Magic Kingdom Snack Cart Movement Updates, Hub Construction, Plaza Restaurant Dinner Review – 7/2/14

by josh on July 5, 2014

We’ll take a moment from the website’s intensive Food and Wine Festival preparations to see if any mounds of dirt in the Hub have moved or any snack carts have taken up new positions. Spoiler: both.

It’s 6:12pm on July 2nd 2k14 and crowds are thin at this website’s most recommended Park, despite high overall crowd levels. Looking over posted wait times over the course of the day:

From the morning through the early afternoon we see the same trends we’ve discussed over the last six months, including longer waits at most secondary attractions and shorter waits at the headliners. At 1:30pm, Haunted Mansion has a 55-minute wait, which is longer than Space Mountain and nearly double Big Thunder Mountain.

Early mornings and late nights remain the key, particularly here in the summer when Magic Kingdom remains open until at least 11pm nightly. By 10pm, only a handful of rides have waits over 20 minutes.

Larger: http:/www.easywdw.com/reports11/july4.jpg

Compare the waits on the recommended July 2nd versus July 4th, which saw a late afternoon capacity closure. 75 minutes at Haunted Mansion, 40 at PhilharMagic, 90 at Peter Pan’s Flight, 150 at Space Mountain, 50 at Barnstormer, etc. Pretty rough.

Back to July 2nd, Tinker Bell waits remain relatively short since her move to Town Square Theater, where her capacity has doubled and she meets alone.

Last month we saw this construction box outside Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.

Replaced with a new planter.

Legacy FASTPASS machine removal continues here at the old Mickey machines.

Awwww.

Walls continue to surround the Hub area on both sides.

Circling the area outside Casey’s and Crystal Palace on the Adventureland side.

This is an extensive project expected to take over a year still to complete – this looks to be the base for another pedestrian bridge.

Another look.

Final look.

From the Tomorrowland side where dirt looks to form a new dam.

No more abandoned boat in the middle of the world’s most popular theme park.

Back on the Casey’s side, brass railings protect the grass from meandering tourists.

While railings and plants hopefully protect ducks from tourists looking to murder them with hot dog scraps and french fries.

Plant detail.

It’s artsy because it’s tilted.

Unable to keep Anna/Elsa dresses in stock, Disney is peddling this generic pink/blue skirt as an “Elsa dress.”

Waits continue to drop at the Meet and Greet, thanks in part to the fact that the characters now meet separately and the fact that they now meet through 30 minutes prior to Park close.

“Just” 70 minutes at 6:30pm.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train continues seeing some of the longest waits in the Park. Looking over the last three weeks:


Or as a long PDF: http://www.easywdw.com/reports11/7dmtjune.pdf.

Each ‘-’ indicates downtime. The big takeaway here is that waits continue to jump up to 60+ minutes almost instantaneously after Park open and remain high into the late evening. July 2nd is as short as waits should be through the last week in August with July 4th being as long as waits get.

Expect to wait 60 minutes if the line is just barely backed up outside the entrance. Posted waits tend to be 10 to 15 minutes longer than actual.








With FastPass+, we got in line at 6:34pm, were onboard at 6:38pm, and back out front at 6:43pm. That’s less than ten minutes.

Still 75 minutes posted. FastPass+ remains the best way to experience the Mine Train. Otherwise you want to arrive by 8:15am and MOTOR it to the ride by taking the path to the right of Cinderella Castle toward Mad Tea Party and then take a left toward the Mine Train entrance. Or get in line right at Park close and wait about 30 minutes.

25 minutes at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, about half of what we would have seen with legacy FASTPASS.

Tomorrowland.

Cheshire Cafe began offering “Gourmet Cake Cups” about a year ago if memory serves.

Two choices.

The White Chocolate Rabbit was recommended by the cast member.

It’s pretty darling and at $4.59, is a nice use of a snack credit.

Taste is exactly like Pillsbury Classic Yellow Cake with Vanilla Supreme Icing (because that’s what it is), but the sugary daisy and chocolatey ears make it a little more unique than your standard birthday cake.

It’s far from compelling in the grand scheme of things. Most people will be happier with a treat from Big Top Souvenirs or Main Street Confectionery, but the cake cup beats most quick service pre-packaged/batch-made desserts.

I know you’ve been waiting for it and here it is: The Storybook Circus pretzel cart has moved next to the popcorn cart.

Dumbo was posted at 15-minutes but it was more or less a walk-on.

Peeking inside, Minnie/Daisy looked closer to 10 minutes with just a dozen people in line for Goofy/Donald.

Free strollers.

Barnstormer posted at 20 minutes at 7pm.

With FP+ we got in line at 7:07pm and were off at 7:15pm.

30 at Tomorrowland Speedway – not the ride you want to be in line for when it’s 90+ degrees out with 100% humidity.

The PeopleMover/Astro Orbiter refurbishment continues:



PeopleMover is slated to reopen August 5th, while Astro Orbiter reopens September 20th, if everything goes well.

While Carousel of Progress closes briefly in September, from the 22nd to 27th.

One thing you might not do is wear Glow with the Show ears in the front row.

If not for the walls maybe.

Cinderella Castle boarded up.

Plaza Restaurant is located at the end of Main Street on the right across from Casey’s Corner.

It’s the least expensive table service restaurant on property with most entrees under $15. The Beef Brisket Onion Burger is a relatively new addition.

There isn’t much to the restaurant, which is small and has a capacity south of 100 people.  As Disney describes it: “Step inside this charming dining parlor awash in turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau touches, including beautifully embellished light fixtures and mirrors and an inviting solarium. From the main dining room, enjoy a stunning view of Cinderella Castle as you eat.”  That’s what I meant to say, I guess.

Plaza is not the place to be if you’re trying to catch the Electrical Parade or Wishes during your meal. If you happen to be seated at a window, you can sort of make out the tops of some of the floats.

And potentially a few fireworks.

Lisa ordered the Vegetarian Sandwich – Fresh Mozzarella, Hummus, Basil Pesto, Cucumber, Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, and lettuce on Freshly Baked Focaccia with choice of Broccoli Slaw, Homemade Chips, or French Fries – $11.99. She commented that it tasted exactly like it sounds with most of the flavor coming from the basil pesto. Very good and a large sandwich for the money.

The broccoli slaw is similar to/the same as what’s served on the Lighthouse Sandwich at Columbia Harbour House and an improvement over what I was served last time with more broccoli flavor.

I ordered the Plaza Club – Smoked Ham, Turkey, Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Mayonnaise layered on Sourdough Bread with choice of Broccoli Slaw, Homemade Chips, or French Fries – $12.49.

Cut up into four sizable pieces with fresh vegetables, several slices of bacon, a generous pile of lunch meat, and lightly toasted bread, the sandwich was very good for what it was – a relatively inexpensive sandwich inside a theme park.

Remember that this is what a $10.29 quick service turkey sandwich looks like at Cosmic Ray’s. For two extra bucks at Plaza, you receive a significantly higher quality sandwich that’s larger and arrives with crispier steak fries.

While Plaza Restaurant is unlikely to change your life, it’s a good choice for a relatively inexpensive, relatively quick dinner. It was about 50 minutes between the time we checked in at the podium to the time we were outside and headed for the Park exit. Plaza can be loud – our meal was hampered by dueling toddlers with parents certain that their children screaming was the most precious thing in the world. But other than that, it’s a smart reservation on a budget and only a few more dollars more expensive than quick service. With larger portions, you may be able to more easily share.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

JenniferS July 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Great update. As usual.

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snickers July 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm

We have been considering The Plaza for our arrival day IF we have to do MK instead of our AK preference. AK is slated for a 5pm close on a Saturday but we are hoping it will get a couple of hours added before the book. Does The Plaza offer ADRs or is it strictly for walk-ups?

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Carl July 5, 2014 at 4:10 pm

You made me laugh out loud with the glowing ears in the front row and the castle being boarded up comments!

Thanks for the update

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nitabee July 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

snickers: The Plaza does offer ADRs. A few years ago, I could easily walk up, but I’ve been denied a few times more recently, so if I know I want to eat there, I make a reservation.

I really like the Plaza – everything I’ve tried there has been tasty, the service is usually good, and the chef was super nice last time I was there (24-hour Rock Your Disney Side party).

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Torgue July 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Great job Josh! We think the Plaza is a little hidden gem. The food is always pretty decent compared to the CS and most of the TB in the MK. You should try the new Beef Brisket Burger next time!

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snickers July 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Thanks for the info nitabee. I think we will do an ADR there when our window opens and possibly switch over if AK gets extended hours.

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Brenda July 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Our family loves the Plaza! We have 2 ADRs for it on our upcoming August trip. We are over on dining credits and will just pay out of pocket for these meals.

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CG July 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

We are planning to try the Plaza for the first time when we go in the fall before MNSSHP – glad to see you liked it. Thanks for the update!

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Linda July 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm

“It’s pretty darling.” heeheehee

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Christine July 6, 2014 at 6:13 am

Love The Plaza. The best french fries on property!!! Glad to near you are prepping & training for Food & Wine. Can’t start too early!!

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Rhonda July 6, 2014 at 6:16 am

First-a planter in front of Tony’s?? They put millions of dollars into trying to ease congestion in the hub and then plop a planter at the end of Main Street?

Second-question: Is hitting Mine Train at rope drop worth it to see the que? We have FP but sometimes I feel like we always miss cute ques by doing FP (ie TSM).

Thanks Josh!!

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Strangeite July 6, 2014 at 6:53 am

Is that an open mouth kiss?

Last year 5 of us ate at the Plaza and across the board were very disappointed in the food. The fries were excellent but everything else was mediocre to poor. Of course this is only one bad experience and it consistently gets good reviews and, as Josh noted, is very reasonably priced. Just keep expectations in check.

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Linda July 6, 2014 at 8:04 am

Is rope drop a little less crazy since they started letting crowds in at 8:40? Is that still the time every day? I imagine there are some people upset about missing the opening show if they are under the impression it starts at 9am.

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dusty cheatham July 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

plenty of concrete , not many smiley faces though. HEAT, HEAT . josh you point out the importance of FP+ . WONDER WHO IS PAYING ATTENTION . WAS ONCE TOLD BY A CASTMEMBER @ SOARIN STANDY ON NEW YEARS EVE WAS 4 HOURS . this was before FP+ . that beef brisket sounds mighty good . sadly I too have had dueling infants & their clueless parents @ the plaza

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dusty cheatham July 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm

in looking at one of your awarding winning pictures it appears several people have lost their minds !!! they are wearing sport coat , long trousers , dresses for the ladies . whew . don’t they know they don’t have to dress up for caseys hot dogs , or to listen to sonny eclipse . my goodness even be our guest has no dress code .

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RebeccaMcK July 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Parents often can’t hear their kids screaming/yelling after a while, I’ve noticed. I laughed at “Free strollers.” I second what someone else asked: Is it worth being in the SDMT standby queue once to see everything? Is it worth seeing, or should we just opt for FP+? I’ll do both in October, IF the queue is worth seeing/experiencing.

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genEARick July 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

So “Carousel of Progress closes briefly in September, from the 22nd to 27th.”
How will that affect the wait times for the rides in the area ?

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Kevin July 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm

“For two extra bucks at Plaza, you receive a significantly higher quality sandwich that’s larger and arrives with crispier steak fries.”

Well, with tip, it’s $4-5 more. For ~50% more, I’d expent a significantly better sandwich.

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George July 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Best fries?! They’re standard issue foodservice french fries, pre-cut and purchased from some warehouse. Totally unremarkable in almost every way.

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Rob Huddleston July 6, 2014 at 11:58 pm

“So “Carousel of Progress closes briefly in September, from the 22nd to 27th.”
How will that affect the wait times for the rides in the area ?”

OK, I LOL’d…

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andrew July 7, 2014 at 7:07 am

Had lunch at the Plaza Saturday and got a little surprise. We were the 100th guest of the day and we got a free desert! (Lunch ADR at 1:10) A nice little presentation from a main street character. The Beef Brisket burger is pretty tasty, its shredded beef brisket with some onions mixed in on top of your burger, tasty not certain it’s worth the near $17 price tag. The free Brownie Sundae was huge, easily enough for 2 to 4 people depending on your eating habits.

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gatorgirl July 7, 2014 at 7:09 am

+1 for that Plaza veggie sandwich. And the Reuben! And the milkshakes!

This post is sponsored by my current low blood sugar status.

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HelenB July 7, 2014 at 9:30 am

We were at WDW during the last full week of June. We visited the Magic Kingdom on 4 days and were able to ride 7DMT with minimal wait all 4 days. We also had a FP+ on one day, so we got in 5 rides over the course of our visit.

6/23/14 – got in line at 12:45 am (I guess technically this was on the 24th, then) and waited 15 minutes.

6/25/14 – were there for rope drop and were on the first train out of the station. We were actually off the train and about to board Space Mountain as it turned 9 o’clock. The trick to this is to stay on the far right side of the rope-walk line, including filling in the walkway at the storefronts on Main Street. Just be as far right as possible in the line, even after it splits off and goes by Mad Tea Party. Interestingly, we were running a bit late that morning and only arrived at the front gate about 8:25 am (well after we had planned) and we were still able to move up during the rope-walk by staying to the right.

6/26/14 – we did another 1 am close and again got in line at 12:45 am. This time we waited 20 minutes.

6/28/14 – Another morning rope drop. This time we were departing on the second train just as it hit 9 am.

Hope this data helps someone!

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Valerie July 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

Oh damn those hub walls! That Cinderella Castle shot could’ve been “maybe”. LOL

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RebeccaMcK July 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

@HelenB
Is it worth seeing the full standby queue for 7DMT? I might not get many rope drops at MK this time – because of breakfast ADRs outside the park (but close), and on 10/15 we’ll be moving from one hotel to another so we’re not getting into MK (from BLT) until the afternoon. That’s why I’m shooting for FP+ for all three of our MK days, in case we have long waits in standby otherwise.

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HelenB July 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Rebecca, the queue is nice, but not ‘spectacular’. It’s not like the Hogwarts’ Castle queue at WWoHP or anything like that! You will get 98% of the experience doing FP. I would stick with that!

Honestly, when we did the ride at rope drop, we were so close to the front that the kids never got to play with any of the interactive line games anyway, because we were moving so quickly through the area. High quality problems! We did manage a brief glimpse at all of the games the 2 nights we did the ‘park close’ approach, but I wouldn’t rearrange your schedule just to see them. JMHO.

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Paul July 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

From the eyes of my 7 year old son… He LOVED this update of MK. The “Ripslinger cart” popcorn cart update was huge for him. He was sure that that green #7 cart is a nod to Ripslinger from the movie Planes

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RebeccaMcK July 8, 2014 at 9:38 am

@HelenB
Thank you – that’s the answer I was hoping for….we’ll only do standby if we see a short queue. My kiddo doesn’t care about the interactive elements in queues (and the “design your car” thing at Test Track made her mad, lol…so we’ll skip doing THAT in the future).

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Susan_NYC July 11, 2014 at 9:55 am

Those people sitting on the curb outside of Casey’s look miserable. Disney, we need benches in the parks!!!!

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Kim July 13, 2014 at 7:22 am

Booked Plaza for early dinner before Mickey’s not So Scary Halloween Party, in September. Thanks for the info!

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Mary -Lynne July 15, 2014 at 10:00 am

Kim – we did that last 2 years and have a 4:05 ADR for this year. I just wish Josh had given it a worse review. Now more people will want to eat there… boo!

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Mandy W August 8, 2014 at 8:04 pm

That B&W pic of the Castle is almost creepy-looking! Wow.

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Jen B December 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I had reservations booked at Tony’s but I changed to the Plaza and I am so glad I did. I really liked it, I agree with the person who said it was a hidden gem. This was our first meal of the day after arriving at MK and it was just what we needed for lunch, we are more sandwich eaters vs. the heavier food at Liberty Tree or another MK table serve. I thought it was perfect. My kids liked the Mickylodeon dessert and I got a milkshake which they gave me in a paper cup so I could take it to go. Move it Shake it went by while we were in there so I am LOL at the curtain window pics because that is exactly what it was like, I saw the person on stilts go by and that’s about all.

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