I’m up to December 30th on the revision of the December 2011 Crowd Calendar. The “daily analysis” comes in at a solid 79 pages this month. The good news is that it looks like only one recommended Park will change. I now have Hollywood Studios recommended on Friday December 2nd. Other than that, the crowd levels look to be changing no more than one point on any particular day. I’ll have a full report when the update is ready. I’m still in the process of verifying a few additional things, which is another reason for the delay. Otherwise, the update should be ready around 2pm PST or 5pm EST.
Those pinko commies in the federal government are mandating the shutdown of this website through the end of November in an apparent cost cutting move that will most certainly not solve any of our country’s dire problems. Wait. Wrong blog. Let me start over.
Your humble narrator is returning to the sunny state of Washington from November 21 – 30 for Thanksgiving and will officially be “out of the Florida office.” “The boss” will take over the day to day operations during this time. I assure you that “the boss” has no sense of humor and does not take “no” for an answer – SO DON’T EVEN TRY IT. From time to time, someone will ask about the identity of “the boss.” I am happy to reveal that the boss is, as many of you have guessed, Duffy the Disney Bear.
So if any of you are wondering why I’m conspicuously “Pro-Duffy,” the answer is that I really, really, really don’t have any choice.
The December update and June Crowd Calendar should come out as usual. Hopefully we’ll see the updates on Disney’s side early tomorrow morning. Other than the fact that I won’t have the Epcot Christmas/Candlelight Processional pictures for this year as early as I would like, I think the only thing we’ll go without is this next week’s Times Guides on the Sunday that they come out. Fortunately, very similar information is available at Steve Soares’ site – http://wdwent.com/. Most of you should be familiar, but if you’re not, he posts the show times for the upcoming week every Saturday night like clockwork. Otherwise, I’ll be working on the crowd calendar stuff and hopefully have some time to post the Christmas decorations at BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort, and Wilderness Lodge along with the Caribbean Beach Resort review and pictures from my stay a couple of weeks ago.
Happy Thanksgiving – travel safely – and I’ll see ya real soon.
Time to check out the Grand Floridian for the holiday season. We’ve already seen the Gingerbread House, which opened on November 14th, but the rest of the decorations are all “new.” We’ll take a look around the Resort as well to check out restaurant menus, pools, and other points of (varying) interest.
Worth visiting for the Gingerbread House alone, Grand Floridian does an admirable job of decorating the rest of its massive lobby and grounds as well. While the “rich people…and birds” theme is a little bizarre, it’s best not to think about such things.
We might as well cut to the chase, which is rare for this website. There is this huge tree in the middle of the huge lobby.
This is the main entrance on the first floor and the entrance from the monorail station on the second floor. Either way, you’ll arrive to a couple of nice looking Christmas trees.
A nice photo opportunity. You can tell that the Monorail just arrived because there will be a line to take a picture of the kids in between the two trees.
Living up to expectations, you’ll see a lot of wreaths. A lot of wreaths.
We didn’t get the expected update to December’s operating schedule today, which also means June 2012’s operating schedule isn’t available either. We should see both on Monday.
We’ve already seen a few highlights from Veterans Day Weekend – the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the Cheshire Cafe opening, Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade, the Animal Kingdom decorations and Camp Minnie-Mickey characters, the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, the State of the Monorail 8pm Close Edition, and the Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney.
But there are a few things that didn’t fit into those categories and since the theme of this website is “posts that are longer than anyone actually wants to read,” we might as well continue doing what works.
Veterans Day Weekend, specifically Friday November 11th and Saturday November 12th, was busier than either of us would have liked. I had ratcheted up the overall crowd level to a “6” to signify above average overall crowds, but an “8” would have been more accurate. Because the crowd predictions you see on this website are in line with what Disney is predicting internally, we see major problems when the crowd level is heavier than expected. Specifically, Disney staffs the various theme parks based on the number of people that they are expecting. When more people show up and they’re unprepared for the onslaught, we see longer waits at attractions because variable capacity attractions aren’t running at full capacity, longer lines at quick services because fewer registers are operating, more people in line for a limited number of characters, more “sold out” shows because there aren’t enough scheduled over the course of the day, and other similar “issues.” In other words, there can be a similar number of people in the Park on two given days and depending on staffing, operating hours, show schedules, etc. the two days can “feel” very different. A good example of this was this past April when Disney was expecting far more people than actually showed up around the Easter holiday. The theme parks didn’t “feel” crowded because Disney was prepared to serve far more people.
We’ll start at Magic Kingdom (Most Recommended) on Friday November 11th and then visit Animal Kingdom (Not Recommended) and Hollywood Studios (Not Recommended).
We’re arriving at about 12pm on a day when Magic Kingdom was only open from 8am – 7pm. That means most everyone that’s going to be in Magic Kingdom has already arrived and few people are entering.
A lot of people in line at Guest Relations outside the Park. Grand Floridian upgrades must have still been available. If you have Park admission, you’ll want to visit City Hall just inside the Magic Kingdom on the left side of Main Street if you have a question for Guest Services. They can do anything that they can do outside the Park, there are far fewer people in line, there are more cast members working, and it’s air-conditioned.
Amusingly, Disney doesn’t even have the right operating hours listed on their sign inside the Park. Magic Kingdom opened at 8am.