Disney California Adventure Morning Strategy 2023: Rope Drop Tips & Itinerary

Starting your Disney day with a fun, efficient morning is the best way to maximize your time at Disney California Adventure. In the morning, ride queues are shorter since there are fewer guests in the park, which means the mornings are the best time to see lots of attractions quickly. For this reason, it's important to map your California Adventure morning strategy.

But what’s the best way to make sure you get the most out of your morning at Disney California Adventure? Read on for the best California Adventure morning strategy for 2023.

Disney California Adventure Morning Strategy Must Have! Disneyland Resort App

This is a key tip for utilizing our Disney California Adventure morning strategy. Be prepared and execute with the official park app…

Disneyland has an official app that you can use to enhance your Disney morning experience. The most obvious perk of the app is its laser-accurate, constantly-updating wait times that let you see how long queues are for every attraction in the park. 

The app has several other helpful features, too. You can order food from your phone with the mobile order system, make dining reservations, access your PhotoPass pictures, link your park tickets, and, most importantly, utilize the new Genie+ system.

We highly recommend downloading the app, linking your tickets, and looking at all the features before you arrive at the park. This way, you won’t waste any precious time trying to figure out how to use all the helpful app utilities on your big Disney day!

Disney California Adventure Rope Drop Strategy 2023

rope drop 2022 Disney California adventure tips

In a practice known at Disney as “rope drop,” guests can enter the park around 30 minutes before park opening and then they are held at long ropes in key points throughout the park. At official park opening the ropes will be “dropped” and guests are escorted in an orderly fashion to the top Disney California Adventure attraction. This is the Disney California Adventure rope drop.

To get into Disney California Adventure as early as possible, you should plan on arriving at least an hour before the listed opening hours. This means that you can begin your Disney day with the shortest queues you’ll see in your entire visit!

To ensure you’re part of the first wave of admitted guests, make sure you get to Disneyland as early as possible. Parking in the Mickey & Friends parking structure can take some time, and going through the security checkpoint also adds several minutes to your arrival procedure. Your goal should be standing outside the gates of the park 45 minutes before the official opening time so that you are near the front of the gate queue so that you can get up close to the front of the rope for the beginning of rope drop.

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A key part of planning your Disneyland Resort vacation is purchasing tickets. Since you are reading this Disneyland morning strategy, I know that you are savvy and thoughtful about your time. The best way to save money and experience the most is to stay at Disneyland for multiple days and purchase discount Disneyland tickets.

Get Away Today is our favorite (and Disney-approved!) reseller for resale Disneyland tickets. They offer some of the best discounted Disneyland tickets around, and their customer service department is top-tier. They want everyone to have the best Disney experience possible. They offer discounts on multi-day Disneyland tickets.

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Get Away Today’s service makes your Disney morning even more efficient. They deliver your tickets electronically, so you don’t need to wait in any ticketing lines before you enter the parks. 

Get Away Today also offers layaway plans that allow you to pay off your tickets in monthly installments. Read our editor’s review of Get Away Today’s perks here!

California Adventure Morning Strategy without Genie Plus

morning strategy disney California adventure

If you don’t have Genie Plus, you’ll definitely want to arrive at the park early enough for rope drop. If you’re at the front of the group, there’s one ride you should prioritize above all others, assuming you can move pretty quickly:

WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure should be your top priority if you’re at the front of the rope drop crowd. The line still might be a little long, but it’ll never be shorter than it is at the beginning of the day. If you’re not at the front of the rope drop area, you should use the strategy below instead.

The best place to start your Disney California Adventure day is Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (if you don’t go to Spider-Man first, that is). 

After Guardians, make your way to Pixar Pier to ride Toy Story Midway Mania. If you’re there in the first hour of the park’s opening, you might even be able to ride it twice since the queue tends to be unusually short!

While you’re at Pixar Pier, head over to the Incredicoaster for one of the park’s best thrill rides.

After you’ve visited the most popular attractions, take a breather and enjoy some of the smaller rides like Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Silly Symphony Swings, Goofy’s Sky School, and Jumpin’ Jellyfish.

Cars Land tends to be an incredibly popular early morning destination for many guests, which means there usually isn’t a significant difference in wait times from the morning to the afternoon. Since the queues are long either way, it makes more sense to prioritize the above attractions that have substantially shorter waits in the morning and then enjoy Cars Land in the afternoon or evening.

Since Parkhopper tickets allow guests to switch parks starting at 1PM, wait times for many attractions will go down in the early afternoon. This makes the afternoon the best time to go on popular rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin’, and Grizzly River Run

California Adventure Morning Strategy with Genie Plus

disney genie plus California adventure tips

To further maximize your day Disney California Adventure morning strategy, visitors now have the option to pay an additional fee for access to the new Genie Plus service. Genie Plus allows guests to make digital reservations for attractions with Lightning Lanes. Genie Plus is a super effective tool for seeing as many attractions as possible, but what’s the best way to use it? Let’s explore the possibilities.

First, it’s absolutely essential to purchase your Genie Plus before  California Adventure opens for the day. This will allow you to make your first reservation as soon as the park opens. Genie Plus only allows users to make one reservation every two hours, so it’s important to strategize by picking the highest priority attractions.

We’ve broken down two different strategies for Disney+ usage. Both of them group attractions that are close to one another so you’re not running around the park all day. The first strategy guide prioritizes gentler rides for younger visitors, while the second focuses on thrill rides.

These strategies will take you to most of the main attractions in Disney California Adventure before lunchtime! Make sure to keep an eye on your Genie Plus reservations –– you can make a new reservation every two hours, so try to use it as many times as possible to get your money’s worth.

For younger visitors:

  • Reserve Genie Plus for Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Ride Radiator Springs Racers in the Single Rider or standby line
  • Ride Toy Story Midway Mania with your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Soarin’
  • Ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Ride Soarin’ with your Genie Plus Reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Monster’s Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Ride Silly Symphony Swings
  • Ride Monster’s Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue! with your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Goofy’s Sky School
  • Ride Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • Ride Golden Zephyr
  • Ride Pixar’s Pal-A-Round
  • Ride Goofy’s Sky School with your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus whichever above ride (Toy Story, Soarin’, Monster’s Inc, Goofy’s Sky School) you might want to ride again
  • Ride Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Ride Jessie’s Critter Carousel
  • Ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Ride Luigi’s Rockin’ Roadsters
  • Ride your favorite ride with Genie Plus
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Grizzly River Run (you’ll get wet!)
  • Break for lunch
disney California adventure worth it disneyland morning strategy

Toy Story Midway Mania is a great attraction to secure early in the morning. See our morning strategy tips for when to ride post rope drop.

Disney California Adventure rope drop strategy for thrill-seekers:

(note: this California Adventure morning strategy assumes you might want to ride some marquee attractions twice, and that you’re okay with using Single Rider for Radiator Springs Racers)

  • Reserve Genie Plus for Toy Story Midway Mania
  • If you’re at the front of the rope drop group, ride WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. If not, ride Toy Story Midway Mania without Genie Plus or Radiator Springs Racers.
  • Ride Toy Story Midway Mania using your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Ride Radiator Springs Racers with Single Rider
  • Ride the Incredicoaster
  • Ride Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! with your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Soarin’ right after you scan in for Guardians
  • Ride Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Ride Goofy’s Sky School
  • Ride Soarin’ using your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genius Plus for Incredicoaster
  • Ride Golden Zephyr
  • Ride Silly Symphony Swings
  • Ride Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
  • Ride Pixar’s Pal-A-Round
  • Ride Incredicoaster using your Genie Plus reservation
  • Reserve Genie Plus for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Ride Grizzly River Run (you will get wet!)
  • Ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Ride Luigi’s Rockin’ Roadsters
  • Ride Monster’s Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Break for lunch

How to ride WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure: Rope Drop?

riding Spiderman disney California adventure

The marquee attraction in Avengers Campus is a brand-new ride called WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. It’s one of the most fun, thrilling, and technologically innovative rides in any Disney park, so you don’t want to miss it! 

Should you rope drop the Spider-Man attraction at Disney California Adventure?

The ride offers a la carte Lightning Lane virtual queueing. It’s not included in the Genie+ system, but still uses the Disneyland app. If you opt to use the a la carte virtual queue, it’ll cost you $20 per guest, which is absolutely worth it if you want to fit as many attractions as possible into your day.

If you don’t use the Lightning Lane, the standby wait time will probably eat up a good chunk of your day, even if you visit in the morning. We recommend saving the attraction for later in the day. Monitor the wait time using the Disneyland app, and join the standby line during a parade or mid-afternoon. 

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