Usually, they have gates open to the far right hand side for early entry.
You'll be able to get to most of the Fantasyland rides, with the exception of IASW. Also, they may open Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain.
The crowds can be very small, so lines are short--make the best of it. The last time, we did one side of the Matterhorn, got off, and got right on the other side. (I'd never done the right hand side before!)
If you've got tickets for Toontown Madness, they'll have a rope queue by IASW, and that'll drop about the time the park "officially" opens. Since the TTM ceremony starts about 15 minutes after that, you'll want to position yourself.
Do note that none of the restaurants will be open. You might want to consider seeing if you can get something quick at Whitewater, or at La Brea, or otherwise planning to get something slightly later in the morning after the park has "really opened". I think the last time, we just took the train from Toontown/Fantasyland around to NOS, and went to the River Belle Terrace.
So how exactly does it work and what attractions are open? We are leaving Friday morning and staying at the GCH during our stay.
Early Entry is a "Bonus" feature of 3 day or more Park Hoppers purchased in a package through Walt Disney Travel Company or AAA. "Early Entry" will appear written in the top left corner on the reverse side of your Park Hopper.
Select one day to use it during your stay: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. The turnstyle will "read" your early entry. Select the turnstyle at Main Gate marked "Early Entry" overhead. Arrive at Main Gate PRIOR to one hour before Park opening.
All attractions are subject to change.
Most attractions in Fantasyland, as well as, Space Mountain, Astro Orbitor and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster are scheduled to be open for you.
Limited food service locations will be available as well...check with Guest Relations (City Hall) to see what is scheduled for that day or ask a Cast Member.
Mickey's Toontown Morning Madness can be enjoyed at the top of the next hour (same time as Park opening). You use the printed voucher from your package for entry. Present the voucher, for your entire party, to the Cast Member at the Toontown Gate.
I was there the weekend of October 1st, and we did the Early Entry. It was a true boon to the trip! It removes specific rides from your touring schedule and makes it easier to see more. The drawback? You do have to wake up early, and forrage for food! There is no food, as was said.
If you are staying at a Neighbor Hotel, then you get the one day early admission (with a park hopper).
If you are staying at one of the DLR hotels (i.e. DLH, GCH, PPH) then you can actually show your room charge card (or key?) and enter on more than one day.
This is what I've heard, which brings me to another question. If I purchase an AP but come and stay at one of the DLR hotels, can you still get in early?
Stalking is when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.
I want to add that when I used early entry this past Saturday, the restaurants (Plaza, Carnation, Blue Ribbon) and some of the food spots (such as the fruit stand on Main Street) were indeed open. So perhaps the situation has changed in regards to getting something to eat that first hour.
2. No, but you may use your DLR Hotel Room Key to Express board the monorail (if operating).
3. You may upgrade your Park Hopper to an Annual Pass. Early Entry from the Park Hopper must be used prior to the upgrade. Early Entry is not a feature of the Annual Pass.
We just got back from a stay at the Disneyland Hotel and they are giving early entry every day it is offered to resort guests. You have to show your room charge slip, not your room key (since you can keep those after your stay) and the charge slip is good for up to 6 people (according to the cast member who checked us in). I also had to ask her if they were still giving early entry to all resort guests, she didn't volunteer the information. Your best bet is to ask the cast member when you are checking in just to verify they are still doing this. The latest I saw posted is that they are offering this perk as a test to see how it works out and it is subject to change. As far as I know, it will last until November. We were able to take advantage of this on a Monday and Tuesday last week.
edited to add: We have annual passes as does my brother's family who stayed at the resort with us and we all got early entry both days it was offered during our stay. My parents has a 3 day park hopper and did early entry both days as well.