We’re headed out to Magic Kingdom on the afternoon of the 27th. One thing I’ll tell you and something I should probably hammer home more often, is the fact that crowd movement can be affected greatly by the weather. That fact is most apparent on Wednesdays at Magic Kingdom when it rains heavily for several hours on Monday and Tuesday, like it did this week. It basically rained all day Monday, which caused many people planning to head to Magic Kingdom first to visit another Park (or stay in altogether). While it didn’t rain all day Tuesday, they expected it to, which also turned off many guests. People inevitably avoid Magic Kingdom when it rains and will alter their plans accordingly if it is expected to or does rain for a lengthy period of time. When the rain stops, people head to Magic Kingdom. Because Disney staffs the Parks based on how crowded they expect them to be, the heavier-than-expected crowds in turn causes attractions lines to be even longer. It also affects lines everywhere else, from popcorn kiosks, to quick service lines, to lines at stores, and everywhere in between. They do try to increase staffing, but even Disney doesn’t know when it’s going to stop raining, making it difficult to assign additional staff. Crowds were so bad on Wednesday that Disney extended Magic Kingdom’s close to 12am today (where it’s even busier) earlier this morning. On top of that, we have about a thousand dancers and their families inside Magic Kingdom who will participate in a parade before the regular Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade. What we’re going to see today is a complete mess.
So what do you do if heavy rain is expected? I’m not much of a trooper when it comes to the rain. People will tell you to suck it up, throw on the poncho, and head out to the Parks, but that has never really appealed to me. Even when it rains in the summer, temperatures are still above 80 degrees and that Mickey poncho basically turns into a winter parka. You’ve got to constantly take it on and off as you move inside and outside. If you’ve got kids or (heaven forbid) someone in a stroller, it’s probably going to be miserable. The stroller and all of the stuff inside of it is going to be soaking wet within two minutes. Or you can try the unenviable task of trying to build a stroller tent, which I’m sure is popular with whomever is inside of it and can’t see out. So now you’ve got a blanket on top of your winter parka.
With that said, crowds are going to be low. There were fewer people in Magic Kingdom on Monday and Tuesday combined than we’re going to see at Magic Kingdom today just at 3pm. That’s pretty wild and directly attributable to the rain. So if you’re willing and able, heading out to Magic Kingdom in the rain is your best bet. For those of us carrying an expensive camera or a toddler, it’s less feasible as you’ll want to leave all of the electronics at home (or spring for the $1800 underwater case for your Mark III). Or you can choose to wait the weather out and find an extremely crowded day like today.
Magic Kingdom is again completely out of ECVs as evidenced by the sign stating “temporarily out of ECVs.” I’ll have to ask them what the wait usually is if you arrive and there aren’t any available. While the Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates that, “at least 50 percent of golf holes on miniature golf courses be “accessible” – with a ground space that is “48 inches minimum by 60 inches minimum with slopes not steeper than 1:48 at the start of play,” there is apparently no stipulation as to how many electronic vehicles one must stock.
Rapunzel has joined Cinderella and Belle inside Town Square Theater, which now means she “offers FASTPASS.” Rapunzel only appears through 4pm. After that, Aurora or another princess will replace her. That may change after next month’s character auditions. *wink*
As before, the FASTPASS machines are located to the left of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and to the right of The Chapeau. FASTPASS returns for the Princesses seemed to be further out than usual at 3:10pm, though it seems unlikey most people would know that Rapunzel now meets in Town Square Theater. People asking about her whereabouts may have been directed over here. Mickey FASTPASSes are still not “connected” to the system, meaning you can collect them at any time. I pulled the Princess FASTPASS first and then a Mickey FASTPASS immediately after. On the Princess FASTPASS, the return time is more than the two hour maximum before I can get another FASTPASS. It’s 3:05pm and the FASTPASS indicated that I could collect another set at 5:05pm, or exactly two hours in the future. The maximum used to be one hour, so pay attention to that.
As always, you’ll enter Town Square Theater. Mickey in his magician’s garb (now you see your money, now Mickey has it) and probably Minnie (she could be baking) meet through the door on the right. The princesses are on the left. Show the first cast member you see your FASTPASSes because that’s who will send you into the appropriate line. There’s no designated “FASTPASS return” sign like at most other attractions.
To the left of the entrance is the posted wait time and the pictures of the princesses currently greeting guests.
I could have just considered that to be “the data” but we’ll go inside anyway just to see what everything looks like in there. The waiting area closest to the door to the princesses is pretty drab.
Like a boss. For some reason, they were handing these out at the turnstiles last week. Possibly because we were looking at five hours of lightning.
So there she is. Rapunzel.
And Belle. No snot rocket comments please.
This is is similar to how most women look at me. Curious, but at the same time you can sense the fear in her eyes. I was trying out “Auto ISO” in “Aperture Priority mode” on the camera, so some of these shots are going to have more motion than we’d like. Learned our lesson.
But then she realizes Disney security is only a three second tackle away and her smile brightens a bit.
The look on Belle’s face when the group ahead of me informed her that I was up next.
Rapunzel remains the cutest. With FASTPASS, it’s still going to take about ten minutes before you enter the Meet and Greet area and you’re going to want to budget another ten minutes to move through the three princesses (Cinderella then Belle then Rapunzel).
Not surprisingly, you’ll exit into a mostly princess themed gift shop.
He did it. No he did it. No he did it.
So if you want to meet Rapunzel, what’s the best way to do it? I don’t know yet. Collecting FASTPASSes first thing seems viable. With a return time of 9:40am – 10:40am, you could return at 10:30am after you’ve hit Fantasyland and circled back to Tomorrowland. Or if you’re interested in the other princesses, you could visit Merida, Tinker Bell, and Ariel before circling back to the Princesses around 10:20am. You could still head here first thing, experience a very short wait, and be in and out in about ten minutes. You could collect FASTPASSes around lunch time. Since the FASTPASS booths are located almost at the main entrance, it’s a considerable walk from just about any other attraction. You could easily send someone while the group orders and waits for lunch. During the summer, I don’t think I’d plan to collect FASTPASSes after 1pm if I wanted to be certain that I could get in before 4pm. As word spreads that Rapunzel is here, FASTPASS return times are only going to move further out earlier in the day. I’ll run some simulations and get back to you.
Outside, the scrims are finally coming down on Main Street. Don’t worry. More are going up, but it might not be until September.
This part of the Confectionery is out from behind scrims entirely. The Chapeau to the right is still behind them, but it looks like it’s just a matter of days before it comes down too.
It’s 3:37pm – so Mickey FASTPASSes have a return time 30 minutes further out 9the minimum) and Princess FASTPASSes are only an additional 10 minutes out compared to the 3:05pm times we saw previously.
Poor Aurora haha. Other than these two girls headed towards her, there’s no one in line! It’s just not at all obvious that characters are back here. Rapunzel remained popular because lines were so long that they poured out into the street. People saw the line and either got in line or tried to return later in the day, hoping to find shorter lines. That doesn’t happen with Aurora, who also meets in the France Pavilion at Epcot. At the moment, lines are much shorter here.
She meets here where Rapunzel had been meeting previously. And then Winnie the Pooh/Tigger before that.
My reaction to her story.
Chamber of Commerce scrim is still up, but don’t worry! There’s good news soon!
The Main Street Bakery scrim is coming down! 22 megapixels for details: http://i.minus.com/iQtwn2syUdQ2q.jpg.
From Main Street at present.
A few more looks:
It looks great.
Waits for Ariel continue to be crazy. It’s somewhat hard to see here, but her queue is completely full and it has spilled out back to the Adventureland bridge. She’s probably going to move up to “highest priority” status here with Rapunzel offering FASTPASS. You want to be here by 9:45am for the first meet of the day or you’re looking at a 40+ minute wait.
A solid 45 minute wait for Tinker Bell.
Evidence. Seriously some of the best air-conditioning in any of the Parks though. It’s downright “freezing.”
It’s not uncommon to see a dozen adults laying face down in the corner of the queue with their kids sort of prodding at them.
With about eight FASTPASS returners for every standby rider, standby waits are long when crowds are this heavy.
Even with a bajillion (not a real number) FASTPASSes being distributed, the return is just 40 minutes in the future.
Heading into the most congested part of Magic Kingdom, particularly in summer, the area outside Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain.
For some reason the posted standby wait it 40 minutes, even though the line is as long as it was in the first picture. They may need to open additional switchbacks, but I can’t imagine they weren’t open previously.
And because it was down for several hours in the morning, we have FASTPASS returns much later than they would be otherwise and several hours of FASTPASS returners all coming back at once. It’s a mess. Big Thunder has been down almost daily since it reopened at the beginning of the month.
Splash next door. Without the downtime, Big Thunder FASTPASS would be out to around 6pm – 7pm.
Haunted Mansion down with a large group of chanting Brazilians in line.
Which means it will look like this soon (plus 1,000 angry people). Don’t worry, we have hula hoops and bubbles to entertain you. But then you never know, maybe they just found the 1,000th haunt and have closed up shop.
With FASTPASS out to 7:55pm to 8:55pm at 4:10pm.
A more concise version of the Pinocchio menu sans pasta.
More work in New Fantasyland.
Yesterday’s big news was the release of a partial Be Our Guest Restaurant menu via Disney Parks Blog along with a vague date that reservations will open (August) and reassertion of the “in time for the holidays” opening. Inevitably, it turned into a discussion between the Picky Eating Club (PECers) and the More Options Pleasers (MOPs) over whether or not Be Our Guest should offer plain hamburgers and chicken nuggets. It will probably end up doing just that, but there isn’t much of a point of listing them on a press release intended to highlight the unique items that will be offered. I grew up as a hardcore PECer, back in the days when McDonalds made your Big Mac the day before and couldn’t get their collective heads around a kid that wanted a hamburger with just meat and bun. But as a full featured adult, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the restaurant’s menu and it’s my belief that those PECer friendly items will appear when the menu is finalized. Just imagine what the release would look like if it said, “The Be Our Guest Restaurant! With Disney Chicken Nuggets! And Smuckers Uncrustables! And Macaroni and Cheese! And Chocolate Cake!” Not happening.
I’ve been watching Dumbo FASTPASS return times both in-Park and at home (via MAGIC) and Dumbo FASTPASS return times continue to be 40 minutes out, even with much larger crowds than we saw last Saturday. This picture was taken after Splash Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, etc. and you may remember that FASTPASSes for those attractions were already 7pm and 8pm.
The state of construction.
There’s been some pretty wild speculation over the damage to some of the elephants on the new Dumbo, mostly resulting from a website that will not be named here because the person that runs it is mentally unstable.
Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports4/bigdumbo.jpg.I can assure you that the attraction has never been “emergency stopped” due to the “damage.” Dumbo isn’t going to shatter into a million pieces and send you flying into Casey Jr. The ride is occasionally shut off when some infant dons a Leonardo DiCaprio imitation, but it isn’t like the cast member notices the scrapes and is like, “Ruh roh, better SHUT IT DOWN.” The damage results from the Dumbos rubbing against the pit area in certain places as the elephants return to earth. Remember that Storybook Circus doesn’t “officially open” until July. My assumption is that we’ll see a permanent fix and some touchups on the affected Dumbos by the middle of next month at the latest.
This is what it looks like. It’s obvious if you’re looking for it, but I had honestly never noticed it before and I don’t think anyone else really did either.
Casey Jr. was making sounds, but no water was running. It seemed to be temporary as the area was still wet and there were still wet kids sitting around waiting. It could very well have been shut off to allow the gentleman in the scooter to take pictures. I’m not sure if they do that or not.
With the heavier crowds, the line for Merida is longer. If you got in line now, you’d be looking at a wait of about 50 minutes. With Rapunzel offering FASTPASS, you may want to head here first and then visit Tinker Bell and then Ariel. It’d be about 10:15am at that point and you could head back to Main Street with about as short of a walk as possible from Adventureland. In other words:
Collect princess FASTPASSes upon entering. Head straight to Merida. Meet her and be done around 9:25am. Meet Tinker Bell. Be done around 9:45am. Meet Ariel. Be done around 10:10am. Meet Rapunzel. Be done around 10:40am.
No extended queue necessary at the Speedway, thankfully.
Space Mountain had also been down for a couple of hours in the afternoon, causing FASTPASS return times to be pushed forward and a 90 minute posted wait. On a lot of attractions you can gauge the actual wait by looking at the line, but at Space Mountain that isn’t possible because it’s indoors and the switchbacks are insane.
No backup for those returning with FASTPASSes.
Also adding to wait times at Space Mountain is the fact that Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was down for floor replacement. It’s a two day refurbishment and will reopen tomorrow, June 29th.
Some odd trees lined up at Tomorrowland Terrace. Considering they’re operating for another five hours, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a need to make the walkway tighter than it needs to be.
Archival footage of Casey’s Corner. Sorry, I was hungry. Lunch is here.
Casey’s Corner seems to be a favorite for many, but isn’t necessarily for me. I do love the Corn Dog Nuggets and hot cheese sauce though. And not a bad value at the $4.49 price point.
The Barbecue Slaw Dog ($8.59) served with fries (missing a small bite).
I was apprehensive about the whole hot barbecue pork/cold coleslaw combo, but I think it worked. I say “think” because it’s virtually impossible to take a full bite and get your mouth around the entire hot dog. You might have a jaw that unhinges or something, which would be convenient in instances like this one, but the rest of us are out of luck. I sort of gnawed and the top and then took a bite out of the bottom. It’s definitely not a good “first date” choice, though that’s never a concern for me personally.
Overall, this was very good. The whole pork/dog/coleslaw combo wasn’t as off-putting as I was expecting and the bun didn’t disintegrate on me, which is usually what happens. It was difficult o eat, but certainly not a bad choice. I preferred it to the Chili Cheese Dog at Casey’s and the Taco Dog at The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland.
As pictured. The chili just isn’t spicy, creating a pretty ho-hum dog that you could easily recreate at home.
Returning at 5:15pm, posted wait times for both the princesses and Mickey are 20 minutes a pop.
Aurora is now listed in place of Rapunzel (I think). I’ve read that Rapunzel would switch out with Aurora after 4pm, but I don’t think that’s the case. Please post if you’ve seen Rapunzel listed after 5pm and I’ll check myself whenever I walk by.
Magic Kingdom was still out of ECVs at 5:20pm. Rent one from an off-site company if you want to be guaranteed access or plan to arrive before 11am. They may not be available if you Park Hop in the afternoon or evening.
I think this is the pool bar at the Grand Floridian covered up in white tarps. It’s been that way for a few weeks as DVC construction continues.
Now that’s a carriage ride.
I’m going to watch some more Lightroom tutorial videos.