Last month, I posted 70+ pictures around Main Street with grey skies as a backdrop. At the time, I promised that we’d get back on a sunnier day to better showcase the holiday decorations against bright blue skies and pillow-y white clouds. Unfortunately, each of my return visits saw even darker skies or we’ve had some amount of business elsewhere, in turn pulling me away from Main Street in the early morning.
Late last month, we rope dropped Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from Be Our Guest Restaurant on a sunny morning. But with just an iPhone in hand, the pictures might not be as artsy/tilted as we’re accustomed.
Earlier this month, we enjoyed incredibly blue skies and perfect cloud cover, but I was on my way to Fantasyland as part of the now-expanded Early Morning Magic event, which I reviewed here.
And here we are again on Sunday December 16th at 7:52am to some of the grayest morning skies that I’ve ever seen over Magic Kingdom.
I am not a morning person – outside of early morning flights and our rope drop posts, I’m out of bed before 9am maybe five times a year. After checking the weather report the night before and seeing the promise of sunny morning skies, I went to bed at 3:30am knowing that I would be on my way out to dancing beams of light in just three hours’ time.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the front door at 7am only to find a much grayer, much more damp version of the opening to Mary Poppins Returns.
But alas, it was too late to call things off as I had spent most of the previous day mentally preparing to meet the various princesses as part of a “Let’s see what it takes to do everything in Fantasyland” post.
It’s 7:37am as a handful of guests without breakfast or tour reservations wait in front of the tapstiles on the right.
It’s a Sunday with Early Morning Magic, the paid Fantasyland head start that includes breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s.
Part of what we’ll check during our rope drop is how that event affects our ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first thing.
Upon getting our MagicBand scanned for breakfast, we’ll be given this leaflet:
It points us to the Check-In Location for Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table reservations.
With the number of tickets sold for Early Morning Magic now higher than ever, there’s a considerable number of people waiting for the event to officially begin at 7:45am.
We do have an opportunity to enjoy a clear view of the Train Station with the holiday decorations.
Those with early morning reservations will have a minute or two head start on those that don’t.
But everyone will be inside around 7:45am.
Get up early they said
You’ll get some nice sunny pictures on Main Street with barely anyone in them they said pic.twitter.com/P53oLaNK2i
— josh (@easywdw) December 16, 2018
With a regular 9am open, we’ll have about 75 minutes to enjoy the sights and sounds on Main Street, including the vehicles that will whisk you towards Cinderella Castle at two miles per hour and the Starbucks, which may have you walking towards the same Castle at three or four miles per hour. The majority of the stores on Main Street are also open from 7:45am on. It’s a great opportunity to do some shopping with just a handful of other people around.
If you’re headed to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from the main entrance, then you’ll want to be inside the Park by 8:10am or so with a regular 9am open to be among the first people to arrive at the holding area to the right of Cinderella Castle.
Here’s what that holding area looks like at 8:37am. If you were to arrive now, you’d find yourself behind several hundred people or more and will wait considerably longer at Mine Train. Yes, arriving at “rope drop” “is late” if you’re headed to the Park’s most popular attraction. If you get to Animal Kingdom at 9am with a regular 9am open, then the average standby wait for Avatar Flight of Passage is already 160 minutes. If you got there at 7:45am, you’d be on the ride by 8:40am, as this post discusses.
Rope drop crowds on this particular morning are about average with this group waiting to burst towards Tomorrowland. For Space Mountain, I’d probably be waiting at the rope by 8:30am to be among the first to arrive at the Land’s most popular attraction. If you get there closer to 8:50am, you’re looking at a wait of 15ish minutes unless you’re able to make up some ground on the walk to the roller coaster. If you’re headed to Buzz, Tomorrowland Speedway, Astro Orbiter, or what have you, then strolling over the bridge into Tomorrowland right at 9am is fine. Any other attraction will be a walk-on.
The walkway through the Castle remains clear and I could inch my way up to the rope for Peter Pan’s Flight or any Fantasyland attraction other than the Mine Train if I wanted.
Most of these people waiting in front of Liberty Square are probably also headed to Peter Pan’s Flight. I’ve had more luck going through the Castle, but sometimes it’s a wash.
We’ll take a quick look around Main Street while we’re here:
We pick things up as we pass Cinderella Castle.
I’ll discuss specific touring strategy tips, and particularly those focused on Fantasyland, in the next post.
While pictures on an empty Main Street probably aren’t in the cards, we do have a few fun opportunities back here in Fantasyland.
And the grey skies may play better with Beast’s Castle. “Looming large” is perhaps not the best description.
As is typical in Florida, the sun eventually came out:
And that may or may not be how you salvage a foggy Magic Kingdom morning.
A post with substance may follow.