Are you feeling the pressure to be a Disney rope drop person? We all see the pins and read the blogs about how to ride X amount of rides before lunch and it alwayssss starts with arriving to Disney for rope drop. Meaning you are at the park and through bag check, waiting to enter before the park opens! For some people this is great advice! For others…I can’t imagine being up that early unless I’m being forced to be, anyone else?
Everyone has a different method of enjoying a Disney Vacation, but sometimes I run into those people that took bad advice that didn’t work for them and they ended up HATING Disney! My goodness, how can you hate Disney!?! Of course for some, Disney just may not be their thing…maybe it’s the themeing or the crowds or the heat. But for those who were really looking forward to visiting the most magical place on earth and then not enjoying the magic one stinking bit.. well I can bet they just didn’t do Disney the right way for THEM.
Quick side story! My sister and brother in law visit Disney World on average 3 time per year with their 4 kiddos. On one particular day they were taking an afternoon break in Fantasyland while ride lines were super long, when they noticed a family that looked totally defeated! They decided to reach out and see if they needed any help. The family was visiting for their first time and couldn’t seem to find any rides without extremely long waits. My sister and brother in law told them to leave Fantasyland for the time being and find a less popular attraction for the busy afternoon crowds. Because sometimes taking it easy is the best way to experience the magic! And why suffer in long lines when you could enjoy something else and come back to Fantasyland later?
So my point is, sometimes people get bad advice, and sometimes people get no advice and are at a total loss. But there is always a way to have a memorable and fun Disney vacation, no matter how busy it is!
Moving forward! Why do you not have to arrive for rope drop? To put it simply, because you can enjoy Disney at any time of the day. Let me explain. Let’s say you, your spouse, your kids or quite possibly all of you are NOT morning people (I totally get it), do you think dragging those people out of bed to a hot and crowded park sounds like the best way to have a magical vacation?.. Probably not. At the end of the day…or by noon, when they are hot an cranky, there is a good possibility they will not care that they got to ride Peter Pan’s Flight before the line got long (just my guess).
Like I said, rope drop is awesome for some people, not so much for others! You know your family best, so YOU make the decision! I would ideally love to be to Disney right when the park opens but in all honesty I have only done this 1 time in all of my years of Disney vacations, and when I say 1 time I mean 1 day lol!
So how do we do our Disney days you may be wondering! Well this schedule is for the night owl not the early bird and will likely change some now that we have a baby as our days start wayyyyyy earlier now than they use to in our pre baby days!
A Disney Schedule without Early Mornings
Our typical day in any of the 4 parks starts around 11 am. We will wake up around 9 or so (hitting snooze a few times) and head to the parks between 10:30-11:00, depending on our first Fastpass+ time. The only time we ever arrive earlier is if we have a breakfast reservation, which would never be earlier than 9:30! I typically schedule our Fastpass+ reservations for somewhere around 11-12, 12-1 and 1:30-2:30. This way we are able to eat lunch in between, but still get our Fastpass reservations out of the way quickly so we can schedule new ones as soon as possible.
When we are at Disney, we tend to go with the flow. We never leave without riding our favorite rides..space mountain, big thunder mountain, pirates of the Caribbean, Soarin, Tower of Terror, Rockin Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Kiliminjaro Safari.. the usual, but we definetly do not hold ourselves accountable to rides like Frozen, Test Track (because it always seems to rain on Epcot days), Slinky Dog Dash, Flight of Passage and Mine Train. Although these are also some of our favorite rides, we know they can be near impossible to get onto sometimes and we just are not willing to waste hours in line or wake up at the crack of dawn!
Some people may not be willing to be so leanient, especially if you do not travel to Disney often and that may be where rope drop does really become important! For us; however, we love to close the parks and a similar effect takes place at the end of the day when those early birds start to head home, wait times start to decrease. Now I’m in no way saying that you are going to ever see the line to Mine Train go below 90 minutes, but for other rides you will likely be able to hop right on! Now ideally, it would be great to arrive for rope drop, stay all day and close the parks! But we have to remember how exhausting Disney is and in order to enjoy the magic we do need to get some rest!
Another suggestion I tend to see is to arrive for rope drop, head back to your room for an afternoon break and then come back to the park in the evening. Again, for some this totally works (a good friend of mine enjoyed their trip this way)! Especially for those with little kids that will not nap in the stroller or people who just do not deal well with the heat. But the con here is the wasted time traveling back and forth and going through bag checks and because of this I do not like to leave the park once I’m in (I am also not a fan of park hopping for this reason).
There are obviously many ways to visit Disney World and for each person, a different routine will be better than the other. But don’t beat yourself up if you choose to sleep in 1 day..or all days, and miss some of the short early lines. I can bet you will make up for that missed line by being well rested and experiencing some other random magic that day!
How do you do Disney? Are you a Disney rope drop kind of person? Or do you hate mornings? Do you take an afternoon break? Have you had a bad time in Disney because you tried a schedule that just didn’t work for your family?