Let the Magic Begin at the castle. This show is about 5 minutes long, and when it ends that marks the opening of the park.
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 Mine Train (or Fantasyland in general), you have a few options to get you there.
When facing the castle, you can line up to the Fantasyland entrance to the right of the castle. This is the shortest distance to Mine Train, so it is also going to be the most crowded.
You can also walk through the center of the castle to get to Fantasyland. You may not be able to do this as quickly as the show will be ending.
Lastly, you can head to the left of the castle over by Liberty Square. There is a path that takes you right up to the side of the castle and then behind it. This will typically be the least crowded path, but it is the furthest from the ride.
If you want to rope drop Space Mountain, stay to the right side. There are multiple entrances to Tomorrowland, and this typically wont be as crowded as Mine Train or the Fantasyland area.
If there are Extra Magic Hours happening at Magic 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 Main Street. 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.
During these Extra Magic Hours Fantasyland and Tomorrowland will be open to resort guests. Cast Members will scan the Magic Band of one guest in your party to be sure you are eligible for Extra Magic Hours.
All other guests will remain on Main Street USA 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.
Typically you will head to the left of the Castle. A Cast Member will check your reservation, and let you through so you can head over to the restaurant.
At Magic Kingdom there are multiple restaurants that participate in pre park opening breakfast, and some include the perk of a ride before opening. The restaurants available for pre park opening breakfast are:
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. Animal 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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