Disney News

Be Our Guest Breakfast Official

by josh on March 16, 2015

Disney officially announced a “test” of breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant today: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/03/new-breakfast-starts-march-20-at-be-our-guest-restaurant-in-the-magic-kingdom-at-walt-disney-world-resort/. Reservations open March 17th with breakfast being served for the first time on March 20th. The rest runs daily from 8am-10am through June 18th.

It will be interesting to see if people eating early get an advantage in moving to either Princess Fairytale Hall or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before anyone from the main entrance has a chance to get back there. Both attractions are much closer to Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland than they are to the front of the Park. The prix fixe aspect is interesting as well – breakfast is expected to cost $19.99 per adult and $11.99 per child, which is significantly more expensive than any quick service breakfast, most table service breakfasts, and most breakfast buffets without characters (The Wave and Captain’s Grille, for example). Breakfast is expected to include beverages and a pastry basket. On the other hand, 20 bucks per adult is significantly less expensive than character breakfasts at Crystal Palace ($26.99/adult $14.99/child) or Cinderella’s Royal Table ($~55/adults $~33/kids). Breakfast was originally going to be an a la carte affair, but doing things like this will maximize revenue and guarantee people aren’t just hanging out inside the quick service for 30 minutes without ordering anything before hauling it over to Mine Train at 8:45am.

The website will hopefully secure a reservation and grab breakfast there early next week, after they get a chance to work out the initial wrinkles. The blogs tend to visit on the first day and come away with problems that are never seen again. We should have a better idea about what to expect next Tuesday or Wednesday. As far as whether you should try to secure a Be Our Guest breakfast for a date sometime in the future…my recommendation would be to book it tomorrow if you think there’s a chance you’ll do it. If it sucks, you can easily cancel it online, via the app, or by phone.

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Disney made some changes to Magic Kingdom’s operating schedule over the first week in September. With Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party officially kicking off on September 15th, Disney has extended the close from 7pm to 10pm and added Electrical Parades and Wishes to most dates over the first week. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the dates in question revert back to 10pm closes in the future, but if you want to be certain that you can attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you would want to schedule your vacation to include September 15th or a Party date sometime thereafter. A preview of the updated crowd calendar follows the list of changes:

Tuesday September 1:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Wednesday September 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-9pm.

Thursday September 3:

  • No changes.

Friday September 4:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Saturday September 5:

  • No changes.

Sunday September 6:

  • No changes.

Monday September 7:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Click the image to enlarge it.

A pretty PDF calendar is available here: http://www.easywdw.com/sept15-v3.pdf. A few changes were necessary with the extended closes and additional nighttime entertainment. If you’ve already set up the perfect dining reservations with the perfect itinerary, you don’t necessarily need to change your whole plan of attack with the low overall crowd level. Those with some flexibility might want to change a couple things.

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Disney updated the July operating schedule today. The full July operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_july.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version. The updates are almost exclusively longer operating hours and additional nighttime entertainment at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. We should see extensions at Animal Kingdom in the future. Last year, Animal Kingdom never closed before 7pm in July with many 8pm closes. Disney may not officially extend the hours until mid-June. An FAQ follows the list of changes.

Wednesday July 1:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Thursday July 2:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Friday July 3:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-1am from 9am-12am. Second Festival of Fantasy Parade added at 12pm, in addition to 3pm Parade. Main Street Electrical Parade moved to 10:15pm and 12:15am from 10pm.

Saturday July 4:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-1am from 9am-12am. Second Festival of Fantasy Parade added at 12pm, in addition to 3pm Parade. Main Street Electrical Parade moved to 10:15pm and 12:15am from 10pm.

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Disney made a few more changes to April’s operating schedule. Most are just an extra hour added to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_april.pdf.

Wednesday April 1:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-8pm from 9am-7pm.

Thursday April 2:

  • No changes.

Friday April 3:

  • No changes.

Saturday April 4:

  • No changes.

Sunday April 5:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-7pm from 9am-6pm.

Monday April 6:

  • No changes.

Tuesday April 7:

  • No changes.

Wednesday April 8:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 8am-8pm from 9am-7pm.

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Disney released the October 2015 operating schedule at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version of the document.

You’ll notice one thing right off the bat, which is that the Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are not listed for the first three days. We should see a morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom on Thursday, a morning Extra Magic Hour at Animal Kingdom on Friday, and a morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios and evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom on Saturday.

The bigger news is Magic Kingdom’s evening Extra Magic Hours moved to Wednesdays throughout the rest of the month. Magic Kingdom hasn’t hosted Extra Magic Hours on Wednesdays in the five years I’ve operated this site. Morning Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom have also moved from Thursdays to Mondays.

It makes sense. With four Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties scheduled every week, Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes are only scheduled on three nights – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Mondays and Saturdays are more crowded ordinarily due to the natural progression of where people want to be. Most casual vacationers arrive over the weekend and want to head to the Most Magical Place on Earth on their first full day, particularly when the operating hours are long and nighttime entertainment is offered. Saturdays are busier because people tend to leave on Sundays and want to spend their last day at Magic Kingdom, in addition to the fact Saturdays almost always offer long hours and both nighttime spectaculars. Local visitors also contribute to crowds on weekends.

The change in the Extra Magic Hours schedule is good and bad. Historically, the weekday (usually Wednesdays) with the nighttime spectaculars has been the best day of the week to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes. Wednesday should remain the best day of the week to see those shows, but the evening Extra Magic Hours are going to attract more resort guests and more people will be staying later with plans to “take advantage” of the EMH. Mondays and Saturdays should still prove more crowded with higher wait times. On the plus side, the morning Extra Magic Hour moving to Monday does add another Mickey’s Party date that will see Magic Kingdom as the most recommended Park on Thursdays. Thursdays with morning Extra Magic Hours and Mickey’s Parties have historically been “tentatively recommended” because the morning EMH complicates morning touring time for on-site visitors and puts off-site visitors at a major disadvantage. The removal of the morning EMH will negate these issues.

Epcot’s evening Extra Magic Hours move to Thursdays, which opens up Wednesdays as the best day of the week to visit. This is crucially important during the Food and Wine Festival, where Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are overwhelmingly more crowded than they would be otherwise. Historically, Mondays and Thursdays were the best days of the week to visit Epcot. This year, it will be Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s good news because with so much going on elsewhere this year, Epcot will be less crowded on Wednesdays than it would have been on Thursdays had the Extra Magic Hours schedule not changed. If that makes any sense.

The preliminary October Crowd Calendar should be available tonight or tomorrow. I already have daily crowd projections – it’s just a matter of making the calendar and checking to see if there are more pressing updates that need to be made.

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Just a heads up for those visiting this weekend: Hollywood Studios will be open until 11pm on March 14th. The previous close was 9:30pm. Hollywood Studios will open at 8am instead of 9am on Sunday March 15th.

We should see the initial release of October 2015′s operating schedule tomorrow or Monday, along with major changes to July’s operating hours and a few changes to April.

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Via a Disney Parks Blog announcement, Disney confirmed the return of the popular 24-hour day over Memorial Day Weekend, beginning at 6am on Friday May 22nd and ending at 6am on Saturday May 23rd. It’s a strange promotion because Memorial Day Weekend is already naturally crowded and the long operating hours stress out cast members that are already looking forward to an excruciatingly hot, busy summer season. This year, Disney’s Tomorrowland movie will open on the 22nd, but the in-Park tie-in remains Olaf and Frozen.

Anyway, the novelty of these events is the late night, with peak crowds from 7pm-1am. Expect daytime crowds from 6am-6pm on Friday to be manageable should you already have plans to visit Magic Kingdom. By 8pm or so, Magic Kingdom’s parking lot should close to capacity with guests sent to Epcot to park and then take the monorail over. I’ve attended the event the last three years and never had any problems before 6pm on Friday. After that, it’s a fun atmosphere that isn’t really replicated any other day of the year. But it is hot, humid, and crowded after 8pm with more people in the Park than the wait times might indicate. This chart shows posted wait times from last year’s event should you have interest: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/24hourparty.xlsx.

The announcement should have a mild impact on the crowd calendar for that weekend. Magic Kingdom will remain recommended on Friday the 22nd through 6pm. After that, it’s going to be crowded and potentially difficult to park. Saturday should remain non-recommended due to the holiday, but you would be able to have a lot of success from 9am-12pm, not unlike any other day. It also looks like Disney is canceling the evening Extra Magic Hours on Saturday the 24th, though that is not yet confirmed.

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The September crowd calendar is going on three weeks late now. The problem is the operating schedule. Magic Kingdom is still slated to close at 7pm on September 1st, 4th, and 7th even though Disney’s “officially” released dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party do not include these dates. According to Disney, the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is September 15th. I’ve talked with over two dozen people with knowledge of the situation and the prevailing opinion is Disney is trying to sell these dates to businesses/organizations for after-hours parties/buy outs. And if they can’t do that, they’ll announce that “due to guest feedback/popularity,” Mickey’s Halloween Party has been added to September 1st, 4th, and 7th. We are strictly in rumor territory with those last two sentences, but the bottom line is that we don’t have anything better to go on than expecting Magic Kingdom to close at 7pm on those three dates in question.

I don’t expect any changes to the recommendations or crowd levels over the first two weeks from the preliminary crowd calendar. Preliminary daily analysis for the first two weeks of the month follows. The first revision for September should be finalized tomorrow – at least as close as we can get with the available information.

Tuesday September 1

Animal Kingdom: 9am – 5pm (Highly Recommended)

Epcot: 9am – 9pm (Not Recommended)

Morning Extra Magic Hour: 8am – 9am

Illuminations: 9pm

Hollywood Studios: 9am – 8pm (Not Recommended)

Fantasmic: 8:30pm

Magic Kingdom: 9am – 7pm (Most Recommended)

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Private after-hours party

Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: None, Wishes Fireworks: None

Animal Kingdom is highly recommended. We don’t have special events, Extra Magic Hours, or anything specific drawing people toward it. Sunday’s and tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hours will be more popular with Disney resort guests. It’s early enough in the week that many people on weeklong vacations will be saving Animal Kingdom for later in the week. To have the most success, arrive prior to Park opening and head straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. You’ll have no trouble riding both with very low waits before 10am. Once you get through these two attractions, you have little to worry about other than trying to get to the scheduled shows. Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King do get busy during the afternoon shows, so try to see the first or last show of the day. You’ll also want to get to DinoLand USA before 10:30am to ride Primeval Whirl and DINOSAUR because those two attractions are popular. Still, they aren’t necessarily your top morning priorities. You should have no trouble experiencing most everything Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day, provided you arrive early in the morning, tour efficiently, use FastPass+ intelligently, and keep an eye on the time in order to see the scheduled stage shows. Finally, crowds disperse around 3pm. Plan to stay through close because waits will only get shorter as it gets later in the evening. Visit DinoLand after 3pm and Asia after 4pm to find much lower waits than the afternoon.

Epcot is not recommended. Disney is extremely successful at selling the Extra Magic Hours program in its marketing materials. Even people that have no idea what “Soaring” is and think they’ll be riding the monorail from Animal Kingdom to Epcot know about Extra Magic Hours. Even when overall crowds are low, Disney still enjoys 85% occupancy over 25,000 rooms resort-wide. And guess where a lot of those 75,000+ people are going to be headed? Skip it unless you can’t get there any other day or are certain you’ll arrive prior to 8am for the morning Extra Magic Hour and plan to either Park Hop elsewhere or take a break in the afternoon.

Hollywood Studios is not expressly recommended. The short hours at Magic Kingdom will be a big turn off for many and off-site visitors in particular will be looking toward Fantasmic and Toy Story Mania after spending yesterday at Magic Kingdom. I’m looking towards tomorrow and Thursday as a significantly better days to visit and I would hold off until then if possible. With nothing specific attracting anyone to the Studios and the relatively low overall crowd level, you can still do well with an early arrival and an efficient touring plan, but most people will want to take advantage of one of the best days of the week to visit Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm and doesn’t offer either nighttime spectacular during regular Park hours because it’s hosting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This will deter the majority of casual vacationers who prefer to visit when the Park is open later and the fireworks are scheduled during regular hours, even if they don’t plan to take advantage of either. Many guests equate longer hours to a better value for their money. Unfortunately, the heavier crowds that show up on those days lead to longer lines at rides, stores, and quick services, in addition to increased congestion in walkways and fuller shows. I can assure you that a 9am – 7pm day at Magic Kingdom is plenty long and you’ll be able to get more done in those 10 hours than you possibly could hope to on a non-recommended day with 9am – 10pm hours because wait times are so much shorter park-wide. If you’re looking to extend your day, consider taking the monorail or boat to one of the Deluxe resorts. The Wave, Kona Café, ‘Ohana, and Whispering Canyon are all fun casual table service restaurants. For a nicer (and more expensive) meal, consider California Grill, Citricos, or Artist Point. Otherwise, stay through 7pm because crowds will only dissipate with few people Park Hopping over in the afternoon. Just about everyone arriving for the Halloween Party will congregate on Main Street waiting for the Party or head to a character to get in line. Save Fantasyland for after 6pm to find lower waits than any part of the day other than the first hour. With only one day at the Park, you’ll need to decide whether putting up with heavier crowds and longer lines is worth seeing the nighttime entertainment.

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Just a heads up in case you were looking, Disney released more FastPass+ for Wishes. More info about the location etc. is available here.

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As expected, Disney is raising prices on theme park tickets effective Sunday February 22nd. New pricing is as follows. The big change is that No Expiration tickets will no longer be sold.

1-Day to Magic Kingdom

  • Adult: $105
  • Child: $99

1-Day to Animal Kingdom, Epcot, or Hollywood Studios

  • Adult: $97
  • Child: $91

2-Day Ticket

  • Adult: $192
  • Child: $179

3-Day Ticket

  • Adult: $275
  • Child: $256

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