In this post we discuss rope drop strategy and Early Entry strategy at Magic Kingdom. We cover everything you need to know to start your day right at Magic Kingdom, including where to start at Magic Kingdom with and without Genie+, planning to get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and TRON, and how to make the most of the Early Entry perk if you have it.

Main Street just after the park opens

Related Content

Here’s some content you’ll want to have a good grasp of as part of building your touring strategy…

First, Early Theme Park Entry. This perk of staying at a Disney hotel (or select partner hotels) grants these guests early access to each park at Disney World for 30 minutes before other guests, every day. The post you’re reading now discusses rope drop for guests both with and without Early Entry.

Second, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes give guests who are willing to pay the option to “skip the line” at Walt Disney World while everyone else lives with old fashioned standby lines (or virtual queues at select attractions). This post discusses how Lighting Lanes can impact your rope drop strategy.

Outline of this Post

Rope drop at Magic Kingdom is simpler than it seems. Or at least simpler than it would seem from a quick scroll through this post. It can seem overwhelming, but once you understand some key points, it will all fit together. It’s helpful to outline things so everyone knows what to expect and where they’ll find things that are important to them.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

  • Basics of Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom. Introduces what we mean by “rope drop”, along with the basics of the Early Entry perk.

  • Reminder: 7AM Digital Rope Drop. A quick reminder of things you might have to do at 7AM—virtual queues, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lanes

  • Arriving at Magic Kingdom. Everyone needs to know how they’ll get to the park and what to expect on arrival, plus when to arrive.

  • Breaking Down Magic Kingdom Rope Drop. Introduces the next two sections.

  • Magic Kingdom Early Entry Rope Drops. Discusses options for how people with Early Entry should start their day. Ends with a discussion of the “Tangled bathrooms” path these guests might use to get to the rest of the park once it opens.

  • Magic Kingdom Rope Drops After and Without Early Entry. Discusses how guests without Early Entry will start their day. Guests with Early Entry might join these rope drops too for additional short waits.

BASICS OF ROPE DROP AT Magic Kingdom

Let’s start with some basic information before diving into the more complex aspects of strategy. If you’re familiar with rope drop basics, click here to skip to arrival and then strategy.

What Is “Rope Drop”?

If a theme park opens at, say, 9AM, it’s rare that they actually just keep everyone outside at 9AM and then open the gates and all the rides right at 9AM. Instead, they have various procedures in place to try and avoid chaos. “Rope drop” refers to this process—the actual opening time and steps involved if you arrive early enough at the park. Depending on the precise protocols at a park on a day, Cast Members may actually have a rope up cutting off people from the park which is dropped when the park opens.

On our site, we typically use the term “rope drop” to more or less mean “the hustle that starts when you wake up and until you take your first breath after riding a few rides.” The idea is that you want to be one of the first people at the park to be one of the first people on the most important ride and off that ride quickly to have a short wait for a second ride and a third and so on, until there are no short waits left for good rides and it’s time to take a breath.

Your rope drop strategy is the plan you put together to get you through that morning hustle with the lowest waits on the best rides possible. This starts with waking up and includes anything preparation you have to do on your My Disney Experience app for your visit, how you should get to the park, when you should arrive at the park, where to go when you arrive, and what rides to attempt in which order.

Finally, rope drop strategy is only one part of your overall park strategy. Rope drop only covers the start of the day, and the rest of the day, including the major entertainment you’ll want to watch, is the subject of our Magic Kingdom One Day Itinerary Post.

If you pay for Genie+ or Lightning Lanes, you’ll need a good Magic Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lane Strategy (these offerings inevitably come up in this post, too).

Then there is access to extra park hours. This post includes discussion of Early Theme Park Entry. If you have access to Extended Evening Hours at Magic Kingdom, for example, that will be a part of your park strategy. The various Magic Kingdom After Hours and parties including holiday-specific options (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) might also free your morning up a bit.

What Time Does Magic Kingdom Open?

Magic Kingdom opening times vary on a day-to-day basis, with openings of 9AM being most common. You should check the Disney World website or My Disney Experience app for the scheduled opening times for your visit. Guests with Early Entry will have access 30 minutes before the scheduled open, but keep reading for the important details.

What Is Early Entry At Magic Kingdom?

Guests of Disney hotels and select partner hotels have access to each of the four Disney theme parks—including Magic Kingdom—every day, 30 minutes before the scheduled opening.

Who Gets Early Entry At Magic Kingdom?

Early Entry is available to guests of Disney hotels and select partner hotels. The full list is here. Guests should have access including the day they check-in and the day they check-out. I have heard from people that checking into the hotel online before you arrive (no reason not to) helps make sure you are allowed in the day you check in, and I’ve personally used the perk on both check-in and check-out days.

What Time Is Rope Drop At Magic Kingdom?

Magic Kingdom gates tend to open about an hour before the park is scheduled to open. At this time, all guests are allowed on to Main Street and into the hub.

Guests with Early Entry are allowed access to the bridges into Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, where they are held usually right up until 30 minutes before the park opens, at which point the perk begins and they’re walked to attractions in those lands.

Guests without Early Entry are allowed access to the hub—including stores and Starbucks—until park open time, at which point they’re allowed into Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and are walked to rides in Adventureland and Frontierland.

This precise moment that guests are allowed into the lands is usually actually about 2-3 minutes before the scheduled opening time. The welcome show in front of the castle begins 5 minutes before scheduled open, and the fireworks at the end of that are the cue for guests to enter the lands.

Reminder: 7AM Digital Rope Drop

If you’re using Genie+, you’ll be making your first pick at 7AM, regardless of whether you have Early Entry or not (7AM is also independent of what time the park opens). If you’re staying at a Disney resort (or select partner resort), this is also when you’ll have your chance to buy Individual Lightning Lanes for the day.

As of this update, 7AM is also when the virtual queue for TRON Lightcycle / Run opens up. As discussed in our post on Magic Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lane strategy, we recommend prioritizing the virtual queue at 7AM if you’re interested in riding TRON without paying for the Lightning Lane.

Arriving at Magic Kingdom

Last thing before strategy—how and when to arrive at Magic Kingdom.

What Is The Best Way To Get To Magic Kingdom?

Getting to Magic Kingdom is tricky. The best way is by Disney bus, resort boat, resort monorail, or walking path when available. These options all drop you off at the front gates of the park. Of course, if you aren’t staying at a Disney resort you won’t have access to these options.

Guests who drive their own car will park in the lots at Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), walk or take the tram (if available) to TTC itself, and then take the Ferryboat or Express Monorail to the park.

Guests who arrive by Uber/Lyft/taxi or by any other non-Disney transportation (like a non-Disney hotel bus) will be dropped off at TTC and, again, take the Ferryboat or Express Monorail to the park.

Exact travel times when arriving via the TTC will vary, but here’s an example morning:

  • 8:07AM – Arrive at parking booths

  • 8:09AM – Park car

  • 8:18AM – At TTC (where Ubers etc. drop off)

  • 8:30AM – Inside Magic Kingdom (via Monorail)

  • 8:34AM – Inside Magic Kingdom (via Ferryboat)

The ferryboat can take a little longer than the monorail (as seen in this example), particularly if you just miss one. I actually just missed the monorail this day (Emily was taking the ferryboat), and I still made it to the park faster than the ferryboat. That said, we’ve always been comfortable taking the ferryboat, and it’s actually our preferred way to get to the park because of the nice views along the way.

Zoe enjoys the Ferryboat

What Time Should I Get To Magic Kingdom?

We’re talking about being inside the park or at the park gates waiting to enter here. We recommend being at Magic Kingdom 45 to 60 minutes before Early Entry if you have Early Entry and are planning to rope drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Everyone else should plan to arrive 30 minutes before they have access to the park (so 30 minutes before Early Entry for all other Early Entry rope drops and 30 minutes before the park opens if you don’t have Early Entry).

BREAKING DOWN Magic Kingdom ROPE DROP

If you have Early Theme Park Entry, you’ll have early access to two lands—Fantasyland and Tomorrowland—during the 30 minutes of that perk.

Within those lands are a few options that make sense for where to start your day, and your choice will basically just depend on what combination of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes you buy (all these details below). Once you’re done with your Early Entry rope drop, you can continue your morning with a rope drop in the other half of the park with the guests who didn’t have Early Entry.

If you don’t have Early Theme Park Entry, you probably won’t want to start with Fantasyland or Tomorrowland because those lands will be filled with Early Entry guests. Luckily, you’ll have the opportunity to rope drop the other half of the park—Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Frontierland. This is in contrast to the other three Disney World parks, where basically every ride is a part of Early Entry.

Any specific times given in this post generally refer to a 9AM opening time (with an 8:30AM Early Entry). So, for example, 9:30AM = 30 minutes after the park opens.

Magic Kingdom Early Entry Rope Drops

Early Theme Park Entry at Magic Kingdom starts 30 minutes before the scheduled opening of the park. Unlike the other three parks, guests without Early Entry still get to enjoy some of the park, as Main Street and the hub are open to all guests once the gates open.

Guests with Early Entry will head down Main Street and turn right (following signs for Early Entry). Cast members will scan your magic band to confirm you qualify for Early Entry, at which point you have two options—the Fantasyland bridge or the Tomorrowland bridge.

The Tomorrowland bridge is unmissable, the first bridge you’ll pass (seen behind and to the right of the CMs in the below picture), and the path you’ll use if you’re starting with Space Mountain.

Cast Members ready to scan your Magic Band

The Fantasyland bridge is the second bridge you’ll get to, closer to the castle, where most guests are going. You’ll primarily use it for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight. The below map has stars on the two bridges—the lower to Tomorrowland and the upper to Fantasyland:

Map Copyright Disney – Fair Use Claimed

Generally, after your first ride in Early Entry you’ll have a choice. You can stick to some rides in Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Many of them will have short waits well into the morning. If you don’t have Genie+, this option can make some sense because this is your best chance to get on rides without long waits.

But our preference is to join the rest of the crowds in rope dropping the other half of the park when it opens. This allows us to visit two major rides (say, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Early Entry rope drop and Jungle Cruise at regular rope drop) with short waits. (In rare cases you’ll be able to ride two rides during Early Entry and still make it to rope drop in the other half of the park, but we never count on that and rarely even try.)

Because of that that, if you have Early Entry you actually want to acquaint yourself with the strategies in both sections of this post. We recommend starting with your Early Entry rope drop and then pairing it with a strategy for visiting the other half of the park when it opens.

After we talk about the specifics rides to start with if you have Early Entry, we have a section titled “Magic Kingdom Tangled Bathrooms Rope Drops.” This explains the path that many guests with Early Entry will use after Early Entry to get to Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Rope Drop (Early Entry Option 1)

Note: Somewhere around 1/4 of days recently, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has a delayed opening. This is a frustrating experience, particularly if Peter Pan’s Flight was your first Genie+ pick (and so not worth visiting while Mine Train is down). If you’re extra cautious about this, you might instead make Jungle Cruise your first Genie+ pick, planning to visit Peter Pan’s Flight if Mine Train is down. Or you could just head to Space Mountain if Mine Train is down.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rope drop remains our go-to if you’re looking to start a perfect day at Magic Kingdom without forking over too much money to Disney for Lightning Lanes. Because it’s an individual Lightning Lane (and not a part of Genie+), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is going to remain the heart of rope drop until TRON gets a standby line, at least. If you’re not paying for the Mine Train Lightning Lane and you have Early Entry, this is the rope drop for you.

(Another Note: As it so happens, one recent day I did this rope drop I also got a newsletter with commentary from Tom Bricker on Disney Tourist Blog where he calls this rope drop his “least favorite” way to do Early Entry at Magic Kingdom. I think Tom is worth reading on all things Disney, including this. While I disagree with his conclusion, I think he offers an informed perspective worth considering.)

If you don’t have Early Entry you won’t be able to rope drop Mine Train. Might you still head there when the park opens to you? Sure, but you’ll be waiting in line and missing out on short waits in the other part of the park.

My most recent rope drop experience is pretty typical of what I’ve encountered over the last few years:

  • 7:26AM — Board bus at hotel

  • 7:39 — Arrive at Magic Kingdom

  • 7:50 — Magic Kingdom taps open

  • 7:55 — Inside Magic Kingdom

  • 8:25 — Walk to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train begins

  • 8:44 — On Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The actual rope drop is a bit chaotic but relatively short. Cast Members will start by walking guests to the left, between Mad Tea Party and Cheshire Cafe. This takes you directly to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you’re at the very front of the pack, you’ll follow the Cast Members left to the ride entrance (see map below).

The queue forms along the outside of the ride, so if you’re even a little back in the pack, you’ll probably head to the right to join this queue (dotted line below). The line quickly grows and wraps around the ride. If you instead try to go left and jump in the line closer to the front, Cast Members and guests will rightfully send you to the back of the line.

Map Copyright Disney — Fair Use Claimed

In an ideal (and past) world, you’d be able to count on a quick rope drop getting you on both Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight. If you don’t have Genie+, you might still head to Peter Pan’s Flight after Mine Train, as long as the posted wait is in the 45-minutes-or-less range. (Just realize that this comes at the cost of missing rope drop on the other side of the park.)

But you can’t count on getting on both Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight during Early Entry. It’s a rarity that Peter Pan’s Flight keeps a low wait that long. As a result, our typical recommendation in this case is to make Peter Pan’s Flight your first Genie+ pick.

If you’re off Seven Dwarfs Mine Train incredibly quickly you might have time for another ride before heading toward the opposite side of the park when it opens. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel are close options as long as they have no waits

In most cases, I’m happy to take the W if I’m off Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before the other side of the park opens. If I am, I head over toward the Tangled bathrooms (past Peter Pan’s Flight and Small World), and from there head into the west side of the park, joining those rope drops. (Read more about the Magic Kingdom Tangled Bathrooms “Rope Drops” below.)

With Splash Mountain closed, my preference these days is the Jungle Cruise rope drop—either from the hub or from the Tangled bathrooms—detailed in the below section for guests without Early Entry.

Space Mountain Rope Drop (Early Entry Option 2)

If you’ve purchased an individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (or you otherwise don’t feel the need to deal with that rope drop), you’ve got more flexibility. Your main two choices are going to be Space Mountain (in Tomorrowland) and Peter Pan’s Flight (in Fantasyland).

This is a good time to remind you that your rope drop strategy should work together with your Genie+ strategy to get you on all the rides in the park. Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight are both good first Genie+ picks, so it can make sense to pick one of those with Genie+ and rope drop the other.

The main reason we like a Space Mountain rope drop is that once you’re off the ride you’ll have lots of rides nearby. If you were off Space Mountain really quickly you could maybe even get two more rides in before the park opened to other guests. They won’t be the most popular rides in the park (they’d probably have to be Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Mad Tea Party, if this were possible), but fun is fun.

Arriving at the park 30 minutes before the start of Early Entry is usually fine for a Space Mountain rope drop. As an example, here’s a look at an 8:17AM crowd heading to Space Mountain (8:30 Early Entry start):

Crowd heading into Tomorrowland

This rope drop is less chaotic than Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but there will still be some over-excited guests. Most everyone is going to the same place and it’s hard to get lost on the way. Just head straight across the bridge, left around The Lunching Pad building, and to the back of the land into the Space Mountain queue.

On this particular morning I was among the first people on Space (the walk to the ride began right at 8:30AM) and back in Tomorrowland at 8:48AM. (Unfortunately this isn’t really enough time for another ride.)

You’ve basically got three options after Space Mountain. If it’s after 8:45AM (i.e. the park opens in 15 minutes), you’ll probably just want to head to the hub and join one of the rope drops for guests without Early Entry (you can also use the Tangled restroom path, also discussed below). This is our preference.

If it’s earlier, or if you don’t care so much about rushing to the other side of the park, you might just start checking off some rides with low waits this early. Immediately nearby are Astro Orbiter and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Plus, several Fantasyland rides aren’t too far. If you don’t have Genie+, riding a bunch of these early (you could get 3 or 4 done in the time it would take to get to and ride Jungle Cruise) might save you time later in the day.

Finally, you might get in line for Peter Pan’s Flight if it has a short enough wait. This option really only makes sense if you don’t have Genie+ and you have little interest in Jungle Cruise, or if you made Jungle Cruise your first pick on Genie+.

Peter Pan’s Flight Rope Drop (Early Entry Option 3)

Finally, there’s the Peter Pan’s Flight Rope Drop. This option might make sense if you don’t have Genie+ but do have an Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We don’t recommend this combination since we consider Genie+ to be a better value than the Mine Train Lightning Lane, but you might feel otherwise, particularly as we have seen days where Mine Train is $12 and Genie+ is a whopping $35.

If you’re not planning on riding Mine Train or Space Mountain, or if you used your first Genie+ pick on something else, or if you just really want to make sure you’re done with Peter Pan’s Flight early, this option can also make sense.

The Peter Pan’s Flight wait will go up quickly and usually gets higher than Space Mountain during Early Entry. But the immediate rush there isn’t usually too bad.

Map Copyright Disney – Fair Use Claimed

You’ll use the same bridge as the guests heading to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train—which means you’ll be deal with a bit of chaotic crowds to start. You’ll stick with those crowds—going to the left of Mad Tea Party—and then turn left to go past Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, past the carrousel, and to Peter Pan’s Flight (on the left below, opposite “it’s a small world”).

Arriving 30 minutes early should put you near the front of the pack, but you don’t leave yourself a good second ride if you’re off quickly. The nearest ride—“it’s a small world” is a very bad use of time at this point because it’s so long. The carrousel is lovely, just maybe not how you want to spend your precious Early Entry time. Probably the best option is to head back toward Winnie the Pooh.

If you don’t want to arrive early, arriving right at Early Entry begins can (but won’t always) be enough to take care of this ride, as in this example morning:

  • 8:27 In Park

  • 8:30 Early Entry Begins

  • 8:38 In line for Peter Pan’s Flight (posted 20 minutes)

  • 8:53 On Peter Pan’s Flight

  • 8:57 Back in Fantasyland

From here you can either head directly into Liberty Square (past the Tangled bathrooms) or, if you’re early enough (5 minutes before park open), head to the front of the castle for the welcome show. Either way, you’ll continue with one of the regular park open rope drops, which we’ll move onto after one last interlude…

Magic Kingdom Tangled Bathrooms “Rope Drops” (All Early Entry Guests)

If you have Early Entry, once you’re done with your first rides you hopefully have time before the rest of the park opens. If you have a lot of time, you might head back into the hub and then just do one of the rope drops we discuss below. Usually I’d do this if I have 15 minutes before park open and I’m planning to go to Jungle Cruise. But in most cases, it will make sense to just join up with those rope drop crowds via the path from Fantasyland, by the Tangled bathrooms. For some context, here’s a map:

Map Copyright Disney – Fair Use Claimed

There are three colored arrows just left of center on the map. From bottom to top these are:

  1. The bridge from the hub into Adventureland (blue)

  2. The bridge from the hub into Liberty Square (purple)

  3. The path from Fantasyland into Liberty Square (green)

The first two are accessible to everyone in the park at rope drop. The third is only accessible to guests with Early Entry because they can be inside Fantasyland. That’s the path that’s by the Tangled bathrooms.

If you’re going to Haunted Mansion, the path from Fantasyland is faster than going to the hub. If you’re going to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the path from Fantasyland is about the same as going back to the hub. Getting to these rides is also pretty straightforward from a simple look at the park map.

But you can pretty easily see that if you’re going to Adventureland to rope drop Jungle Cruise, this is a longer walk than coming from the hub. That said, you’ll be dealing with smaller crowds for most of the way, until you’re close to Jungle Cruise. Emily and I have even compared both options (after a ride, one of us going to the hub and the other going via Tangled bathrooms), and we’ve found they work out pretty similarly.

The walk to Jungle Cruise from the Tangled bathrooms is a little complicated if you’ve never been in the park before, because you’ll have to get between Liberty Square and Adventureland. Specifically, you’ll want to head past Liberty Tree Tavern on the left and then through a tunnel marked “Restrooms”. You can check out the whole area in Google Street View, starting with a look at that “Restrooms” tunnel:

The other side of this tunnel will bring you to the mass of people walking into Adventureland toward Jungle Cruise. Turn right to join them, then go left when you get to Magic Carpets of Aladdin to get in line for Jungle Cruise. As an example of how this timing can work out:

  • 8:48AM — Off Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  • 8:51AM — With Tangled bathroom crowds

  • 8:57AM — West side of park opens

  • 8:58AM — Merge with Adventureland rope drop crowd (oh no, so many people!)

  • 9:15AM — Board Jungle Cruise

  • 9:27AM — Back in Adventureland

Magic Kingdom Rope Drops After and Without Early Entry

Again, if you have Early Entry, you’ll do one of the above rope drops and then continue your day with one of these. If you arrive to these a bit late, it’s not the worst thing since crowds still tend to focus on Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

If you don’t have Early Entry, you can get in line behind those guests in Tomorrowland or Fantasyland if you want. Some days you might do well and be through a major ride within about 30 minutes. Generally, you’re going to be spending some valuable time that could be used to get short waits in Frontierland and Adventureland.

Two Quick Notes About Park Opening at Magic Kingdom

First, if you’re not a guest of a Disney resort, you’ll also be making your individual Lightning Lane purchases in the My Disney Experience app when clock hits the time for the park to open.

Second, crowds are actually allowed to head to the rides at Magic Kingdom about three minutes before scheduled open. The welcome show, “Let the Magic Begin” in front of the castle, starts around 5 minutes before scheduled open, and the fireworks punctuating that show—about 2 minutes later—are when guests are typically let out of the hub and into the lands.

Jungle Cruise Rope Drop

Historically we weren’t fans of the Jungle Cruise rope drop. It’s way too popular, and the ride is long. This means other rides will have time for waits to inch up while you’re sitting on the boat. That said, with Splash Mountain closed and Fantasyland and Tomorrowland filled with Early Entry guests, there isn’t a better option on this side of the park nowadays. Checking this one off your list early also really opens up your Genie+ strategy later in the day.

To rope drop Jungle Cruise, you’ll take the Adventureland bridge from the hub. The crowd here can be pretty big, but some people are heading places other than Jungle Cruise. I’ve started from the back of it a few times now with essentially no wait for the ride other than the time it took to make the walk.

To be clear, this is still a hustling, bustling rope drop walk. It isn’t leisurely, and you should make sure to keep pace with the crowds.

From the bridge you walk straight into Adventureland, past the Swiss Family Treehouse, turning left at the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Boarding Jungle Cruise around 9:10AM should have you back in Adventureland around 9:25AM.

From there you can sort of pick from Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Haunted Mansion based on waits. If Big Thunder is posting 15 minutes or less, you’re probably fine to head there. Keep in mind that because of its remote location, saving it for later will mean making a long trek all the way to and from that corner of the park later in the day.

Liberty Square and Frontierland Rope Drops

Years ago, the Frontierland rope drop reigned supreme (well, in my head, at least). Then Early Entry and a spike in Jungle Cruise’s popularity mucked things up. Then they closed one of the two Frontierland rides (Splash Mountain). Now, heading this way makes little sense.

If you decide to start your day with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Haunted Mansion, you’ll do so from the bridge into Liberty Square. It’s located on the left, at about “10 O’Clock”, of the hub (if the castle was 12), and it looks like this:

The problem with starting over here is that neither of the two rides—Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Haunted Mansion—is particularly high priority. If you have Genie+, you really shouldn’t struggle to fit them in later in the day.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is also located really far back in Frontierland. It’s a walk to get there, time boarding and riding the ride, then a walk to get anywhere else of value.

Now, I think an enterprising spirit—like me 10 years ago—could look at this situation and say that overall riding these two rides first and using a Genie+ pick for Jungle Cruise later aKtUALly is the most efficient approach. The problem is just that on days when that doesn’t work—maybe crowds are higher than expected by the time you get to the second ride, maybe one of the two rides breaks down—all you’d accomplished to start your day is riding one not-so-high priority ride.

This problem—that you basically need a Liberty Square / Frontierland rope drop to go perfectly for it to make any sense at all—is why we recommend starting with Jungle Cruise on this side of the park. All you need to do is go on that one ride, and you’ve taken care of one of the most popular rides in the park, simplifying the rest of your day, particularly if you have Genie+. (And yes, Jungle Cruise could also break down, but then you just walk to Big Thunder instead.)

Continuing Your Day at Magic Kingdom

Once you’re through rope drop, the task turns to balancing rides, entertainment, other attractions, characters, and everything the park has to offer. Enjoy that Magic Kingdom Full Day plan post for more on that.

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

Don’t be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you’ll not only be an expert, but you’ll save big $$$ along the way.

Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you’re still picking dates, we’ve got everything you need to know about Disney World crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.

When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And don’t forget to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!

Don’t forget to master your Disney World Genie+ and Lightning Lane strategy a few months in advance. We’ll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We’ve got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, Epcot Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, Animal Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, and Hollywood Studios Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.

Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you’re interested in saving, there’s no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.

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