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10 Reasons to Get Up Early and Arrive at Rope Drop

“Rope drop” is just another term for park opening, but arriving for rope drop doesn’t mean you are getting off your Disney bus at 9:05 when the park opens at 9:00. You want to be waiting for the park to open at least 30 minutes before it actually does (even longer in peak seasons). This is the one time during the day that waiting is a good thing, because it’s going to make your entire day easier and more enjoyable. Here are 10 reasons why you should give rope drop a try. Once you do, I think you’ll be convinced that being an early riser is worth it!

1. Less crowded busses

If your family is trying to get to rope drop, you’ll likely be on a bus that’s much less crowded than the one that most groups will be on. While other families are walking to the bus stop at 8:30 for a 9:00 park opening, you’re on the bus at 8:00. There’s no jockeying for seats, and you have a nice, quiet ride.

2. Fun extras, like the Welcome Show

Being there early is fun! Enjoy the anticipation of the gates opening up. If you’re waiting at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll love the Welcome Show! It’s a must-see at least once! A steam train full of characters rolls into the station above and Mickey himself opens the park. If you’re really early, and you look like a very fun, enthusiastic family (think big smiles and matching t-shirts) you might even get chosen to help open the park!

3. Less time getting through security (vs. arriving around when it opens)

Getting through security right around park opening takes some time, but if you beat this major rush, you’re very unlikely to have to wait to have your bags checked. Or, at the very least, if you’re at the front of the security line when the park opens, you are still ahead of the rest of the crowd.

4. It’s not hot yet

It’s not always hot at Walt Disney World, but it is for much of the year (especially during the Spring Break and Summer peak seasons). Going to the park as early as possible helps you avoid some of that sweltering heat!

5. You’ll get to experience the park when it’s least crowded

The earlier you get into the park, the less crowded it is. Trust me, there’s nothing you won’t love about that!

6. Less time waiting in line

Of course, with less crowds comes less time waiting in lines for your favorite attractions. I can’t think of anything better than that! I’ve only travelled to Disney during peak season (Summer and Easter week), and I swear on Chip and Dale’s cute little tails that I’ve never waited longer than 20-25 minutes for any ride(with one strange exception- the standby line for Test Track, which was posted as 20 minutes, took 45).

7. You’ll be ahead of the crowds all day

I’m not trying to make this into a race. It’s not a competition, but it is about maximizing your time and your fun. Not only have you gotten into the park and ridden some popular attractions before long lines develop, but now you are ahead of the crowds for the day. Imagine this: You’ve experienced the park’s top 2 attractions, and now you’re heading to other popular (but not #1 and #2 on people’s lists) attractions while the majority of guests trickle into the park. They’re now doing what you did 30-60 minutes ago. Now, though, the lines are longer, so the gap between you and them is growing by the minute. By the time lunchtime rolls around in the Magic Kingdom, you’re already done with Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. You’re practically walking onto other favorites like the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise. The masses behind you, however, will arrive at these rides a few hours later and wait for nearly an hour for any one of them. The benefits of starting your park touring ahead of the crowds can’t be emphasized enough!

8. You’ll be ready for a rest at just the right time

You got up early, and maybe you want to take a break mid-day. Go take your well-deserved break at your resort just as the lines are getting really long and the heat is on full blast. The other guests are scrambling through crowds and might not have time for the rest, but you do! Come back in the evening feeling fully refreshed and ready to enjoy the evening dip in crowds.

Bonus Tip!

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9. You’ll have lunch earlier than the crowds, too

Another thing to love about being a rope-dropper is that you’ll probably be ready for lunch a bit before everyone else, too. An 11:00 or 11:30 lunch mean less time waiting for your meal and more selection of prime seating.

10. You didn’t need to use FastPasses on popular attractions, which means you have some for the afternoon (and a parade, etc.)

You arrived at the park early, so perhaps you didn’t even need a FastPass+ for the park’s most popular attraction. Great! You have FastPasses available (and hopefully already reserved) for other experiences, like other top attractions, parades, or evening show viewing locations. Or, perhaps you’ll be riding your favorite headliner a second time. It’s a win-win no matter what you use them for!

If these 10 reasons haven’t convinced you that waking up early to get to rope drop is a good idea, then I don’t know what will! Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be convinced too!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Meredith Smisek

Meredith Smisek is a kid at heart and works as an elementary school guidance counselor. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog, and parrot. Meredith's hobbies include cooking, playing ukulele, and "talking Disney" with anyone she knows who is planning a trip to Disney or has just returned.