Sunset at Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • On Jan 27, 2023
    Steven from IN Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    what is "rope drop" and Rider switch" and how do I access these?

    Hi Steven,

    Thank you so much for stopping by planDisney with your question! There are lots of phrases that get used when planning a Walt Disney World vacation. I am happy to help you understand the meanings of rope drop and Rider Switch!

    Rope drop is a term used by many Walt Disney World guests to mean arriving at a theme park a little bit before it opens so that you can head into the theme park at exactly opening time, that is, when the proverbial "rope" drops to allow you into the theme park. Many guests enjoy doing this because the theme parks tend to be the least crowded first thing in the morning, so it is possible to experience many more attractions in a much shorter time first thing in the morning than it might be later in the day. My family and I found this to be a great strategy when my daughter was young and woke up very early. Now, since she is a teenager, we tend to let her sleep in when we are at Walt Disney World - it's her vacation too, after all!

    There is no specific way to take advantage of rope drop. Just check the Walt Disney World theme park hours and head to the theme park you want to go to before opening time. If you are taking complimentary Disney transportation, please note that it will begin running 45 minutes before theme park opening time. Then, you will be at the theme park to rope drop!

    Rider Switch is a service offered by Disney. This is typically used if a member of your party does not meet the height requirement for an attraction, or otherwise does not want to ride, and needs supervision. For example, if you are traveling with two adults and two small children and are spending a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom, perhaps both adults want to ride Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, but the children are both under 44 inches tall. You would head up to the cast member at the entrance to the ride and explain that you want to use Rider Switch. The first adult will head into the queue to experience the attraction, while the second adult will be issued a Rider Switch entitlement and will wait with the children outside of the attraction. Once that first adult has experienced the attraction, they find the second adult and children and the first adult takes over watching the children. The second adult heads to the attraction, presents the Rider Switch entitlement to the cast member, and can then ride the attraction without having to wait in the regular queue. Rider Switch is a great option if you are thrill-ride loving adults traveling with small children. Be sure to check out the link I provided to Rider Switch service for a full explanation of the service, as well as a list of attractions that offer this service.

    I hope that this information is helpful for you, Steven. Have a wonderful time planning your magical vacation, and please feel free to come back to planDisney with any further questions.

    ~ Mona Leigh
thumbnail image for Mona Leigh

Meet the Panelist: Mona Leigh, Maryland

I am a wife and mother who works in children's technology design and research. When I'm not at work or with my family, I'm often planning a Walt Disney World trip for my family or friends. I'm a Disney Vacation Club Member, and am excited to help you plan your Disney vacation!  Learn More About Mona Leigh

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