Being the early bird certainly comes with advantages during a Walt Disney World vacation, especially while visiting the Magic Kingdom.
Disney World’s flagship Park is filled with classic attractions, delicious snacks, and exciting character meet and greets, photo ops, and more. And, you can take advantage of all of the above when you arrive early in the morning. Wondering what to prioritize, though? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!
Guests entering the Magic Kingdom at Rope Drop are more often than not heading straight for the rides. If you have some of the Park’s most popular rides on your list, you should rope drop them, unless you are using Genie+/Lightning Lane, or are planning to ride them at the end of the night. (Hopping in line for a ride right before the Park closes will give you a shorter wait time as Guests will no longer be entering through the Lightning Lane, but you’ll be in for a late night!)
If rides are at the top of the list, and you are Genie-less, you may want to rope drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or Peter Pan’s Flight. These attractions tend to have the longest wait times, so if they are must-do’s riding whichever ones you can early in the morning will help free up the rest of your day in the Magic Kingdom.
What about all of the Park’s other attractions, though? If none of the above are your first pick, these are the rides you should plan to rope drop:
- The Haunted Mansion – It’s a popular attraction, but does not come with a rush of Guests first thing in the morning like Peter Pan and the coasters. The stretching room experience is much more enjoyable, too, when the crowds are light.
- Jungle Cruise – While not often known as an immediate must-do like our original list, this ride can end up with some seriously long wait times, and doing it first can alleviate that. You can hop in line for Pirates of the Caribbean next right next door, too, before that wait time picks up.
- Meet Mickey & Minnie or Visit Princess Fairytale Hall – These are some of the most popular meet and greets in the Magic Kingdom. If they take precedence over rides for your family, start your visit here.
If you have the extra time (ie: more than one day in the Magic Kingdom) you may also want to spend one morning taking photos (your own or with Disney PhotoPass.) You can’t guarantee ’empty park’ photos in the morning, but there will be far less people behind you making for a more magical shot in front of Cinderella Castle.
As for what to avoid during rope drop, we would not recommend seeing a show first thing in the morning. The Magic Kingdom includes a number of shows, and each has a fairly large capacity and is often less crowded than the rides. (Shows include the Carousel of Progress, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, Country Bear Jamboree, the Hall of Presidents, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. For the purposes of this post, we’ve excluded parades, character cavalcades, stage shows, and other performances that only run at select times.)
If you are spending the entire day in the Park, shows are a great way to pass the time in the middle of the day. By early afternoon, the Park will be at its most crowded, so you can avoid long lines by ducking into a show that runs continuously. And if you plan to leave the Park and come back later, you can still always save shows for when you need that air conditioning break or are just looking for something with a low wait time.
Navigating the Magic Kingdom and trying to squeeze everything there is to see and do into one vacation is no easy task, so we hope these tips help you make the most of your day. As always, we will be back with more news and tips to help you plan your next vacation here on DisneyTips.