We’ll set out for Magic Kingdom for lunch at Tony’s with a stop planned at Fairytale Hall.
Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/flo.jpg. The exterior of the Villas section next to the Grand Floridian looks to be just about done.
A poor look through the Ironmanorail at the front entrance.
In back, a long covered walkway connects the Villas to the pool area and may end up going all the way around the back to the main building. I was concerned about getting my tuxedo wet on the stroll back to the Villas from my nightly meal at V&A’s, so this is a welcome surprise.
Construction was putting the finishing touches on the balconies.
A look back from the path that connects the Grand Floridian and Polynesian. The roof color may be a little different depending on the angle of viewing. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/polybeachgf.jpg.
Construction also continues on the new bus loop outside Magic Kingdom.
This plant continues saving lives.
It might be too artsy.
Halloween is in full swing at Magic Kingdom as we inch toward Halloween via September:
It’s the same as last year and the year before that and the year before that etc. but who is keeping track.
The excitement that is curb refurbishment has oozed from The Emporium side over to The Confectionery side.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is located in…you guessed it…Town Square right inside the entrance on the right.
Check-in is located in the lobby of Town Square Theater. The entrance to the Mickey Meet is just a few feet to the right.
Tony’s is loosely based on the restaurant from the film, Lady and the Tramp. Or as Disney describes it:
Step inside this charming turn-of-the-century trattoria on Main Street, U.S.A., with its whitewashed balustrades, French doors and expansive front porch, which offers a fantastic view of evening parades. Take in the classic 1955 film Lady and the Tramp playing in the lobby and pictures of the 2 pooches gracing the wall.
Hopeless romantics are bound to gush over the central fountain depicting the cute canine couple, and more characters and scenes from the movie get you in the mood for food, friends, fun times and perhaps even amore!
The movie plays on mute on a very small, but very magical television in the lobby. I mean…Lady and the Tramp, one of Walt Disney’s classic animated films, readies kids and adults alike for the enchanting experience ahead of them at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park™.
The website prefers a relaxing table service meal for not a whole lot more money than a quick service meal. A pizza here is about $5 more than Pinocchio Village Haus, the Meatball Sliders are about $3 more than a Disney Meatball Sub, and a salad is about $5 more expensive than its quick service counterpart.
Dinner menu available here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/tonys-town-square-restaurant/menus/. Most of the less expensive pizzas and sandwiches are replaced by more expensive items like a $29.99 steak and $24.99 Lamb Shank. But six items priced $19.99 or less remain.
Tony’s offers several seating sections, including raised seating out on the patio with a view of the parade should it pass while you dine. You can see how popular it is during the day here in the middle of September. The view is generally okay as long as you’re looking for a pretty casual, detached experience. The characters are obviously not going to run up and kiss you like they might if you’re standing curbside. But it does alleviate the crowding aspect as long as you don’t mind turning your chair or your head.
Seating inside the solarium is not as uncomfortable as you might expect, even amid the afternoon heat.
It’s well air-conditioned with fans circulating air.
We were seated in the main dining room in front of the fountain and prepared for amore.
I think the seating and ambiance are most pleasant in the main dining room where the chairs have more back support and there’s the option of bench seating.
And it “feels” the most Lady-like.
Request a section at check-in if you have a preference. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the patio full, even during an Electrical Parade, but it’s always possible that tables out there won’t be available during a parade – particularly in cooler temperatures. Like most seating requests, go in with the thought that seeing the Parade will be a nice bonus, but you don’t necessarily want to rely on the view.
Lisa ordered the $12.49 Meatball Sliders – Meatballs cooked in Marinara Sauce topped with Provolone and Arugula on Focaccia Rolls.
The meatballs were spicier than your typical Disney quick service sub, but were far from overwhelming, The toasted focaccia retained all of its crunch, which was nice. The little sandwiches had not been sitting somewhere under a heat lamp causing the rolls to arrive soggy. Some additional marinara was spooned on top of each roll, in addition to the arugula, which added more color than flavor.
The Sliders were accompanied by the same Disney chips that have invaded most orifices of Disney dining.
These were a pretty boring potato chip that didn’t have a lot of flavor. There is no mention of them on the menu as far as I can tell. It would be nice if you had the option of a side salad or something instead.
The Meatball Sub served at Pinocchio Village Haus, Electric Umbrella, Pizza Planet, and elsewhere costs $9.19 and is generally served alongside a bag of chips, fries, or side Caesar salad. In my opinion, Tony’s Sliders, at a $3 premium, are worth the additional expense.
I ordered Joe’s Artisinal Pizza – Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Peppers, and Onions garnished with fresh basil – $15.99.
I don’t think the pictures portray how good it was. It wasn’t quite as good as Via Napoli, due to lower quality meat, but it was pretty close. I realize this might be a crazy assertion, but I enjoyed this more than the flatbreads at California Grill, Jiko, The Wave and elsewhere and more than the pizzas at Mama Melrose or any quick service. The crust was the perfect mix of crunchy and chewey and there were a ton of pepperoni and sausage. While it’s about $6 more than a quick service pizza or flatbread, it’s easily one and a half times more food.
Service was quick and efficient. We arrived and checked in at 1:55pm and were back on Main Street by 2:45pm. That isn’t much longer than a quick service meal would take, particularly around peak lunch time. We enjoyed Tony’s, particularly considering the bum rap it tends to get. For not a whole lot more money than a quick service meal at Pinocchio Village Haus or elsewhere, you can relax and let somebody else take care of you for a little while. This is not fine dining, but compared to what else is available at Magic Kingdom, you could do a lot worse.
To some amount of pomp and circumstance, Disney unveiled Prince Eric’s Village Market on September 5th.
It’s a market because there are bins in front of it.
Prince Eric’s has a healthy slant. One can assume he keeps up on trends and pineapples and pickles are on the up and up:
I’m not so sure these Odwalla sugar-bombs fit the bill of “healthy,” but it’s possible the chance of e-coli poisoning causes the body not to store any of the calories or sugar, making it basically a zero-calorie product. This sucker has 220 calories, 44 grams of sugar, and the third ingredient on the list is water. Conversely, a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola has 120 calories, 39 grams of sugar, and fewer carbohydrates. Please don’t try to lecture us on “the difference between the sugars.”
I’m all for fruit and health, but this cup of old fruit and preservatives is literally what you get for $3.59. Six bites of melon?
Three bites of pineapple? That’ll cost you $4.29
One piece of pineapple, a strawberry, and two grapes? $3.29.
For less money, you can get a gigantic cookie or cake pop. Add less than a buck and a Halloween cupcake is yours. If Disney was really serious about Mickey Checks and healthy dining, they’d be serving pineapple skewers two-for-a-dollar. But they’re not.
The $3.99 Shaved Ice they served Lisa was terrible. It was basically an ice cube with syrup squeezed on top – all of which slid off the top and pooled at the bottom. She threw most of it away.
My frozen lemonade was not much better, but it was at least more convenient to carry around until it melted a bit. It was just an ice cube with syrup.
Their tilt. Not mine. Luckily, far less healthy items are available just a few steps away.
This cart is located to the right of Bonjour Gifts.
And diabeetus and/or a heart attack is always available at Gaston’s.
The big news(!1!!!) is, of course, the princess move from Town Square Theater to Fairytale Hall.
Mickey now meets alone beside the MyMagic+ Service Center, which will probably be the most popular attraction here once Magic+ rolls out to more resorts early next month.
FASTPASS distribution for the Princesses has moved to the Peter Pan’s Flight machines, which are located to the left of the ride in Fantasyland.
You may remember Fairytale Hall looking rather majestic prior to opening.
That pretty facade is marred somewhat by the extended queue entrance and the people standing in front of it confused about which of the three or four lines they’re supposed to enter.
Your experience begins outside in the extended queue.
The backside of Cinderella Castle is fallout city for the evening fireworks show. Disney has its bases covered with these screens that are rolled down prior to the show.
The magic of the Hall is diminished somewhat by the baseball jersys, Nikons, Mickey balloons, and jean shorts.
We entered the queue right at 7pm and the line was backed out all the way to the extended queue outside.
In 19 minutes, we managed to make it this far. While in line, we saw a lot of people squeezing through the railing on the right in order to exit the queue. We were not real sure why at the beginning. As it turns out, there is really no way to exit the queue once you’re inside, other than to retrace your footsteps through the narrow queue. The queue is just wide enough for an ECV to sort of be able to drive through, but it doesn’t give much room for someone to weasel their way by should they wish to exit. Or meet the rest of their party ahead of them, as others found out.
The queue is really loud. Without exaggerating, it’s as loud as a packed Disney bus if it was somehow possible to fit twice as many people in that same space. It was so loud, I insisted we leave the queue, even though I “needed” pictures inside. And we weren’t the only ones. We watched at least a dozen people in front of us leave and another dozen behind us had left before we did.
So we walked over to Mickey’s PhilharMagic via the wall that currently encloses most of Pinocchio Village Haus.
Village Haus and the bathrooms to the right of it remain open during the patio refurbishment.
We made it just in time to miss the previous show, which meant it would be ten minutes until the next one. After we were seated, there was an announcement that the show could not be run and we were to exit to the right. It seemed like it was going to be one of those nights when nothing goes right. In fact, right after the announcement, a father behind us magically cussed Walt Disney World out, exclaiming that this was the third time something like this had happened today. It turned out someone had collapsed inside the theater on the walk toward the exit and laid face down while the rest of us walked past. After whining a bit initially, I “felt” bad about doing so. And as an American, that’s enough.
It was 7:35pm, so we strolled over to Haunted Mansion for a quick ride before Wishes. There was no line, but the standby queue is forced to walk through the interactive queue. FastPass+ users are forced to bypass the interactive queue. Prior to the arrival of FastPass+, guests had the option to walk through the interactive queue or head straight to the mansion entrance. This was nice because people in the interactive queue understood others wanted to do the same. Now when there is not much of a line, some guests are hurried through the interactive queue and others are annoyed that some people have stopped in their tracks to press buttons.
Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/needatripodbad.jpg. The view of Wishes from Kingdom Crossing is not exactly ideal, but it’s a fun location if you’ve seen the show several times. Some of the fireworks are shot behind the Rapunzel bathrooms, which makes for some loud booms and you’ll have to turn your head to the right to see some of the fireworks over the Castle. One bonus of seeing the show from over here is that you’re just a minute or two walk to Peter Pan’s Flight or another attraction. In our case, we were headed back to Fairytale Hall, hoping the wait would be shorter.
This is the original jpg file straight out of the camera. It was achieved by placing the camera on a ledge, setting the ISO to 100 and the F-number to 8, and pressing the regular shutter release. 30 seconds later I got this. A shot pointing up a bit certainly would have been nice.
During and immediately after Wishes is a great opportunity to get in line for an attraction (and possibly two) that usually has long lines because the fireworks pull so many people toward Main Street. When Magic Kingdom is open after Wishes concludes, you’ll find significantly shorter lines than the afternoon through close. On this particular evening, Wishes was scheduled at 8pm and Magic Kingdom was open until 9pm. After catching Wishes from Kingdom Crossing, we walked through Fantasyland past Peter Pan’s Flight, which had a 10-minute posted wait and virtually nobody in line. From Main Street, you’d be fighting the masses toward Fantasyland or another area.
By this time, there was virtually nobody in line on either side of Fairytale Hall. There are two separate lines here. One line leads to Cinderella and a visiting princess (Aurora) and the other leads to Rapunzel and a visiting princess (Snow White).
There are two sets of wait times – one set is listed at the front of the extended queue and the other is posted above the attraction. Expect these wait times to get a bit more accurate moving forward. When we first arrived, the electronic wait time said 60 minutes for Rapunzel and ten for Cinderella, while the manual wait time signs said 50 for Rapunzel and 30 for Cinderella.
Rapunzel does seem to be more popular than Cinderella. FASTPASSes for Rapunzel are flying out with return times all the way out to 1pm – 2pm by 9:30am. And they were gone before noon on September 20th, which should be one of the top five least busy days of the year.
If you enter the line and it’s backed up all the way out here, you’re going to be waiting 45 to 60 minutes, no matter what the wait time out front says. This is what the line looked like when the electronically posted wait was 10 minutes. One other thing to keep in mind is that long posted waits are not necessarily to your disadvantage. When the posted wait is ten minutes for one line and 60 minutes for the other, people that don’t necessarily care which princess they meet get in line for the 10-minute line, potentially causing it to be longer than the line posted 60 minutes. Despite the 50 minute difference in posted waits, the actual line for Cinderella was longer than Rapunzel.
In typical Disney 2k13 fashion, Fairytale Hall is extensively detailed.
It “feels” like you’ve walked into a place worthy of the princesses.
Paintings of various princesses that don’t actually appear (yet?) are hung on the walls, in addition to the regulars.
At the front of the line, Cinderella’s glass slipper is on display.
This is an extremely popular photo opportunity, but you won’t have a chance to do so until you reach the front of the line and the cast member designates your group to head in to meet the princesses. Be prepared to move quickly because cast will try to hustle you out of the area and into your room. FASTPASS users bypass this area completely.
Both princesses meet in the same room. Cinderella is to our right.
Cast were letting people spend as much time with the princesses as they wanted.
There was only one attendant covering both princesses.
This family elected to act out scenes from Sleeping Beauty.
This guy brought flowers for each princess, among other things, and had the entire six-minute ordeal recorded on his iPad.
Basically the life of the dazney blogger.
Lighting is actually pretty good inside the hall.
Straight out of the camera. Aurora was pretty concerned about whether she was going to be able to unlink her MagicBand from Prince Phillips’s account. Being of royal upbringing, he is not much of a planner and they are consistently shut out at Toy Story Mania and other popular attractions because he doesn’t plan their trips into the Parks 60 days out. I explained that doing what you want to do with MyMagic+ is impossible, but I’d be more than happy to add her to my account. If you know what I mean.
Both rooms have nearly identical setpieces separating the princesses.
The book is open to Tale 53, an homage to the attraction Fairytale Hall replaces.
Snow White in the original German – a nice touch.
Other “Disney” fairytales.
Even the artwork is based on scenes from Sleeping Beauty.
For the most part, Fairytale Hall is a home run. Theming exceeds any other meet and greet environment here at WDW. The only problem I have is the noise in the queue. I don’t want to exaggerate and say it’s “unbearable,” but it caused us to exit the queue. And I’ve never done that before, particularly when I was in line specifically to take pictures of a new attraction.
Fitting in the princesses may be tough. There are two separate lines. In the future, that means you’re going to have to burn two FastPass+ experiences or be prepared to wait. If you’re headed to the princesses first, a line may have already developed by the time you finish up with the first set of princesses. Obviously, heading here first thing in the morning or during Wishes or the Electrical Parade will result in the shortest waits possible. But that’s true at numerous other priorities, like Enchanted Tales with Belle, Merida, Tinker Bell, Indy Speedway, Astro Orbiter, Space Mountain, etc. If you can get here very early or late, you’ll be in the best shape. Rapunzel is more popular, so visit her first in the morning or last at night. FastPass is also an option, but you’ll need one for both sets of characters and they’re attached to the rest of the system. On the plus side, Fairytale Hall should help pull people away from other attractions in the morning, most notably Enchanted Tales and Peter Pan’s Flight. I’ll update as more information streams in.
The Cinderella side lets guests out into Sir Mickey’s, while the Rapunzel side lets guests out outside.
We got in line for Rapunzel at 8:14pm and made it through both sets of princesses and were on our way by 8:42pm, even with loverboy and the family of George Clooneys.
Space Mountain closed for three short, 4-day refurbishments already in September and will be closed from September 23rd through the 26th. This was the first time in years I’ve disembarked Space without hurting all over. I don’t want to give it the “green light” quite yet, but the ride was surprisingly smooth, at least compared to the bone rattling turns and drops from before the refurbishment.
Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/castleb.jpg. Almost.
There are a lot more updates to write.