PlanningThe ParksTips

How To Take Advantage of Early Entry at Walt Disney World

We are all about taking advantage of the free perks that Walt Disney World provides Guests.  One of the biggest advantages for staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is being able to participate in Early Entry at all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks.

Early entry allows Guests to enter any of the four main Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT) a half-hour prior to official Theme Park opening.

This means that if Magic Kingdom opens at 9 am, Walt Disney World Resort hotel Guests can start riding specific rides starting at 8:30 am.

First of all we want to make sure you are aware of this opportunity, but we also want to make sure you know how to take advantage of this time.

Take a look at our early entry tips so you can take advantage of this extra magical time in the Disney Parks.

WaltDisneyWorld Bus
credit: Disney Tips

Plan For Transportation

Another perk to staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is the free transportation.  Disney provides transportation to and from their Resorts and their Theme Parks as well as water parks and Disney Springs.

Although it is nice to have this free transportation, if you are wanting to take advantage of the early entry, make sure you plan ahead when it comes to Disney transportation.

Get to the bus stop, skyliner, boat or monorail prior to the early entry opening time.  Plan around 30 th 45 minutes when it comes to transportation.  By doing this, you will ensure that you are actually in the Theme Park of choice when rides start to run.


Get There Early

Along the same lines if you want to take advantage of early entry, you need to get there early meaning BEFORE it is scheduled to start.

We highly recommend planning on being through the touch points (where you scan your ticket) 15 to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled early entry opening time.

By doing this, you are ahead of the crowds and in place to ride your first ride option as soon as possible.

If you wait to arrive until the scheduled opening time, this won’t really put you at an advantage as you will be behind the early entry crowd.

Avatar Flight of Passage
Credit: Disney

Know What is Opened

Not all rides are opened during early entry so make sure you take time to make a plan on what you want to ride.

You can see the list below for the four Theme Parks:

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


  • 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

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!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • TriceraTop Spin

Best Strategy For Each Park

If you plan on using early entry, what is the best strategy when it comes to getting the most out of that half hour?  We have a few suggestions for each Disney Park.  Not all rides are created equal when it comes to getting the most out of the early entry opportunity.

seven dwarfs mine train
credit: Disney

Magic Kingdom:  When heading to early entry at Magic Kingdom there are a few rides that we would suggest hitting up first.  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train would be the best use of the half hour if you are at the front of the early entry crowd.  Heading straight to the most popular ride in Magic Kingdom can save you a lot of time later on in the day.

If you aren’t at the front of the pack, consider hitting up Space Mountain in Tomorrowland or Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland.  Both of these rides are popular and will see wait times rise throughout the day.  By getting them checked off the list in the morning you can head to Frontierland and Adventureland when the park opens.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
Credit: Disney

EPCOT:  There are fewer rides in EPCOT making early entry a little trickier than Magic Kingdom.  Here there are three main rides we would suggest heading to to beat the crowd.

The newest ride in Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is where we would head if you are entering in through the International Gateway entrance.  This puts you right at the France Pavilion and ready to hop on Remy’s.

Coming from the main entrance, we would recommend heading to Test Track or Frozen Ever After.  Both of these rides are extremely popular and will see their wait times rise as the day progresses.  By getting one of these rides done during early entry, you can be ready to enjoy the food booths and everything else EPCOT has to offer.

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

With so many fantastic rides in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, taking advantage of early entry here is a great idea. If you can knock out one or two of the top rides this can be a huge advantage the rest of the day.

If you are in front of the crowd, we highly recommend heading to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  This is the most popular ride in all of Walt Disney World and getting to it early in the morning can really help with your wait times later in the day.

For those of us that aren’t at the front of the crowd, consider hitting up Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run or heading down Sunset Boulevard to ride Rock n’ Roller Coaster or Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

If you aren’t using Genie+, you could also use this time to ride Slinky Dog Dash back in Toy Story Land.  This won’t be an original idea but it could still save you lots of time later on during the day.

Avatar Flight of Passage
Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom you will want to head to Avatar Flight of Passage.  This is the main ride to experience during early entry especially until later in 2022 when Expedition Everest opens back up.

Since Kilimanjaro Safaris doesn’t open until regular posted time, you could also experience Dinosaur and Na’vi River Journey during early entry.

There isn’t a lot to do during the early entry time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but if you can knock out Avatar Flight of Passage you will be ready to rock the rest of the day.

Early entry is a huge perk for those staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.  We hope that this will help you take advantage of this perk when you are on your Walt Disney World vacation.



Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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