Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/bandits.jpg. The last significant MyMagic+ test concluded late last month and management considers it an overwhelming success, with over 95% of testers rating their overall experience, “Excellent.” After several tests where the new system basically collapsed on itself within a couple of hours, the June test went off almost without a hitch. Testers reportedly loved the ability to schedule their favorite attractions in advance and overwhelmingly preferred using their MagicBands to enter the Parks and their rooms. And perhaps most importantly to Disney, guests using MagicBands spent significantly more money than the control group, which were guests in a similar demographic (similar number of stays, same room type, etc) that were not given access to MyMagic+.
Of course, these testers had access to the old FASTPASS system at the same time, a luxury that the rest of us won’t be able to take advantage of once the system finally goes online. In addition, testers could freely choose any three FASTPASS+ enabled attractions. They also had the ability to change their selections as they saw fit without any concern that FASTPASS+ wouldn’t be available at their selected attraction. When the system goes online, there won’t be an unlimited supply of FASTPASS+ opportunities at the most popular attractions, like Toy Story Mania and Soarin’. And because the test was limited, there were virtually no lines at the new FASTPASS+ attractions like Haunted Mansion and Disney Jr. A family of four that scheduled it’s a small world at 11am would likely be the only family entering the FASTPASS+ queue during that entire one hour time period. But these concerns are of no consequence to the number crunchers that only report the exemplary satisfaction ratings and higher guest spending to the higher ups.
If you subscribe to the nonsense that is the “Disney fan community on Twitter,” you have no doubt seen and heard all you want about these MagicBand accessories and t-shirts. I guess the shirts are kind of dumb, but so are 100,000+ of the other ones Disney sells these days.
Construction continues on the new bus loop at Magic Kingdom.
I’ve ridden the monorail over several times in the last couple weeks as construction has picked up. Seeing a large, cleared plot of land and construction crews inevitably gets people excited, particularly when they see some bro who obviously spends a lot of time in front of the computer taking pictures of it.
The news that it’s really a glorified bus turnaround is usually met with “a few choice words.”
Wait times remain short at Main Street Bakery. There are at least two cast members for every guest here at 2:25pm on July 7th. More efficient than unpopular.
What’s roasting at the Bakery these days. Kati Kati Blend sounds interesting: Swahili for “between,” Kati Kati strikes an invigorating balance between the citrus and spice notes from Kenya and the subtle floral aromas and crisip acidity from Ethiopia. Bright, medium-bodied and delightful hot or iced.
A Venti New Valencia Orange Refresher. I guess because I forgot they come in a Trenta size. I am not real sure what goes into making one of these, but they don’t seem like they’re much of a value at nearly five bucks. That isn’t a “Disney” markup either – it’s what you can expect to pay at any Starbucks. Actually, looking over the nutrition facts, a Trenta Refresher has 170 calories and 100 grams of caffeine. You might as well drink one of those $4.29 Monster Energy Drinks, though the Refresher is….refreshing. I did also learn that there is a word that rhymes with orange – sporange.
Somewhat unexpectedly, crowds over Independence Day were lower than the last two weeks in June with extremely low occupancy rates at the Deluxe resorts.
This short Magic Kingdom update is preceded by a much more robust Epcot update, where you might be surprised it’s July considering the number of people around.
Crowds continue being driven by South America. During the next earnings report conference call, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that South American attendance is nearing 25% of overall attendance this year, should an analyst ask.
Work continues on the Mine Train.
The almost-entirely-outdoors queue for Enchanted Tales remains a place you don’t want to find yourself any time outside of first thing in the morning or in the late evening. If you have other morning priorities, you can put Belle off until sometime around the first Electrical Parade or Wishes. There is some dissent over whether you should go to Enchanted Tales first because of the amount of time it takes in the morning and also how short waits are during the evening entertainment. The reality is that short waits at Enchanted Tales during the evening entertainment are not unique to the attraction – you could visit almost any attraction and experience short waits during the Electrical Parade or Wishes, perhaps with the exception of Peter Pan’s Flight. While it’s true that Enchanted Tales takes 25 minutes in the morning, Space Mountain is going to take you at least 20. A character like Tinker Bell or Merida would also take at least 20 minutes as you have to wait until the characters first appear at 9:15am. Splash Mountain is another attraction that will take at least 20 minutes in the morning. But do keep in mind that waits do decrease at Enchanted Tales after 9pm here in the summer and it’s a perfectly viable time to visit. It’s just that you could visit virtually any other attraction and experience similarly short waits.
The Chicken Provencal takes the place of the Cornish Hen.
This picture doesn’t capture the size of the thing, which is one of the largest breasts of chicken I’ve seen in my life. As far as chicken goes, it was quite good. For $21.99, it’s a pretty safe bet.
Good news on the Casey Jr. front as water pressure is back to full blast. I’m not sure I want to know what that garbage can is for.
The Orange Slush is now advertised at Cosmic Ray’s registers. I enjoyed the first enough that I ordered a second and it was topped with a lot more cream than the original, which may be an indication they’re trying to sweeten it up a bit. While still not overly sweet, I would no longer characterize it as a tart beverage. I think it’s one of the most refreshing drinks available.
The website was meeting up with one of its arch nemeses, “The Brickers,” whom you may recognize from Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and I really have no idea what else. The original plan was to rent an ECV and “accidentally” run them over, but some old person rented the last one right before I approached the desk. Maybe next time. Actually, they returned to wherever it is they come from with a great look at the Disney water parks. Check out Tom’s look at Blizzard Beach here with links to the various other posts covering food, snacks, and touring strategies. People occasionally ask whether this website will cover the water parks. A few things – I am already literally the creepiest person in the world and I’m not sure pointing my camera at little kids in bathing suits is a situation I should find myself in. Second, I do not exactly have a beach body and in an attempt to blend in and not attract attention, would most likely show up in an extremely cheap suit and tie. And third, I don’t even have tickets. Anyway, we find ourselves at Journey of the Little Mermaid because Tom wanted a picture of the back side of water. I’m not kidding. The 70 minute wait was uncharacteristically long considering shorter waits at the headlining attractions. FASTPASS return remained 40 minutes out.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am not a big fan of Journey of the Little Mermaid, maybe because I think the source material is bad. First of all, like most human beings, I want to be a mermaid. So I have difficulty sympathizing with a character that seems unhappy with the fact that she’s rich, beautiful, thin, and lives underwater with a full orchestra and talking fish.
And Ursula gets a pretty bad rap. I don’t think there’s a Disney character I’d be happier to run into grabbing a drink at La Cava.
And let’s not forget the movie would be seven minutes long if Ariel had just brought a chalkboard with her. Worst case scenario: I’m sure Prince No Personality would have been more than happy to snuggle up with Ariel on the couch with a bag of popcorn and Rosetta Stone for Sign Language streaming on Netflix.
Probably should have moved those Rapunzel bathrooms over to New Fantasyland and themed this ride to Rapunzel with some funny jokes and an original soundtrack.
Tour groups. Larger if you want to count: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/tourgroups.jpg. Don’t miss the tour group crossing the bridge on the left.
This word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
You may remember from a recent update that Sleepy Hollow Refreshments emerged from behind scrims without a shingled roof or signage of any kind. A few days later (here on the 7th), the roof is about half done. One wonders why they didn’t simply wait an extra week to unmask a perfectly refurbished building. Someone somewhere probably needed to meet a deadline.
When I saw the 200+ tour group girls headed to Frontierland, I “literally” got on my hands and knees and prayed to Tom Hanks that they weren’t going to Pecos Bill.
Luckily they weren’t. Pecos Bill added a new menu item for dinner (only available after 4pm) last week – The Karubi Style Short Ribs with Coleslaw and choice of Corn on the Cob, Apple Slices, Sweet Potato Fries, or French Fries.
They were excited enough to feature the item in the center section. Note what the ribs look like in the picture. They’re accompanied by the Root Beer Slush. You may remember that I strongly disliked the Root Beer Slush, which is basically root beer syrup poured over ice cubes. I’m not sure if others have had better experiences.
Don’t worry – the Pork Glop Platter is still available alongside the new-ish Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and Southwest Chicken Salad.
This is how your Karubi Ribs appear on the plate alongside the radioactive-looking Sweet Potato Fries. I’m not sure the small picture emphasizes the texture or the amount of fat covering the ribs. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/karubi2.jpg.
I’m still not sure the amount of fat on these suckers is obvious. The good news is that the meat was quite good – moist, tender, and bathed in a tangy barbecue sauce. I had some problems differentiating what was meat and what was fat because the textures were similar and you’re fighting the battle with a plastic fork and knife on the battlefield that is a slippery paper plate. The Sweet Potato Fries, which you could argue are nutritionally worse-for-you than the regular fries, seemed to be the same that they used to serve at Restaurantosaurus. They were crispy with a distinct sweet potato flavor – a nice change of pace from the prototypical Disney fry.
There’s one short rib on the left – everything on the right of the plate is either fat or bone. My caution here is to expect a lot of fat covering the ribs, potentially making them not-kid-friendly as well as taking some time to separate meat and fat. It’s not a particularly attractive process. The good news is that it’s a ton of food and quite filling. And the meat that you do uncover should be moist and flavorful. The side of coleslaw is kind of a joke, but I’m not complaining since I don’t like coleslaw. It’s about two bites in a tiny cup. At $14.19, the meal is one of the more expensive on the Disney Dining Plan. With how disgusting the food looks on the plate and how arduous the ribs are to eat, I can’t give the Karubi Style Short Ribs two thumbs up. But please comment if you’ve tried them. We all have different tastes.
I lied about Magic Kingdom being scrim-less. There is still this one next to Aloha Isle.
Okay I might rock the Minnie.
Next up, we’ll take a look at food, drinks, and merch around Epcot.