It’s been a while since we visited (The) Magic Kingdom. We did go through the Frontierland-first portion of the rope drop touring plan at the beginning of the month, which is outlined in this post. But this time, we’ll check out what’s going on around the Park, visit some attractions, and focus far too much on minor quick service menu changes and incremental chicken nugget price increases.
The Emporium is out from behind scrims and looks fantastic with its bright red roof.
You might remember the previous olive green version.
Wait times have been way up at the Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell meet and greets with far more limited FastPass+ availability than we’ve seen in the past.
Here’s Tinker Bell over April this year:
A 33-minute overall average wait.
Compared to similar dates in 2016 (there was an error collecting data for April 21-23 last year), the wait time was about half of this year at just 17 minutes.
And just to make sure it isn’t an Easter/spring break change from year to year, here is February 2017:
29 minutes this year.
16 minutes last year.
This is almost certainly due to a capacity reduction rather than a sudden increase in popularity. But it does mean that Tink is not typically the easy-to-get late afternoon FastPass+ that it would have been last year and wait times are typically twice as long.
Here’s Mickey in February of this year:
41 minutes on average with peak waits that are typically 60+ minutes.
33 minutes last year, making the 8-minute difference less significant than the near-100% increase we saw at Tink. But it’s still indicative of a capacity decrease and it’s worth noting that FP+ are more difficult to obtain because fewer are distributed and wait times are now higher.
The Main Street Trolley had just pulled up, so I hopped on:
One of Walt Disney World’s pure delights.
We pick things up at 1:30pm at Haunted Mansion with FastPass+ in-hand and a 50-minute standby wait:
And back out front at 1:48pm for a total experience time of 18 minutes. According to the attraction page, we were expecting 20 minutes on average.
Disney released a skirt to match the tank top.
Another potentially-new tank.
Tuesday and Wednesday of last week in particular were real chill considering Magic Kingdom was open as long as 7am-2am on Wednesday, a move that proved to be completely unnecessary given an average number of people in the Park.
But things did pick up heading into the weekend with the Star Wars runDisney races.
Cue a Guardians of the Galaxy Rapunzel Tower takeover rumor.
it’s a small world with FastPass+ in-hand at 2:04pm:
And back out front at 2:22pm for a total experience time of 18 minutes. The attraction page again said to budget 20, so we’re right around where we should be.
In something that almost never happens, Disney actually reduced the price of the cult favorite Sweet and Spicy Chicken Sandwich, which was $10.29 last week as displayed here:
And has since dropped back down to $8.99:
On the other hand, the Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich is up 20 cents, the Nutella Waffle is up 50 cents, and the Funnel Cake is up 30 cents.
Because I don’t value my health or well-being, I tried the $9.49 Pretzel Dog with House-made Chips back on March 27th.
It was as bad as you would expect.
The sausage itself actually had a nice spiciness to it and a little bit of a snap to each bite, but it wasn’t large enough to fill the crevice inside the roll, which was incredibly stale and overcooked with an unappetizing damp chewiness to it.
It’s a shame because the Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll that was once served at Min & Bill’s was actually pretty good. But for almost ten bucks, I don’t see much of a reason to seek out Sleepy Hollow’s Pretzel Dog. There wasn’t even anything particularly pretzel-y about it other than the coarse salt.
It may or may not be interesting that Disney seems to be doing away with the digital menu boards at Magic Kingdom quick services at the ones that didn’t historically offer one.
Five years ago, back when fountain beverages were $2.59 rather than $3.29, the board would have looked like this. The current incarnation is a lot more fun with or without screenz.
Disney decided to switch out the “Sausage and Peppers Flatbread” for a “Pepperoni and Sausage Flatbread.” The No Sugar Added Lemon Sorbet is also a new addition.
Disney had reportedly spent more than a month trying out different toppings combinations to find something that worked, since obviously you can’t go by Pizza Hut or anything for guidance. I actually liked the pepper version pretty well – it gave it a little bit of a kick that you don’t ordinarily see. But Sausage and Pepperoni will undoubtedly be more popular because ICKY VEGETABLES MOM PICK THEM OFF.
I was surprised to see the Kids’ Chicken Nuggets up over $7, though they were previously $6.99. Five years ago the meal would have cost $5.49, which is an increase of 31%. Meanwhile, Disney is increasingly adding a second side to entrees as an excuse to raise prices another dollar. The Chicken Nuggets and Chicken Parmesan Sandwich arrive with carrots and fries, rather than one or the other. I don’t think anybody wants those carrots.
Over at Columbia Harbour House, they switched out one of the most seemingly healthy additions in the “Baked Chicken Breast and Shrimp,” and replaced it with the “Everything Fried Plate” in the $14.49 “Land and Sea Trio.” At least you can get it with apple slices.
And it might be a shame. While there wasn’t a lot of flavor going on here, it’s relatively healthy and should be allergy-friendly for a lot of people.
The Boston Cream Pie is also a new addition.
Over at Pecos Bill, they’ve switched out the Cilantro Rice with Yellow Rice, which should make the people that pick up the smell of aldehyde chemicals in cilantro happy.
The Yellow Rice appears in the Burrito and the Beef Nachos arrive with queso as an additional topping.
I just…I’m just not sure how one runs into a problem where they need to cover their electronic menu boards with cardboard printouts at every single register.
The Kids’ Beef Nachos are a great value at $6.49 and after a trip to the expansive toppings bar, make for an incredibly filling snack or light meal.
The adult portion, served here without the queso, is also a nice shareable snack or meal.
Gussied up, you basically have the old Taco Salad though the tortilla chips may not be as fun as the crispy taco bowl of yesteryear.
My favorite place to pick up Chicken Nuggets at Magic Kingdom remains Golden Oak Outpost, thanks to their waffle fries, which are also available separately.
It’s typically a large portion of golden crispy potatoes.
Compare that to what we were served at Columbia Harbour House last month…
It looks like Disney has done away with SmartWater at the various outdoor kiosks, now offering just the $3 Dasani rather than the larger $4.50 version. I would make a joke about how you’d have to be pretty dumb to spend $4.50 on a water, but I think we’ve all been there. I buy three or four Dasani bottles a year, typically at Epcot during Festival-tasting time.
Churros and Mickey Pretzels are now found closer to Pecos Bill where hot dogs used to be offered.
Dole Whips are up 50 cents.
As are Citrus Swirls.
You might hold out for the Dreamsicle Float we saw at Hollywood Studios this week.
Seasonal Hot Dogs continue at Casey’s Corner; I’m assuming this is some kind of government test to see how far they can take it before people stop ordering them.
You might remember that the Macaroni and Cheese Dog replaced the Barbecue Slaw Dog a while ago, while the Corn Dog Nugget Meal is up to $8.49.
Disney has finally figured out a way to get the line out the door at Gaston’s Tavern.
And that way is with the incredibly popular Enchanted Rose Sipper Cup, which lights up.
This seems to come in and out of stock often as I tweeted out the details of how to get it and somebody replied that it had sold out that evening.
But then it was available again the next day, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I couldn’t believe how popular the Ham and Cheese-stuffed Pretzels were.
There’s a few changes at Be Our Guest Restaurant for dinner, where the mussels preparation is different. The accompaniments to the pork chop are also different and the “Braised Beef” replaces the Braised Pork, which is still available for lunch.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Be Our Guest for dinner.
I’m going to try to get over there next week to try the mussels, seafood entree, and the beef.
If a reservation opens up.
A reminder to keep refreshing that FastPass+ availability as I scored a 4th FP+ there for two people with a return window of 4pm-5pm at 3:52pm. With the five-minute grace period before the window officially starts, that makes it virtually instantaneously usable.
That’s an 85-minute posted wait.
We arrived at 3:57pm and were back out front at 4:12pm for a total experience time of 15 minutes. That’s better than 70.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was before that with a 50-minute posted wait at 3:37pm.
Everyone’s brave at the start of a roller coaster. HANDS UP!
At least until the water threatens to pour down.
But we were back out front at 3:50pm for a total experience time of 13 minutes, which is great.
With the weather heating up, wait times at the various water attractions rise. This is 70 minutes at Splash Mountain at 4:27pm.
I was able to snag it as a 5th FP+ selection after refreshing availability on the app for a couple minutes while waiting in line for Peter Pan. With the line stretched back this far outside, 70 is probably pretty accurate:
How I look clicking “refresh” over and over again.
“Please have something other than Monsters Inc.”
We were back outside at 4:47pm for a total experience time of 20 minutes, which is again, great. Typically there’s a wait of a couple more minutes to load and then a backup to disembark.
I will mention that I’ve gotten drenched the last two times I’ve been on the ride, so keep your phone/camera packed away after the initial lift because you’re liable to be sprayed as rafts fly down the mountain.
As always, a reminder that you want to do whatever you can to see the Muppets Present… show in Liberty Square to the right of Hall of Presidents.
Funny and charming.
Everything that this website isn’t.
From my Tiana’s Riverboat Party review back in November, you might remember that I mentioned that the parade viewing was blocked by a number of trees.
And in a move that seems somewhat unfortunate, many of those trees have been removed.
So the view should be slightly better, but tearing out trees so 50 people have a slightly better view of a parade for 15 minutes a day “feels” sad. Another positive is that the characters on the floats should wave and pay more attention to the people on the boat. But it still seems like a stretch at 50 bucks unless the character meets are that important.
A quick look around the area as the sun begins to set:
With Wishes glowing away next month, a couple of pieces of merchandise are available, including this hat.
I’m really hoping for a shooting star throwback in “Happily Ever After.”
If not, we drink.
We’ll get over to Tomorrowland and the other side of Fantasyland in a separate post.