Magic Kingdom Cheat Sheet Day 1 with FastPass+

by josh on January 21, 2014

Continuing from Part 1, which briefly discussed rope drop and the FastPass+ kiosk locations, we set out on our morning. This is what we’re after with a few changes due to the 8am open:

Ideal Two-Day Morning Plan Day 1 With FastPass+:

Use FastPass+ at Enchanted Tales with Belle, Space Mountain, and Buzz or Tomorrowland Speedway

  1. Meet Rapunzel or Cinderella at Princess Fairytale Hall if desired: 9am – 9:10am
  2. Ride Peter Pan’s Flight: 9:13am – 9:25am
  3. Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 9:30am – 9:45am
  4. Ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant: 9:50am – 10:05am
  5. Ride The Barnstormer: 10:07am – 10:15am
  6. Meet Ariel at Ariel’s Grotto: 10:20am – 10:35am
  7. Ride Journey of the Little Mermaid: 10:37am – 10:55am
  8. Ride it’s a small world: 11am – 11:20am
  9. Ride The Haunted Mansion: 11:25am – 11:45am
  10. Have lunch. Columbia Harbour House, Pinocchio Village Haus, and Liberty Tree Tavern are close.
  11. Experience Enchanted Tales with Belle with FastPass+: 12:30pm – 1pm

Rapunzel is our first stop due to the limited capacity and noise factor in the queue later in the day when it’s busy. You could instead substitute Merida or Cinderella or simply skip it and head straight to Pan.

The next Cheat Sheet draft will probably include ideal mornings with an emphasis on characters and one without characters.

This is apparently a new dress on Snow White.

And the corresponding $64.95 version for kids.

Meeting characters as a single adult male at 8am on a Saturday is extraordinarily awkward. I lied and said my niece requested a picture – an excuse I’m sure they roll their eyes at a hundred times a day. I even made up a name, age, and location, but fumbled it when Snow asked where she was. “Uhh huhhhsahsad probably asleep derp derp…in Seattle.” Such an embarrassment. Just put me out to pasture.

I arrived right at 8am and was back out front at 8:06am.

It’s unnecessary to book your FP+ selections first thing in the morning due to a concern that experiences will quickly run out. The fact is that even on a very busy Saturday over MLK Weekend, there are still plenty of return times for all attractions, save for Wishes and the Electrical Parade that were never available on the day of to begin with. But you may want to take advantage of the short lines this early by setting them up now or right after Pan. Remember that I don’t recommend heading into Town Square or Guest Relations at City Hall to set up your times. Lines are much shorter in the individual Lands because people are so spread out once they arrive at The Hub.

Peter Pan’s Flight is up next.

8:08am.

About 20 people in front of me in line even after spending a few minutes at Rapunzel.

holla @ u ladiez

Basically the Internet’s reaction to FP+.

Back out front seven minutes later at 8:15am.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is up next. It’s another low capacity attraction popular with families, which is why we’ve prioritized it this early.

Just wait for the afternoon crowds.

8:19am.

The entire state of Colorado on January 1st 2k14.

On our way just six minutes later at 8:25am. There was nobody in front of me in line. My plan was to use the FP+ kiosks back in Storybook Circus, but I saw a temporary one in the distance at Cosmic Ray’s and headed down.

It took five minutes to set up my attractions as discussed in Part 1.

No wait for Alice in case you want a quick pic. With so few people around, she’d probably sit down to tea. Rapunzel was traumatizing enough so we press forward.

Arriving at Dumbo at 8:35am. Looking back at the Cheat Sheet timing, I’m already 15 minutes ahead:

  1. Meet Rapunzel or Cinderella at Princess Fairytale Hall if desired: 9am – 9:10am
  2. Ride Peter Pan’s Flight: 9:13am – 9:25am
  3. Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 9:30am – 9:45am
  4. Ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant: 9:50am – 10:05am

With a 9am opening, the previous waits would have been a bit longer because more people are up and at ‘em. Even with stifling afternoon crowds, the morning is easy breezy.

This early, Dumbo is flying empty.

Dumbo took all of six minutes and I’m already at Barnstormer at 8:44am. They were letting people stay on if they wanted to go again.

Once is enough. Back out front at 8:49am.

The Storybook Circus characters usually start greeting at 9:45am, but may start greeting as early as 8am with a regular 8am opening. You could meet either set in around five minutes. There would be a bit of a backup if this was a regular 9am open, but waits are still less than 10 minutes.

Ariel’s Grotto is next. The Cheat Sheet ordinarily puts you here at 10:20am, which is usually 20 minutes after the second Ariel arrives on scene.

Here at 8:54am, there is only one Ariel and even with only about 20 people in front of me, I ended up waiting 25 minutes.

That’s nothing compared to the afternoon though, when the posted wait was 75 minutes and one of the longest in the Park.

So awkward.

30 minute wait posted as I left.

At 9:20am, the posted wait at Journey of the Little Mermaid was 20 minutes. This is the minimum time you’ll see outside of the very late night, where they may drop it to 10.

But there’s nobody here this early as clamshells leave empty.

Popularity seems to be waning a bit already. I exited at 9:30am, for a total wait/ride time of exactly ten minutes.

FP+ kiosk lengths remain fairly short. You should be in and out in less than ten minutes at this point. Storybook Circus would still be a lot better.

Fantasyland crowds are picking up a bit with Peter Pan’s Flight already up to 25 minutes.

We’re back for it’s a small world with its 10-minute posted wait.

This might be the worst use of FastPass+ in the Park. Not only do you not save a ton of time, but the merge point is all the way back here.

Stickin the creepers in row 12 with no leg room =[

Basically ur face trying to deal with the My Disney Experience site.

The screens at the end of the ride looked like they were ready for action.

“Farvel Johnson Family of Four from Nantucket, we’d just like to let everyone in the boat know that they’re staying Concierge Level at Grand Floridian for $1700/night while you waste away at your six-bedroom house with private pool for much less.”

Back out front at 9:53am and things are picking up a bit, but Peter Pan’s Flight is still at 30 minutes, which isn’t all that bad.

Incoming Fantasyland crowds.

Haunted Mansion with a 10-minute posted wait at 9:56am.

All standby riders are funneled through the “interactive” cemetery.

FastPass+ users bypass the cemetery and wait in front of the doors to the pre-show.

So smug.

The door to the loading area opens right underneath this painting.

Positioning yourself in front of it will ease your wait by two or three minutes. I don’t usually bother.

Basically the My Disney Experience app.

Back out front at 10:18am.

So in just over two hours, I accomplished:

1. Rapunzel and Snow White: 8am – 8:06am
2. Peter Pan’s Flight: 8:08am – 8:15am
3. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 8:19am – 8:24am
4. Used FP+ Kiosk outside Cosmic Rays to book future FP+ from 8:25am – 8:30am
5. Dumbo: 8:34am – 8:42am
6. Barnstormer: 8:43am – 8:49am
7. Ariel’s Grotto 8:53am – 9:19am
8. Journey of the Little Mermaid: 9:20am – 9:31am
9. it’s a small world: 9:37am – 9:53am
10. Haunted Mansion: 9:55am – 10:17am

A pretty solid morning with a maximum of a four-minute walk in between attractions.

After taking pictures of walls for a while and grabbing a hot cocoa, we find ourselves in Adventureland 26 minutes later at 10:43am. You could fill some time here with lower priority characters or an anytime attraction or two. Country Bear Jamboree, Aladdin’s Magical Carpets, and Jungle Cruise would be good candidates in this area.

Jungle Cruise still sits at 10 minutes.

Pirates at 5. If you’re interested in Jungle Cruise, it would be prudent to ride it first because the wait will be longer later. If that makes any sense.

Literally the only person that’s RSVP’d for my Super Bowl party. And he indicated he’s bringing a +3.

Back out front at 10:58am for a total wait/ride time of 15 minutes.

Nightmare Before Christmas merch in the Pirates store.

And your 3,917th opportunity to purchase MagicBand accessories. At this point, I think they’re just trolling MAGIC.

I’ve got about 35 minutes until my Enchanted Tales with Belle FastPass+ and it’s time for lunch. Eating early will result in much shorter lines and fewer people in the seating areas.

15 minutes for Mansion.

15 for it’s a small world, though they’re already using the extended queue.

45 at Peter Pan’s Flight.

Fantasyland crowds:




30 at Rapunzel and 35 at Cinderella.

Friar’s Nook pictured much earlier in the day.

You may recall my mention that they have a new macaroni-based menu.

I’m guessing this picture of the Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni and Cheese – $8.99 will not be used in Disney’s marketing materials.

This was actually sort of really good, in kind of a really gross This Is America way.

It’s piping hot, EXTREMELY CHEESY!!!!!! and loaded with stuff. There’s a layer of Disney ground taco meat sans seasoning underneath the lettuce and tomato. Bacon bits might work better than the strip, but the strip does offer a bit more visual oomph. As I walked my tray over to Pinocchio Village Haus to sit down, people literally sneered at me. Haters gonna hate. Anyway, this thing is probably 7,000 calories and tastes like Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese with ground beef mixed in. I probably would have left off the crunchy lettuce and tomato and the flavor would be a bit more cohesive. You can always ask for the toppings on the side. Friar’s Nook is only open on busier days. I was pretty much disgusted with myself over how much I enjoyed it.

After some additional fiddling around, it’s time for Enchanted Tales with Belle FastPass+.

If you’re interested in experiencing the attraction, FP+ is a no-brainer. First thing in the morning, it takes about 25 minutes to complete even with a minimal initial wait. That’s too much prime touring time. Remember that we were in and out of Fairytale Hall in a total of six minutes. Peter Pan’s Flight took seven.

FastPass+ users bypass Maurice’s Cottage almost entirely.

You’ll enter a separate door directly into the workshop with the enchanted mirror thing.

They’re getting a lot better here. Literally every single person in the room had a smile on their faces throughout the entire production. That’s a far cry from the first time I visited, where the poor child selected to play Beast sobbed through the entire thing.

They were better about getting people that didn’t participate in the show a picture with Belle. At the end of the show, each participant will take a picture with Belle. If you didn’t participate and would like a picture, get in the back of this line.

For my 11:35am – 12:35pm FP+, I arrived at 11:58am and was back out front at 12:25pm with an initial wait of only about five minutes.

The Cheat Sheet also calls for a Tomorrowland Speedway FP+. The wait here is so miserable outside with all that exhaust that even 10 minutes is rough in January or unbearable in July. This is a 30-minute posted wait.

Space Mountain was a mess.

This was the line for the FP+ kiosk. It looked to be 30+ minutes.

The standby line was completely full and guests were overflowing out.

Like completely full.

Like very full.

FastPass+ not so much.

I hate Space Mountain. I almost fell backwards and out of the vehicle trying to climb in, presumably to my death. Granted I’m 6’2″ and 215 pounds, but I really don’t know how anyone gets in and out of that thing.

It doesn’t take much for the FP+ return line to get backed up like this. A tour group of 40 to 50 South Americans arrived and cast members were trying to move them to the left so they could use one Mickey scanner while everyone else used the other. Whether you wait out here or inside is really of little consequence. You’re either going to wait behind these people before scanning your Band/ticket or after.

End of line for the PeopleMover on the left.

The FastPass+ return line for Buzz was backed up to Monsters Inc with the entire extended standby queue full.

Cast members with green flags are not what you want to see.

30 minutes at Dumbo.

35 at Barnstormer. Considering the heavy crowds and physical length of the standby lines, posted waits were much shorter than they were during the legacy FASTPASS days. Few people are going to use one of their three FP+ selections at a ride like Barnstormer. With fewer people returning with priority, the standby wait is shorter. On the other hand, people that want to experience Barnstormer and don’t want to use FP+ have to get in line, which should balance things out.

Even so, attractions that don’t offer FASTPASS had shorter than usual posted waits too. 15 minutes for both sets of characters.

75 minutes for Ariel is the longest current posted wait.

Still 20 minutes at Journey of the Little Mermaid. The standby line was backed up outside, but it’s hard to gauge the actual wait without knowing how much of the queue inside is being used.

This isn’t actually the end of the line for Be Our Guest lunch at 1:35pm, but it’s close.

You may be able to see the cast member in purple near the back of the line. It stretches back to the fountain outside Gaston’s Tavern.

Then all the way around and across the bridge. This would take at least 45 minutes, if not longer. As you may be aware, Be Our Guest is actually a potential FP+ experience. It can’t be booked via the app, it does not count against your three FP+ total, and it’s only available to on-site guests. Visit https://beourguestlunch.disney.go.com/ and input the 12-digit confirmation number attached to your trip. If you don’t have the number, it’s listed here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/trip/my-vacation/. Reservations typically open up about a month in advance. You can follow along on availability in this forum thread. If you’re eligible and want to eat lunch here, you absolutely want to make a reservation.

35 minutes at The Many Adventures.

The standby queue is completely full, but the wait is 25 to 35 minutes shorter than it would have been with legacy FASTPASS. With only three FP+ opportunities, relatively few people are going to use it here.

30 minutes at Rapunzel and 40 at Cinderella.

This Is Fantasyland.

The line for Pinocchio Village Haus spills out the front entrance and throughout the outdoor seating section.

Peter Pan’s Flight is “only” 65 minutes with FP+ return completely full and backed out to the old FASTPASS machines along with the standby queue full.

it’s a small world is posted at 20 minutes with guests filing through the extended queue.

35 minutes at Mansion.

40 minutes at Big Thunder.

The standby queue looked to be full and FASTPASS return was snaking around in a separate queue out in front of the entrance.

45 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean.

The queue starts out here somewhere.

On the other hand, Jungle Cruise is low at only 30 minutes.

Compared to 35 at Aladdin’s Magical Carpets.

Getting stranger, there are literally 17 people in line for Tinker Bell. The wait here is typically 45 to 60 minutes on a day like this. Even the least crowded days typically see 30 minute waits around this time. I can’t explain it.

2:20pm posted waits:


Considering how crowded it is and how long the lines are, these wait times are very low. It’s not every day that we see the entire extended queue full at PeopleMover, not to mention the line out the door at Pinocchio Village Haus, or the entire standby queues full at Buzz or Big Thunder Mountain. A wait any longer than 25 minutes at Pirates indicates a “busy day” and we’re all the way out to 45. It “felt” to me like the standby waits were under exaggerated considering the lengths of the standby queues and how many people were returning with FastPass+ reservations. Remember that Big Thunder Mountain was completely out of FP+ reservations through 3:45pm when we checked at 1:45pm, meaning the maximum number of FP+ for each previous time slot had been distributed. Yet the posted wait was 40 minutes. That’s 40 to 60 minutes shorter than it would have been under similar conditions with legacy FASTPASS. Considering how many people were in the Park, there’s really no explaining the short Tinker Bell wait. I would expect a 60-minute posted wait and an entire queue full of people. On the flip side, the wait for Ariel was 75 minutes.

These are strange times.

On the plus side, FastPass+ does not affect our morning touring strategy much at all. I flew through attractions as fast  as I would have had legacy FASTPASS still been in operation. FP+ eliminates the need to visit Tomorrowland early to collect legacy FASTPASSes. It eliminates a lot of the required backtracking to collect pieces of paper. If you’re staying on-site or use a MagicBand, it’s nice being able to schedule FastPass+ times when they won’t conflict with dining reservations. It brings clarity to the return time. We no longer have to be concerned with the Peter Pan’s Flight FASTPASS return time at 2:30pm or what time we have to pull Space Mountain FASTPASSes to get a return time of 4:45pm. We can simply schedule it for 4:45pm. With the current limit of three FP+ over the course of the day, it does limit our ability to re-ride some attractions. Ordinarily, we would probably use legacy FASTPASS at Peter Pan’s Flight for a second ride later in the day. Perhaps at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as well. With the number of same-day FP+ experiences available, on-site guests should be able to schedule whatever rides they want upon arriving.

Touring with FP+ is different. But different isn’t always worse. The three FP+ cap at Magic Kingdom is limiting. There is no getting around that, but there are positive takeaways too. It was really nice being able to walk into Enchanted Tales in the afternoon with a FP+ reservation made earlier that day – something that wasn’t possible before. I accomplished everything I wanted to that morning with virtually no waits, even with people being able to schedule FP+ first thing in the morning. The only thing I wasn’t able to do was run around Magic Kingdom collecting paper FASTPASSes to re-ride a couple attractions later in the afternoon. Is one less re-ride going to keep you away from Walt Disney World? Is it worth stressing over? Is the world ending because you find yourself on a relaxing Liberty Square Riverboat ride instead of huffing and puffing back to Big Thunder Mountain to ride for the third time that day? This is your own business. But I can assure you that it’s going to be all right.

We can do this.

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn H January 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Hey Josh…if we were going to be in MK on a EMH morning (4/22 crowd level 9) could we do Belle first and then follow the rest of your tour? (b/c I would really like to see Maurice’s cottage)..we have three days in MK so I can fuddle it a bit if I need…thanks!!

Dawn H January 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm

ps..staying on site if that matters

Brad January 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Had me laughing with your description of how you explained that your niece was, in fact, “Sleeping… In Seattle…”

Reading some of the discussion & analysis of the differences in wait times, it has me thinking that part of the adjustment in the overall environment with FP+, conceivably even the reasoning behind the proliferation of FP+ entrances at attractions that haven’t historically needed them, could be an expectation that with the new system limiting the ability of folks to focus exclusively on the headliners at the expense of the more quiet and neglected attractions, people would not be as inclined to be in the lines of the headliners, and more inclined to visit some things they didn’t previously do because they were only riding headliners, mostly with FPs. So the waits for the non-headliners has increased (to where some may consider using FPs for them, though that’s still maybe a stretch in most cases), and the waits for the headliners are (based on limited time and reports thus far) perhaps not as horrible as people have predicted – because everyone’s perception of the standby wait times has been colored for so long by the fact that a lot of FASTPASSes are being admitted ahead of a lot of the standby line.

One might think of it like this: it’s probably the same number of visitors trying to ride and see things, so the overall average wait times aren’t going to go up as a result of FP+. It probably goes up for those who were the most efficient FP users who were exclusively riding with FP, and goes down for those at the other end of the spectrum who didn’t use it because they either didn’t understand it or thought they’d have to pay extra. And for those who made moderate use of FPs maybe the main effect is to shift a few of what would have been re-rides or different rides with FP to either riding the same rides standby with shorter than expected lines or riding things they have bypassed but might possibly enjoy. It does significantly change the game for planning – and this was why I was happy to get in our last visit in August before FP+ hit (and while I still had a good feel for how to plan it). I think it’s still do-able, but I’ll need to completely re-educate myself for the planning of a next trip, hopefully armed with plenty of information on what the expected times and crowd patterns end up being.

Philside January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Call me an optimist but I believe FP+ will be more than three one day AND hopper friendly! That said, those FP return lines looked a bit scary. We almost always stay off-site and if I need to spend an extra $100 on a FW campsite to in order to take full advantage of FP+ for my family’s enjoyment then so be it. Awesome posts, awesome site. Thank you, Josh!

Sharon January 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

What does it mean to see “Cast members with green flags”?

Bill M January 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

The green flags mean some of the lines are so long and far from the attraction that they have a CM marking the spot to wait. When you see this at the people mover, run from the park.

MaryEllen January 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Crack! that’s the sound of the proverbial whip! Please get moving on the character infused cheat sheet. Thanks to you, my touring day has the precision of a Swiss watch but my character day at MK looks like a big hot mess.

Edward January 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

FYI…the Be Our Guest FP+ is only for a pre-selected group. Per the site’s help section:

https://beourguestlunch.disney.go.com/FAQ.aspx

Where can I get a FASTPASS for Be Our Guest Restaurant?
- Disney’s FASTPASS Service is not available at Be Our Guest Restaurant. We are testing our new FastPass+ service and Guests have been randomly selected in advance to be a part of that test. We are not able to accommodate additional test participants at this time.

Why can’t I participate in the FastPass+ test at Be Our Guest Restaurant?
- The FastPass+ test is limited to Guests who were randomly selected in advance. Any Guest can dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch as space is available.

Peggy January 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm

As long as you’re staying onsite and you’ve got your reservation number, you can be part of the BOG “test.” It’s not unlike the disclaimer on MDE that says that FPP is still in the testing phase and you need to be selected to participate.

The only catch is that you’ve got to be within the window where you can make a FPP for your dates. I was never “selected” and have made my FPP for our upcoming trip recently.

Sharon R January 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm

@Peggy, how far in advance of your trip were you able to make the reservation for?

Bill M January 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I was able to make a FP+ reservation for BOG tonight for on 2/21. that was the first time i’ve tried it.

Ellen January 22, 2014 at 8:12 pm

How busy was the day you went? I will be going the last week of January, and if we arrive for rope drop (9am), can we expect to accomplish around the same amount of things in the first two hours that you did?

Emma January 23, 2014 at 6:21 am

Josh is the sun and the moon and the stars! I knew there would be a work around. We went May ’13 and used legacy FP quite well. We were offsite and probably will be again when we return in a few years. I raised Rope Drop as was DH. We are raising DD the same way. ;) As I watched the debate unfold on DIS, all I could think was “Josh will figure it out! Just wait!”

Peggy January 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

Did it on 1/14 for trip beginning on 2/1.

Holly January 23, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Josh! I need you’re help! I am going to WDW in June with my family….my ENTIRE family. it is a family reunion type vacation and there are 5 families going with a total of 20 people (2 infants). I have been to WDW several times and was getting good a planning a day but I am worried about the FP+. How will my extended family be able to reserve their rides. One one day the moms may take the younger kids around FantasyLand while the dads take the teens to ride Space Mountain. The next day the dads may have toddler duty and the moms have teenager duty. How will we coordinate the FP+? Should we create one MyDisneyExperience Account for all 20 or can we coordinate different accounts.

Mary Ann January 24, 2014 at 5:23 am

Thanks for the update Josh. You mentioned Merida at the beginning. Where’s she meeting these days? Still over in the old Fairytale garden?

travis faherty January 24, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Josh due to party size and budget we will be staying offsite and after hearing about FastPass+ I was worried but seems with your plan and with the low crowds you state it will be a 6(August 23) I feel we will have a great trip. Thanks for all the great advice.

Jenna January 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

It looks like they maybe limiting availability Fastpass+ now at Magic Kingdom. I tried switching my Jan 31st, enchanted tales with belle morning time slot for right after lunch and that wasn’t an option and I had no other fastpasses overlapping. So I tried replacing all of them, and option A gave me another selection and said no times were available for Enchanted Tales. ??

Sarah February 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

This is all super helpful! We are going to be at MK for one day on 4/16 when I’m sure it will be packed! We are staying offsite so no advance FP for us, at least as of now and have an 8:05am ADR at Cinderella’s Castle so I’m trying to determine if we need to send someone to a kiosk before breakfast for FP and how much we’ll be able to do after that in the morning w/out FP. I’m assuming done by 9:30am at the latest so hopefully still some shorter lines. We have a 6 and 2 yo, so only one of us will be riding bigger rides with the 6 yo and characters and smaller rides will probably be priority.

Michael April 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

This is such a great site, and this post is amazing, providing detail and pictures throughout the day. The pictures themselves make the case for arriving at rope drop. You really “take it for the team” in getting pictures with the characters!

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