Rope Drop First Attractions

I am planning a trip to disney in August (21-24 in the parks) and being a software developer I was looking for a way to optimize our park days and stumbled on the touring plans optimization. This looks great but after playing with it a little and also looking through the forums it seems that the app has some difficulty (respectfully so) determining what the first attraction should be since there is a significant difference between whether you are in the beginning, middle or back of the initial wave. I saw some hacks on the forums to create a break or meal event that ends when you would get of the ride so the rest of the plan can then be optimized appropriately.

So the question I have for the collective is what should we rope drop for each park assuming that we are going in for the early admission for onsite guests and plan to probably be somewhere in the middle of the pack. And then what time would you expect to be off of that ride so I can set the break to end then. I realize some things will change for MK with Tron opening but I assume that will be a virtual queue that I will need to add in that morning. It looks like the estimated crowd levels will be 3 for MK, 5 for HS, 4 for EPCOT, and 4 for AK. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We haven’t been to Disney in 4 years so I’m not sure what the best practices are anymore. Thank you.

EDIT: Forgot to mention I don’t plan on doing Genie+ or Lightning Lanes.


This is probably the biggest factor. If you are going to buy ILL, you can avoid the craziest line in each park (FoP, RotR, 7DMT). But if you’re NOT using ILL, you almost certainly will save the most time by hitting the ILL attraction.

The exception is Epcot, where there is still a VQ for GotG. In that case, I would RD Remy, then immediately ride FEA. Get a BG for GotG.

At MK, 7DMT can often be ridden at the end of the night with a short wait, so you could alternatively RD PP or SM.


I would suggest first figuring out the list of rides you want to do. That way you can prioritize better.


I will add that you’re planning to go at a great time. We’ve gone twice in late August and it’s been fantastic as far as crowds.

I know nothing is set yet, but when they release the dates for the Halloween parties at MK, plan your MK day for one of those dates (if possible) even if you aren’t going to a party. Low low crowds for almost all day.

We were off property so strategy was a bit different. On our 2019 trip though, we could rope drop effectively while being off property and successfully did so at all 4 parks. Back then, our first hit at each park was 7DMT, SDD (Rise wasn’t open yet), FoP, and Frozen (no Remy yet either).

In 2022 we didn’t rope drop at all, but the priorities at each park would have been almost the same (Remy instead of Frozen now). We may not have even bothered with Rise at rope drop had that been the plan, but I can say that with the benefit of hindsight. We got on it twice at the end of the day and no breakdown issues. Sounds like we were lucky in that regard.

In general, Jeff’s advice is practical and likely best.

Edit: I realized my advice about the party day doesn’t work if you’re wanting to see fireworks or otherwise be in the park at night. So keep that in mind too.


Thank you all for the feedback that will help me with my planning. I was hesitant about late August. I know from a crowd standpoint it is supposed to be good, I just hope the weather mostly cooperates.

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I wouldn’t plan on a VQ for GotG in August. Tron will be open and the VQ will probably switch.


Two different parks, though. Unless demand dies down for GotG, I think they would keep that on a VQ. Tron will almost certainly be a VQ as well.

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Definitely agree. It is hard to recommend which ride to rope drop without really knowing which rides are most important to you.

Yeah I think we pretty much have which rides worked out, all of the headliners and thrill rides. Probably just skipping the little kid rides for the most part.

Yeah I assume if the VQ goes away for GotG before our trip then that is where we will head for RD.

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Maybe not, though. Are you staying on site? If you have ETPE, it might ultimately save you more time to hit another ride at RD, and then head to GotG before the gates open for the off-site crowds. While your wait for GotG will be longer, you will get on and off another ride quickly. It also depends on if you are entering through IG or the MG. It is a “it depends” kind of situation!

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Good point. We are on site so we will go for ETPE and will be entering through the main gate.

I think that is what I struggled with using the Optimize function in Touring Plans. It was showing skipping some of the big ticket rides and doing a few smaller ones before hitting them up. That just seems to contradict everything we did the last time, where we tried to do all of the E ticket rides pretty much right away.

This CAN be the biggest timesaver, though. (Again…it depends.) It seems counter intuitive at times. But if you are willing to wait LONGER for some rides, your total wait time across multiple rides can end up being shorter.

The idea is this…

So, if you RD a major attraction…unless you are at the VERY FRONT of the pack, you are waiting in a relatively short line…but as you get off, you are now behind those same people as you move on to the other “lesser” attractions. This means your wait for those lesser attractions is longer.

If, however, you wait to get in line for the major attraction, you might possibly get on and off SEVERAL lesser attractions with little to no wait.

Now…admittedly, this works best at MK, where there are a lot more rides which are shorter…and, with ETPE only 30 minutes, it is trickier. So it might not be as effective at EP.

So…I think you trust the TP optimization UNLESS you KNOW you are at the front of the pack.


I thought I read somewhere in here that there is only the capability for 1 VQ at a time. It should be possible for more than 1 but this is Disney IT so anything is possible.

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Never heard this. Only that Disney has only had a single VQ at a time in any given park.

I think the decision to have a VQ or not comes down to what the queue capacity is versus demand, balanced against what they will charge for ILLS, etc. I don’t think there is any technical reason/limitation.

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If you have a sub to the TP software, throw your list of stuff in, and then see what it says to do, and then you can tweak and twist to make sense for a human, when needed. IMO, the actual list is far more important than an idea of “all of the headliners and thrill rides.” You have the actual ability to be specific in what you’d like to do.

The TP software, imo, is geared to produce what you want it to produce. You can tweak it to see what makes the most sense for your party, it only takes a few minutes. Once you enter the list of stuff you want to do, after it spits out a “plan,” then you can re-arrange it however you want, and add that break for a starting point at x o’clock, and then see what happens with your plan - lather, rinse, repeat. You can make educated guesses, and then re-arrange and see what happens with the software. The time in the park is also another variable along with whatever your list of things to do is. You might also need to prioritize in order to be realistic and leave some things out of your list. Hopefully the crowd levels will cooperate, and you’ll be able to breeze through (and hopefully there will be some breezes in the parks, cuz it’s gonna be HOT :sun_with_face: :thermometer: ) I’d also suggest to just post your plan here in order to get suggestions for your specific situation of time in park + actual attractions. There’s a bunch of ppl here that would enjoy helping to make your plan logical for a human. I think it’s fun as heck. So many people here have helped me in the past with this exact situation.


It might be per park! It will be interesting to see what they decide.

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Agreed. Another part is that late August, going into September, is one of the lowest crowd time periods…so it could be that demand for GotG will be low enough that the VQ no longer is needed.

I guess we’ll find out with more certainty once Tron opens in April(ish)!

MK is the one I want to optimize the most. The last time we did MK we didn’t get to everything we wanted to. Here is the raw plan, this is basically just a list of the attractions with some really rough estimates for lunch/dinner and hitting the optimize button. No customization beyond that yet.

Our usual touring plan is based on not buying Genie+, etc, arriving at the park of the morning as early as Disney transport possible (usually stay on property), park hopping, and doing our favorite attraction first which isn’t always a headliner.

I mess about with multiple touring plans in the months running up to the trip, thanks to the copy feature. I might have multiple parks planned for Monday or multiple plans for MK for Monday. Eventually the static fades and plans present themselves.

That tp first ride difficulty is a challenge. I usually expect we’ll get our first and even second ride (usually only at MK) done by official opening. Our subsequent attractions tend to line up with touring plans, tho by the time we’re at the World I rarely look at tp.

DH and I are old. We don’t move fast. Our list of must do attractions is short. On our June 2022 trip we had two teens with us, 16 and 17, who toured standby only, except a Boarding Group for Cosmic Rewind. The 17 yo is a Disney veteran who tours mostly based on wait times in My Disney Experience, aided by being young, super fit and a natural speed walker. The two teens did nearly everything they wanted. One AK evening after a long and disappointing supper they were just too late for yet another Expedition Everest trip.

There is so much to do at MK we always split MK into two mornings. In June we did do an Epcot morning for a CW BG. But we had 5 day tickets.

Flexibility is the key in the parks. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge changed a bunch of stuff in September 2019. Covid changed a bunch of stuff. Best practices have been changing nearly constantly. :grin:

I do agree that late August still continues to be a good time to go. It’d be my first choice.