Before the pandemic, rope dropping was a pretty popular Walt Disney World strategy. If you were serious about getting a lot done, you’d get to the parks before opening so you could be one of the first ones inside. Then you’d hit your favorite rides with often much shorter waits.
But don’t worry! We’re breaking down exactly how to use the new system to your advantage.
So What’s Rope Drop?
Rope dropping is getting to a Disney park early so you can be inside right when it opens (when the “rope drops”!). It usually involves arriving a little before opening so you can be as close to the front of the line as possible. People used to queue up at the entrance pretty early!
Once rope-droppers are in the park, they’ll typically head to the most popular attractions (think Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom, Slinky Dog Dash in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Test Track in EPCOT, and Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom).
Of course, you can technically rope drop whatever attraction you want, but the trick is to get on and off a ride before the wait gets super long — and sometimes, before the park even officially opens.
Does Rope Drop Exist Anymore?
When the parks were at full capacity, rope drop was a big thing. People would wait at the tapstiles for hours when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage first opened (that was before you could grab your Rise of the Resistance boarding group from your hotel room and you had to be in the park to do it!).
Now, rope dropping is a little more complicated. For starters, Early Theme Park entry means Disney resort guests can get into the parks half an hour early, every day. This is different from the Extra Magic Hours which existed pre-closure on select days only. So if you want to truly rope drop but you aren’t staying in a Disney resort, things may be a little trickier.
And due to social distancing, Disney isn’t letting guests line up at the tapstiles for extended periods anymore. Instead, if you’re driving, you’ll wait in line at the parking booths, and you’ll be able to park and get to the entrance a little under an hour before opening. If you’re staying in a Disney resort, transportation to the parks starts running forty-five minutes before opening.
So technically, yes, you can still rope drop! Your strategy will just look a little different.
Here’s How to Do It
We rope dropped EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently so we could figure out the best strategy for you. Not only were we allowed in the parks early, but we were able to get quite a bit done before opening. The trick? Get to the park about an hour before opening. If you’re driving, be in line at the parking booth an hour before. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, hop on that transportation ASAP!
Usually between an hour to forty-five minutes before opening, that line at that parking booth will start moving. You’ll be able to park and head toward the entrance, where you may have to wait for a little bit! We were able to get inside EPCOT at around 10:30AM for an 11AM opening, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 8:30AM for a 9AM opening.
Now, half an hour may not seem like a lot, but remember: the crowds are relatively low! You should be able to get a lot done. Have in mind exactly which ride you’re heading to first — we recommend a popular one, so you can knock it out while the waits are low!
But if you head over and see the line is already long (in our EPCOT experiment, the Test Track line was 50 minutes by 10:36AM), pick somewhere else instead (we opted for Soarin’!). You don’t want to spend all that valuable empty park time just waiting in line.
Knock out those popular attractions while the lines are low! And there you have it: you’ve officially rope dropped.
You can absolutely still rope drop in Disney World right now. It’ll just look a little different! Good luck hopping on your favorite attractions bright and early in the morning, and stay tuned to AllEars for more Disney news!
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Have you ever rope dropped in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!