Rope Drop or Not?

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DIS Veteran
Mar 28, 2010
In this phase of life we rope drop pretty much every day. My kids (2 & 3 now) are early risers and from first thing in the morning through early/mid afternoon is their best time at the parks. We’ve been 3 times with kids in tow.

It is very easy for us to get to the parks early because we’re awake anyways. We’re actually even killing time sometimes before leaving for rope drop :)

We usually only do one or two later nights a trip with our kids so young right now.

Growing up and then as an adult before I had kids we played it by ear more. We always rope dropped MK at least once to see the welcome show at the train station. Through my teenage years and 20s, I much preferred the later nights aside from the one MK rope drop morning to see the train show.

I really love the mornings in the parks now.

I should note that we are not really ever part of the herd headed to the most popular attractions. Rope drop is not stressful or chaotic for us because we aren’t usually trying to book it to a super popular attraction.
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Aug 26, 2018
Your hubby should be prepared to wait in lines I'm afraid. Yes, I'm sure you'll find plenty of wonderful experiences between your fast passes & the festival! Not certain what you're thinking in terms of "a bit lower crowd levels," but personally I'd mentally prepare for high crowds & if they're lower than expected - hooray! If the levels do indeed seem high, no big disappointment!
TP is predicting fairly low crowds the week we are there. The longer of our 2 EPCOT days is showing as a Level 1! Our half-day at EPCOT will be the busiest at a Level 4. But that day will definitely be about doing less popular attractions or ones which typically have shorter waits, along with food and any lecture or workshop which we can grab. MK will be Level 3 with EMH evening hours. AK will be a 2. We will likely skip HS. Not much for us there that we feel we really have to see.


DIS Veteran
Sep 7, 2017
I came to the thread to say that we rope drop every day--we also do all the EMHs so even earlier. But as I read through the thread I'm thinking that maybe we don't actually rope drop, we just arrive when the park opens. We had our first trip last November (8 days), arrived at park opening (usually EMH) every day and never stood outside a closed park waiting for it to open. We would close (or evening EMH) a park (usually a different one than we opened) each day. We took an afternoon nap back at the resort each day. I was a little concerned that my husband (who thought it was a little odd that I was so excited to go to Disney World) would think we were a little too go, go, go for a vacation. When we discussed it, because we had such a great trip we're planning more Disney trips, his response was "are you kidding? We took a nap every day. We don't even do that in Puerto Vallarta."

We never arrived early because we weren't going to the rides people "rope drop". The day we opened Magic Kingdom without an EMH (it was an evening one that day) we arrived in time for the morning show--and actually watched the show rather than being pressed up against one of the ropes waiting to run. We were onsite for a week though, so, while it was our first time and we wanted to do everything, we had FPs for all the attractions that people run to at park open. At open we would head to Na'vi or one morning we walked right in to visit Mickey and Tinkerbell on Main Street--my husband said when we turned "I think we're supposed to go that way," pointing towards the castle. I asked "what makes you say that?" "Because that's where everyone's going" And that, I replied, is why we're going this way. We actually arrived about five minutes late for DHS one morning and still got the free photo for being the first people to meet Chewbacca that morning. The thing I like about "rope dropping" at least doing it the way we did it is you could pretty effectively zig when everyone else zagged. We would generally do eight to ten attractions in our first couple hours. At that point we break out the FastPasses and start the headliners and in between do the rides that others do in the afternoon when the lines get terrible. Dh was constantly commenting on how long everyone else was waiting. In a week where we did pretty much everything (first time and all) and where a good half of our days were either nines or tens we never waited more than a half an hour for anything. We actually waited more than fifteen minutes only four or five times--and two of those were FOP FPs. And we actually didn't have much luck with additional FPs--on most days we used maybe four. It seemed to me that that always came down to the early start.

    May 7, 2018
    We are NOT doing rope drop on our trip in early February. That's non-negotiable.

    We're an older couple, no kids or grandkids. Waking up before 7 a.m. on vacation? Then standing around in a crowd for another hour?
    Naw. I mean, we're going to have some FP+'s, right? Why on earth would we want to deprive ourselves of sleep? Why deprive ourselves of quiet coffee time? What kind of holiday is that?

    Still, we usually hear about how important and fun (yeah, right) rope drop is. So...

    What about you? Let's hear some yays and nays on rope drop. When you do it, are you tired sooner than you'd like to be? Do you do rope drop every day you're there and love it, or only on certain days? Why? Have you done it once and declared "never again!?" Let's talk the reality of rope drop!
    I have never rope dropped and never will. There is no need. I’m older and we sleep till maybe 9 and get into the parks around 10:30. I’ll usually have my first fast pass from 10:30 on. I usually have the best rides fast passes anyway and being that it’s usually only two people total, I get most of what I need through out the day. This has worked through summer days. Non summer days. Most likely won’t work on the major holidays though. If you are just a couple, I can almost guarantee you can go the entire day without ever using stand by if you just keep checking.

    I have never rope dropped and have mostly rode every ride in the park same day without rushing.

    Again though it’s most likely completely different for families and rope drop is much more needed. I still think with an only child, with 3 total, you probably wouldn't need to. I dont have that experience though

    So no, never have. Never will. It’s still a vacation and need my sleep
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    DIS Veteran
    Oct 26, 2011
    We rope drop...Disney is not a "relaxing" least for our family. We like the rides, entertainment, etc...If I wanted to sleep in and "relax" I would take a cruise, a resort on the beach, hawaii, etc.. Not Disneyworld. I dont pay crazy expensive disney prices to sleep in and go on three fast pass rides, then wait in line the rest of my trip. We go to experience all that disney has to offer (that we can cover in our time there).
    100% agree! Word for word.


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 9, 2014
    I am all about efficiency. ESPECIALLY with young kids and knowing how slow they move. So, if you are there when the park opens you just have more time in your day to enjoy the parks.

    With young kids and going on short trips, I've found Rope Drop almost a necessity (they get up early and can't stay up late). This past trip, we just kept up the normal "get ready for school/work" routine, ate in the room and it worked great. Back again this year with my daughter (who is now 2) and my son (now 6) and we kept the Rope Drop up as did my parents.

    I do a "relaxed" Rope Drop - I want to be at the park at or slightly before the rope drops, but I don't need to be first in line. Basically be on a bus by 8:15 - 8:30. With little kids I am not trying to be the first of the mob and running towards the biggest ride in the park (SDD, FOP, etc.). I am just trying to be there when it opens to have a full day ahead of me and maybe hit a ride or two before my first FP time (9:30 - 10:30). With young kids .. that simply may mean the first ride of the day Carousel or People Mover - and that's okay. Less waiting is less waiting.

    I have to say that that my attitude is changing about RD because of FP+,now having an AP (for the first time), and going on longer trips (because of the AP).

    The AP gives you a sense of freedom and relaxation when it comes to RDing to the point I can see taking it easy as the kids get older. Knowing we could just go on our departure day (if we wanted) was freeing. We didn't RD that day and instead just took our time checking out and got there around 9:30 am. Knowing we will be back 2 more times in the coming year was relaxing -- if we miss a ride or two (like Navi River Journey) . .we'll just do it next time. It gave us the time to enjoy our resort .. which was nice.


    Earning My Ears
    Jun 1, 2018
    My style of "Rope Drop" is definitely more relaxed in that I always plan to show up just as the park opens to avoid waiting for the park to open. I then do as many people have mentioned - which is go to less popular attractions and not the headliners because the parks will always be empty around then! I also try to fastpass for attractions that are normally longer so I don't have to waste time when I can be getting on quicker attractions. I never feel the need to show up to a park 1 hour before opening... but then again, I've only been to the parks during the winter months where the crowds are considerably lower than holidays, spring breaks, and even sometimes summer.
  • fitgirlFL

    Mar 26, 2005
    I used to think I'd never want to wake up early, especially on my vacation. I wanted to lounge in bed and relax. But after experiencing a rope drop vs. non-rope drop day - I try to get up early as many days as possible. As our trip progresses, and as we start getting tired, and start staying late for show, it gets harder to do. But we try to rope drop as much as possible. Nothing beats the low crowds/low waits of the early morning. Plus, if it's hot - we get in and get out by early afternoon. If I didn't get so tired as the week progressed, I'd rope drop every single day. I have way more fun in the morning beating the crowds than sleeping in. It's not for everyone. I'm pretty used to being up at 4AM everyday otherwise so it doesn't bother me too much. If I didn't want to see the night time shows I'd probably hit all the park early and be tucked in bed sound asleep by 8 every night.

    Patrick Holt

    Earning My Ears
    Apr 25, 2018
    My 3 kids and I love rope drop. We usually end up having pre-park open breakfast reservations though. We have to wake up early at home so it is no issue while on vacation. We would rather get there early, take some time off in the afternoon, then go back for evening hours if possible.


    Head might be in NY, but my heart is in WDW
    Nov 8, 2004
    With teen/20s in the group we don't rope drop. We make out fine and take advantage of the lower crowds late at night.
    But, rope drop definitely has the shorter waits.
  • monorailsilver

    DIS Veteran
    Jun 20, 2002
    Why yes of course we rope drop.

    We also go in the summer so I’d rather forgo some sleep to be cooler walking around at the early morning hour.

    We rope drop every park day and will try to go to the park that opens for EMH if possible. We leave the park at lunch to rest/recoup. Then return at dinner time til closing. We tried staying at the MK til 1 but midnight did us in....we were tired and that was with a mid day break.

    I also make sure to not do a park every day so those that want to sleep in can.

    But my kids really understand the value of their ride selection by going early.

    This past summer, we went to DHS for TSL, rode SDD once (my 12 yo had enough after one time around), Aliens once, TSMM 3 times (one was a FP), a bathroom stop and photos with Jesse,woody and buzz all before 8. We could of easily rode SDD again but mu youngest...we left DHs at around 10:30 after my older two rode rock and roll. A few days later the older 2 said they wanted to ride it again as well as SDD. My dh didn’t have the desire to go nor did my youngest so I told my older 2 we would have to leave by 6 to grab the boat was running so we had to walk. They both said OK! We got there at about 6:40, on SDD by around 6:55 and the two of them wanted to ride RnR again so they did that twice and we left the park and were on the boat back at 7:30.

    My dh also learned going early is a must. The first trip he took with me, we stayed at the WL. We were headed to the MK that morning. Time was ticking and he was in the was 8:15. I was in a panic. He did not realize the issue I was having. Then we walked into tommorrowland at around 9:30 and he said oh. Now he sucks it up and wakes earlier.


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 31, 2014
    My daughter and I go for at least 12 days every trip and we rope drop almost every day and stay until park close or near park close. We take a day or two (not planned) where we will forego the morning and arrive for either our first FP or late breakfast reservation. We do not plan our days for EMH but if the park we are going to has EMH that day we will get there for them. When I say RD, I mean arriving at the tapstile about 15-20 mins before they open. Our first FPs (except at AK where we start earlier) is around 10:15 and is followed by a late breakfast around 10:45. Our next FPs are after breakfast. We then do shows, explore, people watch and get more FPs. When MK has EMH at 7:00 during Christmas is my favorite. We can do so much in the first 3 hours the park is open.

    My grown sons, daughter-in-law and grandbaby went with us for Spring Break and refused to get up early to go to the parks. After 2 days of arriving to wall-to-wall people and them complaining about waiting in horrendous lines to eat, my daughter and I kept the 2 year old in our room and took her to the parks in the morning and then back for a nap. The older ones would go back with us for dinner. Everyone has their own way to vacation, but if I wanted to sleep, I wouldn't go to Disney.


    Earning My Ears
    Nov 9, 2018
    If we have ever done rope drop, it was when I was little and don't really remember it. My dad is an early riser, but my mom is decidedly not. I don't love early mornings, but I will usually get up between 7:00-8:00 (often foregoing a full 8 hours) so I can maximize park time. However, my mom and brother tend to take a little longer to get going. We usually stay off-site, and I'm sharing a bathroom with at least one of them. I like to shower every day, so I always get up first and get my shower, then just relax and wait for the other two to get going. I'll drink my tea, look over the plans for the day, get bags ready, or just wait around for them. They are definitely night owls, so we prefer to take advantage of the lower crowd levels at night. It also doesn't seem like an efficient use of time to go back to the room and take a nap, as travel time alone is usually over an hour... Perhaps I am mistaken in this, though!

    After reading this thread, I may try to convince them to give RD a try for one of the days we're there between Christmas/NYE! Maybe we'll become converts - they do love naps!


    DIS Veteran
    Feb 3, 2001
    My son as well as my husband are early risers, even on vacation, so rope drop is the way to go for us! On our Disney trip in 2015, I think we easily did 5-6 rides in MK before the park got super busy. Since we're going in June next year, I would much rather be in the parks in the early AM and avoid as much of the heat as we can. I'm hoping this next trip I can get my fellas to return to a park with me in the evening. I like doing Futureworld in the AM and the World Showcases in the PM. Crossing my fingers my fellas are up to it this time!


    Magic Memory Keeper
    Nov 2, 2006
    My family doesn't mind waking up early (sleep is just not that meaningful compared to the thrills that await us) and in general we REALLY don't like waiting in line or dealing with crowds. At Disney we always arrive before opening or do EMH at the parks (although we employ the same tactic when we travel to Europe--try arriving late to the Vatican or The Lourve and see where that gets you). That early morning wait before the parks open is the only real line we encounter for anything at DW. Additionally, our Disney trips are infrequent (about every 1-2 years) and short (less than a week). Arriving early, leaving when crowds arrive, and returning later when crowds diminish really feels like the most efficient and enjoyable way to do DW.
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    Earning My Ears
    Mar 21, 2009
    My son is on the autism spectrum plus adhd, so standing in a line without moving is torture for him (and therefore all of us). Arriving at or before opening gives us an hour or so to hit several attractions with little or no wait. Then, use FP for the headliners, and we are able to see and do lots of things before it gets too hot and crowded. The benefit of shorter lines overcomes the natural tendency to sleep in. Since we’re from the west, everything starts two hours earlier than our internal clocks are used to. But, it’s worth it!

    Spencer Wright

    Constantly craving a zebra dome...
    Jul 31, 2017
    I am %100 pro rope drop. It gets you where you want to be in the parks prior to crowds building, and in my opinion is really not that early. It also gives you the ability to slow down later in the day without 'missing out' on too much, as you would have gotten at least a couple of major attractions out of the way.


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 23, 2006
    I am a rope drop fan. I’ve done it both ways (my dad refuses to get up for rope drop so I was forced not to on certain trips) and rope drop just works better for us. Crowds are lower, we get a lot done, and we take midday breaks every day. On our upcoming big June trip, however, we are doing a late start for 2 of our days. Our trip is 9 days, and we will most likely go into a park every one of those days, so I gave up two of my rope drops by request.


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