We're staying at Paradise Pier and will be utilizing most of the extra hour in the morning of January 21. I say "most" because it is unlikely that my group will be in line right at opening time (I have accepted that we will miss the welcome show), but I'm hoping to get into the park as close to 7 AM as possible. Can/should we take the monorail under these circumstances?
Hello. The monorail often doesn't start early enough to get to the park before opening, It is great for a midday break though. But no, you should walk to the main gates so you don't lose more time in the park.
The monorail doesn't open for early morning. You will have to go through security in Downtown Disney and walk to the Main Gates. If you go at the regular open time, it will be open then. We do that when we skip early morning.
Also, don't expect much of a "show". A family will be chosen to count down and yell something along the lines of 'let the memories begin' and people will be let through the turnstiles.