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New Costumes - WDW 50th Anniversary

Early Theme Park Entry Hours Announced

September 26, 2021

Disney has confirmed Early Theme Park operating hours for the next several weeks. So, we’ll talk about that and a serendipitous bonus at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, plus some Disneyland news.

Early Theme Park Entry Hours Announced

Disney just confirmed Early Theme Park Entry hours from October 1st through the start of Thanksgiving week.

At Magic Kingdom, you can enter via this benefit at 7:30 a.m. on October 1st. Then, from October 2nd on, you can go in at 8:30 a.m.

For EPCOT, the start-time is early in October. Through October 10th, you can use Early Theme Park Entry at 8:30 a.m.

Starting on October 11th, the window opens at 9:30 a.m. Then, on November 7th, it changes to 10:30 a.m.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s much more straightforward. You can enter at 8:30 a.m. every day from October 1st through the end of November.

Similarly, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open to official Disney resort guests at 7:30 a.m. each morning from October 1st through November 28th.

I’ve spelled it out here, but the process is pretty simple. First, look at the operating hours for the park you’re visiting that day.

Early Theme Park Entry lets you in 30 minutes before the official opening time. It’s not rocket science.

The Star Wars Surprise

Photo Courtesy: Disney Tourist Blog

However, Disney just added one tasty tidbit that will thrill you. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which recently went to a standard line queue, is now participating!

Yes, when you enter the park 30 minutes early, you can head straight to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and get in line for this attraction! That’s a huuuuuge bonus!

While we’re on the subject of Rise of the Resistance, the opening of the standby queue started on Thursday.

In case you’re wondering, the average wait time on that date was around 90-95 minutes.

Frankly, that’s substantially better than I had expected. In my experience, the Boarding Group is about 45 minutes anyway.

Oh, and I’ve saved the best for last. Disney will start Early Theme Park Entry on Sunday, September 26th!

So, if you’re visiting this week, you just caught a huge break!

Disneyland Updates

As you might imagine, Walt Disney World has plenty happening behind the scenes right now. However, Disneyland has something great right now, too.

Through October 7th, Haunted Mansion Holiday will stay open on some dates…but just for Magic Key holders!

That’s right. If you joined the new annual pass program, it’s already paying dividends. On Monday through Thursday, you get an extra hour for Haunted Mansion Holiday!

So, you have eight more weekdays when you can ride everybody’s favorite Halloween/Christmas combo ride. Here’s what the 2021 version looks like:

In between Halloween and Christmas, Disneyland will switch its decorations from spooky to merry. This switch will occur by November 12th.

We know this because park officials announced the return of several yuletide amenities on that date.

Disney announced A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… in Holiday Magic. So, we’re getting a parade and fireworks again in 2021!

While Disney has also announced the paid event, Disney Merriest Nites, it’s different from these park offerings. The parade and fireworks are totally free with admission!

Car Toon Spin Gets a Tune-Up (Toon-Up?)

Photo Courtesy Disney Tourist Blog

The Happiest Place on Earth is undergoing other, non-holiday-related changes as well.

Management has correctly determined that Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin needs an overhaul.

There was a time during the late 1980s and early 1990s when Roger Rabbit was arguably the most popular intellectual property at Disney.

Now, the story seems comically out of touch and rather dated. So, Imagineers are modernizing it by switching the story.

Jessica Rabbit has switched careers from femme fatale to private detective. She’s now the investigator on the case as she looks into a crime wave in Toontown.

As such, Disney has already removed the no-longer-distressed damsel from the car trunk in that one scene. Other changes will occur gradually over the next few months.

Park officials are taking the same approach here that Magic Kingdom did with Jungle Cruise. Updates will happen when the park has closed to guests.

From April through June, Car Toon Spin came with an average wait of about ten minutes. However, that number approached 30 minutes in August as crowds increased.

Still, the old version of the ride had undeniably lost some luster. It needed a 2020s take. Disney’s choices were either this or shut down the ride.

So, I’m grateful that they’re turning Jessica Rabbit into more of a multi-dimensional character rather than shuttering the attraction.

The design of Mickey’s Toontown would make no sense without its Roger Rabbit connections.

I still expect significant cosmetic changes as Disney preps for this themed land for the impending arrival of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in 2023.

Head over to the DVC Rental Store Confirmed Reservations page and view available reservations that can save you up to 65% off regular Disney room rates!

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