I finished up the daily analysis for the rest of April. The crowd calendar image changed slightly from the original during the last two weeks of the month. We can expect Disney to release the May 2012 operating schedule in the middle of October, most likely around October 17th, but possibly as late as the 21st. At that time, we’ll also have an updated to the November 2011 operating schedule.
Update: Added the rest of the Walkabout below the menus.
Before I get on with my usual nonsense, here are the Food/Wine Festival booth menus that are already up. I’ll be back with the rest when they are available. And maybe some straighter pictures of the ones I have now. Let me know if you’d like to see the full size image of any of them. I think most everything should be perfectly readable.
I’ll be back shortly with the full “walkabout.” Just wanted to toss these menus up here real quick.
And because it just went up, the Mexico booth (it’s very cute!)
Brewer’s Collection – amusingly, the Brewer’s Collection and the Germany Booth are behind a lot of bushes because they don’t want people sitting at the tables or messing with the signs prior to the Festival. Luckily, your author is tall AND A COUPLE OF BUSHES WILL NOT STOP HIM.
We are really just popping into Epcot for the menus and a little exercise. But we might as well see what else is going on. The Food/Wine Festival begins this Friday. It may very well be the most over-hyped event of the year at Disney World, but we’ll play along anyway. I’ll be at a few Festival events here over the next week. I’ve got the First Bites event to kick off the Festival on the 29th, the Scott Hunnel Kitchen Memories at 10am the next day, and I’ll be at the first 3D Dessert Party on October 7th, among a few others. I’ll also be gorging on $4 beer samples and try to eat everything at every booth over the course of the six-week event.
Here we are arriving just before noon. No discernible difference in lines that I notice, but I’m not a professional:
I’m sure there are more depressing places to be than Kissimmee Florida in May, staring down five straight months of unrelenting heat and oppressive humidity. It’s not federal prison (county wasn’t that bad), Afghanistan, Siberia, or most of civil-war-torn Africa. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to whine about it. This is my website after all. You chose to consume it. Or You Googled “How To Get A Grand Floridian Upgrade” and got suckered into making it three sentences into this post only to find out that I’m just kidding about actually getting an upgrade. It’s not going to happen buddy. There’s nothing wrong with Pop.
Fast forward to the end of September and there is almost light at the end of the tunnel. I vaguely recollect what temperatures south of 70 degrees feel like. At least in my dreams, I can imagine what it feels like to step outside (dodging the snake that lives in my shrubs) and not get hit with a wall of heat. We’re not there yet though. Today was miserable. 88 degrees at 11am with 75% humidity = a “RealFeel” of 114 degrees. That’s “put me out of my misery” weather as far as I’m concerned. Weather.com keeps teasing me with high temperatures lower than 90 degrees. Last week, this Wednesday was supposed to be all the way down to 85 degrees. But every day that passes, Weather.com moves that 85-degree-high two days further into the future.
Enough whining. Let’s head out to the Magic Kingdom. According to the September Crowd Calendar:
Magic Kingdom is also rated “green” today, but only under certain conditions. There are two excellent times to tour – 9am to 12pm in particular and also 11:30pm to 1am for evening Extra Magic Hours. Most Disney resort guests who will be headed to the Magic Kingdom will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am, in anticipation of staying until around 11pm (if they even make it that far). If you arrive prior to 9am, you can have a lot of success visiting the Fantasyland attractions and headlining Mountain rides. It will also be a great opportunity to collect FASTPASSes for later in the day. However, the Park will be busy from 1pm to 7pm as the bulk of Disney resort guests arrive en masse. You’ll either want to take a break, Park Hop elsewhere, or plan to visit some of the less popular attractions during that time slot. The relatively late night Extra Magic Hours are also recommended, though the first 90 minutes or so will be pretty busy because it isn’t that late at night and the Main Street Electrical Parade will attract a moderate number of people. If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, I would recommend beginning in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first. Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland. Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 12am and Fantasyland will be low on crowds. It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 45 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours. Save Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh for the very end of the night. You’ll find lower crowds on Tuesday and Friday of this coming week, but tonight won’t be a terrible night to see the Parade and spend a late evening in the Magic Kingdom. Other than tonight, this coming Wednesday is also recommended for Main Street Electrical Parade viewing. Tomorrow will be much more crowded.
The main problem we run into in September, October, most of November, and the first three weeks in December is the Mickey’s Party schedule at Magic Kingdom. As we move into October, Magic Kingdom is going to close four times every week at 7pm to host Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. That leaves just three days where we have the opportunity to see Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. I know many of you want to see these evening shows, so I try to point out your best opportunities to see them, even though all of those days are going to be busier. In September, the two best days are generally Sundays and Wednesdays. In October, it’s almost always Wednesday. The Mickey’s Party schedule is also why we see such long hours at the Magic Kingdom on Saturdays. The extension of operating hours on Saturdays in October and other months is often construed to be some sort of sudden increase in crowds. You might see people saying, “Disney is expecting heavier crowds, that’s why the hours were extended.” While we know that Saturdays at Magic Kingdom are going to be busy because it’s one of the only days where Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes are scheduled, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to see a sudden surge in crowds on Saturdays. The extension in the operating hours is Disney’s attempt to spread out crowds over an extended period of time (during that single day). This lowers wait times overall and gives people a better opportunity to get on the major attractions.
Anyway, the point here is that it’s not an ideal day to visit the Magic Kingdom. It is, however, your second best opportunity of the week to see Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. Let’s see what we’re looking at.
Here we are arriving at 11am. According to the italicized text we both know you didn’t actually read above, we should be expecting to see a lot of Disney resort guests arriving:
A lot of people arriving, as expected.
Let’s take a look at the turnstiles.
One other thing you can do to minimize waits at the turnstiles is to look for a “guest entrance” that consists of two turnstiles and only one line. In the first image above, I’m in one mob of people that is going to separate into two separate lines once we get closer to the turnstiles. If you look to my left (in the second image), the people here are in one line for just one turnstile. Try to find a “guest entrance” where there’s one line for two turnstiles rather than a single line for a single turnstile.
Looking up Main Street at 11:20am:
Here we are this past Monday, September 19th. Headed in to Epcot around 4pm.
One of my favorite games to play in Epcot is called, “Is it open?” at Spaceship Earth.
It always is open though so I’m not sure how fun the game really is.
I like to visit the Art of Disney Store in Future World on my way into Epcot. It’s on the right side of Spaceship Earth, right across from the doors to the “Project of Tomorrow.” Here’s some of what’s available:
Now I’m a sucker for anything that comes in “mint green,” but I like the look of this coffee mug.
The 40th Anniversary merchandise is still widely available:
Just what we all need. More stuff.
I’m not sure how relevant this is since it’s from last week. Digest at your convenience. I just have to get something to the top of the page to cover up that horribly written Rose & Crown review.
We’ll pop in to Hollywood Studios on September 15th and then head over to Epcot on the 16th.
Here we are arriving at 2:15pm on September 15th. A “non-recommended” Thursday: