New Magic Kingdom Bus Loop!!!!!! Mine Train Construction, Pecos Steak and Chicken Platter Review, CROWDS! 12/3/13

by josh on December 4, 2013

Tired of hearing about Universal putting billions into new attractions? Do you shake your head at their commitment to open a new E-ticket attraction every year for the foreseeable future? Do you find yourself discussing the atrocities of SeaWorld’s 22,000+ saved and rehabilitated animals while enjoying Outback steaks and baby back ribs? Not convinced about the gigantic Harry Potter expansion bringing several amazing new experiences to a completely immersive environment in less than half the time it’s taking Disney to build a kiddie coaster? Do you still clap at the end of Soarin’ despite the inch-thick layer of dirt on the screen while artifacts whiz underneath someone else’s dangling Mickey-Croc-covered-feet? Well I’ve got good news because Walt Disney World’s newest attraction just opened!

And it’s a new bus loop! *clapping* *cheers* *confetti* *bubbles* *hula hoop contest*

Rudeness aside (for a second), Magic Kingdom’s new bus loop is going to ease crowding and hopefully reduce waits, particularly in in the evening as thousands of guests exit after Wishes.

The new loop allows for more space between stops.

It also allows room for articulated buses that carry more passengers.

Scheduled to begin December 15th, you’ll be able to grab a bus from Magic Kingdom directly to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios or vice versa, eliminating the need to transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Inside the Park, Mickey talks in Town Square Theater.

This has pushed up wait times and pushed out legacy FASTPASS return times.

FASTPASSes are still distributed to the left of the Theater and Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.

Legacy FASTPASSes remain disconnected from the system, meaning you can collect them even if you already have FASTPASSes for another attraction.

Also as always, everyone in your party needs a FASTPASS to go in. Occasionally people assume that only “the person or people meeting Mickey” require them.

It’s cute, if not even-more-awkward-than-usual.

You may want to prep an uneasy child that Mickey can hold a conversation because he is a magician and only here is the pixie dust real. Everywhere else he is saving his voice or whatever people say. Because FASTPASSes are disconnected and in limited supply, this is a meet that you want to use FASTPASS at if possible. Waits are also nonexistent most days from 2:30pm – 3:15pm while the Parade is going on. But waits climb quickly after as people pour into the meet from their parade viewing location. Waits are also short in the late evening, particularly if you can visit after 9pm.

These villain stockings may or may not be new.

Villain may not be the right word. Misunderstood character stockings, perhaps.

New Harvey bags, tied together to make them more difficult to steal. Why you would want to steal them I don’t really know. With our tackiness combined! Captain Planet!

I’m not sure at what age women begin wanting to dress solely in different tones of leopard and cheetah print. It may not be a gender thing and they simply don’t make old-man-pants and orthopedic shoes in leopard. These will set you back $128 a pop.

Weather has been nice recently with highs in the low-80s and lows in the mid-60s.

A new My Disney Experiencing service station is displacing part of the Stitch’s Great Escape extended queue.

No word on how long the WDWMAGIC thread is complaining about it. That extended queue was an institution! An integral and unique part of Tomorrowland!

It’s 3:02pm on December 3rd and Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park. I’m not sure there are any relevant websites that still recommend theme parks. This is the busiest part of the day and Buzz has a 20-minute posted wait.

No wait for PeopleMover and a quarter of the queue full at Astro Orbiter.

25 minutes at Space Mountain with legacy FASTPASS return 40 minutes out.


10 minutes at Tomorrowland Speedway.

15 at Dumbo.

15 at Barnstormer.

15 at Minnie and Daisy. Blank for Goofy/Donald.

25 at The Many Adventures.

Work continues on the Mine Train:






Walking around, I was thinking three things simultaneously (which is dangerous):

  1. This still looks like it’s a good four years from completion LOL.
  2. It looks really impressive and blends surprisingly well with the other Fantasyland elements that surround it.
  3. I wonder what sentiment would be if this entire thing opened at once?

If you consider the new Fantasyland elements, this is what we’re getting or have gotten:

  • Doubling the Dumbo capacity and getting the queue out of the concrete jungle switchback and into a fun air-conditioned playground for kids
  • Richly themed Storybook Circus environment with a new water feature
  • Slightly rethemed Barnstormer and train station
  • New bathrooms
  • New air-conditioned circus tent housing meet and greets for four of Disney’s most popular, classic characters
  • New picnic area
  • New phone charging station and MyMagic+ Service Center
  • New gift shop with a show kitchen, confectionery treats, and no lines
  • New Ariel meet and greet with double the capacity
  • New Little Mermaid dark ride that churns out guests with an elaborate indoor/outdoor interactive queue
  • Be Our Guest restaurant with some of the best Magic Kingdom food in arguably Disney’s most enchanting atmosphere
  • Gaston’s Tavern with pork shanks and a new signature beverage
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle with an interactive show driven by audience participation in an immersive environment
  • Mine Train, which looks like like it’s going to be the new gold standard in attractions aimed at kids
  • Rapunzel area with charging stations, bathrooms, and stroller parking
  • Elaborate meet and greet for Disney’s most popular princesses

That’s a pretty good looking list – new rides, new attractions, new rest areas, new food, and yes…new bathrooms. Unfortunately, all the previews and testing, staggered opening of individual pieces, and the Internet have combined to drain a lot of the magic out of New Fantasyland. Disney Parks Blog themselves ruined the best effect in Enchanted Tales with Belle before anyone got to experience it, ruined the forced perspective on Beast’s Castle by showing a picture of it next to a person, and spoiled Princess Fairtyale Hall before even fake media had an opportunity to spoil it. While opening up sections of New Fantasyland has helped with crowding, the entire new land feels less special, despite offering dozens of new experiences. Hopefully the Mine Train will pull things together.

Oh, and a new Disney Vacation Club kiosk.

Just don’t ask about Polynesian DVC! It doesn’t exist! *wink*

It’s 3:32pm and Rapunzel has a slightly longer wait than Cinderella, per usual.

Most of the walls have come down in front of Pinocchio Village Haus.

The outdoor seating area is expanded and for the first time in years, guests can sit upstairs on the second floor.

And the new planter provides bench seating.

Peter Pan’s Flight reopened last month to no discernible changes.

Absurdly long lines persist with the 35-minute posted wait, which is among the shortest of the year at this time of day.

it’s a small world is closed this week for a brief refurbishment, probably for some NextGen touches and perhaps a slight reconfiguration of the queue to “better serve” FastPass+ users.

Kingdom Crossing remains one of the more pleasant spots in the Park.

Haunted Mansion remains more popular than ever with a 15-minute wait, about 20 minutes shorter than normal for this time of day. The Parade just let out and a lot of people that see it in Liberty Square head here immediately after, making this a poor time to get in line regardless of what’s posted.

Liberty Square Market received gluten-free and other allergen foods last month. Or for people that just want to live the Seth Rogen lifestyle circa This Is the End.

Similar to what’s offered at the Garden/Allergy Kiosk over at Animal Kingdom.


This is an extremely subtle Disney-Parks-branded t-shirt.

Also Disney-Parks-branded, I doubt there are even five people a day that see it and recognize the reference.

A whopping 20-minute posted wait at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with FASTPASS about two hours out. Getting in line here or Splash Mountain after the Parade passes is also a poor choice as a lot of people seeing the parade in Frontierland head up here.

With temperatures around 80 degrees in the afternoon, Splash Mountain is more popular than it will be later in the month when temps are a bit lower.

You may recall a couple of months ago when Disney switched out the travesty that was the Steak and Pork Platter with this Steak and Chicken Platter.

Christened with love as the “Pork Glop Platter” from the moment of that first dreadful bite, this was one of the worst things I’ve consumed in my life.

I’m happy to report that the new iteration continues the tradition of basically inedible quick service fare at Pecos Bill.

Imagine the cheapest, driest, most flavorless piece of meat-ish possibly allowable by the FDA. Then imagine a lower quality cut somehow shoehorned into law via what I’m sure was a hefty bribe or some kind of obscure grandfathering. Then microwave that meat-ish for four hours and let it cool in the sun. And you’re in the ball park of what this tasted like. It could not have been drier. I feel like you need a glass of water just looking at it. The slimy pesto sauce on top does add a bit of oily flavor, if you want to look on the bright side.

Let’s say you have a decent box of cornbread mix that calls for it to be baked in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for say….20 to 25 minutes. Instead of following the instructions, you bake it at 250 degrees for four minutes. This is what comes out – a gummy, undercooked, sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth hunk of dough. On the positive side, I think I finally swallowed the last piece of cornbread stuck in my throat and this replaced it.

Imagine one of those frozen Tyson chicken breasts. Then imagine thawing a pile of them outdoors for two weeks on the ground in Orange County Florida. Then squeeze all the liquid out of what’s left and microwave it for four hours. That dry mass is topped with brown-dyed high fructose corn syrup and served. This was the best part of the meal.

A side of salsa for some reason.

The presentation inside this cardboard cup is the best part of corn on the cob here at Pecos Bill. The corn is long overcooked and left sitting somewhere for as long as it takes for some poor soul to order it. Corn on the cob is not one of those things that can generally be left sitting out for a while. The smart money here is on the regular fries and that’s just sad.

This is perhaps the worst $15.49 you can spend on “food” at Disney World. On the Disney Dining Plan, you might just order one to see how bad things can get, particularly if you have an extra credit and the family can find sustenance somewhere else. Avoid at all costs.

10 minutes at Pirates of the Caribbean.

40 at Jingle Cruise. Sorry for the even-lousier-than-usual-pic but my stomach was playing tricks on me and I had to choose the limited number of steps I had in me very carefully.

Despite enjoying short waits and low crowds further inside the Park, this is what Main Street looks like at 4:35pm. It’s not as bad as it potentially looks, but it gives you an idea about what you’re looking at on Main Street in front of a sold out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Bag check spilling out about as far as I’ve seen it.

It is quite a haul from the exit all the way back to the last stop at the end of the new bus loop.

Larger: I’ll leave you with a shot of France with the sun setting later in the evening.

Okay, of the beach. Larger:

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike December 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

Oh, wow. I am a grown man and I giggled the whole time at that Pecos Bill meal description. People at work think even less of me now.

Pudge December 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

Aw, that Peco’s Bill review had me all primed for the return of my favorite Josh meal description: “tastes like horse.” Big let down. I loved the review, but it needed a catchprase.

Elizabeth December 6, 2013 at 11:48 am

I was on the phone with my husband while browsing this blog entry. Multitasking–I’m excellent and listening and reading at the same time. I was like, “oh yum, there is a new entree at Pecos Bills–we have to try it.” Then I read the description. Gag.

Sue December 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Yeah lady, it’s because of all of your “original” content and because you’re awesome (*major eye roll*)

Shannon Albert ‏@ShannonAlbert

“I don’t think Google Page Rank matters anymore but the fact that mine just increased still somehow feels like an accomplishment.”

Matt December 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

For some reason, I got a twisted sense of pleasure reading the description of the steak and chicken platter at Pecos Bill. Sounds like something even a cheap, freezer-burned TV dinner would be ashamed of.

Lisa December 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Okay. I will admit it. I do not get the references on the thirst. Care to share?

Lisa December 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm

D#%^* Autocorrect. I meant tshirt. I do not get the references on the tshirt.

Kirsten December 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm

“Meat-ish” lol

josh December 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm

I don’t think I would disparage horse meat by comparing it to this Peocs Bill meat-ish. I can’t afford to fight lawsuits on two fronts should The Federation of Wild Horsies serve me.

The King’s Canoe shirt is a Davy Crockett “King of the Frontier” reference, most likely from Disneyland where he has a more substantial presence.

Pacific Lakeside Campgrounds is (apparently) an even more subtle reference to a camp visited by Walt Disney and P.L. Travers:

Psac December 7, 2013 at 6:35 am

Also agree about the injustice of BWV, BWI, and Swan and Dolphin sharing busses. It’s really not right.

David December 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm

It’s so embarrassing how long it is taking to build that damn mine train ride. Sad…

Jo D December 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

Just want to say ‘Thx’ for an awesome update. Had me smiling & laughing & brightened up my day. Low 80s sounds lovely (from a cold English winter perspective). Will be out there at Easter and have given up hope of Mine Train being open or getting Fastpass to anything as we stay off-site :-)

At the risk of blowing smoke up your a** I love your posts (and so glad you have diversified to parks that can actually build and deliver new rides not just over-engineered queuing systems!). Off to have mid-life crisis & blow over $100 on a leopard print handbag lol

Dena December 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Just back, wonderful 8 days. I avoid Pecos Bills like the plaque. I hate it, their food is inedible, glad someone else shares my view. Looked for myself in the bag check line waiting to get into the MVMCP, but didn’t see me, apparently I barely missed you, the infamous Josh, oh well, maybe I will see you next time.

Christine December 11, 2013 at 6:45 am

My stomach is churning from reading about the Pecos Bill platter. I actually like those t-shirts although the reference seems incredibly obscure.

Jenn December 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

Is it a strech to hope thebMine train is open by June 29th?!!

Lorri December 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

We were there during this week and found it to be absolutely fantastic! Followed your recommendations daily and waited for almost nothing. I did try asking a DVC cast member about Poly and surprisingly got an answer! I told him we were waiting to buy in at Poly, to which he replied that we should buy in now at a small point amount at another resort so that when Poly opens (likely in 2016 according to him), we would have first crack at it as members. I was surprised that he didn’t miss a beat and dove right in talking about it. Tried it at another DVC kiosk and got the “no Poly” party line.

DUSTY CHEATHAM December 29, 2013 at 5:35 am

after consuming pot roast ; turkey & dressing @ liberty tree tavern 12/8 left magic kingdom to return to resort . 88 degrees full bellies & bus stop as far away from main gate as you can get unless you want to just continue to bay lake towers . my darling dumpling was not pleased screaming I AM NEVER COMING BACK HERE AGAIN . I was sad until I read this post . thank you josh .

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