The saying "the early bird gets the worm" was definitely created with Disneyland in mind. I can't stress this enough...GET TO THE PARKS EARLY. Go back to your hotel midday to take a nap if you must, BUT GET TO THE PARKS EARLY.
5 Steps to a Successful Rope Drop:
- Check the park hours on the Disneyland website or app (do this at least the night before you plan to go to the park).
- Check which park is offering Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour. If you have access to Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour, visit the corresponding park where the early entrance is permitted. If you do not have access to Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour, head to the park that's not offering the extra hour first.
- Arrive to the park entrance at least 30 minutes before the scheduled opening time. Most days, you will be let into the park early and have access to Main Street in Disneyland Park or Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. There will be cast members with ropes blocking the crowds from entering the other parts of the park.
- Decide with your group which attraction you want to head to first (we prefer to do this the night before so we waste no time!). Make your way toward whichever rope is closest to the attraction for which you're heading and stand as close to it as possible.
- When it reaches the scheduled opening time, the cast members will remove the rope or walk with it towards the attractions to keep crowds from stampeding. From there you're free to head to your attraction (no judging if you beeline it to a churro cart first)! You're likely to experience shorter wait times for the first 30 minutes-2 hours after rope drop depending on crowds.