Disney World rope-dropping is becoming far less important than it used to be

Walt Disney World in Orange County
Walt Disney World in Orange County / Anadolu/GettyImages

Getting up early so you can run over to your Disney World park of choice for the day has always been a great way to beat some of the crowds. That is starting to change.

It's called "Rope-Dropping." You get up early, head to the parks and you are there as the gates open, along with hundreds of others with the same idea. Once inside the park, your group heads to the top attraction you want to ride first. Get it out of the way with minimal wait times. For some, getting to the parks at the earliest possible time is simply an opportunity to get more bang for your Genie+ bucks.

What used to be a wait with maybe a few hundred people at 8:00 a.m. is starting to become more like a thousand, or more. People are taking advantage of the early times for a few reasons.

The wait times are still at their lowest when the Disney World parks open.

There is no way around it. Wait times for most attractions are at their lowest when the park opens. You can wait in line with a few hundred others dispersed around the park or you can wait when the park is at it's guest peak for the day and dispersed around the park.

Mornings are without a question see the least amount of wait time with late evenings coming in at a close second. Wait times tend to dwindle within an hour of a park's closing and when the fireworks shows are starting to begin.

For many Disney World guests, the morning hours represent a far more temperate atmosphere.

If you have been to Disney during the summer, you know that the heat is nothing to turn a blind eye to. It's horrible even for those, like me, who love 90-degree weather. While there is still somewhat of a reprieve when the sun goes down, the heat still rises from the baked sidewalks and concrete.

In the morning, it can still be hot but those same paths are not quite fully cooked and it feels a little less sweltering.

Guests are realizing that by rope-dropping, they can cut their days shorter.

For many guests, getting to a Disney World park at rope-drop is a way to get as much done as possible so they can leave earlier. If you have ever headed to a Disney World park after 3:00 p.m. you may notice that there are quite a few guests heading in the opposite direction. They may be park hopping or heading back to their hotel pool.

So why is rope-dropping not as appealing at Disney World as it used to be?

More and more guests are taking every advantage they have to get to the parks to start their day. For the reasons we listed above, more guests are starting to believe that this is the best route to go. That increases the number of early guests entering parks.

Disney's park hours also give early access to guests staying at "on-property" resorts. The parks open earlier for them and they can be in line for an attraction 30 minutes before other guests are allowed past the rope. This increases wait times at opening making it far less appealing.

Prices at Disney parks have skyrocketed and at Magic Kingdom, a daily guest ticket could run as much as $185.00 for a single day. Considering that pre-Covid, the high ticket was around $121.00. With the prices continuing to climb, more and more guests are trying to get as much time as possible in the parks to make it at least worth the admission price.

As guest numbers continue to rise, so will the crowd at rope-drop. That means the advantages that we talked about earlier, ride wait times, less heat, etc...are no longer the value that a handful of guests would seek out.