New Rope Drop and Opening Ceremony at Magic Kingdom

When Walt Disney World announced that they were changing things up for their opening ceremony at Magic Kingdom, I’m pretty sure the internet exploded. People were not happy. They enjoyed the train station “Good morning” performance, and to a lot of people, it was very nostalgic for them to see the rope drop ceremony at least once during their vacation.

The funny thing is, Magic Kingdom didn’t always have the opening ceremony at the train station. So while it was nostalgic to a certain degree, its really just what people got used to.  Some of my most Disney fanatic friends had never actually seen the rope drop, and I know of some people who have still never even heard of it.

Nonetheless, people were upset. That being said, I actually prefer the current opening ceremony over the previous opening. And of course, I’m going to tell you why.

Let’s start off with a quick recap of the previous opening ceremony for those who may not be familiar with it. Before, you’d catch the bus to Magic Kingdom, go through security, scan your ticket to get in and stand at the gates, waiting for the show to start and the rope to “drop”. While standing there, you were just standing there, usually chatting it up with the security guard who was trying their best to entertain guests while they waited.

Now keep in mind, the courtyard area between the turnstiles and the gates is only so big. It can only hold a certain number of people. So if you wanted to be near the front, you’d have to get there early. If you got there early, you’d usually end up having to keep moving more and more forward to make room for other guests. Sometimes so much that the train station was barely even visible.

Ok so side note- I am not a very big person. I’m fairly short and unfortunately, people tend to push me around a little more than maybe someone who was taller when I’m in a crowd. That’s my disadvantage and I could probably stand my ground a little better, but its Disney, so I try not to be a jerk. So yes, there were plenty of times, I never was actually able to see the show.

If you haven’t caught my drift, the train station show was fun, cute and yes I also have memories of watching it with my daughter. However, I also have memories of feeling like I was being herded like cattle.  Your only hope of those “empty” or at least less crowded photos were if you had an early breakfast reservation.

So now to the new opening procedure.  Now, you can get to the Parks an hour before open(sometimes earlier from what cast members have told me) and stroll along Main St. You can shop, grab a coffee, grab breakfast. Really, quite genius on Disney’s part because you can start spending money before the Park opens!

I will admit though, I appreciate that! I appreciate being able to leisurely stroll Main St with a coffee from Starbucks that I didn’t have to wait a half an hour in line for and grab some Mickey Waffles from The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor(fresh off the iron, with strawberries and whipped cream-yummm!) to enjoy while sitting on the hub grass with the most gorgeous and uncrowded view of Cinderella Castle.

At 9:00, when the Park opens, there is still a small opening “show” on the stage of Cinderella Castle, that includes some of your favorite Disney characters like the Mouse himself and of course, Fairy Godmother. Its cute, but not nearly as grand(in my opinion) as the previous opening show. And its very short, maybe 2 minutes or so.

All of the lands are guarded by Cast Members and the rides aren’t open unless Extra Magic Hours are going on, and yes you do have to scan your magic band to be able to get to those rides. Same goes for dining reservations. They actually have several “checkpoints” to make sure no one sneaks into an area they aren’t supposed to be.

So do I miss the opening show? Of course I do. I have the words memorized to the song and even sometimes sing it to my daughter to wake up in the morning(Good morning, good mooorrrning!) And yes, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

But love being able to hang out with my daughter and take lots of silly pictures before the crowds arrive and the hustle and bustle of the day begins.  To me, I feel like that could become quite nostalgic for the both of us.


New Rope Drop and Opening Ceremony at Magic Kingdom was originally published on Polka Dots & Pixie Dust


2 Comments Add yours

  1. aleefriedel says:

    Thank you for your post! So am I correct to say that for those who want to get into the park as early as possible because they want UNCROWDED pictures that there is no longer benefit to booking an early morning breakfast reservation because everyone is getting in at 7:45 now? I booked a BOG breakfast reservation for 8:20 AM because another blogger said it was the BEST way to get awesome shots without tons of people, but now I am wondering if that is no longer the case because of the new rope drop procedures. Can you give me your thoughts? We’ve never been to WDW before, our plan was to get in early with our reservation and then purposefully miss our reservation and suck up the fee (which for us would be $40) just to get some good shots without loads of people. (I am a photographer so to me it’s a small sacrifice to make if it works). Is this now a bad idea? From the look of your pictures there is no benefit to getting an early breakfast reservation anymore (other than if you actually want to eat there).


    1. Hey there, you are correct in your assumption. For the most part all of main street, in front of the castle, the hub grass, and the entry areas to tomorrowland, adventureland and fantasyland will most likely have people walking around as early as 7:45am. A breakfast reservation at Be Our Guest will get you minimal crowds because that is behind the ropes and you will need to mention your breakfast reservation there to a cast member at the rope to let you back into that area of the park. Mind you they won’t just let you walk around freely though. That will be your best bet to get pics a little less crowded. If you’re ready to go for broke you may want to look into the paid ( like 150 i think) early magic mornings events at WDW… this will get you absolutely first access into the park, breakfast and people-less pics. Best of luck!


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