The Cheat Sheets on this website are a quick and dirty guide to touring the four major theme parks and include a handy color-coded map, information on rope drop, an ideal morning touring plan, additional information on where to watch parades, nighttime entertainment, etc. and some other useful(?) tidbits. Today we’ll set out to see how the Day 2 plan works in practice. As a reminder, this is what it looks like as written:
Ideal Two-Day Morning Plan Day 2:
1. Ride Astro Orbiter: 9am – 9:15am
2. Ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: 9:17am – 9:25am
3. Ride Space Mountain: 9:30am – 9:50am
4. (Ride Tomorrowland Indy Speedway if desired)
5. Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 9:55am – 10:10am
6. Ride The Barnstormer: 10:15am – 10:25am
7. Ride Dumbo The Flying Elephant: 10:27am – 10:40am
8. (Visit Pete’s Silly Sideshow for Goofy/Donald and/or Daisy/Minnie if desired)
9. Ride Mad Tea Party: 10:43am – 10:50am
10. Ride Haunted Mansion: 11am – 11:20am
11. Ride it’s a small world: 11:23am – 11:40am
12. Have lunch. Columbia Harbour House and Pinocchio Village Haus are nearby. For Be Our Guest lunch, grab snacks and get in line at 2pm.
For a quick look at how long each step actually took and what changes you might want to make, check out this forum thread: http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showthread.php?13144-Timing-Magic-Kingdom-Cheat-Sheet-Day-2-June-18
One of the most common questions I get is, “How early should we arrive?” My usual answer is: “Being at the turnstiles by 8:15am is best. Earlier is always better.” In the case of Magic Kingdom, if you’re staying on property you probably want to take Disney transportation. If you drive, you’ll start your day here at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The Express Monorail doesn’t begin running until 30 minutes before regular theme park open and the ferry boat will begin operating around the same time. That leaves the Resort Monorail as our only option and it will take about 20 minutes with stops at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian before arriving at Magic Kingdom.
I arrived at the TTC at 7:42am and was through bag check and at the Mickey Readers at 8:02am. There were maybe 15 people in line with the turnstiles/readers already letting guests inside the courtyard in front of the train station.
Not sure if I’ve mentioned I’m really bad at this and you should probably disregard everything I say. But I forgot my Annual Pass at home and had to get it reissued at Guest Relations. This is the scene ten minutes later at 8:12am.
I like to line up here to the side of the rope. The shrub blocks some of the sun beaming down from the opposite direction and it tends to fill in much later than the area straight back from the rope. Once the rope comes down, you’ll be able to slide past just about everyone coming in from straight on. Note that you’ll have almost no view of Mickey and the Gang arriving on the train.
Here’s how the morning crowds progressed with the shadows turned up so you can see everyone:
So you can see why my mantra is “Earlier is always better.” There’s a pretty significant difference in morning crowds in just the ten minutes between 8:15am and 8:25am. And 15 minutes later, the courtyard is full and you’d have to wait behind the turnstiles/readers, significantly delaying your arrival at one of the morning priorities.
The morning show started at 8:42am and was over by 8:46am at which point the rope dropped and everyone was let into Magic Kingdom Park™.
Yes, a few people will be running up Main Street. Most will walk at a hurried pace.
When crowds are this heavy and Magic Kingdom opens closer to 8:45am than 8:55am, you may run into internal ropes at each of the lands. I arrived at Tomorrowland at 8:50am and the rope was taken down as I arrived.
Cast members will walk guests around to the left of Astro Orbiter to Space Mountain. This is sort of going to mess up our plan to head to Space Mountain third and I will instead be picking up a FASTPASS to use after first riding Astro Orbiter. There are two problems. One: Without this walk, guests would be headed to several different attractions. The organized walk is going to make it “feel” like they should go to Space Mountain and nearly everyone will. Two, you can expect Disney to let in certain large tour groups early in an attempt to move them through Tomorrowland so they’re on their way by the time the Park opens.
Causing the line to look like this by 9:10am.
Astro Orbiter is up first because of its dismal capacity and boring, outdoor queue. Just 100 people in line will cause actual waits to inch toward a half hour.
Orbiter may be a spinner, but this is no Dumbo. If your party consists of two or there people, you may be seated in just one rocket. And unlike other spinners where riders sit side by side, you’ll ride one in front of the other. If you don’t want to, tell the cast member that each person is a party of one. It can be kind of uncomfortable with more than one person and it’s awkward climbing in and out. Or if you’re on a date, it’s a good excuse to grab onto your significant other.
Astro Orbiter is otherwise terrifying and I’m not really kidding here. At its highest, the rockets lean inward and it “feels” like you’re going to fall out.
Views are otherwise great.
Astro Orbiter took seven minutes – 8:53am to 9am. This is the line stretching out of Space Mountain. Without waiting, it’s hard to say what’s going on in there – they may only have one side open or they might not be moving guests through the switchbacks, resulting in a line that “looks” long even though the actual wait will be much shorter than in the middle of the day when there’s nobody out here and the wait is two hours.
Since we’ll be in the area later anyway, I opted for a FASTPASS, which will keep us ahead of the crowds for another hour.
Buzz is up next: 9:04am to 9:14am.
There were about 20 people in line in front of me.
When we swing back around in the afternoon, the wait is going to be 85 minutes. Yes, people will be waiting for one ride in the time it takes us to move through eight attractions in the morning.
By 10:30am, the posted wait will be 30 minutes and it will probably take longer.
By the time I disembarked at 10:14am, guests were already filing around the extended queue outside. The Cheat Sheets are designed to get you to each attraction right before they start getting busy.
Tomorrowland Speedway complicates things for a few reasons. It loads slowly and unloads even slower and Disney often operates it at half capacity in the morning. If you’re interested in riding, I would FASTPASS Space Mountain and then head straight here instead of Astro Orbiter. Then Orbiter, Buzz, and Space Mountain with FASTPASS.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is up next – 9:18am to 9:30am.
It’s too early for regular FASTPASS users to return, but not too early for those with FASTPASS+ reservations during the expanded test. Even though no FASTPASS users were waiting, we still waited at the merge point until the load area cleared just in case FASTPASS+ users showed up. If they did, they would be let through to the load area before standby riders.
It will be interesting to see how FASTPASS+ affects wait times first thing in the morning. Part of why first hour touring works so efficiently is that there are no FASTPASS users with priority.
Barnstormer is prioritized over Dumbo because it’s a shorter attraction and there’s no chance you’ll be required to wait in a playground area before riding like there is with Dumbo.
With about 20 people in front of me, it was seven minutes between when I arrived and when I was back out in front of the attraction – 9:33am – 9:40am.
In just those seven minutes, we’ve gone from 20 people in line to quite a few more.
After a quick bathroom break, Dumbo had a 25-minute posted wait for some reason.
I’m not real sure why. Riders were given an option to play in the playground if they wanted or you could proceed directly to the ride.
This is the line. It took a total of nine minutes before I was back out front – 9:45am – 9:54am.
Dumbos on the other side were flying empty.
You can disregard the posted waits this early in the morning. The posted wait is still 25 minutes.
Mad Tea Party is up next if you choose to partake.
In the old days, when Magic Kingdom was open until 3am with evening Extra Magic Hours, I once rode Mad Tea Party “literally” by myself. Nobody else on the ride. It took seven minutes to wait for and ride – 9:56am – 10:03am.
Heading back down to Space Mountain to use the FASTPASS.
We were on and off Orbiter in seven minutes first thing in the morning. With the slow loading and abysmal capacity, this would take at least 25 minutes now.
Space Mountain is posted at 55 minutes here at 10:05am. With FASTPASS, it took 17 minutes between the time I stepped into the queue and when I was back out in front of the attraction. 10:06am – 10:23am.
Space Mountain is expected to be closed from September 3-5, 10-12, and 23-26 for brake installation.
They could reduce the speed to two miles per hour and I think it would be a step in the right direction. It’s the only attraction I don’t like riding. My little body always comes off hurting no matter what I do.
Here at 10:24am, FASTPASS is out to 11:35am and the wait time is reduced to 45 minutes.
Remember when we walked on Buzz? This is the scene at 10:25am with a 30 minute wait and the line winding around and around outside the building.
The crowds descending on Tomorrowland.
The line for Speedway already extends outside. If I ever have a child, I hope I love him/her enough to wait in a 45 minute line for Speedway in June. I’m not sure it’s going to happen.
Continuing on to it’s a small world.
Crowds are still light-ish on the main walkways. Give it an hour.
I caught Pan and Wendy hustling backstage from their Meet and Greet area across from Tangled.
Since we don’t currently have a FASTPASS for anything, we could grab one for something in the area. Peter Pan’s Flight FASTPASSes were out to 12:05pm and I opted to grab one since it will be convenient after lunch. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Journey of the Little Mermaid are available around the corner at Mickey’s PhilharMagic if that’s the way you want to go.
Waits are 15+ minutes at most attractions by this time and 60+ at the headliners. The plan is usually to head to Haunted Mansion first, but after seeing the 20-minute wait at http://www.easywdw.com/waits I decided to head to small world first since we’re here.
Without FASTPASS getting in the way, the line moved fast.
I arrived at 10:34am and was back out front at 10:55am.
The poor hippo still has a lazy eye.
I was hoping we would get stuck for a half hour so I could sue. Unfortunately, we moved right through.
In the afternoon, the posted wait is going to skyrocket to 45 minutes.
If you know anything about “normal” wait times, you’d know that’s pretty absurd.
Back outside at 10:55am, things remain fairly calm. Pan is up to 50 minutes with FASTPASS exactly two hours out already to 12:55pm.
The posted wait at Haunted Mansion was 20 minutes, which is probably accurate. I wasn’t in the mood to wait outside in the heat. Wait times drop after 7pm and inch shorter toward close. You’d probably be better off waiting until the evening.
Lunch is at Pinocchio Village Haus, a convenient and often overlooked quick service in Fantasyland.
As mentioned previously, Village Haus received some menu alterations last week. They now offer spaghetti after 4pm. These digital menus allow Disney to easily make changes. I would guess we’ll see more and more menus that differ throughout the day.
For lunch, the new item is the Italian Flatbread Sub.
The other menu items are unchanged.
Village Haus, along with Cosmic Ray’s, offer a very good gelato for dessert. I prefer the Mango, but the chocolate is dark and decadent. Tortuga Tavern offers the Cookie and Cream version, which is amazing in my opinion.
The Kids Pepperoni and Cheese Pizzas are now half-size portions of the adult Flatbreads. So if you’re not that hungry, you might want to consider grabbing one of those. Or you can just split the adult one.
Of course, there is a “just add foam” lemonade.
The Italian Flatbread Sub for your viewing pleasure – Italian Meats, Cheese, Dressing, and Balsamic Glaze. The meats were ham and salami on the bottom and it’s topped with banana peppers, olives, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and cheese (mozzarella?). There’s a little balsamic salad dressing on top – you know I love that. It was filling, but extremely salty. The vegetables were all fresh and added a nice crunch to the sub. I’m not sure anyone else has tried it, but my only problem was the saltiness. It was otherwise more interesting than most of the quick service sandwiches you’ll find in the theme parks.
The Pinocchio Lemonade is the same thing served over at Sunshine Tree Terrace. It balanced sweet/tart well and was tres refreshing on a hot summer day. I’m not sure it’s compelling in and of itself, but it hit the spot after running around the Park for two hours.
Tourists love a line. Near the entrance, we have 20 people in line.
Just two registers down, you could walk right up. This is closer to 11:40am when lunch crowds pick up. 20 minutes earlier, few people were around.
The morning went quite well. The only problems were the line at Space Mountain building so fast and staying long. The idea with going there third is that all of the people who head straight there will have moved on to the other attractions that we’ve already been on. But there are just too many people in the summer. Heading back with a FASTPASS isn’t too difficult though.
In Part 2, we’ll take a look at afternoon crowds, some construction walls, and some odds and ends.