April 3, 2012 - Note for visitors after June 15 - there are credible rumors that starting June 15, 2012 DCA will begin opening at 8AM during the summer and begin hosting Magic Morning hours which will invalidate all the information in this thread. See the following link for some of the current rumors. Pay attention to Disney announcements before your trip for more info
New Al Lutz: Tons of Cars Land and BVS Updates - Soft Openings & Magic Mornings
Well, this thread is not official anything - I just thought it made for a catchy title. But it does relate some solid and confirmed information about DCA's opening time. Which is confusing because DCA always opens earlier than its posted time. Don't ask me why. It is just how Disney does things. :)
The question of DCA opening pops up a lot in conjunction with World of Color and the Soarin' Over California ride and FPs. Here is what you need to know:
o Year round DCA opens officially at 10AM
o For many years DCA has opened every day unofficially
. Never has Disney published this, but it is a well known fact and it is available to all guests - offsite, onsite or day trippers. During the first 30 minutes only one ride is open - Soarin' Over California. And the Soarin' FP machines are open. Since WOC opened in June 2010 DCA has also offered WOC FPs during this first 30 minutes.
Some people use this time to line up for "rope drop" for popular rides like TSMM which do not start until 10AM. And I expect this will also happen for LMAUA starting this summer. Guests are inside DCA but are held back in two places: near the BugsLand entrance and on the GRR route into Paradise Pier. Usually the GRR route is better for rope drop.
There is also a rope drop to the entrance of Hollywood Backlot/HollywoodLand on the way to ToT and MI rides.
o For guests staying at the DLR hotels
DCA allows entry at 9AM
to get WOC FPs. This is available through the special entrance to DCA
through the GCH. Each guest must show proof of being a DLR hotel guest - namely a room key. This perk is also available to those who eat breakfast at one of the GCH restaurants but are not DLR hotel guests. They must show a receipt for their meal. See World of Color Superthread
The 9AM opening through GCH was used regularly starting with the World of Color debut in June 2010, but there are reports that recently on low crowd days this is not available at 9AM. Which means it would then be available at 9:30AM at the latest.
These guests can also get best position for rope drop if they are so inclined.
June 8, 2011 Update...
: Since the Little Mermaid ride opened last Friday it appears Disney is letting DL hotel guests ride it at 9AM and everyone else at starting at 9:30AM.
July 2, 2011 Update...
: We rode LM last week at 9:35AM and they checked our GCH room key cards to make sure we were Disney hotel guests. It appears that LM is reserved for hotel guests 9-10AM each day, and sometimes they do not check room key cards after 9:30AM and anyone can ride it.
January 29, 2012 Update...
: There are rumors that all of this will change sometime around June, 2012 when Cars Land opens. The rumors say that DCA's opening will be moved from 10AM to 8AM and even that DCA will have its own Magic Mornings. Keep tuned!