My #1 tip, rope drop at Disneyland! Arrive before posted park hours! Line up for rope drop and GO! Get more done in the first few hours! Anyone can do rope drop and it happens EVERYDAY to be clear. You need to arrive at the parks 45 minutes before the posted park opening hours. Plan for time to go through security! More arrival tips here. Then line up at the gates. They usually let you in about 30 minutes before the posted park opening hour. For example if the park opens at 8:00 a.m. arrive at the gates no later than 7:30 a.m.
What is rope drop?
Once you are through the gates you can wander around on Main Street. Take photos or grab some food/drink at the Market House aka Star Bucks. But don’t spend too much time you want to head down Main St. to the actual ropes and get lined up before the park opens. These are the ropes that are up around the hub.
There are ropes up leading to the following lands, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. I have included a map below to show you where the ropes are located. These are always subject to change, but should be close to this map. When the park opens they “drop” the rope and let you in the parks. So basically rope drop is being in the parks the moment it opens and heading to your first ride!
The same goes for Disney California Adventure. Arrive early and get into the park before it opens. Wait at one of the blocked off areas and boom you’re off when they drop the rope at park opening. I’ve included a map as well for DCA where you will find the ropes in each land. Again the locations are subject to change, but they should be similar to these marked below.
No matter which morning you arrive they do rope drop every morning. Below is a look at rope drop in Disney California Adventure in Hollywood Land.
Have a plan
Now that you made the effort to get up early, beat the crowds and experience rope drop you need a plan. The idea is to go on as many rides as you can in the first two hours of the day before the crowds start to arrive. You can get so much done in the morning hours. Go on attractions that build lines as the day goes on. And don’t use your Disney Genie+ in the morning time. Save those for later in the day when the lines are longer. Find more on Disney Genie+ tips. For suggestions on which rides to do first in each park head over to this Disneyland plan and Disney California Adventure plan.
Magic Morning and Extra Magic hours details
UPDATE: Magic Mornings and Extra Magic hours have been replaced with Early Entry. I have an article explaining all about this new option for onsite Disneyland Resort guests. And I explain how this new option affects rope drop.
***Currently there are no early morning hours offered***
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning when Disneyland hosts Magic Morning (more info on that here) they still put up ropes to keep non-Magic Morning guests in the hub area. Same goes for Disney California Adventure. They host Extra Magic hours on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And on those mornings they put up ropes as well.
My point in mentioning all of this is to make sure you’re one of the first ones on the rides you need to plan on being at the park for rope drop! Starting your day off early will pay dividends cause the parks get more crowded as the day goes on. Take advantage of your early start. I have a complete video showing you what it looks like and how to do rope drop!
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