Entrance To DCA from Grand Californian, not guest

We want an early breakfast reservation and have heard the GC hotel has gotten quite strict about non hotel guests “penetrating the bureaucracy”!

We have a 7AM reservation at Storytellers Cafe for breakfast buffet (with a voucher from Getaway Today to drop the price by 7 bucks per person). We were hoping to enter the DCA through the entrance from this hotel that I believe spits us out by Grizzly River Run but then I read somewhere that non guests can’t use this entrance until 11 am and of course this is crazy - way too late! My suspicion is that in order for us non-guests (pariahs) to be let into the park as early as that happens (DOES that happen before official opening? - DCA unfortunately will have EMH every morning but one {our Magic Morning Hour at DL} so resort people will have the jump on us every single morning at DCA) we should make our way smartly after breakfast to the Downtown disney entrance where hopefully they will not bar us cheapies and let the big spenders pass us by… We WILL have max pass so no running for fast passes.

Also with early morning breakfast reservations I am assuming they will allow our UBER to drop us at the entrance.

Anyone who knows about the DCA entrance for non guests and access to the front please enlighten me!

Many Thanks!


From what I know, you would possibly be able to get into the park before 11 AM using that entrance, if you can show your receipt from the restaurant. I would talk to a CM first. This will not get you in earlier than park opening though. EE is only a perk for resort guests. If you’re concerned about being behind the guest of the resorts for EE in DCA, I would just rope drop DCA when it does not offer EE (Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday I think). Just FYI, often using GCH entrance first thing is usually not an advantage, as it is a very small entrance. Even when staying there, if I can’t get lined up early enough, I will still enter through the main gates.

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@carthy15 is correct about being able to enter DCA through the GCH with your bfast receipt AND also correct that it doesn’t get you access to EMH with the on-site guests.

What you may have an advantage on is being among the first non-EMH guests in the park but only IF:

  • You finish your meal at least 45 min before reg park RD (if the park opens to all guests at 9am this is very possible, but if it will be 8am, a 7am reservation won’t be enough time).
  • The line at security/turnstiles from GCH to DCA is NOT backed with hotel guests & other diners (as mentioned the entrance is extremely limited & so isn’t always your best option if you’re not early, like 45-60 pre-EMH early). While it seems counter-intuitive to go the long way to exit GCH, then backtrack through DTD to go to the main DCA entrance when there is a DCA entrance RIGHT next to Storyteller’s, the main entrance has over 20 gates that spit traffic out a LOT faster than the 2-3 turnstiles in the narrow corridor of GCH can.

Whichever entrance you use, once you are in the parks, there will be 3 ropes where guests who don’t have EMH can wait for reg park opening. The first 2 are in the Carthay Circle area, one towards Hollywood land & the 2nd towards Carsland/Bugsland/Pier. The 3rd rope is all the way at the Little Mermaid ride which means that all of the Grizzly Peak area (including where the GCH/DCA entrance spits out is accessible without having EMH). However, Grizzly River Run doesn’t open until park open & to get in line at Soarin you may have to prove you have EMH access (although this is heavily enforced so are those that strategize to get into line for Soarin prior to official park opening).

As for Uber-ing to the entrance, I don’t know if GCH has any restrictions. We haved used Uber once to get to Goofy’s Kitchen & the parking attendent let us through just fine, but that was DLH & GCH may have more restrictive access to its front entrance (it does for foot-traffic entering, but they do allow foot-traffic with reservations to pass through so they probably will allow an Uber to drop you off for a reservation, but because they can be pretty restrictive on who they allow into the front doors of GCH I don’t want to say, yeah that should be fine).

Lastly- the main reason they are so restrictive about GCH is because if they didn’t they would overwhelm the security checkpoints that feed into DTD and DCA if they didn’t. When they expanded the security checkpoints to include DTD that meant that the corridor in GCH that spits you out into DTD became a security checkpoint. While it’s bigger than the tiny security checkpoint at the GCH/DCA entrance, the 2 checkpoints are certainly not large enough to support all hotel guests/diners from not only GCH, but PP (a lot of PP guests use a shortcut to cut through GCH to access DTD) as well as off-site hotel guests who could potentially use the same shortcut. For that reason, they restricted the front entrance to only GCH guests & dinners even more exclusively keep the small security checkpoint for just GCH guests/diners during the peak morning hours when most people are making their way into the parks. So it can appear to be a money thing, but it’s also a security thing (and happens to make the location of the GCH an even better perk if you can fork over the steep amount of $$$$ it is to stay there).

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Last October, my sister and I tried to Uber to GCH because we found that we enjoyed the walk in from DTD more than from Harbor and this was our first time in a long time staying off site. When we got to the gate, we were asked if we were checking in or if we had reservations, so with a reservation you should be fine. They took pity on us because my sister was on crutches, but otherwise we would have been kicked to the curb.


So glad they did!

And even more glad in general that there was someone who knew when my experience couldn’t answer a question about Disneyland!


I am shocked (and secretly a little pleased) that I had an answer you didn’t :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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When I posted this question I thought of carthy15 and lolabear answer I’m gonna know this cold - you guys rock!


You have all sorts of mad Disney knowledge skills especially about onsite! I don’t have a lot to offer there since we’ve only stayed 2x onsite & both times even though we got fantastic deals (one was standard view DLH for $250ish/night was upgraded to premium view & it was gorgeous, and the other was PP park view room for $330/night that was upgraded to a 1 bdrm suite that was GIGANTIC). Even then, it was very hard to pay them knowing that I could still book 2 offsite stays for the amount I was giving Disney!

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