If you’ve done any research on Walt Disney World at all then you’ve heard the the term “Rope Drop”.
You have no clue what it is, and all you know is that you have to do it. Military Disney Tips is here to help fill you in on everything you need to know about Rope Drop.
What is Rope Drop?
You may be on vacation but you’re still getting up early at Disney! When people talk about being in the parks at Rope Drop, they are talking about being in the parks at or even before they actually open.
Wait… If the park is not “open”, how can you be in it? A little known secret is that Walt Disney World opens the turnstiles about 30 minutes before the actual park opens. We’ve even been inside of the Magic Kingdom 45 minutes before it was open!
The term “Rope Drop” comes from when Cast Members would hold a literal rope over the roads in the parks to block attractions. People would line up ready to go, and when the park officially opened, the Cast Members would literally drop the rope to let the people in.
Why Rope Drop?
Now you’re tracking that we’re talking about getting up pretty early on vacation. Okay, more than pretty early. You see, if you are planning a Magic Kingdom day and it opens at 8:00 a.m., then that means you want to be at the Transportation and Ticket Center no later than 7:00 a.m. (or the front gate by 7:30).
Yes, you read that right. But trust us! It’s totally worth it.
There are two major reasons for wanting to Rope Drop the parks that are worth setting an alarm clock while on vacation.
1. Picture Time
Everybody wants the best pictures in Disney World, especially the ones in front of the castle, but there’s always people in them! Let’s face it, in a park that welcomes over 50,000 people a day, you are going to struggle to be the only people in a picture anywhere in Walt Disney World!
After you go through the turnstiles to get into the park before rope drop you have time to take all the pictures! There are very few people milling around in the parks this time of day and you have great access to every angle of the castle. Take advantage!
Plus, in our experience, once the day gets going we’re too busy having fun that we completely forget to take pictures at all.
Another thought is that the morning is a great time to get all of those photos in before you ride all the rides and sweat to death.
2. Rides, Rides, Rides, and More Rides!
Genie+ is not a guaranteed way to ride more rides, but Rope Drop is always a sure bet to ride a lot in a short period of time.
Most of the crowds arrive in the parks between 10:00 – 11:00, so those first couple hours are some of the shortest lines all day. We like to call the 2 hours before the crowds arrive “Rope Drop Hours”. Unless you are going after one of the super popular rides like Slinky Dog Dash, Rise of Resistance, or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you can easily go on 3-5 attractions in 2 hours!
Things to Avoid During “Rope Drop Hours”
Avoid the super popular rides
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Rise of the Resistance
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Save shows until the afternoon
Stage shows and attraction shows are a huge time suck, so while we love them, we are trying to maximize our Rope Drop Hours. Save things like Carousel of Progress and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage for the hot afternoon when both the crowds and the sun are high. They make a great break from the heat.
Don’t have a particular order
If you are someone who loves to plan, then you have probably already mapped out your day. Planning a Disney World vacation is perfect for a person like you, except during the Rope Drop Hours.
These 2 hours are the time to fly by the seat of your pants and go where the times are low. My Disney Experience is your best friend.
Have you not read the part where we said this is the time of the day with the LOWEST WAIT TIMES all day? Why would you want to waste it eating? We’re all for Disney snacks, and we love a themed Disney restaurant, but during these two hours eat a granola bar from your backpack.
If you want a breakfast/brunch, try booking it for 10:30. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the park and then relax. Think of it as a reward for getting up so early.
How to Rope Drop
First, Rope Drop is different depending on where you stay. Those staying at Disney’s Resort Hotels, Shades of Green and several other on property hotels are eligible for , that is entering the parks and being able to experience the parks a half hour earlier than the masses staying at chain hotels in Kissimmee.
Once the ticket touch points open to allow guests entry (45-60 minutes before regular scheduled opening time), Disney will let everyone with a valid ticket into the park. For example at the Magic Kingdom, all guests will be allowed onto Main Street USA. Paths deeper into the park will be roped off.
Main Street’s larger shops, such as the Emporium, will be open. The Main Street Bakery (Starbucks) will also be open for coffee and breakfast items.
Those with Early Entry access will be directed to another line, where their eligibility will be verified. They will then be allowed a little further into the park into a queue area (one of the bridges to Tomorrowland. where they will wait for the Early Entry Rope Drop.
Those without Early Entry will remain on Main Street for another half hour until all the ropes are dropped.
Eligible guests who want to take advantage of Early Entry should arrive at the park entrance 60 minutes before official opening (that is, 30 minutes before Early Entry). Off-site guests, who aren’t eligible for Early Theme Park Entry, should arrive 30 minutes before official opening.
To learn all about Early Entry including open attractions, eligible hotels, and more see our Early Entry post.
What attraction would you run to at Rope Drop?
Just a reminder: Please no actual running in Walt Disney World. It’s the most Magical Place on Earth, not Target on Black Friday.
This MDT Post By: Erin Schreiver
Erin is a MilSpouse who loves going to Walt Disney World with her family, pin trading, and collecting Minnie ears and coffee mugs! Check out her bio.
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
- Dining Overview Page
- Transportation Overview Page
- Technology Overview Page
- Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort
Military Disney Tips' Recommended Disney Travel Agent
Ears of Experience Disney Only Travel Agency. Military family owned and operated! They know all the ins and outs of Disney military discounts!
Leave a Reply