EPCOT, or Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, is a popular theme park that attracts many guests. The attractions at EPCOT often have long lines due to this popularity.
EPCOT is broken into two sections each with their own entrance. The World Showcase is home to the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure as well as the beloved Frozen Ever After. The next section is called Future World with the iconic Spaceship Earth, Test Track, and Soarin‘.
EPCOT is the trickiest to plan your rope drop strategy with two park entrances. Where you are staying and the transportation you take to the park will determine the best strategy for you.
I am not a morning person at all. My husband will tell you I am the hardest person to wake up in the morning. The idea of getting up early and rushing to a park on vacation was not my idea of a good time.
That being said, rope drop is the best way to maximize your vacation and not have to spend money on Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes. I was amazed the first time we rope dropped and could walk onto to so many rides.
Rope drop is so worth it and it’s the best tip anyone can give you for your Walt Disney World Vacation. With so much to explore inside EPCOT, rope drop can help you maximize your day in this Disney park.
What Is Rope Drop?
To rope drop EPCOT means to be at the park when the gates open for the day. This sounds simple enough right? The secret is that the time listed by Disney is actually the time the rides start operating. The Disney parks actually open before this time!
Guests are allowed into the parks 15 to 30 minutes before the official opening time. This is to try to manage and disperse the crowds throughout the parks ready for when the rides open for the day.
Rope drop is a term that first came into existence when an actual rope would be used to hold guests in select areas until the rest of the park was open to them. The cast members would then drop the rope and this became symbolic of the parks being open to enjoy for the day.
It is rare now that an actual rope is used but the term rope drop has forever become part of Disney lexicon!
Knowing this insider tip will help you beat the crowds and allow you to be some of the first people inside of EPCOT for the day! Not only does this give you more time than everyone else to explore everything that is on offer it is also a fantastic way to beat the queues at the most popular attractions.
Rope drop can also save you money! By being in the park first thing, you can head straight to the rides that have paid Individual Lightning Lane Passes or Genie+ and ride them with a shorter queue time which means you don’t need to pay for these additional queue skipping passes!
What Time Should I get to EPCOT For Rope Drop?
Rope drop usually happens around 15 to 30 minutes before the official opening time of the park. People will start to arrive around 45 minutes to one hour before the park opens so that they can be some of the closest people to the gates when guests are allowed in and the rope drop experience starts!
EPCOT usually opens between 9am and 11am, depending on the time of year your visit. Be sure to check out the Disney World website to see the opening hours for the dates of your trip.
What is Early Theme Park Entry For Disney World Resort Guests?
If you are staying at a Disney World Resort you now get Early Park Entry. This allows you to enter any of the Disney World Parks 30 minutes before the official opening time, every day of the week.
All Disney World Resorts offer this to all their guests. A select number of Good Neighbor resorts also are eligible for Early Park Entry. These are:
- Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
- B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando
- Shades of Green
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
The rides open during Early Park Hours are:
- Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
If you combine Early Park Entry with rope drop then you maximize the magic of your day!
Not only do you get to be in the park 30 minutes before day guests arrive but you also get to be ahead of the crowds and be able to head straight to the most popular rides to experience them with a shorter wait time.
If you want to enter for Early Theme Park Entry you will want to be there 30 minutes to an hour before Early Entry starts. If EPCOT opens at 9am, Early Entry Starts at 8:30am and you will want to be at the park around 7:30-8am.
Rope Drop For People Not Staying In A Disney World Resort
If you are not staying at a Disney World Resort, you will be allowed entry after the Disney resort guests. But you can still get ahead of the big crowds by using the same rope drop strategy!
If you arrive around 30 to 45 minutes before the official opening time you can be some of the first day guests into the park. You will also save time because you will have gotten to the park, walked from which mode of transportation you have used and gone through security.
By having gotten all this out of the way you will be saving a lot of time and getting ahead of the people who turn up when the park opens that don’t know about rope drop!
How To Get To EPCOT for Rope Drop
EPCOT is an interesting Disney World Park as it has two entrances and many modes of transportation to get to it!
If you are staying in a Disney World Resort you can use Disney’s free transportation to get to EPCOT. All Disney Resorts have free buses. The buses start operating around one hour before the park opens.
The buses can get very busy so to get to EPCOT in time for rope drop try to catch the first bus of the day. This may mean getting to your resort bus stop around 20 to 30 minutes before the first bus of the day.
Disney’s Monorail also stops at EPCOT. If you are staying in a Monorail resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, then you can get the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center, also known as TTC, and then switch onto the EPCOT monorail line.
This is a super handy way to get to EPCOT and also lets you get views of the park you cannot see from anywhere else!
The resort monorail starts around 7am and the EPCOT line begins operating around 30 minutes before EPCOT opens. Do try to get an early monorail journey from your resort to the Transportation and Ticket Center so you can queue and be ready for when the EPCOT monorail starts running for the day.
Both the Disney Buses and Monorail take you to the main entrance of EPCOT, where you enter into Future World.
EPCOT also has a second entrance in World Showcase on the opposite side of the park, known as International Gateway. This entrance is perfect for people staying in the Disney BoardWalk area or staying in a Skyliner resort.
If you are staying at Caribbean Beach Resort, Riviera Resort, Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort then you have your very own Skyliner stops. This cable car system is the newest mode of transportation at Disney World and links EPCOT and Hollywood Studios via four Disney Resorts.
The Skyliner starts running around one hour before the parks open but this can change. Be sure to check when you get to your resort for the operating times.
The Skyliner is a super popular mode of transportation so can get very busy. Be sure to get there way ahead of operating time to be some of the first people on board so you can get to EPCOT in plenty of time.
Friendship Boat or Walking
If you are staying in Disney’s BoardWalk then you can hop on a boat to EPCOT or even walk! Resorts in the BoardWalk area include:
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan Resort
The boats are a slow mode of transportation and do stop to pick up at each hotel so be sure to factor that in.
For a quicker and more reliable way to get to EPCOT from Disney’s BoardWalk you can walk. This takes around 15 to 20 minutes depending on which resort you are staying in. Walking ensures you can arrive at International Gateway at the time you wish, as you are not waiting for transportation, and is the best way to be some of the first people near the entrance to EPCOT.
If you will be driving to EPCOT the parking lot opens around one hour before the park opens. Try not to get there too early as you may be turned away or asked to wait at the pay booths.
If you will be arriving by taxi aim to arrive 45 minutes to one hour before. Taxi’s that arrive too early can be turned away so try to avoid this!
Rope Drop Strategy
Because of the two entrances to EPCOT, there are many routes you can use to wait the shortest amount of time possible.
The best rides to rope drop at EPCOT are Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, Test Track and Soarin’. These four rides get the biggest queues.
You may want to consider going straight to the rides closest to the entrance you will be arriving at. Another strategy is to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure first since it is likely to be the highest wait time as it is the newest addition to EPCOT.
Read More: Guide to Rides in EPCOT
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is without a doubt the busiest attraction at EPCOT without a virtual queue. Many people will head here during rope drop to join the standby line with a shorter queue time. But warned that even at rope drop you will still encounter a queue! But this will typically will be shorter than in the daytime.
Entering from International Gateway
The two most popular attractions in EPCOT are Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After. Both of these rides are in World Showcase. The International Gateway entrance is also in World Showcase, so for people arriving at this entrance these two rides are the closest and the best to head to during rope drop.
If you arrive via International Gateway the France Pavilion is right next door so is perfect for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure!
If you choose Frozen Ever After as your first ride you will have a shorter walk than guests from the main entrance so you should be one of the first people in the queue. After riding you could then head into Future World to ride the popular attractions such as Test Track and Soarin’.
Entering From EPCOT’S Main Entrance
If you are arriving by the front entrance you may want to take a different strategy. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is quite a walk away from the main entrance and by the time you get there the queue will already be fairly long due to people who have arrived via International Gateway.
If this ride is something you really want to enjoy then purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane Pass may be the best option. This then guarantees you a timeslot to ride this awesome attraction and skip the queue later in the day.
If you have purchased an Individual Lightning Lane Pass for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and/or Frozen Ever After as both of these rides are in World Showcase during rope drop you can completely ignore this part of the park and just explore Future World and get on the most popular attractions there.
When entering EPCOT from the main entrance there are two main routes people take depending on which rides they wish to experience.
Head to Future World West, on the right hand side of Spaceship Earth, AKA the golfball, to ride the following attractions.
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- The Land
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- World Showcase for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
This is also the route you would take to get to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure if you are entering from the main entrance and are prepared to queue.
Soarin’ is one of the most popular attractions in EPCOT so this is a great way to start the day. The good thing with this strategy is you will get a lot done during rope drop as these rides tend to get shorter queues.
The other option is to queue by Future World East. This is the route to take for:
- Test Track
- Mission: SPACE
- World Showcase for Frozen Ever After
To ride any of these be sure to queue to the left hand side of Spaceship Earth.
If you choose this route it is a good idea is to either head to Frozen Ever After or Test Track as your first ride.
Frozen Ever After will have one of the longest queues in the daytime, but bear in mind people entering from International Gateway will arrive ahead of you so you will still encounter some sort of queue.
If you cannot use Early Park Entry because you are not staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel then the best rides to head as soon as the park opens are Test Track and Soarin’. These rides get busier throughout the day so this is a great time to ride them. Purchasing Individual Lightning Lane Passes for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After are a good option for you. This strategy will save you paying for Genie+ as you will have already gotten two of the rides that get the long queues done.
Can I Rope Drop Guardians of the Galaxy in EPCOT?
Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind is still on a virtual queue system as of publishing this article and cannot be rope dropped. You will want to enter the virtual queue at 7am from the My Disney Experience App to get a boarding time for this ride.
The 7am time is very difficult to get, but you can try again once you are inside the park at 1pm. This is usually easier to get but you will still want to join exactly at 1pm for the best chance to ride.
Now you know the secret to getting the most out of your day at EPCOT! Having a great rope drop strategy can save you time and money and is the best way to maximize your time in the park whilst also cutting down on queuing!