Getting to the parks and park opening?

I’m a little confused on current rope drop procedures/changes. We’ll be driving and it seems the general consensus is that parking lots open about 50 minutes before the park opens (update me if this is outdated!). That seems fine for EP and AK (we aren’t doing HS this trip), but how does that work for MK? Is Main St still open for shopping around 8am and then they do the gradual rope drop/walk back to Fantasyland? Are EP and AK letting guests in before official opening? I’d like to maximize our days as much as possible and am feeling pressured to get in as early as we can :crazy_face: Edited to add: Is rope drop even worth the hassle these days? Or would we be better off/just as well off arriving 20 minutes after open?

There have been daily posts over on chat about RD times. When we were there last month, it was better to avoid RD and roll in about an hour later. Now with more people in the parks, RD may be a better idea due to headliners opening about 30 minutes prior at each park.

We are at the Disney, use a car! Buses are long waits. Alsoparks are opening up earlier than posted. All 4 parks were opened, we got on and off of Mickey and Minnie ride at HS before official park opening. But the other parks we took a bus and didn’t get there until after RD

How early did you get to the parks when you drove?

That’s a good idea to get on chat and keep an eye, definitely will be the most up to date info! Thanks!

I want to know too! We’re going there in 3 weeks and have been trying to follow the most up to date suggestions! Thanks for posting this question!

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This part is a bit frustrating. If Disney advertises park hours as opening at 9:00, but they are actually opening at 8:30, yet aren’t actually starting the Disney transportation any earlier, it effectively gives off-site guests or those with a vehicle an advantage, which could be interpreted as unfair to guests staying on property.

I get that they are trying to avoid huge pre-opening crowds…but when they keep “giving in” like this, it just keeps feeding the beast.

Regardless, what it says is…yes…driving is better than using Disney transportation for RD. It might be the ONLY way to knowingly RD in fact, other than say guests at the Epcot resorts who don’t need to use Disney transportation to RD HS nor EP, and monorail loop guests for MK.


That’s been my experience 3x…

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I think it was very important to be there for RD each day to maximize time in the parks, especially if rides are your focus. We got SO much done in the first 60-90 minutes at each park (especially MK) and that goes a long way with shortened hours.

Your plan to arrive to the parking gates ~1 hour before park open is good for EP and AK. You’ll be at the front of the pack for those parks.

For MK, if you want to get a jump on other people who have driven, you may consider a reservation for breakfast at the Contemporary (or paying for valet parking there for the day). Not having to take the ferry and monorail was a big benefit for our MK morning in beating the rush. They opened the park gates just after 8am for people and at that point the park was open (so they don’t hold people in the hub anymore), with the big rides already running.

Thanks for all the input! We’re definitely going to rope drop now, especially after seeing the crowds at MK yesterday! Might change our game plan from going there on a Friday, but nothing like seeing the castle again on your last day :star_struck:

@TarHeelTiff we’re going to try to go to Contempo Cafe with a mobile order and Gasparilla Grill one day too, although it sounds like based on walking from CR, Contempo may be best both days. Crazy that they’re pretty much doing a soft open at 8am every day, can’t imagine most average guests know about that…might be a great 1 hour in the park!


I also heard one person say the one day they drove and the parking lot did not even open until the park opened. They are really controlling rope drop crowds. Dont know if there is an official opening since parks seem to be opening before the official park hours. Only way to guarantee to get there early is Uber it seems

This is a great idea! I think that I will do that too. Take an Uber since we won’t have a car.