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Are you heading to Disneyland? If so, you need to know how to rope drop at Disneyland. Rope dropping is a great Disneyland strategy that can save you from waiting in the longest lines, if you do it correctly. Why wait longer for the popular rides than you have to? I’m a huge fan of rope dropping Disneyland and use it almost every time I visit. In this article, we’ll talk all about how to rope drop at Disneyland, what time to arrive, where to go and mistakes to avoid. I find that rope dropping is one of the best ways to experience lower crowds at Disney theme parks. I think you’ll love it too!
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I’ve got an episode on my podcast about how to Rope Drop at Disneyland. It’s full of lots of great information that you’re going to need to know! Make sure you check it out!
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Today I’m discussing rope dropping at Disneyland! What is rope drop? How does it work? What rides should you rope drop? What rides should you not rope drop? All that and more. I cover it all on this episode. Also, my friend Ashley(Disney Planner Babe) joins me to tell a story about rope dropping Radiator Springs Racers. Don’t miss it!
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In This Post
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What is Rope Drop?
Rope drop at Disneyland refers to being inside one of the Disney parks right when they open up. Disneyland starts letting guests into their parks about 30 minutes before the official park opening time. You are allowed to enter Main Street(or Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure) and walk all the way to the end before you are stopped by cast members holding a rope that stretches the length of the street.
Right at opening time, you’ll hear an announcement welcoming you to the park for the day. The cast members will remove the rope and you’ll be free to head to your favorite Disney parks attraction. So, essentially, “rope drop” means that you’re one of the very first people to enter the parks for the day. There is no extra cost to rope drop. Anyone can do it.
Why Should I Rope Drop?
Rope drop at Disneyland is a really great strategy to help you avoid long wait times. The shortest wait times at Disneyland are during the first 2 hours after the park opens. By rope dropping, you can take full advantage of the short wait times and get on the most popular attractions that will have long wait times later in the day. Rope dropping at Disneyland is one of my top tips to ensure you have the best time at Disneyland! You can find my other top tips here.
Because you arrive early, you’re already in the park and getting on your favorite attractions like Space Mountain as soon as the park opens! You’re living your best Disney life while the rest of the park goers are just getting to security and fighting high crowds to even enter the front gates.
How To Rope Drop
Rope dropping at the Disneyland resort involves getting up early! I hate to be the one to tell you that, but it’s true. If you’re not able to get up and to the parks early rope dropping might not be the best strategy for you. In order to rope drop efficiently, you’ll need to arrive at the security gates at least 60 minutes before the park opens. You’ll go through bag check and security, then you’ll line up at the front gate. About 30 minutes before the park officially opens, cast members will start allowing people through the front gates.
Once you’re inside the park, you will head straight to your first attraction until you’re stopped by a cast member and the actual rope. Here, you’ll wait until the park is officially open. It’s going to seem crowded in this moment. You might find yourself thinking, “Oh my goodness. Today is going to be crazy crowded. I can’t believe all these people are here!” Just take a few calming breaths. Everything is fine. It only appears super crowded. Once the rope drops and guests start to disperse to the different lands and Disney park attractions, crowds will thin and you won’t believe how empty the parks feels. Trust me on this one.
Once the park is officially open and you’re released by the cast members you can head to your first chosen attraction. You’ll be able to walk on most attractions for the first hour or so. Make sure you choose which attractions you rope drop wisely! It can make a huge difference to your over all day. Keep reading to find out which attractions are best to rope drop and which attractions you should steer clear or during rope drop.
Which Attractions To NOT Rope Drop At Disneyland
There’s several attractions that I don’t recommend when rope dropping at Disneyland. Number one on my list is Rise of the Resistance. For some reason, the majority of Disney park guests seem to think that the new Star Wars attraction, Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge is going to be less crowded in the morning. While most attractions are less crowded in the morning, this is one of the few exceptions. Hundreds of guests rush there each morning making the first few hours of the park the most busy of the entire day for this particular ride.
This is the same for Peter Pan. Bunches of guests rush to Fantasyland to try to be the first ones on Peter Pan’s Flight, thinking they will experience shorter wait times. When in fact, they are actually waiting longer than they would if they had waited until later in the day.
The very worst part about rope dropping Rise of the Resistance or Peter Pan is that these misguided folks are now wasting prime morning hours that are famous for low crowds in long lines. It’s sad, really. Lucky for us, you now know better and won’t waste your precious morning hours on these attractions. Keep reading to find out when the best times to ride Peter Pan and Rise of the Resistance.
Which Attractions To Rope Drop At Disneyland
The list of which attractions to ride at Disneyland is long! There’s so many great options. As long as you avoid the ones I mentioned above, you really can’t go wrong. I like to check off some of the big ticket attractions during the first 2 hours. I usually rope drop Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, then head to Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones, Pirates and Haunted Mansion. I’m able to check of 5 big rides in the first 90 minutes or so of the parks being open!
Or, some days I’ll start with Space Mountain and then head to Star Tours, Buzz Light Year, Matterhorn and Alice in Wonderland. Again, 5 big rides checked off my list in the first 90 minutes! That’s a big deal.
If you’re not really interested in riding the headliner attractions first thing, or want to save them to use with Genie Plus later in the day, Fantasyland is a great place to start. This land is the perfect place for small children to start their day and has some of my favorite attractions! Did you know, if you’re the very first group on Storybook Land Canal Boats you get to sign the Captain’s Book? It’s pretty adorable! This is another great first ride.
Which Attractions To NOT Rope Drop At California Adventure
Just like my list of attractions to not rope drop at Disneyland, California Adventure has a couple rides that you should steer clear of during the morning hours. Number one is Web Slingers, the new Spiderman attraction in Avengers Campus. Just like with Rise of the Resistance, hundreds of guests descend on this attraction every morning and make morning wait times the longest of the entire day. Don’t do this to yourself! Save it for later in the day. More on this in a minute.
The second one to avoid is Radiator Springs Racers. This popular attraction is swarmed in the morning with frantic guests trying to ride it first thing. It’s actually quite stressful. Save it for later in the day. The wait time for this attraction usually drop quite a bit in the evening.
Which Attractions To Rope Drop At California Adventure
There’s so many great rides to rope drop at Disney’s California Adventure! I usually like to head to Guardians of the Galaxy or Pixar Pier first. If you head to Pixar Pier you can do Goofy’s Sky school, Incredicoaster and Toy Story, plus a few extras in the first 2 hours. It’s a great place to start! Save Little Mermaid for later in the day. That attraction always has a short wait time.
But, I Heard It’s Best To Rope Drop The Biggest Rides
I’m sure you’ve heard this. Lots of Disney bloggers recommend it. I’ve done test after test on rope drop strategies and I don’t want you to even attempt them. Please trust me. I will say, occasionally, I’ve had success rope dropping Rise of the Resistance, Peter Pan, Web Slingers and Radiator Springs Racers. But, it’s not recommended. If you have a stroller with you or small kids, don’t bother. If anyone in your group is not willing to speed walk in a group of pushing guests, don’t bother. If you have anxiety in large crowds, don’t bother.
However, If you have a group of teenagers or adults and who are able bodied and up for a challenge, you just might be able to pull it off. But, only if you are close enough to actually see the rope and speak to cast members holding the rope before the park opens. If you are not that close, you’re too far way to successfully rope drop any of the attractions listed above. If you go this route, Godspeed.
Rope Dropping With Genie Plus
Disney Genie Plus is the new system at Disneyland that replaced the old MaxPass/FastPass system. You can find more info on it here. You can definitely combine Genie Plus with your rope drop strategy. Because of low wait times in the morning, I don’t recommend using Genie Plus until after lunch if you are not park hopping. Take advantage of the low wait times and save your Genie Plus Lightning Lanes for later in the day when crowds are higher and wait times are longer.
If you are park hopping, you’ll be able to hop to your second park at 1:00pm. Since you’ll have a limited amount of time at your first park you’ll want to use Genie Plus earlier in the day. Spend some time on attractions that don’t offer lightning lanes(like Pirates of the Caribbean)in the first hour and then get started using your Genie Plus Lightning Lanes so you’ll be ready to hop right at 1:00pm.
Who Shouldn’t Rope Drop
Now, there’s some of you out there that really probably shouldn’t rope drop. I hate to say it, but it’s true. If you have very small children who need to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast, rope dropping might not be for you. If you(or someone in your group) absolutely hate mornings and are going to complain and grumble all day about getting up early, rope dropping might not be for you. If your idea of a vacation doesn’t include getting up early and you’d much rather sleep in and deal with larger crowds, rope dropping might not be for you.
Rope dropping isn’t for everyone. You can still have a wonderful vacation at the Disney parks without rope dropping. I do recommend arriving as early as you’re able so you can take advantage of the low wait times for the most popular rides in the morning. Avoiding long waits is always a good idea!
Rope Dropping With The New Early Entry
Early Entry is back at Disneyland for Disneyland Resort hotel guests. This means that guests staying at the Disneyland resort can enter the parks 30 minutes early each day. So, this does change things a bit for rope droppers. You can find more info including some tips and strategies here.
Phew, that was a lot of information! Hopefully it was helpful for you. If you’re looking for more helpful tips and Disneyland planning information, I’ve got you covered! I have a complete guide to planning a vacation to the Disneyland park right here that I know you will love. It walks you through the planning process step by step. I’ve also got one for DisneyWorld too! Find it here.
Make sure you check out my Disneyland in a day and Disney California Adventure in a day free printable itinerary! I update these touring plans every single month, so they’re always current. They work really well with rope dropping and are completely free! You can find them here.
One last thought, be sure to download the Disneyland app before you arrive! This app is great. You can use it to check wait time, buy Genie Plus, book your individual lightning lane reservations and even mobile order food! It’s a game changer!
Make sure to check out my podcast for lots of Disney planning information! You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for “Mix In Some Magic” Follow me on Instagram for more Disney tips and lots of Disney tips and fun!