How Much Does Being at Rope-Drop Really Matter?

Prevailing wisdom says that to make the most out of your days at Disney, you should start early. But how early is early? Is being at the parks at “rope-drop” (that is, the second the parks open) really necessary?

While there isn’t necessarily anything special about being at rope-drop at most parks, starting your day as early as possible allows you to enjoy maximum time in the parks.

Let the Magic Begin

At Magic Kingdom, you’ll find the only official rope-drop show, “Let the Magic Begin.” Starting just a few minutes before official park opening, the castle stage welcomes many of your favorite characters and celebrates a new day at Magic Kingdom! Unlike previous welcome shows at the park, this one allows you to be all the way down Main Street USA, meaning you’re starting the day closer to the big ticket attractions and must-sees.

Frozen Ever After

While other parks don’t necessarily have full-blown welcome shows, being there at rope-drop does allow you to get a head-start on the lines at the most popular attractions — Slinky Dog Dash, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Frozen Ever After to name a few. 

So, is being at rope-drop really necessary?

The short answer is: it depends.

If you’re lucky enough to have FastPasses for the most-wanted attractions, then being at rope-drop isn’t a necessity for you. However, if you aren’t able to snag a FastpPass to one of your favorites or must-sees, we do recommend getting to the parks as early as possible and heading there first.

Additionally, if you want to see the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show, being at rope-drop is a must. There’s also a lot to see on Main Street USA that’s only available in the morning, such as the Trolley Show or Citizens of Main Street.

As a general rule, the more time you can get in the parks, the more you’ll get to see and do on your Disney Vacation.

Do you think being at rope-drop matters? Let us know in the comments!

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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

13 Replies to “How Much Does Being at Rope-Drop Really Matter?”

  1. Fast pass was implemented for 2 reasons and neither was for the benefit of the park visitors. First, was for a way to get people out of lines so they could spend more money shopping and dining. Second, was to gain total control of visitor movement.

    The DVC program also very successfully accomplishes these two things. They get a quarenteed source of big $$$ for an extended time while gaining almost complete control of DVC owners.

  2. I miss the days of going to rope drop and making my way to the old fast pass machines to grab passes for your favorites. I personally hate the new fast pass system and have no interest in trying to decide where I want to be and what I want to ride 3 months in advance. That is the epitome of stressful vacation in my opinion. Especially for those of us that decide to take a spur of the moment trip to WDW and maybe only have a few weeks to prepare. We just don’t get to ride anything we want to ride. First come first served was always a better system.

    1. I agree completely! We just got back from a quick 5 day visit. This fast pass system stinks! We missed out on so many, and then you can’t do more than 1 park per day, even with park hoppers. Need to back to getting them there.

      1. Right Heidi. They have (purposely) totally eliminated the ability to spontaneously visit WDW. And when you do visit, they control your every movement.

        It really is sad to see what WDW has become and what it continues to become.

  3. Regardless, if it gets you on more rides or not, everyone should experience the opening of the magic kingdom at least once. The build up and the ceremony enhance the anticipation, and a non-crowded Main Street actually looks like a warm and welcoming town from yesteryear.

    1. I remember once booking a breakfast in Cinderella’s Castle before the park opened. I have a pic of me on Main Street and the only other person in the shot was a cast member. It is one of my favorite Disney memories.

  4. I was at Animal Kingdom for opening on Jan 29th, we got to the park at 8am for a 9am opening. They let us in at 8:20am and you can bet everyone on that line was heading for Avatar Flight of Passage. It was nuts to be honest but we didn’t have a fast pass and wanted to be able to get on without to long a wait. They did open the ride at 8:30am so it does pay to get there early in case that happens. We had about a 15 minute wait and when we got off the line it was already at 125 minutes !!

  5. I love the early mornings in every park!There is such beauty on Main Street Future World Discovery Island And The Studios that is reason enough for me even if I do not ride a thing. A beautiful uncrowded park is very peaceful

  6. For Toy Story Land, if you can afford the special breakfast package for extra early access, you should consider this option. My husband thought it was crazy we were spending the additional money and getting up so early to be at Hollywood Studios at 7 am for bag check and check-in. We were in WDW Jan 21 to Jan 28 and there were huge crowds. We went to Toy Story Land with the package on Jan 23 and rode everything twice before the 1,500 person stampede from the park rope drop thundered into the section at 8:50 am. It was led by cast members who were trying to control the crowd but then had to RUN off to the sides. We’ve never seen cast members have to run for safety like we witnessed. Slinky Dog at 8:52 am had a 125 minute line. If you do the package, we recommend riding all the rides first then going to the breakfast. And try to ride everything by 8:40 am.

  7. It depends on the ride. Most rides will have just a short line even 30 minutes after rope drop. If you just want to enjoy a few of your favorite attractions, you can probably sleep in a little without having to wait in a lot of long lines. If you are going to be there for rope-drop, you will likely be standing in a long line just to wait until rope-drop. You will be waiting in a line to just get through the turnstiles, then in the line at rope-drop.

  8. The earlier you get there, the more rides you will ride. Obviously there are other factors, but in general it’s a scientific fact that if you can spend the whole day at the park, you will enjoy more attractions from the front of the rope drop line than people at the back and even worse people that show up after rope drop.

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