Let's say you have picked your Fastpasses for Magic Kingdom (If you haven't then check out our previous blog post here!), and you got every ride you wanted at the perfect times! Yay you! You can stop reading here and check out our other blog posts! You should also go buy a lottery ticket because you got skills or major luck going for you. Now...if you are like every other Disney planning traveler I know, you maybe got 2 of your top rides or maybe you didn't get any of your top Fastpass choices. Its ok! In this post I'm going to walk you through how to still ride all the top attractions utilizing the worst kept, but under appreciated, secret in Disney planning - ROPE DROP!
What is "Rope Drop"??
So what is "Rope Drop"?? Rope drop is the time at which the Cast Members drop their ropes that block off the attractions and officially begin allowing guests into the line queues. Most of the time this is right on the hour the park opens to the public.
Tip 1: Plan Which Day to Rope Drop
To best utilize Rope Drop and to make sure its worth getting you and your family to the parks early, its best to preplan what day you are going to Rope Drop. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that if you are staying at Adventureland Villa or The Turquoise Palms, you could be lining up to get into a park where on-property guests have already been allowed in for the previous hour or so. You can still get some quality rides in, but it won't be the best use of your time. So take a look on the Disney website for Park Hours and make sure you are not going to be competing with those EMH guests.
Tip 2: Get There 1 Hour Earlier
Above, I mentioned that Rope Drop is the opening hour of the park. This is true, BUT, the act of being at Rope Drop begins earlier than that moment...To Rope Drop a park and best use the low crowd times, you want to make sure you are in a decent spot nearest to the rope as possible. This can mean arriving up to 1 hour before the rope actually drops! The great thing about some of the parks, such as Magic Kingdom, they allow you to enter the park well in advance of this. You can get through bag check, the turnstiles, head up Main Street, get your Starbucks, and THEN find your spot to wait.
Tip 3: Know Where You're Going!
The third tip I have is to make sure you have a plan in place. What ride didn't you get a Fastpass for or do you just have a favorite ride that you need to do to start your day OR are you attempting to get all the attractions done in one day? You really can choose whichever ride/attraction appeals to you and your family. I would recommend not using this time for the rides with short wait times. For example, I wouldn't get to the parks this early to head to the Tea Cups or to Aladdin's Magic Carpets. These are rides that you can easily wait for later in the day OR even better, grab additional fast passes for after you have used your first three. So definitely pick an attraction that your family wants to ride, but know that this strategy yields the best results when aimed at the higher wait time rides.
Tip 4: Know The Route To Get There!
Whatever that first ride you have chosen is, make sure you are at the optimal spot to most efficiently get to attraction's queue. For example, if you couldn't get FP for Seven Drawfs Mine Train, but you just have to ride it, head to the rope that is to the right of the Castle that leads guests between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. From there you will quickly be able to get around the Castle, through the Tea Cups, and land in the queue for Mine Train. (One more quick Mine Train tip here...you may see a HUGE line when this happens. It will look like its going to be an hour wait from rope drop. Most likely this is not the case and that the interior queue areas have just not been fully opened yet. Usually, rope dropping Mine Train means I am on and off within 25 minutes. So don't get thrown off by that line!)
Tip 5: What's Next?
Again, to best utilize Rope Drop, have a set plan of where you want to head next after that first ride. My suggestion is to try and hit all the top priority attractions that are right near you. For example, If you headed first to Thunder Mountain, don't try to go to Space Mountain next! Hit up Splash Mountain or Jungle Cruise, two rides that aren't too far away. You've beat the crowds, don't then waste those precious few hours in the low crowd morning walking around. Have a plan and stick to it. Leave the afternoon for impromptu choices!
Tip 6: Fastpass Times Begin at 10:30-11am
This is one of my biggest tips for hitting a park and getting as much done in a day as you can. If you rope drop a park, you can easily ride 3-4 top attractions before 10:30 am. Between 10:30 and 11am, is when the parks begin to get a little more crowded as more and more guests arrive for the day. This is when I like to schedule my FP. If you have them starting around 11, that means you have gotten in several major rides before then AND you now don't have to wait around in long queues for your next 3 attractions. By the time early afternoon hits and everyone is cranky and hot, you will have gotten in 6 -8 MAJOR attractions. You can relax. You can grab a Mickey Bar, find a shaded spot, and plan the rest of your day! Trust me when I say this is game changing.
Tip 7: Don't Overtire Yourself
My final tip is that unless you are a super early morning family and just love to go hard core ALL THE TIME, don't try to rope drop every day of your trip. While Rope Dropping can mean really optimizing your time in the parks, if overused, it can be exhausting and leading to complete Disney fatigue. No need for that! Disney World is for fun and vacation...don't overwork yourself by trying to use this every day. (This is a tip I would do well to follow myself some trips....)
Well thats it! Those are our top Tips for how to Rope Drop a park at Walt Disney World. I hope you found them helpful and let me know if you tried them out! We'd love to hear from you in the comments. And if you like reading our tips and tricks for Disney World, check out our blog post on our best tips for Relaxing at Disney World here!
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!