Early Morning Magic (EMM)--rope drop access/Merida question


Hi everyone,
Thanks in advance for any thoughts/guidance on this–first trip to WDW coming up in late April. My daughter (soon to be age 7) is a huge Merida fan, and that meet and greet is a main priority for our MK time. We have EMM reservations on a Tuesday. Is heading over to Merida’s meet and greet during the welcome show (so 8:56ish) at the tail end of EMM a solid plan? Will we be able to cut through the castle on the side path that connects to Cosmic Ray’s? Before RD, how far down the path can guests travel (i.e., is the rope that is dropped near the castle right there at the entrance to Fairy Tale Garden, or is it at the beginning of the path)? Trying to figure out if this is our best chance to meet the Brave star with the shortest wait. Thanks again for any help/experiences–much appreciated.


I’m not sure if you can get there or if there will be a rope, but you could certainly wait on the rope and head right over, in which case you’d have a very short wait.


Does she start meet and greets at 9?


Looks like she starts at 0915


Where is your ADR at? The path coming off the hub from the castle toward Cosmic Rays is also where they hold all the folks trying to Rope Drop seven dwarfs mine train. They won’t be going to Merida but it will be a mass of people in that area.


I think she starts at 9:15 but the times guide should say for sure. Maybe someone else is more sure than me?


We don’t have an ADR, per se…we’ve purchased Early Morning Magic, so there is breakfast at Pinocchio Haus but we plan to do that right before 10 a.m. We’ll be in the vicinity of Peter Pan/Winnie the Pooh/Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.


Yes, 9:15. My thought was that we would head to Merida just before the crowds are released, but I’m not sure where crowds are held/what the chances are of a line forming immediately.


There seems to be a path that cuts through the back of the castle (I think?) that joins the path to Cosmic Ray’s…any idea whether that will be open during the welcome show? I am basing these thoughts/questions off of basic maps I found–have never actually set foot in the MK.


Watch this video:

It should solve all your questions in terms of access.

Basically you are “beyond” the rope drop and “free” roam the vicinity of Fantasyland. A few minutes before RD just position yourself closer to the Fairytale garden. I strongly believe that you can even squeeze another princess right at 9am and then go to Merida without much wait.


This is the mass of people i was talking about coming through.


I think you are overselling it. OP will be there for EMM, she will be ahead of the “mass”.


With EMM the op will be fine, but i don’t think I’m overselling the amount of people going through that path in the morning at all.

@missymae42 I do think i would plan on being at Merida at 8:55 if you are wanting to be one of the first ones to see Merida.

We haven’t done this M&G yet, plan on doing it the next trip, but I have read multiple times the wait backs up because of how interactive she is.


Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the resources and responses–much appreciated. I know we might “lose” 15 minutes waiting for Merida to appear, but I’m thinking that this might be the best strategy to avoid longer waits at any other time. We could try to RD her meet and greet another day; we are always there well before opening, but if we grab a muffin and some coffee/juice from the breakfast to munch while we wait (and then return for full breakfast after), maybe it’s a nice break before the rest of the day. I love touring plans–very helpful!–but Merida is not an option to choose in their planning software.


Missymae, PLEASE post your results on this because it is also my plan for my EMM event in May to head to Fairytail Hall to meet Tiana & Rapunzel, and then immediately go to meet Merida before having Breakfast at PVH. Let me know how it goes for you and if you think there is also time for the other princess meet right before M! :slight_smile:


SneakyPete, This is exactly my hope, to meet Tiana & Rapunzel right at 9:00 and then head to Merida for 9:15. Any tips on what time we should get in line at Fairytail Hall to make this happen efficiently?


Play it by ear. There is something about EMM that caters in large proportion to planners and optimizers which means everybody will have some sort of pre-RD strategy and princesses offer the highest ROI.

At 8.45am survey the Fairytail Hall area, if there are people already in line then you better get in line as well. If everything works out you should be among the first 3 or so groups and be done before 9:10am which will allow you to see Merida with minimum wait. You won’t be the first there but the wait will be manageable.

Remember you have until 10am to have breakfast and you can return as many times as you want.


Thank you–all good suggestions! We have multiple days in the MK (still wanted to do EMM to free up FP and for other reasons), and I am also thinking about trying to RD Merida on day 1 (which is also an EMM day but not the day we are doing it, so this may or may not work depending on how long it takes us to get to Merida and whether lots of others have the same idea). If it’s a 15 minute wait until she arrives, it will be 15 minutes either way. I don’t mind using a FP for Cinderella and Elena. Many thanks–playing it by ear is probably best way to go.


Mjfc42083–I sure will–but when in May is your EMM day? Our EMM is actually on May 1 (trip is from last few days of April through May 5). I wonder if we’ll be there at the same time?


Mine is on Tuesday May 15th. our trip is 5/10-5/17 with 6 park days sandwiched between two relax & travel days.