Want to be first in line at a Disney World theme park? Well that practise is known as “Rope Drop” and it’s been a fan favorite for years, especially for those who really want to get as much done as possible before the big crowds arrive mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
The idea is quite simple – Show up at the park early enough and you’re going to have the opportunity to be first in line for attractions and experiences that usually have long lines. Each park has it’s own quirks, so here’s a couple of things to know about it!
Rope Drop Tips for Disney World Theme Parks
ROPE DROP IS NOT EXTRA MAGIC HOURS
Extra Magic Hours is a perk for Disney Resort guests, which allows folks the chance to get into the parks for designated times on certain days. It’s scheduled far in advance, which means that you can plan your FastPass+ reservations around your Extra Magic Hour plans.
Rope Dropping a theme park that’s ALSO doing Extra Magic Hours isn’t a smart move, as there are already thousands of guests in the lines that are usually walk-ons for the first hour of operations.
MAGIC KINGDOM TIPS
When you Rope Drop the Magic Kingdom, you’re going to be able to get a number of attractions done really quick…but there’s a couple of things to note.
Arrive 30-45 minutes BEFORE the posted opening time, as you can wander along Main Street USA and get classic Cinderella Castle photos. This is because in 2017, the traditional Opening Ceremony at the Train Station was moved to the main stage in front of the Castle.
Attractions open at the same time when there is NO Extra Magic Hours. On days where there is morning EMH, certain attractions are open while some are closed.
Open Lands for Extra Magic Hours:
- Main Street USA
Closed Lands for EMH
- Liberty Square
Why is this important? Well everyone who went to morning EMH are going to be lining up to experience the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc with everyone else!
Is Rope Drop worth it at the Magic Kingdom?
On days when there isn’t Morning Extra Magic Hours, Yes!
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Epcot has a two-stage rope drop, with the main turnstiles opening 15-30 minutes prior to the time posted for opening. After folks go through the first check point, you are held in front of Spaceship Earth for the “Opening Ceremony” with a performance by the Jammitors.
There are three “routes” to take:
- Test Track
- Soarin (The Land Pavilion)
- Frozen Ever After in the Norway Pavilion
Depending on whether or not you can get a FastPass+ reservation for any of the three above will dictate whether or not Rope Drop is a good strategy for your party.
Please note that the World Showcase as a whole opens at 11am, and thus will have it’s own Rope Drop. Guests are able to visit the Norway Pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie in France and very few other spots before 11am.
DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM TIPS
Similar to EPCOT, there’s a two-stage Rope Drop which includes the main entrance and then a performance in front of the Tree of Life.
From there, you’ve got a couple options:
- Flight of Passage in Pandora: The World of Avatar (Best Choice!)
- Dinosaur in Dinoland USA
- Expedition Everest in Asia
- Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa
The goal is to supplement your existing FastPass+ reservations, so if you’ve already got a FP for Flight of Passage and one of the others, it may be worth skipping the morning Rope Drop and sleeping in.
Is Rope Drop Worth it at the Animal Kingdom?
Honestly, we’ve usually skipped Rope Drop because there’s usually a late night activity that takes precedence the evening before and we just needed the sleep. With everyone basically going for the same attraction, it’s less of a rush to get stuff done.
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DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS TIPS
As the park starts to fill out, with Mickey & Minnie’s Railway and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, there’s more of a reason to go to DHS early. In fact, if you want to ride Rise of the Resistance, you’ll want to get there early!
You should grab a Times Guide upon checking into your Resort OR once you arrive at the Orlando International Airport from the Disney Store. This will make sure that you’re prepared for the various operating hours and what experiences are open & closed.
Hope this helps with your Disney World Trip Planning!