“Rope Drop” is a Disney phrase meaning “park opening”. Usually “park opening” is a process of allowing guests through a series of steps. Step One at all parks will have guests go through a security screening before arriving at the park entrance. This will include a bag check and a walk through metal detectors. It is best to have all pouches on your bag opened and ready for inspection. Guests will also need to empty their pockets.
Depending on your ticket type, Step Two is at a turn style at the main entrance of the theme park where ticket cards or Magic Bands are scanned. The Walt Disney World parks will also scan your finger print, while the Disneyland Parks will take a photo of each guest on the first day of ticket use. This is a great place to pick up your park map and schedule of events.
A few turn styles are reserved for guests with early dining reservations. If your family has an early breakfast, please be sure to go to these turn styles and proceed to your reservation inside the park. Cast Members are happy to assist.
Often times, the turn styles open 15-60 minutes prior to the scheduled park opening (Note: park opening procedures are always subject to change). Allowing guests through the turn styles early lessens the congestion at park opening and allows guests time to grab a bite to eat, make purchases in some of the shops and enjoy the music and atmosphere of the park. While in Disneyland Parks, this makes for the perfect time to purchase MaxPass and select your first FastPass.
Step Three in the Rope Drop process places Cast Members at the entrance to each land. Sometimes guests are held behind an actual rope and other times Cast Members ask guests to wait behind a certain point or marker. This makes for a great time to talk with Cast Members and ask them for their favorite tip or suggestion. You may even meet a character!
Step Four is the Rope Drop! At the time of the scheduled park opening, there will be a welcome announcement and this is when the rope is not really dropped (that would be a tripping hazard!), but pulled to the side allowing guests to WALK to their destination in the park.
There will be masses of people at Rope Drop each day, and for guests wanting to make the most efficient use of their time in the parks, being in the front of the pack at Rope Drop will play an important role in getting on popular attractions with minimal wait.
Taking advantage of the Rope Drop perks does take some planning. You have to get up early! How early, you ask? Do you want to be at the front of the Rope Drop crowds like I do? My suggestion at Disneyland is to leave your room approximately 60-90 minutes before park opening (depending on your hotel and whether you are walking in or bussing in). My suggestion while at Walt Disney World is to leave your room approximately 2 hours prior to park opening.
You probably think that is crazy! However, when you factor in buses, water taxis, monorails, wait times, walking distances, security, other people and wanting to be at the front of the pack, those times are pretty realistic.
When your family gets up early for Rope Drop the buses will be less crowded, you may experience a Welcome Show or character interaction, you will spend less time in the security lines, you will be “in front of the crowds” throughout the day because you’ve already done the most popular attractions AND you can get a FastPass for later in the day and experience your favorite attractions again!
Concierge Agent with Wishes Family Travel, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agency
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