Each day in a Disney Theme Park is incredibly special, and whether you are one of the die-hard fans who shed tears at the sight of Cinderella Castle or just tag along with the family, there is always some undeniable level of excitement and an overwhelming desire to make the most of your time (and money).
Enter “Rope Drop,” the unofficial name for the official opening of a Disney Theme Park each morning when Cast Members drop the ropes and let Guests enter. This is a ceremonious moment that is experienced differently at each Park. Magic Kingdom Park, for example, will have a special show on the Main Street U.S.A. train station platform where Mickey, Minnie, and their friends start the day on an extra magical tone. There have also been strong incentives to arrive at the Parks just before opening from the rush to join virtual queues to simply the cool feeling of seeing just what the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are like when they open each day.
But if you are thinking about getting to Magic Kingdom for Rope Drop on your next Walt Disney World Resort Vacation, there are a few things to keep in mind that not a lot of people talk about. So, here they are:
Disney World Theme Parks DON’T Open When The Website Says
The Walt Disney World website, the MyDisneyExperience App, the Resort Hotel Room TVs, and every other authority of information will display opening and closing times for each Theme Park’s daily operations. But on a seemingly very consistent basis, Guests are allowed into the Parks at least 30 minutes earlier than what is posted for everybody.
On top of the actual admittance time, you and your group will not be the only ones waiting at the gates. Fans from all over the world will arrive to wait hours before opening. Most of the time, it is to ensure they are one of the first to experience a special ride. Splash Mountain, for example reportedly had a massive crowd waiting at “Rope Drop” that flooded straight to it on its last day of operation. And the sunrise run on Kilimanjaro Safaris offers one of the best opportunities to see the male lion roar across the savannah. Other times, it is simply due to wanting to beat the peak season and humor the personal excitement. Regardless, if the Walt Disney World website says the Magic Kingdom is going to open at 8 am, make sure you are entering the parking lot before 6:30 am.
Not Everything Will Be Open at “Rope Drop”
All three closed right at open. Great use of rope drop time. from WaltDisneyWorld
Just because the Park gates are open, does not necessarily mean that all of the attractions or restaurants will be too. EPCOT’s former Future World, for example–now called World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature–always opens before World Showcase, and Guests have the opportunity to ride attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Mission: SPACE, and Soarin’ before getting to eat and drink around the world. And it was reported today that several major attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including the soon-to-be-refurbished Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, were still shuttered at Park opening.
In most cases, it is just a matter of waiting a little longer than expected, but the point is to be prepared to find yourself at the front of a line waiting on the Cast Members to get the magic started.
You Still Will NOT Be The First Guests to Enter the Parks
Perhaps the most disappointing point of this article, but it is true. While you might make it to the fabled “Rope Drop,” you will look to the other side and find Guests already walking down the promenades, getting their castle pictures, and riding the opened attractions.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is that Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests still get “Early Park Entry” to select Theme Parks on select days. The second is that several in-Park restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table offer extremely early breakfast reservation times that offer Guests special early access, and if the breakfast ends before “Rope Drop,” those Guests are not usually kicked out.
But no matter what time you get to the Theme Parks, be it 7 am or 5 pm, Disney Magic still awaits you and we at Disney Fanatic hope that you make the most out of however much time you have to spare.