Travel Tools from The Unofficial Guide™ Team  -  See Our Books Here!
  • Background Image

    Disney World Rope Drop

Subscribe Now: 1 Full Year of WDW For Only $24.97!

Get full access to the WDW Crowd Calendar, Lines Mobile App, Touring Plans and More!


"Our TouringPlans subscription was a lifesaver on our trip. One of the busiest days of the year, and we never waited longer than 20 minutes!"

- Smith Family, KY

Subscription Type:

1 Year WDW Subscription ($24.97)

Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando?

Add Universal Orlando to your subscription for only $8.97!   That's 18% off!

Payment Method:

Pay With Your Credit Card
Pay With Your PayPal Account
Click here to close the subscription form

"Rope drop" is Disney terminology for the time when a theme park, or part of a theme park, opens for the day. Historically, when a Walt Disney World theme park is closed, Disney often used ropes stretched across the entrance to prevent guests from coming in; thus, when the park is opened the rope is "dropped."

Being at a park for its opening (a.k.a. rope drop) is a critical step in many of our Touring Plans, and being aware of the way rope drop works gives you an edge.

Today, an actual rope is sometimes, but not always, part of this process. And when the park (or part of the park) is opened, the rope may not be physically dropped. Rather, the rope is often slowly pulled aside a few moments before people are allowed to pass, with guests being asked to remain where they are until an appointed time. Or, in the case where there is a new or particularly popular attraction, cast members will prevent guests from running to that attraction by continuing to hold the rope as a barrier while slowly walking with it to the attraction.

How Being at the Park for Rope Drop Helps You

When Disney states that a theme park opens at 9:00 a.m., that's the time when the rides and other attractions begin operating; however, you will almost certainly be able to enter some portion of the park prior to that stated opening time.

With a posted open time of 9:00 a.m., you will likely be able to scan your entry ticket at the gate as early as 8:00 or 8:10 a.m. In this situation at Magic Kingdom, for example, you will be allowed onto Main Street and the hub around the castle, with the entrances to the various lands (Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, etc.) blocked by ropes.

You should position yourself at the rope closest to the attraction you want to experience first. You will then be positioned ahead of the many, many hundreds of guests who don't show up early for "rope drop."

Other Tips

Note that if you are at the head of the pack at park opening and are heading toward a popular ride, you will not be able to move faster than the cast members who are leading the hordes to the first ride of the day.

While you are waiting for the park to open or to enter a land prior to its opening, consider talking to the cast members staffing the rope. They are apt to be friendly, and it is a great way to pass the time.

Park-specific rope drop hints are linked below: