The Correct Way to Rope Drop Magic Kingdom

The Correct Way to Rope Drop Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney/Canva

Getting up early to rope drop at Disney Parks like Magic Kingdom has become a timed honored tradition for many Walt Disney World faithful. Instead of sleeping in, some guests at Disney World choose to rise as the rooster crows in hopes of beating the crowds to popular rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom or Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom.

cinderella castle magic kingdom

Credit: Disney

The “Disney World rope drop crowd” is a different breed. Unlike most of us who are satisfied with relaxing by our resort pool until after lunch, they take advantage of every second their preferred park is open, often arriving at gates to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom well before opening.

Magic Kingdom is a fantastic Disney World park to rope drop. Easily surpassing EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios in the number of attractions and shows, the Magic Kingdom rope drops faithfully and doesn’t mess around when it comes to Space Mountain.


Credit: Disney

What is “Rope Drop?”

Most of us understand what ā€œrope dropā€ means, but if you don’t, that’s okay; we’re happy to explain it to you. Rope Dropping at Walt Disney World refers to the practice of getting up well before your park opens. Early in the morning, Walt Disney World Resort guests will board buses, Ubers, boats, and monorails to secure their place firmly at the front of the line.

Related: Guest Compares Rope Dropping at Magic Kingdom to the Apocalypse

Often, when rope-dropping popular rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom or Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, guests will start their day in true Disney World fashion: by waiting in line to get into the park.

Rope Drop Versus Lightning Lane

With Disney World’s introduction of Lightning Lane through their Disney Genie option, many guests have decided to forgo their Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom rope drop day.

Main Street is busy in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World rope drop

Credit: Jason M Ramos/ Flickr

Lightning Lane, more specifically Individual Lightning Lane, now allows guests to purchase a ride pass for a slew of available attractions instead of waiting in line. This new offering means that the rope drop crowd has to decide what’s more important, their sleep or their money.

Waking up early is still preferable for many, especially as some locations offer early theme park entry to Resort guests. The thought of using early theme park entry to get some much-needed, relatively empty pics on Main Street, U.S.A., is too enticing for the rope drop crowd.

belle, cinderella castle, magic kingdom

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

Top Rope-Dropped Rides at Walt Disney World

Three of the four Walt Disney World parks have serious reasons to consider rope dropping. Each park has a particular attraction that eager guests can’t wait to get to as lines grow quickly.

Related: 3 Signs Rope-Dropping May Not Be For You (And What You Should Do Instead)

If you’re going to rope drop Magic Kingdom, the popular choices are Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. TRON Lightcycle/Run remains the most popular ride at Magic Kingdom currently, but it requires a virtual boarding group.

Although floating over London with Peter Pan or catching the welcome show at Magic Kingdom may be the main reason to rope drop Disney World’s flagship park, there are even more popular options in other locations.

seven dwarfs mine train roller coaster magic kingdom rope drop

Credit: Disney Parks

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is another option when it comes to rope-dropping.

Avatar Flight of Passage, Navi River Journey, and Kilimanjaro Safari are the most popular offerings here. Although Flight of Passage speaks for itself, many choose to literally run to Kilimanjaro Safari as the animals are often more active early in the morning before the temperatures rise in the Orlando-based park.

Lastly, there’s one sole reason to rope drop Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars fan or not, getting to Hollywood Studios before the park opening is vital as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance remains the most popular attraction at Walt Disney World.

na'vi river journey shaman

Credit: Jeremy Thompson, Flickr

How to Rope Drop Magic Kingdom Correctly

Before we start, let me say this is solely based on my experience and opinion. This also doesn’t apply to those visiting any potential After Hours events. You may enjoy the rush of crowds as they hurry down Main Street, U.S.A. to fight for an early spot at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Space Mountain.

Related: Tips for Minimizing Wait Times at Disney Parks

However, if you’re willing to wait in line for one or use Genie+ to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane, this may be a much better strategy, specifically when arriving at Magic Kingdom prior to park opening.

Let’s assume that you’ve decided that you’re going to rope drop Magic Kingdom and tackle the most magical place on Earth the entire day, maximizing your park time. Go left instead of running to New Fantasy Land for a ride with Snow White or Tomorrowland for an out-of-this-world adventure!

Adventureland sign

Credit: Disney

That’s right! After the Magic Kingdom welcome show, while everyone else is fighting for those two attractions, once you’ve cleared Main Street, U.S.A., stay left into Adventureland. Be sure to grab a difficult-to-get reservation like Peter Pan’s Flight while you’re on your way.

Once there, you’ll have two extremely popular options that should be walk-ons (no line). Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean are two rides that can hold pretty long lines later in the day, especially if it’s hot.

Stack Those Lightning Lanes

Once you’re done there, you can take a back way around where Splash Mountain used to be.

Splash Mountain Magic Kingdom Disney World woke

Credit: Disney

Head to Liberty Square for a minimal wait on Haunted Mansion or Frontierland and take a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Once you’ve finished up these rides, assuming you have purchased Genie+, you should now be in your window for other popular rides, such as Peter Pan’s Flight.

Assuming it takes around two hours to reach this point, your window for more selections should have opened by now. Select either Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Also, while you’re in this area of the park, hop in line for “it’s a small world,” which usually doesn’t have a wait longer than thirty minutes.

it's a small world Britain doll, Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

Related: Guests Still Reporting Unethical Use of Lightning Lane Scheduling by Disney World

Finally, utilize your Genie+ to take advantage of the many Magic Kingdom offerings throughout the park. If you can’t get a reasonable time for a must-do ride that is holding a long line, don’t worry; there’s one last trick.

Firstly, skip fireworks (only if you’ve never seen them before). You can use this time to take advantage of shorter standby lines. However, if you’re still missing one of those popular rides towards your night’s end, you can jump in line right before the park closes.

Usually, this allows you a shorter wait, and although the park is technically closed, if you make it to the queue a couple of minutes prior, they will most likely allow you to ride.

magic-kingdom-space mountain

Credit: Disney

There you have it. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. If you plan on spending the entire day at Magic Kingdom after rope drop, this is a great way to take advantage and maximize your time in the park!

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

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