Rope dropping is a term you hear a lot of bloggers and social media "influencers" use regularly but is isn't something you need to do regularly when you visit a Disney park.
I have been going to Disney World for the better part of 8 years as an Annual Passholder. I don't live in Florida so my vacations that are spent at Disney World run from Monday to Friday two or if I'm lucky, three times a year. In all these years, I rope dropped a park...once.
Will I do it again? Not for the pleasure of taking my children. I might for work reasons should a need arise like telling you why you really don't need to do it.
Rope-dropping is simple. You get up really early before the parks open, pick your park, hit your park as the doors open. Run to the ride you want to do first and that's it. You rope dropped. Nothing else particularly innovative.
So why do you need to run to the park so early? Well, you really don't for the most part. In fact, only a couple of parks are worth getting up for if you are planning on it.
Rope Dropping Animal Kingdom might be worth getting up for.
Animal Kingdom is a part where you really won't spend all day at. Not that it is a bad park but once you have made your way around it, there isn't much to do and chances are you are not going to repeat a lot of the attractions.
Still, making A.K. a rope-drop park makes some sense if you have an intention on riding Avatar: Flight of Passage. This ride typically has at minimum a 90 minute and sometimes more wait. Getting to the park first thing cuts that down considerably.
After you have ridden Avatar, skip Na'Avi River Journey and head to the Kilimanjaro Safari. The animals are much more active in the mornings. With these two attractions done, you can plan your day for The Lion King show and won't worry about waiting 45 minutes or an hour on other rides.
Rope dropping EPCOT makes no sense at all right now so don't bother.
EPCOT is my personal favorite park but I can show up at 1:00 in the afternoon and still have a great time. SOARIN is a great ride but you don't need to rope for it. The only ride that remotely would be worth getting up that early for is Guardians of the Galaxy but that ride still requires a "boarding pass" so you could literally be the first person in the park but without that pass you're not riding it.
You could do Frozen Ever After in Norway but the countries in World Showcase do not open until 11:00 am so why get up that early at all? You could get to the park by 10:30 and stand outside for the WS ropes to drop and your problem is solved.
Rope dropping at Hollywood Studios could be adventageous but not really worth the early morning trip unless you don't want to stay late.
Hollywood Studios is a fun park but I'm here to tell you right now. Slinky Dog Dash is not worth waking up for early. That was my lone rope-drop and frankly, the ride isn't worth an hour wait in my opinion. Should you drop for Tower of Terror? If you want and then hit Rockin Roller Coaster next door. But both rides can be ridden throughout the day so it's not a huge deal if you don't.
Many will rope for Galaxy's Edge and yes you can jump back and ride Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler's Run but both attractions see shorter wait times in the evening so if you want to sleep in, avoid some of the heat during the day, hit this galaxy far, far, away, around the last hour and half before park closing. Ride times are typically 30 minutes despite what the wait time says.
Finally, rope-dropping at Magic Kingdom is an option but again, you may want to sit that one out as well.
The only attraction/ride that is worth a 7 am start to your day is the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train and that isn't worth an early morning start. Now, if that is a bucket list Disney visit item, then it may be the only way to avoid ride wait times nearly 2 hours long.
If you are thinking Tron: Light Cycle Run, think that one again. You need a "Boarding Pass" for that one as well.
So is rope dropping worth it to you and should you do it at all?
That is a question that inevitably only you can answer. If you plan to hit as many rides as you can and then spend the hot afternoons indoors at your hotel, at the pool, or taking in the indoor park attractions, then it makes sense but if you are doing it and are not a big morning person, skip it for the most part.