The Best Tips to Rope Drop Magic Kingdom

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

I’m an early riser even when I’m on vacation — and that’s crucial when I’m at Walt Disney World. If you want to experience each park’s hallmark attractions without standing in long lines in the heat (or shelling out for Genie+), you’ll need to rope drop, which means early mornings.

And if you’re rope dropping Magic Kingdom, the world’s most visited theme park, you’re going to need to get up extra early and have a plan to make the most of your experience.

Rope Drop Magic Kingdom Like a Pro

Here are my top tips if you’re hoping to rope drop Magic Kingdom and squeeze in as many rides as possible before the crowds start marching down Main Street.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Rope dropping Magic Kingdom means waking up early. If you don’t want your little ones to be cranky (and you don’t want to be cranky yourself), don’t stay up too late after the fireworks the night before. Grab a late-night snack, chug a glass of water, take a shower, and then lights out before 11.

Have Breakfast and Coffee in the Hotel Room

Wake up early enough so that you can run to the food court in your hotel while the rest of your crew gets ready for the day. I love to pack my bag the night before and lay out all my clothes. I can quickly get dressed, grab my bag, and head down to get coffee and breakfast for everyone.

If you’re running behind, just grab something easy to take with you into the park (no need to head back to the hotel room). You can sip your coffee while riding the bus, boat, or Monorail.

Snag a Virtual Queue

Virtual queues open up at 7 AM, and they complement a good rope-drop strategy. After all, you won’t be able to rope drop any rides with a Virtual Queue. The only way to ride is to snag a spot via the 7 AM (or 1 PM) Virtual Queue on My Disney Experience or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane (but this can get expensive).

If you’re hoping to use Genie+ at all on your Magic Kingdom rope-drop day, you’ll also want to make your first selection at 7 AM if you’re staying on property. I recommend grabbing one of the more popular rides, even if it has a late-in-the-day return time. You’ll be focused on rope-drop rides during the morning, and you can make a second selection 2 hours after the park opens. From there, you can stagger Lightning Lanes throughout the day. 

Line Up for Transportation Early

Assuming you’re staying on Disney Property, you’ll get Early Entry into Magic Kingdom. That’s 30 minutes before anyone else, even non-resort-guest passholders, are allowed into the park.

To get the most out of this precious time, you’ll want to be one of the first people through the Magic Kingdom gate. And to be at the front of the pack, you’ll want to be on the first bus (or Monorail, or boat) of the day.

Ask a Cast Member at your hotel what time transportation starts running, and if you’re up for it, line up at least 30 minutes before that time.

Pro Tip: If you’re staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, it’s usually faster to walk to Magic Kingdom than to take transportation.

Pay Attention to the Cast Members at the Gate

When you rope drop Magic Kingdom, you’ll inevitably get stopped outside the gate. Lines will begin to form at each one of the entrance points. Do your best to get to the front of one of those lines (and ideally one to the side so that you can more easily go left or right under the train station as you enter).

If you aren’t near the front of a line, however, watch the Cast Members. Sometimes, they may magically open up a new line, and you’ll want to move quickly to get to the front of it.

Always be respectful of Cast Members. Say please and thank you, and remember to walk — yes, really — not run.

Stay Together

When the Cast Members let you in, there will be a stampede down Main Street and to the hub. Here again, you’ll find that you’re stopped before you can get to any actual rides. Make sure your family stays together during this chaos. Put little ones in their stroller or hold their hands, and always have a meet-up spot in case you get separated.

Have a Plan of Attack

As you walk down Main Street, don’t be tempted by the smells coming from Main Street Bakery. That’s what the early-morning coffee and breakfast in the hotel was for. Instead, stay focused on your goal: rope dropping Fantasyland or Tomorrowland.

Why those two? Right now, Magic Kingdom only opens these two lands for early entry. This is the best time to walk on Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Peter Pan’s Flight is also a good ride to rope drop because the queue is famously slow-moving once the day gets going.

If these three rides aren’t on your radar, you don’t need to be in such a hurry for rope drop. You could wait to rope drop Adventureland or Frontierland when the entirety of Magic Kingdom opens a half-hour later.

Enjoy Less Popular Rides During the Peak of the Day

If you wipe out heavy hitters like Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during early entry; snag Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, and Haunted Mansion as soon as the rest of the park opens; and use Virtual Queues for rides like TRON and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure when possible throughout the day, you can spend the busiest time of the day simply chilling out.

Mickey's Philharmagic at the Magic Kingdom

Photo by Ernie Carr

Visit less-popular (but wonderful!) rides such as Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor or Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Stand in line for the Festival of Fantasy Parade or the castle stage show, grab a bite to eat at a sit-down restaurant, or spend time wandering through the highly themed lands enjoying the atmosphere and Imagineering details. Now is even a good time to grab a nap and some pool time if you’re up for it (or need it).

Be Ready for Evening Magic

Crowds will start to die down again in the evening. Some people who rope dropped but didn’t take it easy during the middle of the day may be wiped out and head back to their hotel. Some adults may park hop to other parks that serve alcoholic beverages. And many who stay in Magic Kingdom will begin lining up for fireworks as the sun sets.

If fireworks are at the top of your list, you may also want to grab a spot for viewing at this time. I’m tall and generally don’t have a problem grabbing a last-minute spot for fireworks, but if you’ve got little ones with you, you may need to find a spot early. If fireworks aren’t on your radar, enjoy the short lines once again on some of your favorite attractions from earlier in the day — or any attractions you missed previously.

Rope Drop Magic Kingdom Like a Pro

Rope dropping Magic Kingdom is a great way to experience so many popular attractions without long lines. Just remember to pack snacks, be courteous to Cast Members and fellow guests, drink lots of water, apply sunscreen liberally, and recognize when everyone needs a break.

And while Genie+ and rope dropping can make it feel like you need to rush from one attraction to the next at Magic Kingdom, remember that much of the magical memories come from those in-between moments: your child eating their first Mickey bar, running into Peter Pan or the Stepsisters behind the castle, or noticing all the details along the river when riding the Liberty Square Riverboat. You can rope drop Magic Kingdom to do it all — but don’t forget to stop and see it all, too.

Posts by Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore is the editorial director of WDW Magazine, DLR Magazine, and DCL Magazine. He has 15 years of experience in storytelling across roles in content marketing, market research, SEO, and journalism. In addition to running an award-winning Disney magazine, Timothy writes travel and finance content for sites like Business Insider, USA Today, and Forbes.

Authored by
Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore is the editorial director of WDW Magazine, DLR Magazine, and DCL Magazine. He has 15 years of experience in storytelling across roles in content marketing, market research, SEO, and journalism. In addition to running an award-winning Disney magazine, Timothy writes travel and finance content for sites like Business Insider, USA Today, and Forbes.
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