What is Rope Drop and Why Does it Matter?
Any Walt Disney World veteran who knows how to maximize time in the parks and lessen time spent in lines will tell you that getting to the parks for rope drop is essential.
What is Rope Drop?
In simple terms, rope drop refers to being ready to start touring the park as soon as the Cast Members “drop the rope” to open the park. In reality, this means arriving to the park about 45 minutes to one hour before the posted opening time. So, for example, if the schedule on Walt Disney World’s website says that Epcot will open at 9:00 a.m., you should be in line at the turnstiles by 8:00 a.m.
You also need to pay attention to Extra Magic Hours in the mornings for Disney resort guests. Remember that staying at a Disney Resort hotel has many perks and getting in before the general public is one of those perks. If the schedule says that Morning Extra Magic Hours (EMH) begin at 8:00 a.m., with the general public allowed in at 9:00 a.m., as a Disney resort guest, you should be there between 7:00 a.m. -7:15 a.m. in order to rope drop Extra Magic Hours.
This is what the hours will look like on the Walt Disney World website (you can see that if Extra Magic Hours are offered, they are listed with the park hours):
Why does it matter?
When most people go on vacation, they like to sleep in, take their time getting to the parks and relax bit as they make their way there. However, a Walt Disney World vacation is not like a beach vacation. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you need to be at the parks before the crowds.
Arriving at rope drop gets you toward the front of the crowds entering the parks, and then when the rope actually drops, you can make your way to the most popular attractions right away, getting you on and off your favorite attraction before some people have even entered the park.
Rope drop could help you get toward the front of the long lines of newer attractions!
How does it work?
When you arrive to a park for rope drop, you will wait behind the turnstiles.
Tip: Look toward the left and right sides for turnstiles that have shorter lines. People tend to head toward the middle turnstiles. Also, look for lines that have fewer kids. Speaking from experience, kids have a harder time with the fingerprint scan than adults do so those lines tend to back up. The Cast Members will typically visit with guests at the turnstiles prior to opening, so find out some more about them while you wait! Ask where they are from, how long they have been working at Disney and what their favorite attraction is at the park you are visiting.
When the park “opens,” which may be before the scheduled time, the Cast Members will let you through the turnstiles, typically to another main entrance within the park.
When you reach that point, you will see Cast Members holding a rope across the walkway entrance. People will line up along that rope. Those Cast Members will then walk the crowd toward the next point of entrance or the main attraction that everyone is waiting for (Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train). Remember to respect the rule about walking—no need to injure yourself in Walt Disney World! And, remember to have fun!
With all the time you have saved, you will now be ahead of the crowds for the rest of the day!
Disney Trip Tip:
- Take breakfast with you to eat as you wait in line. We like to pack granola bars/ breakfast bars, juice boxes, bottled water and trail mix to eat for breakfast.
- Use the time waiting in line to review the park map so you know exactly where to head first. Also review the show times for the day to make sure they are at the same times you were expecting.
Use your time waiting for the park to open to review the paths around the park and double check show times!
Have you done Rope Drop before? What tips do you have? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter!
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1 thought on “Rope Drop 101: What is it and Why Does it Matter?”
Great advice Sunny! So generous to share your wisdom and yes, I’ll be side-eyeing you next time I am at WDW and the rope drop crowds have doubled. We like to rope drop at AK take care of Pandora and then have a relaxed breakfast at Rain Forest before our FPs start. My crew doesn’t mind the extra walk since it means having dessert for breakfast. Haha