Magic Kingdom is one of the most popular parks at Walt Disney World with its thrilling rides, iconic Cinderella’s Castle, and drool worthy snacks. This popularity can bring long lines which can prove to be a challenge on your vacation.
Magic Kingdom is a difficult park to do everything in just 1 day at the park. Many people add an extra day to their Walt Disney World Vacation in order to ride all of the rides, meet characters, and try all the best Magic Kingdom snacks.
This Disney World Theme Park is known for its three popular mountains that often have long wait times. These mountains are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain (Tiana’s Bayou Adventure), and Space Mountain.
Some of the most popular attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Our favorite rides also include Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Jungle Cruise. These rides have shorter wait times but we still ride them every trip!
Magic Kingdom is one park you definitely will want to rope drop. That means a lot coming from me, I am not a morning person at all. I can’t be convinced to do anything before coffee except maybe experience the magic of Disney.
What Is Rope Drop at Disney?
At the Magic Kingdom, rope drop occurs every morning as eager visitors gather at the entrance to be the first ones inside.
To rope drop Magic Kingdom means to be at the park when the gates open for the day. One secret not many know 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. Although rope isn’t used today, rope drop is still a term used to describe this strategy.
What Time Should You Be at Magic Kingdom for Rope Drop?
Typically I suggest getting to the park an hour before Magic Kingdom opens. This gives you plenty of time to get to the front gates from your transportation, go through security, and be waiting at the entrance.
What time you will want to leave your resort will depend on where you are staying and the transportation you will take to the Disney World Theme Parks. Keep reading below for more information on transportation and when to leave your hotel.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or select good neighbor hotels, you can take advantage of the Early Entry perk. If you are staying off property you will not be able to enter the park first, but you can still rope drop and avoid the long waits you will see in middle of the day.
First, let’s talk about the difference between Early Entry and Rope Drop.
What is Early Theme Park Entry For Disney World Resort Guests?
In 2021 Disney launched a new feature for its resort guests. Anyone staying in a Walt Disney World Resort would be able to enter every Disney World Park 30 minutes early. This replaced the old Extra Magic Hours system, where resort guests could get into the parks one hour early or stay two hours extra on select days.
Early Park Entry happens every day, in every park. Resort guests can enter early to any park they wish. Staying at a Disney Resort now offers this big benefit to its guests!
Here’s a list of the Early Entry attractions you can visit in Magic Kingdom during Early Entry.
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- It’s a Small World
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you will want to be at the park 30-60 minutes before Early Entry. An open time of 9am at Magic Kingdom means Early Entry starts at 8:30am. You will want to be at the park between 7:30am and 8:00am.
Keep reading to plan your transportation to the park for Early Entry.
Can I Rope Drop if I Don’t Stay at a Disney Resort?
With the introduction of Early Park Entry there is no longer a way for people not staying at a Disney World Resort to officially rope drop. But you can still get ahead of everyone else by arriving early!
Although you cannot enter the park until the official opening time you can get through security and start queuing at the gate to make sure you are one of the first people in the park once day guests are allowed in. This is the new way to rope drop if you are staying off-site.
Using this strategy will save you lots of time and will get you ahead of other people who plan to arrive once the park opens.
You will want to be at the park 30-60 minutes before it opens. An open time of 9am at Magic Kingdom means you will want to be there between 8am and 8:30am.
What Transportation Should You Use For Rope Drop?
If you are staying at a Disney World Resort you can use their complimentary transportation to make your way to Magic Kingdom for rope drop.
Disney transportation is the cheapest way to get to the park but not always the quickest or most reliable. Typically Disney transportation starts one hour before the parks open which won’t give you much time to get there in advance of rope drop.
If you are using Disney Transportation, be sure to get to your stop 30 minutes early to be one of the first in line and on the first run of the day.
Disney buses start running around one hour before Magic Kingdom opens. Try to get the earliest bus possible to get to the park in time for rope drop. The Disney buses run every 15 to 20 minutes and they can fill up quickly. This may mean you may need to wait for the next bus so always factor this into your plans. To avoid this aim to arrive at the bus stop 20 to 30 minutes before the first bus of the day.
If you are staying at the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or Contemporary, you can hop on the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom very quickly. The monorail usually begins running 30 minutes before park opening.
There is a water taxi that will take you from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian Resort, or Polynesian Resort to Magic Kingdom.
A ferry can take you from the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) to Magic Kingdom. You can use this Ferry if you are dropped off at the TTC instead of taking the monorail.
All three resorts along the monorail also have a walkway to Magic Kingdom. This is a great option to be one of the first in line to rope drop. The Contemporary is the shortest walk being 5-10 minutes. If you want to use this option, I would make sure to bring comfortable shoes with you for all of the walking.
Taxi, Uber Or Lyft
For people not wanting to rely on Disney transportation to get to Magic Kingdom for rope drop you can also hire a taxi, Uber or Lyft from your hotel to the Transportation Center. Then you can take the monorail from there to Magic Kingdom. This extra step will take longer so be sure to factor that in and get there an hour early.
What Time Do The Parking Lots Open For Rope Drop?
The Magic Kingdom parking lot opens around one hour before the parks open. If you arrive slightly before the parking lot opens you will be able to wait at the pay booths until they open for the day. Just be warned if you arrive very early, they may turn you away as they don’t want the queue for the parking lot to cause any traffic disruption. Aim to arrive an hour before Magic Kingdom opens if arriving by car.
Early Entry Strategies for Magic Kingdom
For Disney Resort guests, I suggest looking at a Magic Kingdom map and choosing the section you most want to ride. The best strategy is to choose the ride with the longest average wait times first. Then it is a good idea to go to the rides closest to you.
You will enter the park on Main Street and walk towards the castle. If you are starting in Adventureland, Frontierland or Liberty Square you will want to head to your left. If you are starting in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland you will want to head to your right.
Most guests entering for early entry will head straight for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This ride will have a long line very quickly.
It will still be shorter than later in the day so if this is your must ride, then consider rope dropping this ride first. This is also an Individual Lightning Lane ride so you could consider purchasing a pass for this ride only and rope dropping other rides first.
If you are not going for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first, you will want to consider the other popular rides. The rides that have the longest wait times in Magic Kingdom are Space Mountain, Peter Pan, and Big Thunder Mountain.
Splash Mountain also has a long line, but is currently closed for refurbishment. The ride will reopen as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and will likely be a popular ride as guests will want to see the changes to the ride.
I would start with one of these rides that have long lines first. Then go to all of the rides in the same area so you don’t lose time walking the park. Magic Kingdom covers a large area so planning your route is very important to maximize your morning time.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is located near Winnie the Pooh, and Mad Tea Party. You could also get to the Little Mermaid Ride or Peter Pan fairly quickly.
Peter Pan is located near It’s a Small World, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel. Then you could either head towards Haunted Mansion or Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train.
Big Thunder Mountain is located near Splash Mountain (Tiana’s Bayou Adventure). Then you could either head towards Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan, or to Pirates of the Caribbean, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and Jungle Cruise.
Rope Drop Strategies for Magic Kingdom
You can still maximize your morning even if you are one of the offsite guests.
Since resort guests have already entered the park, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will already have a long line before you enter the park. I would consider purchasing an ILL at 7am for this ride or coming back at the end of the night for this ride.
You can choose the rides that typically have the longest wait times in Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain, Peter Pan, and Big Thunder Mountain. Your best bet is to choose rides that aren’t as popular that you may want to ride. These will have the shortest wait times in the morning.
I would choose Haunted Mansion, Tomorrowland Speedway, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, or Winnie the Pooh. These rides will have a shorter line at park open and you will be able to get on them quickly.
Is Rope Drop Worth It?
The top reason to rope drop is to be some of the first people to get into the queues for the most popular rides! Not only can this help cut down your queue time it can also save you money as you may not need to pay for Individual Lightning Lanes or Genie+.
We use rope drop so we can avoid the added cost of Genie+ or ILL to save money on our vacation. Other guests use Early Entry or Rope Drop with Genie+ and ILL in order to maximize their day at Magic Kingdom. This strategy will allow you to ride the most rides in a shorter amount of time.
Rope Drop also gives you extra time in the park with the best part being that other people don’t even know this is possible!
Another big reason why rope drop is a great strategy is that you can save a lot of time, and get ahead of the crowd, by walking from the transportation, going through bag check and then getting close to the front of the gates ahead of opening time.
You can also watch the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show at Cinderella’s Castle 5 minutes before the official park opening.
Many people will aim to arrive at the park when the gates open as they believe this is what the opening time means. If they arrive at Magic Kingdom at 9am they then need to walk from the transportation and go through security which can add 20 to 30 minutes.
Can I Rope Drop Tron Lightcycle Run in Magic Kingdom?
Tron Lightcycle Run 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.
Now you know everything there is to know about rope drop at Magic Kingdom, what time to arrive, what attractions to head to and how to make the most out of your extra time in the park!
Visitors to Magic Kingdom often wonder what to rope drop in order to maximize their time at the park. You don’t have that issue now as you know what to go for early and relax the rest of the day.