PHOTOS – Magic Kingdom rope drop crowds and planning
We made it out to the Magic Kingdom this morning to check out the rope drop procedure. We haven’t been back for a proper rope drop since we had a look at the new welcome show, Let the Magic Begin back in the beginning of the year. When we arrived at 7am, we were one of the first guests there.
Most of the guests who showed up before 7:45 were those with dining reservations. At about 7:17am they started letting guests with reservations past the touch points, but not under the train station tunnels yet.
At 7:45, Disney let the reservations line under the train station and into the park. Less than 2 minutes later, guests without reservations, who were still held outside of the touch points, were let into the park.
We took our time down Main Street USA, arriving in the Hub in front of Cinderella Castle around 7:55am to grab an empty shot of the castle.
After wandering around a bit more, we decided to grab a spot to watch crowds build at the Fantasyland entrance. If your priority is to rope drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I would suggest making plans to get to the Fantasyland entrance by 8:15 – 8:20 for a 9am opening. If your plans are to catch the welcome show, you can take your time a bit and arrive closer to 8:30 – 8:40 and still find a decent viewing spot.
The rope officially drops to the lands at the end of Let the Magic Begin. It’s for this reason, that you kind of have to pick one or the other. It’s worth noting that while you can line up at either ramp to the side of the Castle Forecourt Stage, the rope drop there is delayed by roughly a minute in comparison to the lands to allow Mickey and Minnie time to get back into the castle.
It takes roughly 4 minutes for the crowds to clear out of the Hub, allowing you an opportunity to snap a nearly empty picture of Cinderella Castle should you choose to forego the rope drop crowds.
After the crowds had cleared, we decided to head into the different lands to check on what we think are the biggest draws first thing in the morning. Just like we did entering the Magic Kingdom, we decided to take our time. We snapped a few photos and helped a family with directions to Peter Pan’s Flight. As with our entire experience, your mileage may vary, but we tried to take the “slowest” approach to ensure that you can shave time off of what lies below.
First up was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This remains the most popular rope drop option at the Magic Kingdom, and is still a tough FastPass+ to get. When we made it back there around 8:09am and found a line that not only exceeded the queue, but wrapped around the attraction almost to Storybook Circus. The Cast Member holding the sign at the end of the line quoted us a 90 minute wait, despite the posted wait being 75 minutes.
Here’s a look at the length of the line.
When we made it over to Peter Pan’s Flight around 9:13am, we found a calmer situation, with a queue that was a couple families outside of the attraction building. The posted wait here was 40 minutes.
We ended our morning by walking over to Space Mountain. This was the shortest posted time of the three at under 30 minutes. The queue was completely inside the show building so nothing interesting to see.
How to plan
Just like breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, your rope drop strategy could hold just as much importance. The key here is to figure out your priorities. If you want to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first thing in the morning, get to the Fantasyland bridge (the one closest to Cinderella Castle, on the right) at around 8:15 – 8:20am. If you want to watch Let the Magic Begin, feel free to take your time a bit more and show up at Cinderella Castle around 8:30am. If you’re most interested in Peter Pan’s Flight, line up to the left of the forecourt stage around 8:20am.
Whatever you do, realize that lines are part of the game at Magic Kingdom (and any theme park, really) and a solid plan is only one half of what you have to pack before you fly into MCO. The other item to pack is patience.