Hey all! I am so excited to write this post about Disney’s California Adventure Magic Morning. Coming from a lifetime of Walt Disney World it took a while for me to wrap my head around Magic Morning and I am definitely not an expert but I hope this beginner’s perspective can help you understand it and how to make the most of it more! I’ll share some things I did right aannndddd some things I did wrong haha but overall I hope this helps you have an absolutely Magical Morning in DCA!
Okay so let me get some basics down first. Magic Morning is sort of like Extra Magic Hours EXCEPT it is only (1) for hotel guests or (2) for guests with a 3 day or longer park ticket. If you’re a Disney hotel guest you can go to all the Magic Morning you want in both parks (as long as you have a ticket for that day). If you’re not a Disney hotel guest you are allowed 1 Magic Morning day. Rather than the seemingly random assignment of Extra Magic Hours (seriously, does anyone know what schedule these follow?!), Magic Morning alternates back and forth between Disneyland and DCA, when I was there Disneyland had it Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and DCA had it Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. On these days the park will open for Magic Morning one hour before regular park hours (so one day the park opened at 9 so MM was at 8 but another day the park opened at 8 so the MM was at 7 so watch out!). Alright, got all that? It sounds like a lot if you’re coming from EMH in Florida but I hope that explanation helped!
Let’s move on to the tips! This review will focus solely on DCA (Disney’s California Adventure) but I will do another one soon all about Disneyland. If you have other tips or ideas let me know in the comments and I would love to add them on to this post!
Okay guys so we’re starting out with a tip I learned the HARD way! So about 10 minutes before Magic Morning starts they will start letting people in (they check your hotel ID or your pass to make sure you’re allowed to enter). They will then have you wait by a rope just past this beautiful fountain. Just before this fountain is the Starbucks making this 10 minute gap between entrance and rope drop the PERFECT time to grab your coffee! Now if you’re me and don’t do this, you might, say, get 45 minutes into MM and want coffee and realize they’ve started lining up non-MM guests at that same rope and that you’ll have to get through the masses to get to your coffee and might just not get to enjoy every single minute of lower-attendance time. Yeah, wouldn’t want that! So! Get your coffee first before MM starts so that you don’t have to leave the area to go back behind the rope for coffee. Good? Good.
Race to Radiator Springs
Okay, so the second tip comes out of the absolute INSANITY that I’m officially naming the “Race to Radiator Springs.” Honestly, guys, when that rope dropped I thought I was in the middle of a runDisney race because the entire crowd was running/power walking/hurdling to Radiator Springs. Now I know this ride is incredible beyond words (a mushy I just love Radiator Springs so much post might be in the works) BUT this is not your best use of a Magical Morning! My suggestion here is to hit up all the other amazing rides that get longer lines and double back to this later… and that’s where tip number three comes in!
Fastpasses are your Friends
Tip number three comes right on the heels of number two. Radiator Springs is going to get a line even in Magic Morning so what I suggest is to do everything else you want to do first. You can’t get fastpasses during Magic Morning so the sneaky trick here is to get yourself to the Radiator Springs fastness distribution area right as MM is coming to a close so that you can grab some of the first ones of the day. Radiator Springs fastpasses go quick but if you get one of the early slots you’ll probably actually be able to go back and get another set!
Go to Paradise Pier!
Paradise Pier is, in my opinion, the best use of Magic Morning. These rides are amazing and super popular but because of the Race to Radiator Springs I talked about before, pretty much empty. I got to California Screamin about 15 minutes into the MM and it was empty, walking straight onto the ride (I went around twice but could have done a bunch more). It was so much fun and nice to not need to wait at all. I didn’t get to go on Toy Story Mania but I suspect it would have been the same story. As I walked back towards the entrance (see my failed attempt to get coffee in tip 1), I also popped into Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (which is almost identical to the Disney World version) and it was 100% totally empty. This was about 45 minutes into Magical Morning so I would suggest making it one of the last rides you do before heading to Radiator for fastpasses at actual park opening.
Ride First, Breakfast Second
And finally, unless you are a muffin in the room kind of breakfast person in Disney I would highly suggest saving breakfast until after Magic Morning is over. I got on line for Magic Morning about 40 minutes before it started so I would be one of the first into the park but when they let us in at 10 minutes prior it was quite a long line! Especially on days when Magic Morning starts at 7 I strongly encourage you to hold off on any sort of sitting-down-to-eat breakfast until you’ve really made the most of your time. Since so many people stay off property at Disneyland (compared to Disney World) I found that Magic Morning was WAY less crowded than Extra Magic Hours meaning you really do get to run around a mostly empty park. It’s pretty amazing and worth a bit of a rumbly in my tumbly (as a certain bear would say) to get the most out of that time!
As I mentioned before, Magic Morning seems to definitely have lower attendance than Extra Magic Hours making it a really fantastic value for your time. Not all the attractions were open but most of them were so there was plenty to do. I’m sure when Guardians of the Galaxy opens that will siphon off some of the Radiator Springs madness but since the rest of the park is just so empty I would still suggest avoiding the big ticket rides during Magic Morning. It’s the perfect time to do rides you might not want to wait for but still enjoy and to get yourself in great position for the big ones once the park fully opens.
That was my experience with Disney’s California Adventure Magic Morning, what do you guys think? Do you have any tips for making the most of your Magic Morning time? What are your go-to Magic Morning attractions!