Make the Most of Your Next Disney World Stay With This Exclusive Offer!

in Walt Disney World

Family looks at a phone in front of Cinderella Castle

Credit: Waldorf Astoria

Gear up to make the most of your next Walt Disney World Resort stay with this exclusive offering unknown to many!

Spawning over 43 square miles, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is the most popular destination for Disney fans and the most visited theme park worldwide, welcoming over 60 million Guests by 2021 and reporting increasing visitor numbers each year — despite multiple protests from hate groups and the ongoing legal battle against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

With four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT — two water parks — Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon — a breathtaking shopping and entertainment district — Disney Springs — and over 30 hotels and resorts, it’s no wonder why the Most Magical Place on Earth is a must-visit destination for millions of Disney fans from across the world.

Cinderella Castle Partners statue at Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney World Plans Major New Attractions, Revamping Parks

However, with so many rides, attractions, parades, fireworks shows, live entertainment offerings, stores, restaurants, character encounters, photo locations, interactive experiences, and more, visiting Disney World can be overwhelming to many, especially if they are trying to squeeze too many activities into their vacation.

Fortunately, an exclusive offering at the Orlando Resort allows Guests to make the most of their Disney World stay, and Inside the Magic will tell you all about it!

Early Theme Park Entry at Walt Disney World Resort

Most Guests visiting Disney World — and Disneyland too, for that matter — will likely want to make as many things as fast as possible during their vacation, mainly if they had to travel to visit the Orlando Resort. And while Disney tries to offer different systems — some of which incentivize Disney adults to enjoy the Parks — to allow Guests to skip lines and maximize their time at the Parks, like the divisive Disney Genie+ service, there is an exclusive perk that allows Guests staying on Disney property to enter Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT before the Parks officially open, giving them time to explore the Parks with low crowds and enjoy select rides with reduced wait times.

Disney World monorail at EPCOT during the International Flower and Garden Festival
Credit: Disney

What is Early Theme Park Entry at Walt Disney World Resort?

As mentioned above, Early Theme Park Entry is an exclusive perk that allows Guests staying on Disney property to access EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios before the theme parks’ official opening hours every day of their stay. This advantage allows Guests to enjoy some of their favorite attractions with lower wait times, shop for their favorite merchandise, and enjoy snacks from select locations throughout the Parks.

Disney World Guests using MagicBands
Credit: Disney

How do you get Early Theme Park Entry at Disney World?

Guests must stay at a Disney Resort Hotel or select other hotels to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry at Disney World Parks. Valid theme park admission, Park reservation, and Resort ID are required to admit Guests into the Parks.

Which resorts are eligible for Early Theme Park Entry?

During a recent wave of changes and announcements, Disney officials shared modifications to the list of participating hotels that grant Early Theme Park Entry, adding more locations to the list of participating hotels and setting a deadline for hotels that will stop giving the benefit. 

Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
Credit: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Per the official Walt Disney World Resort website, the list of participating hotels — including Disney Resort hotels of all price tiers and non-Disney hotels — that provide Early Theme Park Entry includes:

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  • DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  • Holiday Inn Orlando
  • Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World® Resort
  • Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando
  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
pop century
Credit: Disney

Related: “Poo Century,” Guest Claims Disney Hotel Treats Guests Like “Plebes”

How early can Disney Resort Guests get into parks?

The simple answer to this question is 30 minutes before the official Park opening.

However, Guests must keep in mind that EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have different operating hours, with some Parks opening earlier than others, and that operating schedules also vary every day, making it hard to pinpoint a constant time.

Fortunately, the official Disney World website is constantly updated with the latest information, including Park hours and even Early Entry hours. Similarly, the My Disney Experience app is updated continuously to provide Guests with the newest information, finding Park hours and Early Entry hours in the home menu.

Additionally, Disney Resort hotels post announcements in their lobbies, informing Guests of the next day’s Park hours and Early Entry.

art of animation
Credit: Disney

How early should you leave your hotel for Early Theme Park Entry?

Many factors come into play to answer this, including transportation wait times, driving time, traffic, how far your hotel is from the Park you want to visit, and more.

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort included suggested times when Guests should plan to leave the hotel to make the most out of Early Entry in the information boards mentioned above, and undoubtedly other Disney Resort hotels post this information too.

Disney suggested leaving the hotel at least thirty minutes before Early Entry hours, meaning that if Magic Kingdom opens at 9:00 a.m. and Early Entry starts at 8:30 a.m., Guests should leave their hotel at least at 8:00 a.m. However, this does not grant that Guests will make it to the Park precisely at the start of Early Theme Park Entry.

Disney's All-Star Movie's Resort
Credit: Disney

What rides are available during Early Theme Park Entry at Disney World?

During the Early Entry period, Guests can enjoy select Disney attractions, merchandise, and food and beverage locations. However, attractions are subject to change and may not always be operational. Disney urges parkgoers to view details about the attraction on its official website or the My Disney Experience mobile app.

Disney lists the following attractions to be operational during the Early Entry period:

Magic Kingdom Park

  • “it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel lit up at dusk by Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

EPCOT

  • Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Anna, Elsa, and Olaf animatronics singing at the end of Frozen Ever After.
Credit: Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ™
  • Toy Story Mania!
The sun sets over the Millennium Falcon at Hollywood Studios' Galaxy's Edge
Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • TriceraTop Spin
Family in pandora at Disney's animal kingdom in walt disney world resort
Credit: Disney

Guest experiences with Early Theme Park Entry

So far, Early Entry to Disney Parks in Orlando sounds lovely. Low crowds, great pictures, getting a ride practically to yourself, right?

Unfortunately, not everything is a bed of roses when taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry, as many Guests are unaware of the offering’s benefits and restrictions, as a group recently found out.

Guests visiting Disneyland Resort were recently disappointed after finding out that the rides they were hoping to ride during Early Entry were not among the available experiences during the early admission period at the Southern California theme park.

Disney World Fingerprint Scanner
Credit: Disney

Related: First-Timers Learn Hard Truths About Disney World

Similarly (and a bit embarrassingly), I didn’t figure out that Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort — where I stayed during a recent visit to Walt Disney World Resort — allowed me to take advantage of this offering until my third day visiting the Parks. “It happens to all of us,” I thought as I laughed in frustration riding the bus to EPCOT.

And some Guests had an even more frustrating experience, as the most popular rides became unavailable during Early Theme Park Entry. Imagine getting up and being ready early in the day, only for the ride you were most excited about to break down!

Rides breaking down during Early Theme Park Entry

Inside the Magic recently wrote about multiple frustrating ride closures during Early Entry at three of the four Disney Parks in Orlando.

Guests were disappointed to find out that Na’vi River Journey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom — all of which are among the most popular rides at their respective theme park — did not open at the start of the Early Entry Period. Additionally, Space Mountain had an extended closure, remaining unavailable for two hours.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway Sign on the Chinese Theater
Credit: Disney

Is Early Theme Park Entry really worth it?

While Early Theme Park Entry gives Guests additional time to enjoy the Orlando Disney Parks, it’s hard to settle if taking advantage of the perk is worth it or not, particularly since Guests don’t have to make any additional payments to enjoy its benefits.

Early Theme Park Entry is one of the many benefits Guests receive when they are staying on Disney property, including complimentary overnight self-parking for Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels, free transportation between your hotel and the Disney Parks — as well as Disney Springs — and the chance to add a dining plan to your stay. And if we think of these benefits together, many Guests might consider that staying at one of the Disney Resort hotels or select other hotels on Disney property will give them more value for their money.

Disney Bus Driver Brought Tears of Joy to Guests
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

In addition, arriving for Early Theme Park Entry is not mandatory, meaning that Guests who would like to kick off the fun later in the day can do so without any inconvenience.

To summarize, Early Theme Park Entry is a fantastic benefit to add a couple of attractions and experiences to your day, but taking advantage of this perk depends on each Guest and their plans during their trip. While some families might want to start the fun as early as possible, others may not plan to be early risers during their Disney vacation and might prefer to stay until the Parks close, which is equally valid.

Did you know about Disney World’s Early Entry? Will you take advantage of this perk to make the most of your next Disney World stay? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

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