It’s no secret – Walt Disney World gets crowded. To beat the crowds and get on the most popular rides fast, many guests arrive as soon as the parks open, known as Disney rope drop.
We spoke to AAA travel advisor and Disney expert Cady DeBlois to get the hottest rope drop tips and strategies for your next vacation.
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What is rope drop at Disney?
Disney rope drop is named after the rope that cast members occasionally use to block off sections of the park before they open. Even if no actual rope is present, rope drop just means the time the gates open. Then it’s time to make a beeline to your favorite ride.
What’s your rope drop strategy?
“My rope drop strategy varies by park and which rides I’m able to select with Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Selections that morning,” DeBlois said. “When you are staying on-property, definitely take advantage of the early entry opportunity. It can take some time to get to the parks when using Disney’s transportation, especially for Magic Kingdom. I recommend planning about an hour for travel time, even though it doesn’t usually take that long. The most important tip is to have a plan of what you are prioritizing and have a general idea of the layout of the parks to get where you need to be.”
What’s your strategy for each park?
Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom: “During early entry at Magic Kingdom, the only two lands that are open are Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. I always prioritize Seven Dwarves Mine Train or Space Mountain during this time and selecting a Genie+ reservation for another ride in the park.”
Rope Dropping Animal Kingdom: “Kilimanjaro Safaris is always my No. 1 for rope drop. The animals are much more active first thing in the morning, since it isn’t too hot out yet. I love grabbing a coffee during early entry and enjoying the animal walking trails before heading over to Kilimanjaro Safaris. I would also prioritize Avatar Flight of Passage first thing in the morning.”
Epcot Rope Drop: “I love to rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and then head over to Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, a delicious bakery in the France pavilion, for some breakfast. Then I’ll make my way around World Showcase to Frozen Ever After in Norway.”
Rope Drop at Hollywood Studios: “Slinky Dog Dash and Rise of the Resistance are two of the most popular rides at this park. If they are a must-do for you, I would head there first thing for rope drop. I personally prefer to head down Sunset Boulevard to take advantage of the short wait times for Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Rollercoaster.”
Is rope dropping really worth it? Do you recommend that people go to the parks as soon as they open?
“I definitely recommend rope dropping, and I think it’s worth it. You can get so much done in a short amount of time first thing in the morning, then head back to your resort for a midday break to take a nap or enjoy the pool. On the flip side, if your family is in the parks until they close every night, it is important to get some extra rest – which might mean sleeping in a little bit. Go through the parks at your own pace, especially when you’re with children.”
Do you go left first? Or right?
“I always go left first!”
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Featured image: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort