After reading about how crazy crowded(!!!!!!!) Disney World has been over the last couple of weeks, I figured I would set out to Magic Kingdom to see what all of the hullabaloo was about. I’ll admit that sometimes I wonder if I’m at the right Disney World. Am I accidentally visiting a Chinese knockoff? Is there is a glitch in the Matrix? Is the camera blind in its left eye? I don’t have the answers to these questions.
Looks doable, but the crowd outside the turnstiles often isn’t a good gauge of how crowded it is inside. It’s 4:26pm, which isn’t a popular time of day to be arriving. Magic Kingdom is today’s most recommended Park. The website’s usual advice is to hit the Park hard in the first two hours of operation, take it easy for a couple of hours, take a break from 1pm to 5pm or so, and then return in the evening. So this is around the time you might be heading back.
It’s “True Love Week” for Limited Time Magic. This is about the extent of the decorations. The princesses not named Belle are meeting alongside their princes and there is some extra Minnie Mouse stuff for purchase. And Minnie is meeting with Mickey, which is uncommon now that she’s moved out to Storybook Circus.
This is why the princes don’t ordinarily meet with the princesses. That’s a 100 minute wait for Rapunzel Flynn/Aurora Phillip/Cinderella Guy compared to a five minute wait for Mickey/Minnie. FASTPASSes are gone. Why the longer waits? It’s mostly due to an increase in interaction time. Not only do you have the guest interacting with the princess, but you’ve got the prince/princess chatting each other up too.
Nothing says “I love you” like the gift of planters. Remember that gentlemen. “Live! with Kelly and Michael” is taping here next week and the stage is covered up.
Heading up Main Street around 4:40pm. Wait times:
Looks manageable, but it could still “feel” crowded! Let’s investigate.
I didn’t look real hard, but I didn’t notice any other True Love Week decorations.
Deeming this photo “artsy” because it isn’t straight, I forwarded it to Mother for approval. She asked if it was tilted because I was drunk, but deemed it artsy nonetheless. Thanks mom. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/drunkcastlepic.jpg.
This one was less successful, probably because it isn’t tilted. Or zoomed in close enough. But that flower is supposed to be in focus with everything else blurrier.
Construction continues on the veranda where Ariel used to meet.
And part of the seating section for Aloha Isle.
The joys of FASTPASS with the return line spilling out the door. Jungle Cruise is a difficult queue to gauge because there are so many internal switchbacks. And they often don’t open them fast enough. So the standby line can spill outside with a straight shot to the boat and a ten minute wait or it can spill out the door with the queue completely full and a 100 minute wait.
My attempt to order a Pina Colada Slush from Sunshine Tree Terrace was thwarted by a broken machine. The $27 annual maintenance budget was probably eaten up by the Citrus Swirl. Maybe next year.
71.4% of the internal queue at Pirates of the Caribbean is behind walls for one reason or another – blame Obama, the upcoming Adventureland interactive game, queue modifications, or whatever else. They still operate both sides of the loading bay, so waits are the same regardless. Just don’t be too put off by a line that’s visible from here.
With the Pirate Tutorial stage still behind refurb walls, Adventureland doesn’t seem too crowded. The show still takes place across from the stage.
The waste of space that is Golden Oak Outpost was open, probably practicing ringing up bottled beverages for President’s Week.
On the plus side, it’s one of the easiest ways to pick up said beverage or satiate an unhealthy addiction to Disney chicken nuggets.
Splash Mountain’s facelift continues:
It should reopen as good as new next month.
A fairly nominal 30 minute wait for Big Thunder.
As I’ve mentioned before, the area out here in front of Big Thunder is one that almost always “feels” crowded, regardless of how many people are actually in the Park. But this looks pretty light. That’s a lot of concrete.
After another brief refurbishment, Naval Officer Duffy is back at the helm of the Riverboat.
Enjoy the concrete. When we visit next Monday, you’re not going to be able to see much.
Rapunzel’s Tower from across the River. We’ll take a closer look shortly.
Personally, I think it’s just a placeholder until Disney purchases the rights to Lord of the Rings and re-themes Fantasyland to Middle Earth. You heard it here first.
Talk about ruining refurbishment wall pictures with live entertainment!
And would somebody please cut down these trees already! They’re blocking my view of Cinderella Castle!
Not much of a crowd at Haunted Mansion – it’s 5:08pm and Magic Kingdom is open until 10pm with two Electrical Parades and Wishes.
Not sure if it’s obvious, but it’s a straight shot to the graveyard or a five-ish minute wait. 10 minutes posted.
I wasn’t going to order dinner at Columbia Harbour House, but there was no one in line, so I purchased the only thing I haven’t eaten here – the Anchors Aweigh Sandwich. You can take a look at the menu and catch up on my “reviews” of all the other items here.
Mother is about to have a heart attack as the Anchors Aweigh is a Tuna Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato. Historically, I don’t like tuna. Just the smell gives me a headache and I’m not usually finicky about such things. But now that I’m 750 pounds, I’ve tried to increase my consumption of lean proteins – tuna being one of them.
The sandwich was surprisingly enjoyable. It had very little fishy taste and was light on the mayo. The lettuce and tomato were fresh and provided a nice crisp crunch. The bread was perfectly toasted. I’ve honestly never had a tuna sandwich before in my life, so the experts may have to weigh in (GET IT? WEIGH IN? ANCHORS AWEIGH? Nevermind.) But I was happy with it. I didn’t think it was particularly filling, but I’m also used to Disney gut bombs.
I wasn’t entirely prepared to order when I walked up to the podium and forgot that I wanted the sandwich without a side, so I ended up with $1/ounce apples. As the label reads, they were crispy, juicy, and surprisingly flavorful for a bag full of old apple slices.
There wasn’t anyone else on the upper floor. Columbia Harbour House remains my favorite Magic Kingdom quick service even with Be Our Guest coming online. It’s a much more relaxing, much more convenient option with unique, fresh food. I’m not saying that you should skip Be Our Guest necessarily, but check out Columbia Harbour House if you haven’t.
I left the walkway uncropped to give you an idea about how large the area is in front of it. Lanterns now hang from posts that are bare in this picture. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/urine1.jpg.
The Internet says it opens February 25th.
Passing by it’s a small world, I noticed the five minute wait and decided to get in line. Next week, peak standby waits will be 30 to 50 minutes, compared to the ten minutes today.
An easy walk-on, as it usually is.
This website has not discussed FASTPASS+ much. I take more of a “wait and see” approach to this sort of thing. I don’t think there’s much use in fear mongering or gossiping about what FASTPASS+ and NextGen aren’t. Said tactics might bring in a few extra one-time visitors to the site or give us a platform for argument, but the entire discussion would only serve to confuse and infuriate. I’m confident that as educated theme park visitors, we’ll be able to use the new system to our benefit, much like the current FASTPASS system. While things will be a little different in the future, that doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be worse.
One piece of the puzzle that does give me pause is the addition of the FASTPASS system to attractions that have historically “not needed it,” like it’s a small world. Without FASTPASS, everyone in line is treated equally on a “first come, first served” basis. Once FASTPASS+ is deployed, there will be those in line with FASTPASS+ reservations that take precedence over those of us who don’t, much like how the current FASTPASS system works at attractions like Big Thunder Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight. So even though we’re knowledgeable theme park visitors who have reserved the most sought after FASTPASS+ reservations, there are going to be times when we have to get in line at attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a small world, Haunted Mansion, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor etc. and be at the mercy of the FASTPASS+ system.
Will people who selected FASTPASS+ reservations at it’s a small world or Haunted Mansion be using the system to their utmost advantage? Probably not. But when you’re waiting in the standby line while family after family arrives after you and boards before you, it’s going to “feel” a lot more frustrating.
One of the inherent problems with FASTPASS is that it isn’t a capacity increasing device. Take Toy Story Mania for example. Let’s be generous and say it has an hourly capacity of 1,000 riders. Over an average twelve hour day, that means there can be 12,000 total rides on Toy Story. Average Studios’ attendance is around 28,000 a day. That means less than half of the people that enter the Studios have an opportunity to ride Toy Story Mania. How many of those 12,000 rides are going to be reserved for FASTPASS+ reservations? With FASTPASS distribution being as high as 70% of the hourly capacity, you can get an idea about how difficult it is going to be to reserve a ride at Toy Story Mania. And then how is Disney going to distribute FASTPASS reservations? Certainly not an “egalitarian system,” where the reservations simply open up 30 days in advance at 6am. Will people staying at the Grand Floridian have first crack? Can you tap your MagicBand to a reader on the day of, pay an extra $5/person, and head to the front of the line? These are the sorts of questions that remain unanswered.
Capacity is also the reason why all of these “secondary attractions” are receiving FASTPASS+. There aren’t enough FASTPASS+ reservations to go around for the most sought after attractions like Toy Story, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Main Street Electrical Parade. So instead of Disney simply telling people that they’re out of FASTPASS+ reservations, they can sell them on the benefits of FASTPASS+ at it’s a small world and Spaceship Earth. We can also expect FASTPASS+ to deploy as a tiered system, where the most sought after attractions will be in the first tier, while lesser attractions will be in a second, third, or fourth tier. You’ll be able to select a certain number of attractions from each tier, so more guests can select a top attraction in addition to others.
But my real concern is these secondary attractions that will now have two (or more) classes of citizens. While we almost certainly won’t care about a FASTPASS+ reservation at it’s a small world, it seems like you can guarantee your standby wait is going to be longer than it is today, because people with FASTPASS+ reservations will be headed to their boat before you – even if they arrived 20 minutes after. But then will FASTPASS+ in turn take guests out of the standby line? Creating similar waits? We’ll see.
Anyway, it’s a small world!
I think most people have their favorite characters. One of mine is the panda.
And the yak. it’s a small world is so stereotyped/racist that I’m surprised it still exists in 2k13.
I admit I like the pink camel too. My dream is to purchase a camel and order a “therapy animal” license for it so I can ride it around Magic Kingdom.
The lazy eyed hippo is another favorite. I wish they could get this gal an eye exam.
I still don’t want to know.
How long until this fruit market is replaced by a margarita bar? And you use My Disney Experience to tell Disney which margarita you want waiting for you when you disembark the ride? Six months? Is heaven really that close?
Clowns. A world of tears is right.
These postcards in the last scene are new:
Supposedly they go back to the idea that you’ll be able to design your own creepy doll at home that will wave goodbye to you at the end of the ride. Has Bob Iger seen Child’s Play? Please don’t do this to me.
Fast forward a few days and this queue is completely full by 11am.
I’m expecting standby waits to be mostly unchanged at the current FASTPASS attractions once FASTPASS+ comes online.
Instead of guests returning with paper FASTPASSes, they’ll march through with their Gucci branded MagicBands.
Mine Train construction:
While it’s true Universal is building Transformers in record time, the fact remains that the ride is located in what currently looks like a large grey box in the middle of their theme park. Disney is taking about 6x as long to build a beautiful mountain in the back of their flagship theme park. We’ll see which one works better by the end of the year.
Speaking of FASTPASS+, Enchanted Tales with Belle currently operates without FASTPASS.
For whatever reason, waits continue to be exaggerated back here at Belle and Journey of the Little Mermaid. The actual wait is closer to 30 minutes. But once FASTPASS+ becomes operational and those in the standby line have to wait for family after family with FASTPASS+ reservations, you can see how a 60 minute wait will easily become reality. Low capacity, lengthy attractions like Enchanted Tales will most likely become the most sought after FASTPASS+ reservations.
We’ll return to Gaston’s Tavern.
Originally, Disney Parks Blog ran a story with the Roasted Pork Shank as a snack credit.
This is the original menu, where the logo was hastily removed. You can see that they have a newly printed menu now, but the cost of the Pork Shank has gone up a whopping $1.50, or 16.7%, since December.
I enjoyed mine quite a bit back in October, but the price increase certainly isn’t beckoning a second rodeo.
For six bucks, Disney will serve your instant hot cocoa in one of those “souvenir mugs” that are now available at Pinocchio Village Haus and Sleepy Hollow Refreshments with a different sticker.
Pinocchio Village Haus is currently hawking a “Pinocchio Punch,” an “All Natural Lemonade Topped with Wild Berry Foam” for $9.59 in one of these plastic cups.
My guess is Disney is hoping you won’t notice you can get a similar “souvenir stein” elsewhere. And those that do notice are more likely to want to “collect them all” and pay the $6 upcharge all over property.
I hadn’t ordered a LeFou’s Brew since the first day of the New Fantasyland soft openings back in October. I was not originally impressed. I took a sip of this one and thought it was quite tasty – sweet, cold, sugary, and distinctly apple in flavor. But that pleasant feeling subsided a bit as I continued to slurp and the flavor grew tiring. This isn’t much more than an apple-flavored Icee with a silly foam on top as far as I’m concerned. I’d still order one to share at first. It seems to be a pretty divisive beverage – some people love it, while others don’t. You might be able to say the same thing about Frozen Butterbeer. But I consider anyone that doesn’t like Frozen Butterbeer to be Un-American. Anyway, it gets just an “okay” from me. I wish Disney would have done something unique with it.
Flat out of the camera.
Same picture Instagram’d out.
I was trying to make the Brew look more epoch.
“Hershey Kiss” with a vignette.
And a cheers.
The FASTPASSes above were collected on February 13th. They’re arranged in the order they were collected from left to right with Pooh first and Space Mountain last. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports7/fastpassbig.jpg.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh FASTPASSes are still distributed next to Journey of the Little Mermaid at Mickey’s PhilharMagic. They print with a Surprise FASTPASS for Dumbo. I then walked to the yellow FASTPASS tent at the back of Storybook Circus to collect a FASTPASS for The Barnstormer, which printed even though I had already collected Pooh FASTPASSes. I then attempted to collect a second FASTPASS for Dumbo, but was denied because I already had the Dumbo FASTPASS that printed with Pooh. My original Pooh FASTPASS was for 6:30pm – 7:30pm, which means I should be able to collect another FASTPASS at 6:30pm. Note that the Barnstormer FASTPASS is for 7:35pm and states at the bottom that I won’t be able to collect another FASTPASS until 7:35pm. The Dumbo FASTPASS is also for 6:30pm. At 6:32pm, I attempted to collect another FASTPASS for Dumbo and it printed fine with a return time 40 minutes in the future. I then tried to collect another FASTPASS for Barnstormer and was denied. At 6:39pm, I collected FASTPASSes for Space Mountain. It printed because Dumbo isn’t connected to the system and it was after the original FASTPASS window for Pooh had opened.
So what does it mean?
- Pooh FASTPASSes still print with a Surprise FASTPASS for Dumbo. If you get a Surprise FASTPASS for Dumbo, you have to wait until the Dumbo window opens until you can obtain a second. Dumbo is otherwise detached from the FASTPASS system, meaning you can collect one at the yellow tent even if you have another FASTPASS for an attraction like Space Mountain or Peter Pan.
- Barnstormer is disconnected from the system, but FASTPASSes are only available at the yellow tent. You can ignore the “Another FASTPASS ticket will be available after…” time on the Barnstormer FASTPASS. You can collect another FASTPASS based on the original FASTPASS pulled.
- Once the original FASTPASS window opens (or it’s been two hours, whichever comes first), you can collect FASTPASSes for any other attraction, even if you have FASTPASSes for Dumbo and Barnstormer.
So what does that mean?
- You can collect FASTPASSes for any attraction, Dumbo, and Barnstormer at the same time.
Since it’s sort of confusing, I’m not even sure I should talk about it.
So that’s Magic Kingdom on the afternoon of a most recommended day in the middle of February. Things are going to get much busier next week, taper off a bit a week after, and then be busy from the second week in March through the Sunday after Easter.