Save on Disneyland Vacations when booking through my partner Click to book

2024 Best Disneyland Rope Drop Strategies To Maximize Your Day

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

If I could give anyone going to Disneyland one piece of park strategy advice it would always be ROPE DROP. In fact, it is something I still continue to do even though I have been to Disneyland hundreds of times (YES – Hundreds).

If you are not familiar with the term, you might be wondering “What is rope drop at Disney?”

Quick Facts About Rope Drop

Disneyland rope drop is one of the best things you can do to make sure you start your day off right at the parks. From what time is rope drop at Disneyland, to sharing our best rope drop strategies to maximize your day, these insider-tested tips and plans will be a game changer for your Disneyland vacation.

Get Discount Disneyland Tickets for your vacation plus amazing hotel deals when you book through my preferred travel partner – Get Away Today

Bonus: If you book a package of 2+ nights and 2 or more theme park tickets, use code ThisCrazy10 for additional savings

Planning to visit Disneyland in 2024?

Disneyland has released its calendar for celebrations and seasons.

You are spending a lot of money to go to Disneyland. (Though you can save on your vacation by booking through my trusted travel partners at Get Away Today.) You want to make the most of your theme park time, but many guests make the mistake of not fully understanding rope drop. 

This guide will not only answer all your questions about Disneyland Rope Drop but will share my tried and true rope drop strategies to get the most done on your Disneyland vacation. 

Disneyland Rope Drop – Make The Most Of Mornings at Disney

Rope drop at Disneyland is a key part of making sure you make the most out of your day. Especially now that Magic Morning is no longer offered to off-site guests, rope drop at Disneyland has become even more important. 

BACKGROUND INFO: If you don’t know what Magic Morning was, it was a one-time, early entry offer for tickets of 3 days or longer for guests NOT staying at a Disney-owned property. It was available to redeem 3 days per week, only at Disneyland Park, and had rides in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland available to guests. It has not returned since the extended closure from the pandemic.

What Is Rope Drop at Disney?

Rope drop at Disney (both Disneyland and Walt Disney World) is basically arriving at the parks in time for park opening, and using that opportunity to be the very first to ride attractions. 

The name comes because they allow you into the park before official park opening (usually about 30 minutes before) where you can walk down to the end of Main Street USA, or the park’s main walkways until you reach a rope. 

At park opening, Cast Members literally remove or “drop” the rope and guests can then continue into the parks to be some of the first people to ride attractions. 

A cast member rolls up the rope, moments before the official Disneyland park opening
A cast member rolls up the rope, moments before the official Disneyland park opening

Why Is Rope Drop Such a Big Deal?

Rope Drop is something that is preached by many Disney experts. While locals tend to avoid rope drop at Disneyland, it is a vital part of a Disneyland strategy for guests that are from out-of-area. 

The crowds in the early morning hours, but especially the first hour, are much lower. This means you can avoid long waits for the most popular rides, lower crowds in pictures, and my big one – being able to save Genie+ and Lightning Lanes to use during the busier times of the day.

I can usually get more accomplished in the first 3 hours of the park being open (especially if I am there for rope drop and that first hour) than I am able to do for the rest of the day. Especially when it comes to popular rides. 

Disneyland Kids Ticket Deal for Early 2024
The tea cups are nearly empty during the first hour of park operation.

The shorter wait times, lower crowds, and cooler hours are all huge perks to rope drop at Disneyland.

Read More: How To Stay Cool at Disney – especially good for those visiting Disneyland in Summer.

What Time Is Rope Drop at Disneyland?

Disneyland rope drop is the time that the parks open. Usually, that is at 8 am, but in the slower seasons, they sometimes do not open until 9 am. 

You can check the park hours in the Disneyland App or on the Disneyland Website.

That said, you shouldn’t plan on arriving at the official park opening time for rope drop. That is a big mistake I have seen a lot of people make.

What Time Should I Arrive For Rope Drop?

The key to rope drop is making sure you are IN the parks before the park opening. That means parking at Disneyland (if you drive in), riding the shuttle or tram to the parks, making your way through bag check, and scanning into the park gates.

There are varying thoughts on how early you should arrive for rope drop at Disneyland. The biggest thing though is DO NOT SHOW UP RIGHT AT 8 (or 9) because that is what a LOT of people arrive (especially those that haven’t read up on rope drop strategies). 

When you show up at Disneyland property right at the posted opening time, you will find long lines for shuttles and trams from the parking lot, long security lines, and long lines to go into the parks. 

My Un-Popular (But Tried And True) Disneyland Rope Drop Opinion

I mentioned that there are varying thought on how early you should arrive for Rope Drop at Disneyland. It is very popular for Disneyland writers and content creators to tell you to be there an hour before the park opening. They show being first at the ropes, and then first at the specific ride.

I THINK THIS IS NONSENSE!

Unless you are visiting during Thanksgiving Break or Winter/Christmas Break, this is not necessary (and it may not even be necessary then). 

When you show up an hour before the park opens, you will have to stand in line to wait for them to even open security (usually around 7:15 am on days the park opens at 8 am). The security lines move slowly as they open up.

Next, you move to stand in line in front of the park gates… usually until 30 minutes before the park opening. So you have already stood in two unnecessary lines before even being scanned into the park. 

Then once scanned in, you move down Main Street USA to once again… stand and wait. 

By the time the rope drops, you have now spent an hour waiting in lines. While it may not be a huge deal now… that is an extra hour, standing on your feet, on cement. And if you have kids… you have been trying to keep them entertained.

Read More: Things To Do Waiting In Line At Disney from MomRewritten

Do This Instead When Rope Dropping

Instead of being at the security lines at 7 am, I leave my walking distance hotel at 7:30 am (or arrive at the Disneyland parking areas at that time).

I am usually able to breeze through security as the initial rush is gone (but the “get there at 8” crowd hasn’t arrived yet), and the gates are already open and they also do not usually have long lines around 7:45 when I scan in.

I often am able to get very close to the front of the crowd still, and I have saved my feet from standing for a full hour. Now I only have to wait about 5-10 minutes. I still take advantage of the low crowds, and heck, I have even still been first on rides doing this.

I arrived only 7 minutes before rope drop and still only had a few people in front of me.

Combining this arrival method with my plans farther down is the best strategy to not only take advantage of rope drop but to save your feet from waiting. After all, rope drop is about avoiding waiting in lines, right?

Rope Drop and Early Entry

I mentioned Magic Morning before, and while that did not come back for off-site guests, an early entry method did return for guests staying at one of the three Disney-owned hotels. 

Before the closure, this was called Extra Magic Hour, but since it returned in August 2022, it is now Early Entry at Disneyland

Early Entry allows guests staying at one of the Disney-owned hotels to enter their starting park 30 minutes before the park opening and have access to select rides.

How Does This Affect Rope Drop For Non-Disney Hotel Guests?

One of the biggest questions is “How does this affect rope drop?” I am happy to say that it honestly doesn’t affect it much. There are a few rides it affects, that used to be guests’ favorite rides to rope drop, but personally, I didn’t suggest these rides before Early Entry, and I definitely don’t suggest them now. 

That is something we will cover more in the strategy section, but just know, ROPE DROP IS WORTH IT AT DISNEYLAND! Even with Early Entry.

One Thing To Note About Early Entry and Rope Drop

Sign that reads "Early Entry for Resort Hotel Quests." at Disneyland.

Since everyone is allowed to enter the parks 30 minutes before park opening, there are checkpoints for guests who have Early Entry to show their room reservations or scan hotel keys in order to go past the ropes. Listen to the Cast Members, and follow the signs, to make sure you are going to the rope drop area. 

READ MORE: Complete Guide To Early Entry With Strategies To Make The Most Of Your 30 Minutes

Where Are The Ropes For Disneyland Park’s Rope Drop?

So exactly how far into the parks can you go before reaching the ropes? 

On the Disneyland side, that answer is pretty straightforward. Guests can go down Main Street until the hub with the Partner Statue. You will be able to go towards Adventureland and Frontierland a bit, or towards the Matterhorn and Tomorrowland, but you will still be in the main hub.

Okay, this is not a pretty map… but the dark blue/green is where the ropes are. The long one is down Main Street is where they rope off to separate Rope Drop from Early Entry.

Red is the Early Entry checkpoint and yellow is the path for Early Entry to get past the ropes.

Where Are The Ropes for California Adventure’s Rope Drop?

California Adventure Park is a bit different from how far you can go, so there is a bit of strategy involved in choosing where to line up for rope drop. 

You will go into the hub in California Adventure, where Carthay Circle is located. There you can choose which path to line up at. (The color coding is the same for this map as the one above.)

One path leads to Soarin’ Over the World and the Grizzly Peak Area. Another is the path towards Avenger’s Campus, Cars Land, and Paradise Garden Park, and the final one is in Hollywoodland, for those wanting to go to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!

Additionally, for guests of Disney-owned hotels, these are checkpoints for Early Entry. Those staying at the Disney properties also have private entrances that they can use for Early Entry to California Adventure.

Maximize Your Day With A Disneyland Rope Drop Strategies 

Your first few hours in the park will set the tone for the rest of the day. I have heard it time and time again, people don’t have a good morning in the parks, and they let that bum them out and it is hard to recover the rest of the day. 

That is why having a rope drop strategy is so important for your Disneyland vacation. 

Having a plan will help you get the most rides done, and make the rest of your day smoother. But you will still need to be flexible. Maybe a ride doesn’t open on time, or you figure out your kids hate the roller coaster rides that you had planned for the morning. 

Flexibility is a must when you are at Disneyland, even during the early morning hours after rope drop.

INSIDER TIP: Make sure you know all the Disneyland Ride Height Requirements before you go.

A Good Rope Drop Strategy Sets You Up For A Great Disneyland Day

As I mentioned, a good rope drop strategy will set you up for the rest of your day to be successful. The first few hours fuel you (and your travel party’s attitude) for the rest of the day. 

By the way, if Starbucks is also required to fuel your day, make a note that your first stop in the parks should be the Market House on Main Street to grab some. 

Tips For Choosing a Rope Drop Strategy That Works For You

It is important to figure out what your goals are for each day at the park. This will help you pick a rope drop strategy, whether it is one of my tested strategies below or one that you come up with on your own.

If your goals are to be able to ride every thrill ride, but you have no desire to hit up the Fantasyland rides (save Matterhorn Bobsleds) then you will not want to do my Fantasyland strategy. 

As you plan your Disneyland vacation, and your park strategy, remember to take into account your entire travel party, what they will want to do, and the best way to make sure everyone gets to do something they will enjoy that day. This can be especially tricky when you have kids of all ages at Disneyland. But finding a balance for everyone is key.

READ MORE: Kids of All Ages? Disneyland Tips To Keep Everyone Happy

Common Disneyland Rope Drop Mistakes

Before we get to my strategies, we need to cover the common mistakes people make when rope-dropping at Disneyland. 

Why?

Because, so many people have read or heard outdated advice, or advice like “arrive an hour before” they think I must have written something wrong in my strategies. Or sometimes what appears like a common sense park plan are actually really bad strategies. 

Additionally, many of the rope drop strategies that used to be almost considered an insider law, are no longer good advice. The parks change, which is why I go often and test out strategies so I can keep you up to date on the best ones. 

So I like to explain why you SHOULDN’T do these COMMON mistakes before giving you the real goods.

Arriving at Exactly Park Opening

I already touched on this, but I want to stress this one. Showing up to the park at the published park opening time is a mistake. 

A lot of people do this, because they don’t know better, decided to sleep in, or they didn’t realize that you can be IN the parks before park opening time. A lot of them think like me, where they don’t want to be just waiting for an hour for rope drop… but they miss the key that you should still be early. Just not that early.

Without fail, security lines start to build up at the posted park opening time, and can vary in length until 11 am. 

By the time you get through security, and into the park gates, so have a ton of other people… and it is probably now closer to 9 am (or 10 on the off-season). 

Choosing the Wrong Ride To Start With

It used to be an accepted truth that you should rope-drop Radiator Springs Racers, Peter Pan’s Flight, or Space Mountain. Now, I would not consider any of these rides as my first ride of the morning. 

Why?

First, so many people still try to rope drop these rides that there is a mad dash to them. 

Second, these rides, along with others, are most likely to be down at the start of the day. Especially Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain. They are also located far from the rope drop area, and not super close to another major ride, making it hard to pivot when you get there and they are down.

Read More: What Happens When A Ride Breaks Down at Disney

Finally, and my biggest point, is that yes, rope dropping those rides may save you 10-15 minutes over if you choose to do them say, 3rd or 4th that day. But with the time you spend in line, you could easily walk on to multiple other rides that will have much longer waits later in the day. 

It is like saying – the first people in line for the ultimate, must-have treat will get it after only a 15-minute wait, but then have to wait 30 minutes for the other treats all day. But if you go to the other treats first, you will not have to wait for them at all, and will only have to wait 20-30 minutes for that one treat. Ultimately, choosing the less popular treats first saves you the most time.

Finally, if you have Genie+, your morning is better spent prioritizing the rides that do not offer Lightning Lane

Not Having A Rope Drop Plan In Place

The biggest mistake you can make is not having a rope drop plan in place. 

While some guests know what ride they plan to do first, they don’t have a plan for what they want to accomplish in the morning. They finish that first “goal” ride and then look around like “Where should we go now?”

This wastes precious time during the first one or two hours of the park day. Having a rope drop plan in place will help you enjoy shorter lines on multiple attractions, not just one.

Make Sure You Are Flexible

With your plan, also make sure that you are flexible. A ride that you have on your list for the morning may be down, or you may want to stop to interact with characters that are wandering the area. Or maybe your young child wants to do their new favorite ride a second time.

This is one of the reasons I always suggest going for multiple days if possible. This will help you not feel rushed allow you to have a great time, experience the unexpected, as well as giving you multiple days to make the most of those early mornings.

Best Disneyland Park Rope Drop Strategies

So what are the best rope drop strategies? While I don’t think there is one BEST strategy, I have some tried and true plans for early mornings in the park that will help get a lot of things done. Please remember to personalize these, but also to be flexible.

I like to personally use the mornings and tackle everything by lands. This helps me get a lot done, and it feels really good to say I got all of Fantasyland done before 10 am.

Please note that these strategies are specifically for guests that are not staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotels. For Early Entry Guests, the strategies are completely different.

READ MORE: Early Entry At Disneyland – Go To Strategies

Fantasyland Rope Drop Strategy

Fantasyland is a great land to start the day, especially if you have younger kids who still enjoy the dark rides. Since the majority of attractions do not offer Lightning Lane, and the lines are mostly in the sun, getting them done in the early, cooler, less crowded hours is a plus. 

For this land, I will be sharing two strategies. One that starts with Alice in Wonderland, and one that starts with Snow White’s Enchanted Wish. Both get you on a popular ride early in the morning, that will have longer lines as the day goes on.

When rope-dropping Fantasyland, I like to line up on the right-hand side of the rope. Too many people rush through the castle and I don’t like that feeling of being in a stampede. 

Strategy for Fantasyland to get a lot done starting with Alice in Wonderland! 

  • Take the path towards the Matterhorn and keep to the left
  • As you come around the corner, get in line for Alice in Wonderland
  • After Alice, if you desire, hop on the Mad Tea Party (aka teacups)
  • Next head to Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Start making your way around the rides that surround the carousel in one of two orders
    • Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish OR
    • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Hop on the carousel if desired
  • Bathroom break if needed at restrooms by Red Rose Tavern
  • Casey Junior Train
  • Mobile order breakfast if desired from Red Rose Tavern
  • Head to Storybook Land Canal Boats or “it’s a small world” (ride both of these if desired, in any order)
  • Pick up breakfast at Red Rose Tavern and have another bathroom break
  • NOW you can hop in line for Peter Pan’s Flight. Yes it will have what may seem like a long wait compared to what you have had so far today, but it will prepare you for the rest of the day

Strategy for Fantasyland – Snow White’s Enchanted Wish Start!

  • Take the path through the castle or the small path to the left of the castle to enter Fantasyland closer to the ride
  • Get in line for Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  • Next, go to Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Head to Mr Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Ride the carousel if desired
  • Ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • After Dumbo, get in line and ride Casey Junior Train
  • Bathroom break if needed (by Red Rose Tavern)
  • Head over to Mad Tea Party (aka teacups) and ride if desired
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats is next
  • Place a mobile order for breakfast if desired while in the line for the boats
  • Alice in Wonderland (the line will be starting to get long, so good thing you just had a relaxing, lengthy boat ride)
  • Head to “it’s a small world” and ride. You still should be able to ride without a Lightning Lane and have a short wait
  • Pick up breakfast or head to Peter Pan’s Flight if desired

These strategies, on a good day, will have most of Fantasyland done before 10 am.

The only ride not included in these strategies is Matterhorn Bobsleds, as it is more of a thrill ride.

You can easily add it at the end of both of these strategies and use either Lightning Lane or Single Rider (for guests ages 7+ who don’t mind being split from their party) to shorten the wait if it is too long. It is included in my Tomorrowland strategy.

READ MORE: Can Your Kids Ride Alone at Disneyland

Single Rider voucher being held up with Matterhorn ride in the background
These single-rider slips are no longer used on Matterhorn. Instead, you will enter the single rider line through the exit.

More Disneyland Park Rope Drop Strategies

Want more Disneyland Park Rope Drop strategies? The remainder of my Disneyland Park Rope Drop Strategies are FREE to members of my newsletter list. Simply sign up or sign in below and the remaining strategies will be available here immediately! No waiting for them to come to your inbox.

If you choose not to grab them, keep reading. There are California Adventure Strategies and more tips for you down below.

Disneyland Strategies for – Mickey’s Toontown, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland/Adventureland/New Orleans Square are in my Disneyland Friends Newsletter Exclusive Content.

Mickey’s Toontown Rope Drop Strategy at Disneyland

If you have young kids who aren’t super interested in rides, Mickey’s Toontown is a great option for your morning rope drop strategy. This is also a great second strategy if you are going with young kids who won’t be willing or able to go on the larger thrill rides in some of the other lands.

Don’t worry though, there are rides in this land that we will include, but if you head here, there is a lot more exploring to be done. You will start off with one of the most popular attractions right now – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Note that the line may look long, but it moves super fast (and after that first wave, the ride always tends to go down around 45 minutes after opening). 

READ MORE: Disneyland Playground Areas – With Full Toontown Guide

Disneyland Kids Ticket Deal for Early 2024

Rope Drop Strategy for Mickey’s Toontown

  • Follow the path past the Matterhorn, keeping left, and heading towards Mickey’s Toontown
  • Immediately hop in line for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway 
  • After Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, spend time exploring Toontown
  • Before 9 am, hop in line for Chip ‘n’ Dales GADGETcoaster if it is on your to-do list
  • After Gadgetcoaster, spend more time exploring, meeting characters
  • If desired, Mobile Order the mini-donuts from Cafe Daisy
  • Take a bathroom break
  • Head over to Roger Rabbit’s Car TOON Spin if you wish to ride it (if the line is long, you should be able to grab an immediate Lightning Lane return time)
  • After Roger Rabbit’s explore the area between that ride and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Head out of Toontown, and hit up “it’s a small world” if desired or hop on the train at the Toontown station to visit another area of the park

Tomorrowland Rope Drop Strategy That Really Works

If you have a mix of older kids and younger kids, Tomorrowland may be a great fit for you. I personally suggest this more for Early Entry if you are a guest of the Grand Californian Hotel, Disneyland Hotel, or Paradise Pier (soon to be Pixar Place) Hotel. 

One reason I don’t suggest a rope drop here is that most of the rides have Lightning Lane and can be done later in the day. Additionally, once you are done with this land, Fantasyland is starting to see long lines, and the other lands are quite far away. 

But, if you REALLY want to start your day here, I am sharing the best strategy as far as I have tested it. And I have tested it a bunch of ways.

My Go-Go Tomorrowland Strategy for Disneyland Rope Drop

  • When the rope drops, head to Star Tours first thing, those who are too small, can do Astro Orbitor while waiting, and possibly even a round of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • After Star Tours, head to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster (which should still be a walk-on)
  • While in line, if you have Genie+, quickly grab a Lightning Lane for Space Mountain… yes even if it is down (see the advanced Genie+ guide from my friend Leslie for the “ride down hack”)
  • After Buzz Lightyear, head to Space Mountain using either the Lightning Lane or Single Rider Line
  • While older kids ride Buzz Lightyear, younger kids may choose to do Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage or Autopia, or both
  • Bathroom break if needed, order breakfast from Galactic Grill if desired
  • After Space Mountain, the entire group can choose to do Finding Nemo or Autopia, OR older kids may want to head over to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Grab your breakfast from Galactic Grill
  • After breakfast, head to another land, hop on the train, or take a loop on the monorail

Adventureland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square Rope Drop Strategy

This is my preferred area to rope drop if my group has already done Fantasyland, or we have decided we don’t want to do Fantasyland at all. There is a good mix of thrill rides and non-thrill rides. Additionally, many of these rides do not have a Lightning Lane, so it is the best way to have shorter waits on these attractions.

Another big bonus is that Disneyland Resort hotel guests do not have access to this side of the park for Early Entry, which means you don’t have to worry about them already being in line before the official park opening time and the actual rope drop. 

My Preferred Rope Drop Strategy for Adventureland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square

  • Line up for the entrance to Adventureland
  • When the park opens and they allow you to start walking in, pull the Disneyland app to verify if Indiana Jones Adventure is running or not (if not, do that cool Lightning Lane hack)
  • Walk on to Jungle Cruise – yes, before Indiana Jones
  • Next, if Indiana Jones is up, get in the standby line for that ride
  • After Indiana Jones, head to Pirates of the Caribbean
  • While in line, check if Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is up and grab a Lightning Lane if desired
  • After Pirates, you can either:
    • Head to Big Thunder Mountain if it is up and you do not have Genie+ to get a shorter wait OR
    • Head to Haunted Mansion which should be a walk-on
  • Bathroom break
  • Do the ride you didn’t do after Pirate’s
  • Mobile order breakfast (I suggest some beignets)
  • If you are interested, do the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, head to Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, or take a ride on the Mark Twain River Boat

What About Galaxy’s Edge?

You will notice I don’t have a rope drop strategy that involves Galaxy’s Edge. There are several reasons for this. 

First, guests with Early Entry will line up at the wall by Fantasyland and as soon as the park opens, they are much closer to the land, including Star Wars Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. 

Second, the land is so far back, that it will take up a good chunk of the first hour, just to get back there, and then the lines are already long.

Personally, I think Rise of the Resistance is worth the cost of the Individual Lightning Lane, but if you don’t want to spend the money, check the app mid-day for the closing time of the ride (it differs from the park hours) and plan to head over about 30 minutes before then. You will usually have a much shorter wait.

Best Disney California Adventure Park Rope Drop Strategies

If you have a multi-day ticket, you most likely have a day where you are starting at California Adventure. While many people choose to have a late morning start on days they are visiting California Adventure, I love heading here for rope drop because I can get a ton done.

Then I can have a relaxing lunch, and take in shows later in the day instead of waiting in super long lines.

The bad thing about California Adventure is that since Early Entry, I have had to change my strategy a lot. You used to be able to walk nearly all the way to Pixar Pier in some areas to wait for the rope to drop. But not anymore.

With that, I still prefer to start at Pixar Pier, because MOST people are heading to Avengers Campus or Cars Land.

An empty Pixar Pier during rope drop… I like to grab a quick photos here on my way into the land.

Pixar Pier Rope Drop Strategy (My Favorite)

My favorite place to head for Rope Drop is Pixar Pier. I have not timed if it is faster to go the Grizzly Peak route, or if it is better to go through the main walkway past Cars Land, but it is on my to-do list.

Pixar Pier is great for those who have smaller kids, as well as those who just want to avoid the massive crowds heading to the other two locations. 

My Strategy for Rope Dropping Pixar Pier in California Adventure Park

  • Take either the Grizzly Peak path or the main “Cars Land” path to Pixar Pier
  • Head to Incredicoaster and use the standby line
  • If you have small kids, they can ride Jessie’s Critter Carousel while waiting
  • Next, head to Toy Story Midway Mania using standby (if you have Genie+ do NOT use it unless the wait time is over 30 minutes, which it shouldn’t be at this time)
  • After Toy Story Midway Mania, if you want to do Mickey’s Wheel of Death… I mean Pixar Pal-A-Round, head there next
  • After Pixar Pal-A-Round, you can ride Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind if desired
  • Exit Pixar Pier, passing the restaurants of Paradise Garden Park
  • Head to Goofy’s Sky School and ride it using standby or single rider
  • Afterward, take a quick bathroom break at the restrooms in the back corner of the dining/restaurant area of Paradise Garden Park
  • Mobile order breakfast if desired
  • If desired, ride Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, and Golden Zephyr before heading to the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Once off Ariel’s you can head to another land or go get your breakfast

Avengers Campus Rope Drop Strategy

If you have thrill seekers in your group, and you will NOT be purchasing Genie+, this is probably the best strategy for you. Or if you aren’t interested in most of the rides in the Pixar Pier strategy. 

This strategy includes the best time to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! without a long standby wait time. In fact, some people like to ride it twice before moving on.

For this strategy, you will head down Hollywoodland, and there will be a rope before you get to the Animation Building. After the rope is dropped, you will follow cast members to Guardians of the Galaxy and start the day there.

Avengers Campus Rope Drop Strategy Details

  • Line up for rope drop in Hollywoodland
  • Follow the Cast Members’ instructions at park opening to head to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!
  • Ride Guardians (twice if desired)
  • Head to Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure
  • Utilize single rider if your party is all over age 7 and doesn’t mind being split up, otherwise, wait in standby or utilize Lightning Lane
  • Mobile order breakfast at Pym’s Test Kitchen
  • Take a bathroom break before picking up your breakfast and eating
  • Take in a show or meet characters around Avengers Campus
  • Head to another land

Cars Land Rope Drop Strategy

Cars Land is my least favorite land to rope drop because so many people head straight to Radiator Springs Racers, and it is down A LOT at park opening. Additionally, most people from Early Entry head there before rope drop to be first in line.

If you insist on rope-dropping Cars Land, here is my suggested strategy. Fair warning it has a lot of ifs and ors in it because Radiator Springs Racers is down so often.

Cars Land – Really? Use This Strategy If You Insist On Rope Dropping Here

  • Line up at the main path for rope drop
  • Head to the main entrance of Cars Land, and walk down “main street”
  • If Radiator Springs Racers (RSR) is open, and you REALLY want to head there first, go for it
  • If RSR is closed, hop on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • After Luigi’s, if RSR is still down, either head into Avenger’s Campus from that cross street or go to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • If RSR is up and you still haven’t ridden it, utilize standby or single-rider lines to ride
  • Take a bathroom break and head to another area

I am sure you could tell how much I dislike rope-dropping this land. I really find it to usually be a waste of time, especially since Early Entry returned.

Bonus Disneyland Rope Drop Tips To Level Up Your Strategy

If you want to really level up your Rope Drop strategy for Disneyland, here are some bonus tips for you. These tips will just give you a little bit more of an edge to get things done faster.

Multi-Day Tickets Let You Do Multiple Disneyland Rope Drop Strategies

I love being able to rope drop multiple days. It is how I am able to do almost everything in both parks, even on shorter trips. Purchasing multi-day tickets allows you to do this. PLUS when you purchase them through my partners at Get Away Today, you get a discount off the gate prices. 

You can also pre-purchase them with Genie+ included so you do not have to worry about purchasing it day by day. This will give you the ability to use Lightning Lanes later in the day when the crowds get heavier.

Get Away Today’s park tickets are delivered electronically and are easy to add to your Disneyland App.

How Many Days Should I Rope Drop?

My personal suggestion is to rope drop for at least three days. Two days at Disneyland and one at California Adventure. This allows you to pick from three strategies, and get a ton done.

That said, if you really need a morning that you sleep in a little, I suggest making sure you rope drop at the beginning of your vacation when you are more excited, and to start your vacation off on the right foot.

Then you can either sleep in one day mid-vacation, or decide if you want to rope drop again.

What Will You Do With The Rest of Your Day If You Did So Much At Rope Drop?

I suggest taking in shows, people-watching, and even heading back to your hotel for a mid-day nap or swim.

But if you want to stay and keep riding rides, you can utilize Genie+ and Lightning Lane to ride many of the rides you missed, or even ride them a second time if desired.

READ MORE: Best Hotel Pools Near Disneyland

Stay At A Rope Drop Ready Hotel

If you want to have the best chance at a good rope drop experience, I suggest staying at a walking distance hotel. My favorites are the hotels across the street from Disneyland. Not only are they the closest hotels to Disneyland, but you will be able to walk over. 

This is important because you don’t have to worry about lines for shuttles, shuttles running late, or getting a ride share that takes too long to pick you up. 

READ MORE: Best Harbor Blvd Hotels Across the Street From Disneyland

Is Rope Drop Better Than Late Nights at Disneyland?

A lot of people ask if rope drop is better than staying late at night. Personally, I think it is. I find the crowds are still higher at night. 

But if your travel party is full of natural night owls, and getting them up early will be a chore or cause conflict, you can definitely opt for late nights over rope drop.

Personally, though, I am a hard-core rope dropper, especially with small children. We will see if this changes as my kids get older. 

Leave a Comment