An exhaustive title, but not a whole lot to this one really. Maybe there will be though. Since I haven’t written it yet, I don’t know how carried away I’ll get. Boss edit: You got carried away.
It’s Epcot on October 26, 2011. A Wednesday with evening Extra Magic Hours attached. Around 5pm.
Spaceship Earth with a short wait – less than five minutes.
A lot of people in World Showcase, as we would expect on a “non-recommended” day. It’s still less busy than this weekend though!
Short lines at the booths.
First of all, thanks for not harping on me about not putting any pictures of a ferry ride in yesterday’s post titled “Ferry Boat Ride.” I thought about not including any pictures of what’s listed in today’s title, but I’ll just chalk up yesterday’s oversight to your gentle nature.
We’ll start back up this past Sunday October 23rd at Epcot.
The line for Spaceship Earth at 12:45pm on a non-recommended Sunday.
As a companion to yesterday’s post on the differences in crowds between Saturday October 22nd and Sunday October 23rd, here are a few more images of varying interest that didn’t necessarily fit into the previous dissertation.
We will pick things back up on Saturday around 4pm.
Long hours at the Express Monorail and Resort Monorail, thanks to the 8am – 1am day. The Resort Monorail continues to operate until 12:30am on Mickey’s Party nights, while the Express Monorail continues to close one hour after regular Park Close (8pm). The Epcot Monorail continues to close one hour after regular Park close.
This is half of a camera trick as the lines for the Express Monorail weren’t consistently this long in the afternoon. We have a tram that just arrived from the parking lot along with a full Epcot monorail that let off a ton of people. People trying to hop from Epcot to Magic Kingdom on Saturday because Epcot was so busy aren’t going to be happy with what they find here either.
As busy as it is inside, it wasn’t bad at all outside the turnstiles. At 4pm, most people are already inside the Magic Kingdom (or on their way out) and we also have a ton of turnstiles open. Closer to the start of the Electrical Parade, we should see longer lines and fewer turnstiles open.
The Halloween “merch” has proven to be incredibly popular this year. Almost everything is sold out, other than the totes, the popcorn buckets, and some of the candles. Mickey’s of Hollywood at Hollywood Studios is really the last bastion of Halloween stuff. If you’re wondering what it did look like, I have a lot of pictures primarily here, here, and here.
For the sake of this story, I will refer to Magic Kingdom as a “she,” as though she were part of the Disney Cruise Line.
Son, I want to tell you a story. One day, Magic Kingdom was open from 8am to 1am with a great fireworks show and two awesome electric light parades. At first, this made the townspeople very happy. They rarely had an opportunity to see entertainment this spectacular and every single townsperson decided to visit. Unfortunately, when the townspeople arrived at Magic Kingdom, she was “very crowded” with long waits for all of the rides and too many people jostling for too few positions for the nighttime entertainment. This made the townspeople very sad.
The next day, Magic Kingdom was very tired and only offered 8am – 7pm hours with no fireworks or electric parades during regular hours. At first, this made the townspeople very sad. They wanted more opportunities to see the nighttime spectaculars! Very few townspeople visited Magic Kingdom, but the ones that did were very happy to find that she wasn’t very busy! Sad, Magic Kingdom tried to make up for the short day and lack of evening entertainment by tacking on a $60+ per person specially ticketed event that would feature a better parade and better fireworks! This made the lords and vassals that oppressed the serfs as a means to survive very happy. They could afford to pay the extra $60+ and enjoy the nighttime entertainment, while the majority of people spent their evening at Downtown Disney waiting for the bus back to their resort.
Good night, son.
This story, originally told to aspiring knights in the 14th century, still holds some truth today. But is there really a difference in crowd levels and wait times between “the most recommended day” and the “least recommended day?”
This past Saturday, not only was Magic Kingdom the “least recommended Park,” but there was an inordinate amount of space between Animal Kingdom (the most recommended Park) and Magic Kingdom on the crowd calendar, signifying an even greater difference in crowds than usual. The following day, Magic Kingdom was the most recommended Park. Let’s have a look.
For the sake of clarity, whenever there are two pictures in a row, the top picture will always be Saturday and the bottom picture will be from Sunday. We do have a slight time difference of about an hour in parts. I’ll try to clarify time differences and peak/normal wait times where necessary.
Park Hours posted in front of the Magic Kingdom:
On Mickey’s Party nights, the next “presentation” of Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade will be listed. When the nighttime spectaculars are offered, just the close is listed.
Immediately, the difference in wait times is already seen. 3.5 times longer at the Princesses and 2x longer for Mickey on Saturday.
We’ll head out to see “what’s new” at Downtown Disney today. Downtown Disney has a lot going for it in terms of bars and restaurants. Put Raglan Road, Portobello, Earl of Sandwich, Cooke’s of Dublin, House of Blues, and others in the theme parks and they would almost certainly eclipse most of the restaurants/quick services in Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and even Epcot. Portobello offers an excellent bar menu, including Orlando Brewing Partner Beers and a fire sale on meatball sliders. Dinner is expensive, but the lunch menu is reasonable and offers many of the same entrees and lower prices. House of Blues features an excellent happy hour in the entire restaurant from 3pm to 5pm, sporadically good music, and cheap quality food. Cooke’s of Dublin serves awesome, unique quick service food. Raglan Road is a hoot and a half at night, with good food, a great band, and better scotch. Earl of Sandwich is the best $6 you can spend on Disney World property. Even Paradiso 37 serves excellent appetizers and an underrated selection of beer and tequila.
When you’re dropping a few thousand dollars on a Disney World “theme park vacation,” Downtown Disney might not be at the top of your list of destinations. You may have visited three, four, or more times and never made it out there. There’s nothing wrong with that. Downtown Disney is a hassle to get to from most resorts, especially the Magic Kingdom area resorts. Take away happy hour and a few of the better restaurants and you basically have generic shopping and a bunch of Disney merchandise that’s available elsewhere. However, if you know where to look, Downtown Disney can be a decent destination, especially if you can swing a weekday or weeknight visit.
Here we are arriving at the West Side around 3:30pm. We’ve got House of Blues and Disney Quest in front of us and the Characters in Flight balloon up in the air on the left.
The West Side Sassagoula River boat dock, which is located to the left of the House of Blues restaurant. You can hop on boats that travel between the three Downtown Disney sections and Disney runs boat service from the Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs resorts. Like the Friendship Boats at Epcot or Crescent Lake, the trip is much more pleasant (when the weather is good) than it is efficient. You can usually walk faster than it would take the boat to travel the same distance. From the resorts, the boat usually takes about the same amount of time a the bus.
These boats service the three sections of Downtown Disney from 10:30am – 11:30pm.
The underutilized walkway behind House of Blues and continuing behind the rest of the West Side restaurants and shops. Very scenic and much less crowded than the main walkway.
Cirque du Soleil still going strong.
The best (and one of the only) happy hours on Disney property. Pair happy hour with a Restaurant.com certificate and you’re really golden.
Construction continues on Splitsville, the upscale bowling alley coming in fall of 2012. At least they put up construction walls for this one, which is more than they can say for the defunct Hyperion Wharf.