What will be our last visit to Magic Kingdom “until further notice” comes to its conclusion, as we head to Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square for lunch, and then circle around to Tomorrowland to see what’s happening over there.
Around this time last year, Harbour House debuted a new Wedge Salad. The Wedge was very trendy…probably about ten years ago, until restaurants realized that the last thing Americans who order a salad want to do is have to cut up a bunch of lettuce themselves in order to eat it. Served with about ten plump shrimp for eleven dollars, and tossed in a nice zesty zinfandel vinaigrette dressing, it was still a nice, relatively light and potentially healthy option in a theme park that was still dominated by chicken nuggets and Mickey burgers.
Our visit to Magic Kingdom continues as we head to Frontierland to use FastPass+ at the two priorities there, beginning with Splash Mountain. If you’re wondering how we got here, then you can pull up the last post in this series, which includes links back to how we started the day on Main Street with a couple of leisurely Omnibus rides and a focus on the sights and sounds prior to the Park officially opening.
If you’re rope dropping Frontierland to start your day, then I typically recommend riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in standby before Splash Mountain. The runaway mine train roller coaster is a shorter ride and you’ll be on your way to Splash that much sooner, which should translate to a combined wait between the two attractions that adds up to less time than if you were to do things in the opposite order. Most people head to Big Thunder first thing, or will head there after stopping at their first attraction, which typically causes waits to build at Big Thunder quicker. If you ride Splash Mountain first, and don’t make it to Big Thunder until about 9:25am, then you may find an actual wait of 20+ minutes if only one side is loading first thing. As far as whether it makes sense to use FP+ at Big Thunder or Splash first, it probably doesn’t matter. Potentially, you might book Splash Mountain first, since the speed of Big Thunder will probably help dry you off a bit.
In my case, the fact that I’m heading to Splash first is just how the timing worked out when I was setting my day up. Here are my pre-booked FastPass+ reservations:
We pick up our morning visit during “spring break” in Storybook Circus at 9:45am with virtually nobody else around. My visit, while under incredibly unfortunate circumstances, is basically the “holy grail” of Walt Disney World touring, where Magic Kingdom is staffed to the gills for heavy crowds, but far fewer people than expected actually show up. With rides operating at full capacity from the get-go, we’ll have a much better opportunity to make it through key attractions with short waits. It’s also much more comfortable to move about the Park without having to dodge thousands of other people along cramped walkways.
Fortunately(?), low crowds are likely what we can expect once the theme parks eventually reopen, unless Disney is somehow able to announce the exact dates a month in advance and people have ample time to reschedule their vacations and overall travel plans. Heavy discounting will likely also be in order to entice those with the means to travel out to Florida. A much shorter window of guidance seems more likely. We’re only a week away from March 31st, which is how far away Disney has committed to keeping its resorts and theme parks in Florida closed. Disney has supplied no further information on what they’re thinking or when they believe it’s likely that things will return to some semblance of normal. Running up to the eventual closure of the Parks, Disney wasn’t exactly on the forefront of shutting down, with universities, professional sports, and several countries basically shutting down before their announcement. And even then, the theme parks stayed open through the weekend, with the hotel closures following several days later. We’ll enjoy some time in the Park in the meantime.
So far, this is where I’ve been:
- Enjoy Main Street and watch the Welcome Show with Mickey: 8am – 9am
- Ride Peter Pan’s Flight: 9:02am – 9:16am
- Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 9:19am – 9:27am
- Ride Dumbo: 9:30am – 9:37am
- Ride The Barnstormer: 9:38am – 9:45am
So far, my longest wait has been about ten minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight to start the day. I have basically walked right on everything else. You can pull up Part One of this series here, which covered my arrival and about a hundred pictures of flowers, details, water features, etc. around Main Street, along with a walk around what will become a “bolder” Cinderella Castle. Part Two got us going with our first four rides of the day, including what to expect if you’re planning on rope dropping Peter Pan’s Flight, and some potentially more efficient ways of doing it if you care less about seeing Mickey’s Welcome Show.
We head out to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for one last rope drop prior to the theme park closures that started a week ago, on March 16th. In the first Part of this series, we took a nice walk around Main Street, focusing on the flowers, water features, details, and serene atmosphere that you’ll find inside the Park between 8am and 9am with the regular 8am open. Even if you’re not planning on rope dropping a super priority like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it may be worth arriving a little early to enjoy the sights and sounds of Main Street when it will be less congested than any other part of the day, outside of an hour or more after the fireworks crowd exits at the very end of the night.
This is 8:30am on the bridge leading into Tomorrowland. About 80% of these people are headed for Space Mountain first thing, with 9% breaking off towards Buzz Lightyear, and another 9% on their way to Tomorrowland Speedway. At least 2% don’t know where they are going, where they’ll end up, or what they’re currently doing. There’s probably somebody over here thinking that they’re inching closer and closer to Splash Mountain, which I suppose would be technically true if they backed up a little bit towards the entrance to Adventureland.
We’ll take a visit to Magic Kingdom now that our series at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has (thankfully) concluded. If you’re wondering what touring that theme park from the afternoon through close looked like, including whether or not we had success making it through all three Toy Story Land attractions and over to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in the last hour operation, then you might pull up this post. Now moving on to greener pastures, we’ll enjoy a leisurely walk up Main Street, ride the Omnibus up and down the main drag, and check out how the Cinderella Castle spruce up for the 50th anniversary is going. We’ll follow that up with a Fantasyland rope drop along with the usual run of pictures, touring tips, and tangential rants.
Daylight Saving Time, or the lack thereof, always seems to have more of an effect than you’d expect from a one-hour time change. Somehow, it’s always light out now as we pass by a couple of buses dropping guests off at 7:28am.