4 Things to Do BEFORE Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom

You can actually enter Magic Kingdom one hour before rope drop, but what can you do? Here' four fun things!

Hands down, rope drop at Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite times to be in the park. Why? Crowds are much smaller than in afternoon, the heat is generally more agreeable, and there’s so much potential. Potential to hop on and off attractions and walk without being shoulder to shoulder. But did you know that you can actually enter the park before rope drop? Yep! Last year the folks at Disney World began a whole new dynamic for touring the park. So what exactly goes on? Here’s four things to do BEFORE rope drop at Magic Kingdom.

Did you know you can be at Magic Kingdom one hour before it opens? Here's what you can do while you're there, too!

If it’s your first time visiting Walt Disney World, you may not be familiar with the term “rope drop”. In a nutshell, it’s the time of day at each theme park when it officially opens. There’s generally a quick ceremony or announcement to begin the day. It’s also literally the time when the large ropes are let down to allow guests inside.

Up until last year, rope drop at Magic Kingdom was the perfect way to start each park day. The “Welcome Show” was outside the MK tunnels and took place at the train station stop. Disney characters would welcome us all into the park and a “First Family” would be chosen. A quick pop of fireworks and, Bam!, ropes were down and we shimmied shoulder to shoulder to get in the park. These days, castmembers begin letting guests into the park about an hour before it officially opens for guests.

While it was, indeed, magical, it had its limits. First of all, if you weren’t there early, we had to wait to scan your magicband until after the park opened compliments of a lack of space near the turnstiles. Secondly, we had to fight the crowds heading to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride. Having written that, it was still fun and filled with magical memories. So, here’s what you can do if you’re early birds like we are and want to arrive before rope drop.

Did you know you can actually visit Magic Kingdom every more before it officially opens? Here's four fun things to do before rope drop at Magic Kingdom!

What Areas of Magic Kingdom Are Open Before Rope Drop?

After you scan your Magicbands and enter the park, there’s three areas that you can hang out it: Town Square, Main Street U.S.A., and The Hub in front of Cinderella Castle.

1. Grab Some Breakfast at Starbucks

My husband is one of those people that is never hungry in the resort room. Get him on a bus and, by the time we hit Magic Kingdom, he’s starving. I’ve tried to get him to eat in the room or in the on-property restaurants. He’s not having it.

So, to keep his hunger in check, we like to visit Starbucks when we arrive – and before guests begin to flood the park. We’re able to grab a snack (think giant cinnamon rolls!), or some coffee or tea.

You can now shop one hour before Magic Kingdom opens. Yes!

2. Shop at the Main Street U.S.A. Stores

If you want to get your shopping out of the way as soon as you arrive, hit The Emporium on the left side of Main Street as you’re walking in. We tend to do quite a bit of shopping at this time as, again, crowds are very pleasant. If you’re staying on-property you can ask to have your packages sent to your room. If not, you can ask to pick them up at the end of your day at Main Street Chamber of Commerce.

Not all of the stores along Main Street are open before rope drop but there are plenty of chances to spend some Disney dough.

Take crowdless photos in front of Cinderella Castle before rope drop.

3. Take Photos in Front of Cinderella Castle Without a Large Crowd

Remember the days of yore when you had to have a breakfast advanced dining reservation to score a good photo in front of the Castle? Hit Magic Kingdom as soon as it opens and you’ll have your chance for lovely solo photos.

During our visit last October, we did see Photopass photographers arrive before the park officially opened so, if you want to get Main Street photos out of the way, keep an eye out for them.

Hang out near Cinderella Castle or around the hub of Magic Kingdom before rope drop.

4. Let the Kids Play in the Grassy Areas Near the Hub Fountains

The past couple of years we’ve seen a huge update to the Hub, aka, the area in front of Cinderella Castle. There’s pretty miniature statues to check out, a couple of fountains to get some cool mist from, and some grassy, fenced-in areas. It’s here you can let the kiddos play before “Let the Magic Begin Welcome Show” starts at the Cinderella Castle stage.

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4 Thoughts to “4 Things to Do BEFORE Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom”

  1. Lesli

    Love this. Taking the boys for the first time in jut 2 short weeks. How do we find out the time of “rope drop” for a park, and how much time before that should we plan to be there?? To make sure we’re close enough to see the fun!

    1. Karyn Locke

      Yay! I know you’ll have a fun visit!

      Hop on the official WDW website or undercovertourist.com for park times – including rope drop. When it comes to rope drop, it’s different for every park, but for Magic Kingdom, I’d say as long as you hit the park 30 minutes before rope drop you’ll have plenty of time to walk to the castle to see the opening show and take photos.

      Have fun – and please let me know if you have any questions!

    2. Anonymous

      We went in December! We got there at 7:30. There was no line up to go through security, it was fast. We were allowed onto Mainstreet at 8! We went straight to the rope of the land we wanted to visit first. We got Starbucks and pics in front of the castle! Rope drop was st 9!

      1. Karyn Locke

        It’s a really easy (and calm!) way to begin your Magic Kingdom day!

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