How to break a Rope Drop believer?

As I begin planning my next Disney trip, I’m finding that I’m having to relearn Disney in a whole new way. My last trip was a family trip (Me, DH, DS8, DS5) and we were up early every morning for rope drop and in bed by 8 or 9 each night. My 2021 trip will be an adult-only trip with 6 30-somethings. I am doing the planning for everyone (yay! they trust me!) and am realizing I don’t know how to strategize without rope drop!!

Do lines tend to go down after a certain time in the evening?

Obviously I will try for all the hard to get FP+ but with the tier system and no rope drop, I find my brain is really confused on how to ride all the good rides with low lines… For Example, how will I ride Frozen Ever After & Soarin’ (assuming I have a Fast Track FP that day)? Does Park Hopping help with Tiers? I dont really want to do a FEA dessert party but am so spoiled by Touring Plans that I dont want to wait an hour for it either.

I understand a Touring Plan will greatly help and I will definitely lean on it once I get to that point. But I’d love your experience with lines in the evening and tips you have for making the best of our time without Rope Drop.

On my 2019 Trip, I don’t think we waited more than 15 minutes for a ride, thanks to Rope Dropping, FP+ and Early Morning Magic. I’d like to limit line waiting again with a more “10 am- close” type schedule. I will utilize Touring Plans & Rolling 4th FP+ - what else ya got?

We’re a rope drop 'n hop fam. HARDCORE am peeps over here.
Is the group against rope dropping?
Do they know your perceived benefits of rope dropping?


I am hard core rope dropper too!! And I know I can get them to rope drop once or twice maybe… but with it being an adult-only trip, we’re looking forward to the more luxurious, “relaxing” (ha!) side of Disney since we all have small children but also all love Disney. Sleeping in until 8 is a vacation for us, staying out late, having conversation at dinner and not rushing our food, etc… all the things parents of young children look forward to on vacation. We want to enjoy a little of that but also will go hard core while in the parks. Trying to find a fun balance! Hoping there are some evening tips and thoughts.

For ex, do you guys find the same day fast passes are more or less available in the evenings?

Does riding during the fireworks show help on certain rides?

If fireworks are at 9 PM and the park calendar shows it closes at 9 PM, can you not ride anything after the fireworks end?

Do you think DAH will be available? I remember when I tried booking EMM last year, they weren’t available for the longest time, then finally a few popped up in the months leading up to the trip. Is that typically how DAH works as well?

How many park days do you have? My DH is not a rope drop person so on our last trip we had a rope drop day for each park and then relaxing days we’re double ups. We did it with 6 day park hopper tickets.

ETA on rope drop days he went and relaxed at the pool mid afternoon

I can’t answer very many of your most recent questions but I do have a couple of thoughts.

If y’all are Disney fans, y’all know the rides. Maybe you don’t need to do all your favs if this is about adult fun together.

All parks aren’t the same. Some are more easily and some are more late. To us Epcot is a late park. MK is an early park as is AK. I’d been hearing that HS was having shorter lines in the evening due to boarding groups.

Try to alternate your early and late parks if possible. If you have a late night maybe schedule a resort day the next day. Do some fun (silly? ) adult day things and then schedule a rope drop for MK or AK the next day.

Hopefully by 2021 we’ll know more about park capacities, FP vs boarding groups, and what restaurants will be like.

In the meantime - have fun with planning. Think outside the box. Keep it light. Ask your group what’s your one most do in each park. What’s the one restaurant you’ve always wanted to eat at.


We will have 4 full days and a half day. We plan to go to parks every day with park hoppers. Unfortunately, no park-free days since we only have 4 full days. We’re going in late September.

Great advice and you’re right… trying to keep the planning light right now. Having fun researching restaurants and resorts, etc… but my brain can’t help itself! I’m so excited about showing them how Touring Plans works (none of them are liners) that I find myself thinking about strategy already.

I did make a wish list of rides for each park and the lists are short, which is a good sign. But, of course, there’s lots of Tier 1 rides and hard-to-get Fast Pass rides on those short lists. We will definitely be able to forgo some of the rides and just enjoy ourselves… but I do love getting advice for how to get em in if we can. :slight_smile:

I think, then, it depends on priorities and what FPPs you can get.

DHS you will likely have to rope drop, but could also likely get away with a pretty decent mid afternoon break if your group doesn’t feel the need to do a lot of shows or multiple re-rides.

MK, if you have decent park hours and can get a 7D FPP, I think is done quite easily without RD. So many SDFPs that are easy to snag.

AK the only real concern is FOP. If you get an FPP for that you are home free.

EP I think is also not a big deal without RD, but it also isn’t a particularly early rope drop if you did decide to do that one.

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Yes. During the fireworks is a good time to go ride. Yes, the lines close at the listed time, even if the fireworks are scheduled after that time. No, the lines don’t clear out at the end of the evening to a level comparable to rope drop, even for EMH 'til 1am.

Park hopping can help if you have major tiering issues (e.g. start the day in DHS twice - once for RotR BG and MFSR FP, the other for MMRR FP and hop to MK both days using 4th FP’s). but with 1 day per park, the loss of time in transit could be equal to the time gained.

Same day drops and single rider lines could be really helpful here, as well. There may also be some ways (late night lotto, lightning lotto, etc.) to generate some anytime FastPasses. I assume Rider Switch is totally off the table?

It’s quite possible, especially at MK, to just go where the 4th FP’s take you and have a spectacular day. It makes it much harder to plan ahead and things like shows and parades will be harder to schedule, but with consistent refreshing and modifying it’s completely possible to still completely avoid lines for everything except the one or two biggest attractions in each park…and if you get lucky on the drops, you might even get those as well.

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Be ready to skip some rides and do a little more “experience” but you can do a lot.

I was in Orlando last July for a convention. I decided at 4:00 to go to AK that evening. I was able to grab a NRJ and a KS (easier because I was one person). I got there at 5:30, had a drink and food at Nomad Lounge, went on the Safari, did some shopping, rode EE twice (EE is walk on during rivers of light), ran to Pandora, rode NRJ and got in line for FOP right before the park closed.

I had a similar experience at Epcot. I think TT, Soarin and FEA would be tough in one day without RD, but you can defiantly do 2, either with same day fast or getting on at the end of the night. Remy’s will make this tougher, but still doable.

HS seems impossible without RD these days, and MK would take prioritization of rides.

Before this experience, I never would have thought I could make evenings work. After that experience, I am launching a 2 day/4 park plan with my family in October (with HS a mandatory morning park).

Good luck! Sounds like a great trip!


Herein lies the problem, at least for me. I do not view Disney as a “relaxing vacation” destination - if I want that, I’ll go to a cabin by a lake or something similar and save a butt-load of money. Disney is an “activity vacation”, and a pricey one at that, so I will want to the most value for my money, which means RD, long days, and, of course. well-optimized TPs.


Your planning lacks a cohesive goal in your mind.

You’re a fan of rope drop and touring plans and want to share that with your adult Disney friends. Which is kinda good - except for 2 main things: many people don’t like to retrain; and a n d :thinking: do our rope drop touring plans need to be shared willy nilly? :blush:

However, you’re also interested in a little sleeping in, lingering over food, essentially taking me time. You’re only getting yourself up and out the door instead of a whole family.

About the only way the two shall meet is in scoring that FP on the fly - which on your rope drop/family trip is your 4th or 5th FP - but on the relaxing, luxurious trip might actually be a first FP.

Instead of a timetable with Pirates at 0900, Splash at 0920, restroom break at 0950, Thunder Mtn at 1000, you may have a master list of Stuff We’d Like to Get to which might involve several photos in front of the Castle, while you snag a Splash Mtn FP, enjoy a leisurely lunch at Jungle Navigation Co, wherein you score 7DMT FPs , after which Epcot is looking pretty good because MK is a ZOO!

That Stuff We’d Like to Get to is admittedly on the light side - on purpose. You’re switching to a different vacation track which takes a bit of getting used to. Minimize to start with, and then add in the wish list rides. Same day FPs may be your best bet, when trying to wrangle half a dozen vacation folk.

Note: On our 2019 September trip we encountered more rides down than in previous trips. We did a lot of back tracking once a ride came back up. Or simply wrote it off till next time. (And the hurricane canceled a round of golf and a Fantasyland evening).


I would start by organizing what you want to get done each day. Maybe there are days where fireworks are important or even drinks at DS? Maybe the RD rides aren’t that important? That will drive how you arrange each day. Remember, no meet and greets might really help your plan.

Also, what will you be doing in the afternoons? Is there relax time or park time? And what about meals, which will likely be more lingering TS, since you can all enjoy drinks before (or after) the meals without worrying about getting kids to bed.

I’ve never technically rope dropped so I can’t answer that, but it sounds like you’ve never seen the fireworks and other nighttime stuff. Definitely plan some of that with your adults only group. It is magnificent, esp the fireworks at MK.

Oh yes this too. I always travel adults only since my DH and I don’t have kids. I get so much done. When I do rope drop to close - I ride things multiple times.

The first time we took my niece I was surprised at the contrast. Plus there are rides an attractions on an adults only trip that are easy to skip.

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Please note the (Ha!) I placed next to “relaxing” which I placed in quotations. I clearly understand that no Disney trip is relaxing. But there can be a difference between an adult-only and kid/family trip.

My line about going to bed by 9 was correct EXCEPT one night we did do the Fireworks Dessert Party at MK when I went with the whole family. But you’re right, we will see the other night time shows, which we missed the first time.

Yes, good advice. I will definitely do that and slowly organize our days down to how we want them. In my pre-planning organization I found myself wondering what evenings in the park (6-close mostly) would be like since we didn’t do much of that on our first trip. We rode everything we wanted to and then some with the help of Rope Drop, Fast Passes and EMM. This time around, we’ll be doing a different schedule and I found myself realizing I had no idea what the parks would be like in the evenings!!

Definitely. And then I’ll have to decide if I want to rope drop the others, hope for a Same day or cross it off of our list. If only I had a crystal ball… or more patience…

Before having kids, I did many adults only Disney trips with no rope dropping.

I would typically stay until closing and do late night EMH and get party tix (when available). Lines started going down around 10 pm, but the parks close so much earlier now and the evening EMH are fewer and shorter so there are not many post 10 pm hours.

Things to consider:

(1) II find it is much easier to wait in longer lines with adults than kids (and an acceptable trade off for getting to sleep in);

(2) If there are any party nights or special events and they are in the budget, then I would try to make them work. This adds some post 10 pm hours;

(3) With adults only, you will likely be able to move faster around the park, won’t have to deal with stroller parking, and can manage potty breaks better; and

(4) Accept that you won’t be able to do everything (another trade off for sleeping in).


It will be tough to resist the urge to get to the parks early and stay ahead of the crowds. :grimacing:

I tend to agree with a lot of the recommendations mentioned above…

Find out what is important to everyone in the party for the mid-day/night in advance. That will allow you to prioritize things that are the “must see” :star_struck: or “must do” :roller_coaster: or “must eat” :poultry_leg: or “must drink” :beers:.

Once you have your list, you can use a touring plan or if you are more loosey-goosey, go into the crowd calendar on touring pans or for that day and park and look at the attraction wait times that are typical throughout the day/evening. That will help you decide your attack plan. And for those items that never seem to have a slower period, snag a FP+ for them.

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Aren’t we all kids when we go to WDW? :wink:

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