Early entry strategy help :)

We just changed our plans and will now be staying at Disneyland hotel with Genie+ during midweek. We have a 5 year old with us so we won’t do space mountain with him. We will do that at some point with single rider but not during the prime morning hours. We have two and a half days (two rope drop days). For early entry at DL, does Peter Pan get busy quick? We were planning on skipping that ride all together before we had early entry. I don’t want to wait even 15 min for it :slight_smile: We would do Alice, Pinocchio, Mr Toad, Dumbo during early entry then once park officially opens head to Toontown for Meet Mickey, MMRR, Rodger Rabbit, Gadget Coaster then head to Pirates and Jungle Cruise.

Is it best to just fight the crowds to enter in the normal DL gates instead of using the monorail? I’m thinking the monorail may put us into the park a little later than 7:30.

For DCA - early entry to head to web slingers then soarin then try to get to Radiator Springs before the main rope drop crowd. Do you think we would be able to get in front of most of the main rope drop crowd with early entry? I know it’s not open for early entry.

I believe I read if we are staying at Disneyland hotel we can utilize the other Disneyland resort DCA entrances correct? If so which one do you recommend we use? I assume that’s a better idea then just going to the park gates with everyone else

Any other tips? Thanks so much!!

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Yay for being able to upgrade to onsite! Disneyland Hotel is very charming and full of easter eggs & fun history.

Yes, if you’re not the first 50-100 people you’ll be waiting and it’s a dash/footrace for those spots. It’s also a slow loading attraction (no continuous loading belt like the Peter Pan at WDW) and one of the more popular Fantasyland attractions. It can get down to under 15 min. right at the end of early entry. So you could do it at the end of your 30 minutes after doing a few other Fantasyland ones. Of the attractions open for early entry, we like doing Alice & Dumbo early. You could also fit in Mr. Toad’s or Snow White’s before hopping into Peter Pan’s line.

The front entrance is better. The monorail is too unreliable and might get you there in the first few minutes of early entry but with only 30 minutes now of the advantage, I’d rather take the sure bet that I’ll be inside the park ready to go.

Soarin can take quite some time to load and for early entry unless it’s a crazy busy day they only load the B section (middle section) which throttles it a little too. So unless you’re done with Webslingers & back at Soarin in less than 10 minutes, you would risk Soarin taking all the rest of the early entry & losing the advantage of lining up for Racers. Because as an early entry guest you can absolutely line up early outside the attraction entrance and then they will walk the line back and a very high majority of the rope drop crowd will be scrumming at the rope to get to that line too and overwhelm it to an almost immediate 50-60 min wait.

So I would pick one out of Webslingers or Soarin to do first. Then maybe do one of the smaller Carsland rides Mater’s or Luigi’s (neither of them have LL so another great reason to do them during early entry) and then position to line up at Racers to not miss that advantage.

Staying at the Disneyland Hotel the best way to get to both parks will be to use the main gates to get to Disneyland and then also for DCA if you’re wanting to do anything in Avengers Campus, Carsland or Soarin. If you’re wanting to start at the pier you could use the Paradise Pier entrance, it’s just a little trickier to navigate to if unfamiliar but I hear it’s very little traffic so if you’re looking to mostly avoid crowds, it’s definitely an option. You need to walk from the Disneyland hotel towards the Pixar Pier Hotel mostly on sidewalks that take you past a bunch of parking lots (and not going towards Disney & the security line there), then once at the corner where the front of the Pixar Pier hotel is, cross the street to the Grand Californian and you’ll see the Paradise Pier entrance for DCA right off the walkway there.

You could also get to the Paradise Pier entrance going through Downtown Disney & then walking through the Grand Californian) but you’d have to do security twice (once to enter Downtown Disney & then again at the Paradise Pier entrance). Also, the Grand Californian can be a bit of a maze especially when trying to explain how to get from where the hotel meets Downtown Disney to the the Paradise Pier entrance. And since once you enter the hotel you’re considered to have left the security perimeter, you’d have to do security again.

The Grand Californian does have an entrance directly from the hotel to the Grizzly Peak area of DCA, but coming from the Disneyland hotel you’d again have to do security twice to enter there and the front entrance has a lot better infrastructure to handle arriving crowds & isn’t too many more steps to get to so it’s very little benefit to even Grand Californian guests to use that entrance with how quickly it backs up.

The one really nice thing that I love about staying at the Disneyland Hotel is that the monorail is an easy ride back to the hotel and very nice to skip walking through the very crowded Downtown Disney midday or at night. They do usually also reserve the monorail for only hotel guests for the first hour or so of the day & if you’re not planning to be there starting from early entry can be a nice way to get into the parks.

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lolabear nailed it as usual. I second the recommendation to not attempt Peter Pan first unless you are in the very front of the crowd. Instead jump in line right before regular entry. Or save it until later or not at all.

I would absolutely use the front entrances for both parks. Offsite guests will be part of the crowd at security and the turnstiles, but once you’re inside just follow the signs for early entry. In DL they funnel you to the right of the hub. I think you also need to stay to the right at DCA but I’m not 100% sure.

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@lolabear_la has it right about CA and Soarin too. Do not rope drop Soarin! We made the mistake of doing that last time at the park and wasted the first 45 minutes of rope drop time.

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Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I’m not sure how to make the detailed reply back to you. I am not that forum fancy haha. We will either skip PP or do it at the end of early entry…that makes sense. We will just do the front gates for both parks. It sounds easier and more efficient. We just have to wake up early. Thank you for the info on Soarin. I was planning on doing Webslinger and Soarin but now we are just going to do Webslingers then head over to Carsland to do Luigi or Mater or both if time allows. I love that we are able to line up to get to RSR as I originally wasn’t even going to try before we changed our hotel reservation so we can have EE. I just have to hope the ride is actually working. I think we will use the monorail at DL to head back to our hotel or the first day we are there it’s a half day so we can use the monorail to get into DL. My 5 year old will think that’s cool. Thanks again for such a detailed reply. You really helped me figure a lot out!

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Thanks so much for the info. We decided to either skip PP or do it at the end of EE. We will just use the main gates.

Thanks so much for the info. We have decided to not rope drop soarin.

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@lolabear: This has been helpful for me, too, as I"ll be staying at GCH in Dec and, while a frequent visitor to the parks, it will be my first time staying on property. I’m thinking I might use my EE time in DCA to get a spot in the Candy Cane line since I’ve never had one. I’ll be getting GP, and I do SR for RSR, so I don’t see a big advantage for me with EE in DCA for the rides. So your recommendation is that I enter via the front gates rather than the GCH entrance? Gates are closer to the candy shop. It sounds like you are saying I should enter DCA through the front gates even if I don’t want to go straight to the Candy Cane line, is that right?

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Yes, that is exactly right! If you’re very, very early to the hotel to park entrance inside Grizzly Peak that entrance is actually about the same distance-wise. The issue is the bottleneck. They only have so much space in that small corridor and security can back-up really easy so if you’re not early to be one of the first two dozen parties it’s really detrimental. So going through security that takes you to front gates is a lot less punishing.

We did this for the first time ever last year. It was fun, but the candy cane aside from it’s size was not anything amazing. We bought two and I think we still have the 2nd one wrapped up waiting for us to break it out (or throw it out!) :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

I’m pretty sure I won’t be one of the first two dozen in that line since early rising is the exceotion for me and not my rule.

Had to laugh at your comment about the Candy Cane. I’ve been puzzled for years as to why people go nuts and pay big bucks for a Candy Cane, so I’m not expecting too much. I’ve heard some say they thought the same thing until they finally bought one and were wowed. I guess if you sacrifice rope drop for a CC, your mind can trick you into thinking it was well worth it. I think I may just be wanting to do it as kind of a bucket list thing. But if my daughter talks me into taking advantage of EE rides and instead getting mint chocolate covered marshmallows. I’ll probably go for that. Those covered marshmallows can always tempt me!

One more question: If I’m staying at GCH and don’t go through security where it gets you directly into DCA, where do I go through security? Do I exit the hotel from the doors that come out by Sephoria? How backed up do those security lines get first thing in the a.m.?

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The security is setup in the breezeway that exits from a GCH corridor to DTD, right before that Sephora. It can get backed up too in the mornings after 7amish (when park opening is 8, and early entry is 7:30). The advantage to this side is they have almost double the space/tables to get security than the one directly to DCA so it’s less detrimental if you aren’t there pre-7am.

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Perfect! Thank you!

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