How Early Theme Park Entry Has CHANGED Rope Drop in Disney World

If you’re someone who likes to start your day early in Disney World, Early Theme Park Entry might affect you whether you qualify or not.

Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios

Early Theme Park Entry is a new perk for select Disney World Resort hotel guests that allows them to enter Disney Parks 30 minutes before opening. So if you don’t qualify, rope drop (or entering a Disney Park at opening time) looks a bit different now.


Because Disney World hotel guests can get a head start in Disney World, transportation can be more crowded in the morning now. Even if you try to arrive as early as you can before the park opens, you’ll probably be traveling with hotel guests taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry.

Long line for the ferryboat!

And if you’re driving, you might find longer lines to get through to the parking lots of Disney Parks. If you’re a rope drop person, make sure you possibly leave early and prepare for longer transportation times or lines to get into parking.

How have the 50th anniversary crowds affected Disney World wait times?

Rope Drop

Many rope drop people like to start their Disney World day as early as possible. It can sometimes feel like beating the crowds, as many people choose to sleep in on vacation and get to the parks later in the morning. Historically rope drop has been associated with shorter wait times, but now rope drop might feel like entering the parks late.

Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios

Not only have many guests already been inside the park for 30 minutes thanks to Early Theme Park Entry, there are lots of other guests scrambling to arrive at park opening time. If you like getting to Disney World before everyone else, you might not get that experience now.

What rope drop looks like if you don’t qualify for Early Theme Park Entry.


With more people arriving for Early Theme Park Entry, you might find longer lines at the entrance gates of Disney Parks for rope drop. We’ve had to wait with bigger crowds at opening time recently, and in addition to the entrance lines, you’ll probably find more lines inside the park too.

Lines are forming

Whether it comes to lines for food or rides, with some guests having early access to Disney World parks they get to start forming lines before you can even enter. That means lines you’d previously be able to enter early are not really a thing anymore, because they’ll have already established wait times.

Here’s one free way to skip the lines in Disney World.


One of the biggest changes is ride waits. Because hotel guests have that extra 30 minutes, many ride lines have already formed by the time you enter at rope drop. In the past, a big advantage of visiting at rope drop is being part of the first crowds to get in lines. Now, you might find 30+ minute waits when arriving at opening time.

Rise of the Resistance Line

As wait times rise with 50th anniversary and fall crowds in Disney World, getting to the parks early can be a key way of getting an head start on some of the more popular rides. Which means arriving at opening time can actually feel late.

Wait times are on the rise as fall crowds arrive in Disney World.

If rope drop is important to you, you might want to consider staying in a Disney World Resort hotel that qualifies for Early Theme Park Entry.  And keep reading Al Ears for more Disney World news and tips!

All the resorts that qualify for Early Theme Park Entry in Disney World!

Do you tend to rope drop Disney Parks? Tell us in the comments!

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2 Replies to “How Early Theme Park Entry Has CHANGED Rope Drop in Disney World”

  1. We went to Hollywood Studios two weeks ago and rope drop was disappointing. We arrived thirty minutes before park opening and had to wait until 9:00 to get in, unlike before when you could get past the turnstiles early. By the time we made it in and back to Star Wars, the wait for Rise was 80 minutes. By the time we decided that we needed to purchase Genie+ or LL, it was too late to get return times for Rise and Slinky (this was before lunch).

    1. You have to either take advantage of the resort early access or just forgo any thoughts of rope drop. Rope Drop is now resort early access. For me and mine, we’re getting too old for early access and rope drop, but then that means we have to deal with longer lines.