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Disney in a Minute: What is Rope Drop?

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We’re here with a series of quick posts, “Disney in a Minute,” bite-sized nuggets of information that can better help you understand a Disney term or planning topic. Enjoy!

“Rope Drop” is one of the most common terms among Disney vacation planners. You’ll hear it in sentences like, “If you want to make the most of your day, be sure to be at the parks for Rope Drop” or, “I missed Rope Drop and now my touring plan is toast.” Without context, these phrases don’t make much sense. Rope Drop simply refers to a theme park’s opening time. To translate the ideas above … “If you want to make the most of your day, be sure to be at the parks right when they open” or “I got to the park late and now my touring plan is toast.”

The term “rope drop” comes from the fact that in many instances cast members hold a physical rope, indicating to guests that the park is not yet open. When it’s time to admit guests, they may physically “drop the rope.” In reality, they’ll likely neatly coil up the rope, asking guests to remain in place until they give a signal to proceed. In other instances, cast members may form a “rope” or line with their own bodies.

When you arrive at a Walt Disney World theme park opening, you may encounter several “ropes.” You will first be held at the park’s entrance tapstiles (where you scan your admission ticket or MagicBand), then you’ll be let part way into the park where you’ll encounter another “rope.” For example, if the Magic Kingdom’s official opening time is 8:30 am, you may be let past the tapstiles at 8:00 (for example) and allowed to explore the Main Street shops. If you venture toward the ride areas, you’ll be stopped by another “rope” and held there until the 8:30 opening time (at the entrance to Tomorrowland, for example). Generally, you’ll want to get as far into the park as possible to experience rope drop near the attractions.

For more information about arriving for rope drop or getting the most out of the experience, see

Again, “rope drop” in general refers to park opening time. The photos below illustrate some of the types of “ropes” you may encounter at park opening.

Have a question about a Disney term that is unfamiliar to you? Suggest it here for an upcoming Disney in a Minute segment.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

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