Did you set the alarm? Words we say most nights before heading to bed, and words we’re glad to forget while on vacation. I’m sure we’d all agree that vacation is a time to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. Well, Walt Disney World is not the traditional vacation with white sand beaches, or lounging by a fireplace with a good book, it’s a active trip. When doing any research for your upcoming Disney trip, we’re sure you’ve heard the term rope drop and people say it’s a must. Let’s discuss what it is and when’s the best time to rope drop at Walt Disney World. Let’s hurry, though, Mickey is waiting!

Magic Kingdom at Rope Drop
Entering Magic Kingdom

What’s Rope Drop?

When a Disneyphile refers to rope drop or rope dropping, it’s in reference to being at a theme park for opening. Each of the parks does something a little different prior to the official opening, for example the Magic Kingdom has a stage show in front of the castle. Once the show ends and the park is open, then it’s off to the first attraction. As Indiana Jones would say, choose wisely! (there really isn’t a bad choice).

Passholder Insight: The opening show at the Magic Kingdom has an array of characters, and is only performance once a day.

Morning Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios at Rope Drop

Important Things to Know

Rope drop sounds easy and it really is, but there is definitely a few things to keep in mind when getting up early. The first and foremost important thing to remember is that things take a little longer to do at Walt Disney World, especially traveling from point to point. If you’re looking to be in the park for the rope drop show, you should plan to arrive at the Magic Kingdom at least a half an hour before opening. We would recommend planning about 45 minutes to an hour to travel from a Disney Resort to the park.

Our second important thing to do is pick out which attraction you want to head to first. Once again sounds simple, but the less you have to “plan” after the show ends the easier it is. We would recommend heading to an attraction that tends to have longer wait times, and where you do not already have a FastPass. Rope drop is similar to having an extra FastPass as the wait times are extremely low.

The last important thing to know is when to schedule your Fastpasses for the day. Our recommendation is to try to schedule your first one around 11 am or a little later. The mornings tend to have lower crowd levels and if you rope drop you’ll be able to ride a few attractions with minimal wait times (depending on the time of year).

Passholder Insights: Before planning a rope drop day, check out the park schedule ahead of time. We would recommend not doing a rope drop at park that has Extra Magic Hours (unless you rope drop Extra Magic Hours) in the morning, especially if you’re not staying on Disney property.

Nighttime Show - No Rope Drop
Happily Ever After

When Not to Rope Drop  

Walt Disney World has tons of great things to see when it gets dark, from projection shows to fireworks, you’ll definitely want to see at least one of them. We would recommend to not rope drop the day after you have a late night watching the fireworks or shows. Late nights followed by early mornings don’t make for a great vacation, especially for those non-early risers.

What we like to do if we know we’re going to have early mornings and late nights is plan for a midday break. You could head back to the resort for an afternoon by the pool, or enjoy a sit down lunch to escape the heat. Our personal preference is to head to a lounge a have ourselves an adult timeout. We find it really helps “slow” down the day and enjoy vacation a little more.

Passholder Insights: If you’re planning a resort only day or pool day, one thing to consider is making the night before your late night then the day after your non park day a rope drop morning. With this strategy you’ll have plenty of time to rest and not feel as burnt out.

Overall scheduling a rope drop is a good idea for your Disney trip. We would not recommend doing it every day, especially if you’re like us and enjoy the nighttime festivities. If you plan accordingly you’ll have nothing to worry about. We meet you at the castle, don’t forget the coffee!

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