With addition of lightning lanes to Walt Disney World experience, the concept of rope-dropping gains even more importance. If your goal for a day at Walt Disney World involves spending time enjoying attractions and not waiting in queues, then a proper plan at park opening demands your attention.
The term “rope-drop” hails back to the day of guests at park opening being walked to attractions with cast members carrying a rope as a boundary. When cast members dropped the rope, guests would race to attractions. Though the days of old-fashioned rope drop no longer exist, your time at park opening remains valuable. If you desire to maximize your money spent on park admission, then the first hours of park opening present the most value. Benefit emerges from shorter attraction queue waits.
If you spend less time in queues, then you have more time to enjoy the park.
Animal Kingdom offers some challenges regarding efficient park touring. Guests staying at on-site resort hotels receive early theme park entry. This early park time starts at least 30 minutes before official park opening. If you have early entry privileges, you should take advantage. If you do not have early park privileges, then you still should arrive early before official opening. However, you will start behind the on-site guests that utilized early theme park entry. The early access shines as one of the remaining perks of being an on-site Walt Disney World Resort guest.
Also, Orlando area theme parks commonly open before official opening time. Please bear that in mind as you plan. I list below my current suggestions for taking advantage of rope-dropping Animal Kingdom. Procedures change often but this gives a basic plan. Also, please keep in mind that currently Expedition Everest is experiencing a refurb thus not open.
Resort guests with early theme park entry:
- Go to Flight of Passage. If willing to buy individual lightning lane paid access for Flight of Passage, you may skip this step for now simply experiencing this attraction at whatever timeslot you selected. For more information about paid individual lightning lanes, click here.
- Then experience Navi River Journey
- Visit Kilimanjaro Safari. This attraction and the Africa area often does not open until official park opening. If you somehow speed through Pandora area, plan for this.
- When it reopens, Expedition Everest should be you next stop. (Please do not forget this attraction offers a single rider queue. If only one person in your party wants to ride this, skip this step, and insert it in later)
- Go take on Dinosaur attraction and/or Kali River Rapids.
In addition, on-site resort guest purchasing Genie+ can adjust this basic rope drop plan to insert Genie+ attractions whenever your timeslots allow. For suggestions on priority of selection of Genie+, click here.
Non-resort guests wishing to rope-drop at official park opening:
You have a few choices which each have merit.
- Follow same plan as suggested for resort guests. Your attraction wait will be longer than resort guest experienced earlier but better than later in day.
- Start with Navi River Journey to try to get ahead of resorts guests touring the park. Plan on visiting Flight of Passage much later in day. This plan creates a relaxing day at Animal Kingdom to enjoy food, animals, and shows. If just visiting Animal Kingdom, the wait times drop towards end of day.
- Buy Genie+ and individual paid lightning lane for Flight of Passage, rope-drop most popular attractions that you do not have Genie+ timeslot for. For example, if you get a Genie+ slot for Navi River Journey then start with Kilimanjaro Safari. Yes, I suggested you spend your hard-earned money, but guests must consider this option. Though, I would suggest most select another option.
- Based on tendency for Africa area not to open until official park opening, rope-drop Kilimanjaro Safari. Save Pandora until later.
- Simply be a rebel! Go opposite of most people! Head toward Dinosaur and Expedition Everest first. This plan provides a relatively empty park to start even on high crowd days. If you are lucky enough to sneak Kali River Rapids in also then you can just prepare for longer waits at three headliner attractions. Still, you avoided crowds for a little while. Did I mention buying Genie+ and paid lightning lanes? Though I cannot recommend buying Genie+ for guests visiting only Animal Kingdom, that variable merits value if highest priority rates as reducing queue wait times.
Every park day presents new challenges. No plan covers every contingency, but these suggestions may aid in your ability to maximize the rope-drop experience. At piratesandprincesses.net, we will work on a few more rope-dropping strategies for you. Please be on lookout for those. As always, have fun!
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.