Disneyland Rope Drop: Maximize Your Ride Strategy!

So what’s all this fuss about rope dropping at Disneyland? Well, if you have ever shown up for Disneyland park opening, you have probably wondered why park guests are already inside the park. How can Disneyland allow theme park guests in before opening hours?

Well, it all comes down to a special thing called Disneyland Rope Drop! This special Disney event happens before disneyland resort officially opens. However, it allows Disney gues to start entering the park about a half hour before the official park opening time; while this may not seem like much, it can be a game changer!

So now that you know what rope dropping is, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of your rope-dropping strategy because, yes, you need a game plan when you are going to rope drop at Disneyland!

Continue reading to learn more about Disneyland rope drop 😎

disneyland rope drop flag

Disneyland Rope Drop Guide

So what is Rope Drop?

Disneyland rope drop is what Disney park masters do right before the park opens. It’s basically arriving at Disneyland before the park actually opens; the reason people do this is that it allows you to get through security and the ticket area and be let into the park.

Essentially want happens after you have your tickets scanned is you are allowed entry into the park. The caveat to that is that you are only allowed to go up to the physical Disneyland park rope that marks the line between the rest of the lands and the main street area.

Why Should I Show up for Disneyland Rope Drop?

Showing up for Disneyland rope drop is one of the best ways to ensure you can get on as many rides as possible and beat the midday crowds.

disneyland rope drop morning

What time is Rope Drop at Disneyland?

Rope drop is a half hour before the park opens, which means you’ll want to arrive at least around an hour earlier than the park opening. The reason for this because hotel guests have early entry a half hour earlier than park entry, so they will also be filling up the security and ticket lines.

What about magical hours?

Magical morning hours have been replaced with Disneyland resort’s new opt-in of Disneyland early entry. This program allows Disney hotel guests to have an extra half hour to explore certain parts of the park. Originally, the magic morning hour allowed Disneyland hotel guests a full hour of exploring the park before other Disney parkgoers.

disneyland morning

What is early entry at Disneyland?

Early entry for Disneyland parks is the ability of Disneyland hotel guests to be able to enter certain parts of the park a half hour earlier than another guest. This can be amazing for moving up to the nearest popular attraction, even if you can’t ride it until the official Disneyland park opening hours.

Does California adventure have a rope drop?

Yes, Disney California Adventure park has the same rope drop option for park guests.

disneyland rope dropping park guest

Where is Rope Drop in Disneyland?

Rope drop at Disneyland is located on the main street and near the left side of the Walt Disney and Mickey statue near the roundabout’s center. You’ll see ropes being held by Disney cast members to block off guests from heading off into frontier land and adventure land.

Do I need Genie plus or a lightning lane pass to rope drop?

Many people ask this question, and honestly, we can understand the confusion around Disney rope drop, early entry, and their new fast pass system, aka Disney Genie plus and lightning lane. The good news is you do not have to worry about spending more money on something you might not need for your Disney goals.

Genie plus does make a great addition to a day you are rope dropping because it allows you to focus your Disneyland morning rope drop strategy around other rides and then choose your Disney genie plus elections for busier rides later in the day.

But it’s totally unnecessary for you, so don’t feel the need to get it if your goal is to rope drop. Honestly, you can ride many rides with the right strategy and during the right season.

What Time Do You Need To Show Up For Rope Drop?

The perfect time to show up for rope drop is about an hour before the park opening. This varies on park crowds; if the park is going to be busier, we say 1.5 hours earlier to make sure you have parking done, coffee out of the way, and you make it through security and the ticket queue.

the little mermaid ride

Rope Drop Mistakes That Rookies Make: What Not To Do

Don’t Show Up At Rope Drop Time:

You want to, at the bare minimum, show up an hour before Rope Drop to allow time for breakfast, coffee, parking, the tram service, and security lines.

Don’t Waste Rope Drop Time Shopping on Main Street:

Trust us, the same souvenirs will be there afterward. We recommend buying your souvenirs towards the busiest time of the day, most people will be waiting in lines for rides, and you avoid peak ride time by instead choosing to have dinner during this time and doing your Disney shopping.

Don’t Get Coffee at The Starbucks On Main Street:

As much as we are suckers for the Starbucks on main street. There is a time and place for it, and Disneyland morning crunch time is not the time to wait in a forsaken line that is dreadfully long, even during the first few hours of the morning.

Instead, grab your coffee at Downtown Disney, or better yet, grab a smoothie at the centrally located Jamba Juice, grab bagels at the cafe placed on the corner next to the big Disney store, and make your way to the security line.

Don’t Waste Time going after rides that just aren’t that popular:

Yes, we all love our childhood favorites, especially the Alice in wonderland teacups. However, these rides shouldn’t be on your game plan for rope drop unless you have kids and rope drop is for them. Then for sure, make fantasyland your game plan and ride all the fantasyland rides.

You want to focus your strategy on popular rides and make your strategy work with the flow of ride queues and off points. This will ensure you’re wasting less time walking around the park and being proactive about getting on your next ride.

disneyland guest lined up for rope drop

Who Shouldn’t Rope Drop?

Showing up for Disneyland rope drop is not for the faint of heart, and we don’t recommend it if you are mainly traveling with toddlers or babies who can’t enjoy the rides anyway.

The reason you do not want to bother with showing up for Disneyland rope drop is if you aren’t going to be jetting off to the most Popular Disneyland rides.

You’re probably wondering what does that have to do with anything? Well, honestly, it mainly has to do with the fact that people who show up for Disneyland Rope drops are usually there for one reason, and that is to get an edge on the other later Disney guest by being able to hustle to the nearest popular ride.

What comes with aggressive Disney parkgoers?

Shoving, it’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality of Disneyland rope drop. People push and shove and even run, even though they are not supposed to run.

We were stepped on, pushed, and glared at; it’s honestly pretty gnarly what Disney park guests are willing to do to get a leg up on the competition for a first spot in the Disney rides queues.

Cest la vie

Anyways, we do urge you to think about if that is the environment you want to be in, and if so, what we suggest is to wait near the back of the crowd lined up near the ropes of each land. This way, all the aggressive people will rush ahead of you, and you can take your time doing what you want.

One thing you can take advantage of is shopping during Disneyland rope drop; its something we argue against for people who are there for the ride strategy, but if you want a more chill morning, then have at it and make sure to line up in starbucks before the crowds start growing at the ropes.

Because what will happen is everyone will send a party member to get coffee, and then next thing you know, there are 40 people in line at starbucks on main street or buena vista street.

Disneyland rope drop line

How To Rope Drop at Disneyland Resort Like a Pro

Disneyland Rope Drop Plan

Disney Rope Drop Strategy for Families with little ones

If you have little ones, you are going to want to avoid heading for the big thrill rides that everyone else is going to be going for. The reason is that people are pretty pushy and start walking at the speed of light to beat someone else by .10 seconds. It gets really claustrophobic, and if you have kids and a stroller, this will just be a nightmare for you. This is why instead, you need to focus on exploring fantasy land!

Fantasyland will be the go-to for similar families in your situation; there will be naive souls who will venture off to the dark side of the rise of the resistance, but what they don’t know is 🙃.

Anyways, what you want to do is head straight for Fantasyland; the first ride should be peter pan if you are near the front of the rope drop line. If not, head to the Snow White’s enchanted wish to ride and then hop on Pinocchio’s daring journey ride. After that, take a look at peter pan’s flight ride queue wait times; if it seems low, then get in line.

Is Disneyland Castle? The Move?

Otherwise, cut across to Mr. Toads’ wild ride and then hop on over to dumbo, the flying elephant. If peter pan’s flight was busy earlier, check the queue again, if its low, get in line. If not, head to Alice in wonderland’s mad tea party ride.

After finishing that, you should have knocked out about 1.5 hours so far; now, if you still haven’t ridden peter pan’s flight, now is the time to get in line because the bigger morning crowd will start flying in around this time.

When you’re done riding fantasy land rides, check the Disney app to see the ride queue wait times. Still, we usually go towards the star wars galaxy’s edge to ride the Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Right around this time, you’ll probably notice the rise of the resistance has broken down (again lol).

This is the time to get in line near the ride queue because the ride usually goes back up in 20 minutes or less! This is how we got on it three times one day 😉.

After that, head on over to splash mountain if the weather allows it; of course, if not, skip it and head on down to the haunted mansion.

After you get off the haunted mansion ride, go skedaddle to the pirates of the Caribbean ride and then the Indiana Jones Adventure and the jungle cruise!

When you’re done with those, hit up big thunder mountain railroad and then go to Tomorrowland.

At Tomorrowland, we say ride buzz light astro blasters and then go for star tours. The adventure continues. Then attempt to ride space mountain but be weary of the lines; we say look at the Disney app and check the Matterhorn queue first.

After all of that, ride it’s a small world after all, and finish with mickey & minnies Runaway railway.

Now that you’re done with those rides feel free to jump on Disneyland railroad and storybook land canal boats. These two rides are great after a long day at Disneyland.

Disney Tip: After finishing fantasyland, you can actually do this in reverse and go to matter horn, mickey and minnies runaway railway, its a small world, and then head to Tomorrowland and then go to adventure land and make your way up to star wars galaxy’s edge. Check the queues right after you finish fantasy land to make your decision.

rise of the resistance ride

Disney Rope Drop Strategy For Popular Rides

We’ll do less talking in this strategy and more showing; we wrote down the 7-step game plan you need for securing popular rides in the Disney morning hours.

  1. Ensure you arrive early; you should be near the front of the line, basically, if you can’t see the Disney cast members’ faces that are holding the rope. Then you are too far and need to change your game plan.
  2. If you’re near the front, then as soon as the rope drop, make your way towards galaxy’s edge; the entrance you’ll want to take is adventure land, and then try to keep pace with the crowd. Keep up but dont shove! Also, be mindful of kids, those with disabilities, and strollers.
  3. If you’re not near the front, then head on to adventure land and start your day riding the Indiana Jones adventure, then get on the pirates of the Caribbean ride. Afterward, go up towards the haunted mansion and splash mountain, then head to the galaxy’s edge. It should be mid-morning by the time you’re done. Then head back towards Frontierland and get on big thunder mountain railroad and head towards Tomorrowland for the rest of your day’s rides, such as buzz light year astro blasters, star tours, and space mountain.
  4. If you’re following the star wars galaxy’s edge path, you’ll want to head to the rise of the resistance, but keep checking the Disney app for updates; it’s usual for it shut down randomly in the morning. If this happens to you, skip it and go to millennium falcon and then head back to rise of the resistance, it should be getting to go back up once you’re done with the ride, then make your way down to adventure land and hop on the rides along the way such as splash mountain, haunted mansion, pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana jones adventure, jungle cruise, and jump up to big thunder mountain railroad.
  5. Either option you choose, you want to make sure you are watching the Disney app for ride closures. During lunchtime, when you should make your move to Tomorrowland, do not have lunch, but instead after you ride the rides at this area first.
  6. After that, head to Matterhorn and then mickey and minnies runaway railway.
  7. It should be early evening time, and the busiest park will be after you’re done with those rides. Then decide whether or not you want to ride the fantasy land rides, and it’s a small world, and finish the rides you were unable to do.
  8. If you managed your time wisely and used the Disney app, you should have been able to ride almost all the rides 😊.
web slingers ride

Disney’s California Adventure Park Rope Drop Plan

Disney California Adventure Park Rope Drop Plan For Families with little ones

Your Game plan for Disney California is straightforward compared to Disneyland, especially if your goal is for the kids to get on as many rides as possible. Just don’t forget that the kids also want to enjoy Disneyland, and it’s much more than just rides. So stop, eat a yummy churro, and relax with a cute Disney balloon.

This is the game plan for disney california adventure rope drop with kids:

  1. First off, dont even think about heading on over to web slingers or radiator springs Racers, Everyone is going to be heading to those rides, and unless you can keep up and are also near the front of the rope drop line, you won’t stand a chance.
  2. Instead, head on over to Pixar pier and ride the incredicoaster, then hop off and get on toy story mania.
  3. When you’re done with toy story mania, head on over inside out emotional whirlwind, and then jump on goofy’s sky school.
  4. When you’re done with goofy’s sky school, head on to grizzly river run if the weather allows it.
  5. When you’re done and probably a little wet, walk over to Soarin.
  6. It should still be fairly early in the day, so head on over to guardians of the galaxy at the avenger campus, then check the queue for web slingers; it shuts down randomly, so being nearby is a queue to snag a spot in line.
  7. If the line is medium to low, get in line for web slingers: a spiderman adventure.
  8. Then while you’re in queue, pay attention to radiator springs, the ride should shut down randomly, and you’ll want to pay attention to how long it’s down. If it shuts down right as you’re getting on web-slinger,s then immeidemlty head over to cars land and get in line for radiator springs racers, as it should be powering back on soon.
  9. Then when you’re done with racing, jump on a luigis rollicken roadsters and then maters junkyard jamboree. We absolutely love cars land, so if the ride queues are low, feel free to jump on them a few times at this point
  10. All that you be left now is the Pixar pal, a big round wheel, the little mermaid ariels undersea adventure, jumpin’ jellyfish, and golden zephyr, so pick whatever you want and start riding these lower volume rides at the end of your day.
radiator springs racers area

Disney California Adventure Park Rope Drop Plan For Popular Rides

You probably get the gist of this strategy; thrill rides and a game plan are super important when you are talking about going against thousands of other equally as crazy Disney fans. Chances are a lot of them are going to have a game plan, and it’s probably going to either be good or bad ones, a lot of the latter if you ask us.

First, if you have genie plus, make sure to schedule you to schedule your lighting lane passes for the afternoon or evening; you want to make sure you are utilizing the lower crowds and morning advantage to the max. So don’t waste your lightning lane fast passes during this time. Also, make sure you use the lightning lanes for good and crowded rides; sorry, we had to mention it.

  1. You need to be near the front of the rope drop for you to have a chance at securing spots for radiator spring racers or web slingers, a spiderman adventure. Otherwise, you’ll want to follow. The kid’s guide is above, but swap out some of the kid’s rides with more popular rides that fit your style and movement through the park.
  2. You want to have the Disney app up to see if either of the two big rides will be down if one is down. Then avoid either big ride because everyone will pinpoint the other ride.
  3. Instead, what you want to do if that happens is to head to Soarin, then ride roarin’ rapids if the weather allows it.
  4. After that, head on to Pixar pier, and get on the incredacoaster, and then toy story mania.
  5. Then jump on goofy’s sky school and go to Avengers campus for the guardians of the galaxy mission breakout.
  6. When you’re done with guardians of the galaxy, check the Disney app for the queue for web slingers or radiator springs and choose one to get in line for. After that, regardless of what ride you choose, head to cars land and ride luigis and maters rides, then ride the other popular ride.
  7. When you’re done with all that, it should be about lunchtime. During this time, do not go to lunch; instead, ride the rodes you missed in the morning and any other popular rides with medium to low queues.
  8. At the end of the day, then go to the low-crowd rides such as the little mermaid, inside out, the Ferris wheel, etc.
disneyland morning guest lining up for haunted mansion

The Best Rope Drop Tips You Never Knew You Needed

Have the Disneyland app Downloaded and Ready To Go

You want to familiarize yourself with this helpful app so that it’s easier and quicker for you to make fast decisions, such as when to use a lightning lane pass, mobile order dining, etc.

Trust us, utilizing the Disneyland app to your advantage is one of the best things you can do to ensure a great Disney rope drop.

It will also be a game changer when you learn to utilize it for Disney mobile checkout! Read our guide on shopping at Disneyland with mobile checkout

The reason is that the Disney app will allow you to see what ride wait times are.

It will also give you a map that is easy to interact with, so you don’t have to worry about carrying around the Disney paper maps.

This is vital for ensuring you know the route to your next ride and also because the Disney app does something we love.

It shows you what rides are down! This is going to determine your ride strategy for the rest of the day, and it’s essential you pay attention to your ride closures. We rode rise of the resistance three times one day because of our Disneyland ride strategy we have for Popular Disneyland rides.

Arrive Early For Rope Drop!

I think we have mentioned this at least a few times already in this post, but we really stress enough how important it show up early for rope drop. It will make or break your Disneyland morning strategy!

Don’t Rope Drop If You Hate Crowds

We know rope drop can be exciting, and the potential benefits of rope dropping are nice, especially when you consider the long wait times that are ahead of you on a typical Disney day. However, it’s not worth it if crowds give you anxiety or if you have little ones or a grumpy partner who hates mornings.

Instead of doing something uncomfortable, were recommend showing up when you are most comfortable and enrgersied so that you can last the rest of the day in a good mood and the same for your party.

However, if you have a party that can handle the crowds and you don’t mind early mornings and the early Disneyland morning rush of aggressive people. Then, by all means, show up ready for game day!

Have FUN! Disney Rope Drop Is supposed to help you!

We can’t stress this enough, have fun! Don’t take things too seriously and if a ride shuts down or someone makes you mad. Brush it off, and don’t let it ruin your day. You spent way too much money to be mad, so enjoy the magic and remember why you booked this Disney vacation.

Utilize Disneys Add-Ons To Elevate Your Rope Drop Strategy!

While you don’t need a costly Disney add-on to enjoy the fun of Disneyland rope-dropping, it can help a lot. Genie plus will allow you to reserve two popular rides for the day; we suggest in the afternoon or evening. While park hopping will allow you to jump over to the other Disneyland park to maximize the number of rides, you can get on in a day.

Rope Dropping Disneyland FAQ

Can you get rope drop without early entry?

Early entry is for Disney hotel guests, while rope drop is available for all Disneyland resort park guests with Disney reservations for the day.

Can anyone go to rope drop at Disneyland?

Anyone can rope drop at Disneyland; children, adults, seniors, and babies can allow rope drop

What time should I line up for Disneyland?

You should arrive at Disneyland resort at your chosen Disney park an hour before the official park opening to allow for parking, walking to the parks, going through security, and ticket checks.

Is rope drop worth it at Disneyland?

Yes, by having a rope drop game plan, you can help raise the chances of you being able to snag your favorite rides with half the lines!

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