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.