Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/regis.jpg. We’ll head out to Magic Kingdom on the afternoon of February 16th, 2013. The crowd calendar is ratcheted up to a “9″ this weekend due to the President’s Day Weekend crowd. Magic Kingdom is our “worst Park to visit” while “another crowd calendar website” lists Magic Kingdom as their “Best Park” with an overall crowd level of “7 out of 10.” I’m not saying which one was right, I’m just saying that Magic Kingdom was about five cars shy of a capacity closure.
I tried to take similar pictures as our last visit on Wednesday afternoon, when Magic Kingdom was the most recommended Park with an overall crowd level of “5.” Unfortunately, I was on the other side of the monorail. What you see in the distance is the line for the Resort Monorail.
It was previously backed up all the way to the resort boat launch, but a monorail had just left and the crowd inched closer. You’d be waiting 45+ minutes to board.
The backup for the Express Monorail. It’s 4:08pm, so we’re about 20 minutes earlier than last time. These are the sorts of backups you see when Disney World is actually crowded. The last couple of weeks are generally when poor websites like this one take some heat. The last couple of weeks in January through this past Wednesday were “literally” some of the least crowded that we’ll see this year. That doesn’t necessarily mean Disney World “isn’t crowded.” With over 120 million visitors a year and four of the top ten most visited theme parks in the world, you could say that Disney World is always crowded. To a point, that’s true. It is always crowded. Average attendance at Magic Kingdom is around 48,000 people, which is just shy of Yankee Stadium’s capacity. So I’ll admit when I get comments like:
“I’m sorry but your calendar is wrong, you have listed the last week of January is one of the least crowded, well we just returned from Disney after a week there and it was packed, lines up to an hour wait!!!!”
I chuckle a little bit. Lines up to an hour long! If you haven’t been to Disney World over the last couple of years when the crowd level is an 8+, you really have no idea what Disney crowds can actually “feel” like. You’ll be able to get an idea based on some of the following pictures, but they don’t really capture the “feeling.” But one other thing you might notice is that there aren’t always a lot more people out and about. Like in Tomorrowland, the walkway doesn’t look a whole lot different than it did on Wednesday, even though the wait at Space Mountain is 165 minutes today and 10 minutes on Wednesday. Or in Fantasyland, the wait for it’s a small world is 45 minutes, compared to 5 minutes on Wednesday. But the walkway is similarly cramped on both days. That goes back to ride capacities and how many people are exiting Space Mountain or it’s a small world and then looking for something else to do. As I’ve said before, the same number of people are exiting Space Mountain and looking for something else to do when the wait is 10 minutes or 110 minutes.
Like last time, there weren’t any crowds outside the turnstiles. Maybe it isn’t crowded after all!
Live! with Kelly and Michael will be taping here in Town Square over the next couple of days. I’m not sure why I’m not a featured guest. I am available.
40 minutes of Wednesday’s wait time for the Princesses transferred over to Mickey. He is pleased.
FASTPASSes were already gone for the Princesses, despite the 1am close. For “True Love Week,” the princesses are meeting with their princes, causing wait times to balloon.
Look! There’s nobody here!
Oh, they’re all in line. 70 minutes for Buzz, 120 for Space, 65 for Speedway, 90 for Pooh, etc. are all pretty ugly.
I guess we could go see the Tiki Room. But 50 minutes for Mansion, 45 for Pirates, and 90 for Big Thunder don’t sound promising.
Casey’s Corner was rocking an extended queue outside. I had never seen that before.
It can get worse though. Swiss Family is only backed up half way across the bridge. On the “bananas crowds” scale, President’s Week is “moderately bananas.” Easter is “really bananas” and Christmas is “totes bananas (totally bananas).” Summer is “pretty bananas.”
Aladdin was using its full queue.
With the queue spilling outside. We’ll be seeing a lot of this today. It may remind you of Extended Queue Saturdays in the fall during the Mickey’s Party circuit.
FASTPASS return at Jungle Cruise was again backed up all the way out here, but the posted wait was 75 minutes instead of 35.
I didn’t know the Pirates of the Caribbean queue could wrap around the left side of the building. But it can.
This is the start. A 60 minute posted wait. It gets worse, but not much. Part of the queue is under refurbishment, which is the reason that it’s backed up this far.
The Pirate Tutorial stage was out of refurbishment, causing more congestion in Adventureland.
But despite the 60 minute wait for Pirates, it isn’t all that bad out here.
And ahead. A surprising number of people in line for bottled beverages at Golden Oak.
That’s a decent amount of exposed concrete.
The scene outside Big Thunder is remarkably similar to Wednesday’s.
The differences being that this is the start of the FASTPASS return line, the standby wait is 95 minutes (compared to 30), and FASTPASS return is three hours in the future instead of 40 minutes. Even over Easter/Thanksgiving last year I had never seen such a backup.
Br’er Bear spent some time lamenting his attraction was closed before snubbing this family of a hug. Hopefully they won’t sue.
Splash looked to be in about the same shape as it was a couple of days ago with about a month of refurbishment time left. As someone who doesn’t understand construction work schedules, you’d think they could pick things up a bit and shorten the time it takes to redo it.
A 20 minute wait for a Turkey Leg.
Things are a little more congested than usual in Frontierland, but there’s always a lot of people walking through here.
So you’re actually looking at where the Haunted Mansion queue starts. A cast member is holding up a sign that marks it. Do you see it?
A 50 minute posted wait compared to the walk-on we saw on Wednesday.
Lanterns have been added at URINE. The open is slated for a week from Monday.
Remember when we walked on it’s a small world with a 5 minute posted wait?
Yeah…that ain’t happening today. The line wraps around and around outside before wrapping around and around inside. 45 minute posted wait.
While it’s true that I’m just a big meanie blogger, I’ll admit I felt kind of bad walking by Peter Pan’s Flight. A little girl was walking hand in hand with her grandma and asked, “What’s that?” while pointing to Peter Pan. Grandma responded, “I don’t know.” They probably had no idea they’d be paying peak season pricing for moderately bananas crowds.
Pressing forward, you can’t really tell that the FASTPASS return line for Peter Pan’s Flight stretches back to Prince Regal Carousel.
A few more people than usual, but this is what it’s going to look like most days.
It’s 4:50pm, so FASTPASS return for Little Mermaid is over five hours out.
Not much has changed at the Mine Train site. You’d think it would be done sooner if they actually worked on it!
The line for Enchanted Tales with Belle was longer than I’d ever seen it – spilling outside down to stroller parking. The posted wait was 70 minutes, which is probably an underestimation. I think you could conservatively expect to spend two hours in line.
Apparently this is how busy it has to be for a line to form outside the door at the closet that is Gaston’s Tavern.
The posted wait for Mermaid was 120 minutes, which is still most likely exaggerated, though it’s hard to say with so many returning with FASTPASSes.
It didn’t “feel” any more crowded than usual back here, which I thought was surprising.
But that was because the walkway that connects Enchanted Forest with Storybook Circus was open. Due to construction, it usually isn’t open.
The back side of construction.
110 minutes is probably exaggerated by 60, but I’m not going to risk it.
95 at Barnstormer.
The wait for Minnie/Daisy is almost always longer than Goofy/Donald.
As “crowded” as today is, Easter is going to be worse.
Today’s crowds would actually be a bit worse if not for the cold weather. Saturday’s low was 34 degrees. As I write this at 4:19pm on Sunday, it’s 54 degrees. That’s basically sub-arctic temperatures for Florida. I’m wearing pants – something I don’t usually do.
Compared to five minutes on a “not crowded day.”
Most of these congestion problems in Fantasyland will be alleviated once the Mine Train opens. And the area outside Peter Pan will be a lot less congested come next week when the walkway outside Rapunzel Rapunzel opens.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and Friar’s Nook was open. I think this is the only quick service establishment on property that I haven’t eaten at.
Friar’s Nook is very rarely open. If it is open, you know that it’s “crowded.”
Despite standing in a lot of quick service lines over the years, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone order a “hot tea” before. But it seemed like everyone in line was after that or hot cocoa.
Deeming the Teriyaki Chicken Nuggets with Freshly Made Potato Chips -$8.19 bloggable enough, I went ahead and ordered.
Generally speaking, if you’ve had one Disney Chicken Nugget, you’ve had them all. But these are dipped in a sweet, tangy teriyaki sauce. I give them credit for not calling them “boneless wings” like they do over at Animal Kingdom. The eight nuggets are served over a bed of potato chips with wasabi peas sprinkled on top. Served piping hot, I thought these were quite good. They seem to do the potato chips better here and at Tamu Tamu Refreshments than Diamond Horseshoe, Tomorrowland Terrace, and elsewhere. Or I’ve just had better luck there. The chips were nice and crunchy, though the sauce covered a few of them, causing them to soften up. This probably would not be an entree I would seek out, but it would certainly be a nice, quick snack in the middle of the day. Or if you have a person in your group that likes chicken nuggets, but wants to mix it up a little bit, they’re here. Unless it’s a busy Saturday or a holiday, don’t expect Friar’s to be open though.
Just to be sure the crowds hadn’t dissipated, I headed back over to Fantasyland just after 5:30pm. Pan’s wait is still 90 minutes.
And the unfortunate line at it’s a small world.
One perk of the chilly weather is the alternative outfits for some of the characters.
You almost never see Bert with Mary – and Mary almost never meets in this outfit.
Tomorrowland “feels” about as busy as usual with not a whole lot of people out and about.
But that’s a 65 minute wait for Tomorrowland Speedway, compared to ten on Wednesday around the same time.
And a 165 minute wait for Space Mountain. I can’t imagine waiting over two and a half hours for a ride, especially one as painful as Space. FASTPASS is out to midnight.
While I usually consider the 35 minute wait for Astro Orbiter absurd, it’s actually one of the shortest waits in the Park right now.
PeopleMover line starts here.
And a 75 minute wait for Buzz. FASTPASS was out to 7:30pm – 8:30pm at 5:43pm, which is about as far out as I’ve ever seen it.
Even the FASTPASS return line winds around outside.
You may remember Easter last year when the line for Stitch was backed up all the way across the bridge. Things aren’t quite that bad today.
Amusingly(?) the Express Monorail and ferry boat were both down when I exited. The Express Monorail reopened a couple of minutes after I took this picture, but it would have been a sour way to end the day. When something like this happens, Disney starts running buses from Stop 18 to the Transportation and Ticket Center. So ask if that’s available if you see a scene similar to this one. You’d be waiting at least an hour for the Resort Monorail here – it would be wiser to walk to the Contemporary and get on the Monorail there. You might want to stop for a drink.
So that’s what a busy day in February looks like. You’ll notice that there are a similar number of people around, even with wait times that are 10x longer than Wednesday. That goes back to the fact that there are 40,000 more people in line today than there were on Wednesday. The good news is that all of these people will be gone by Sunday, resulting in low crowds again beginning the 24th. Things will be fairly quite until March 8th. March 10th – 16th is looking to be one of the busiest of the year. The 17th – 23rd is looking better and then it’s Easter.