Busy, even if it doesn’t look like it. I updated the August 2012 Crowd Calendar. It’s basically just the updated schedule with some additional tips mixed in. The Cliff Notes(?) version:
1. The Land Pavilion and Character Spot should continue to stay open through 10pm. That means you can get in line for Character Spot, Circle of Life, Living with the Land, or Soarin’ up through 10pm. The best time to get in line for Soarin’ is 8:35pm – 9:15pm or 9:55pm. A lot of people with FASTPASSes return after IllumiNations, causing standby waits to be longer from about 9:20pm – 10pm. Because FASTPASS users have the priority, you want to arrive closer to the 8:30pm – 8:45pm timeframe as you’ll have very few people returning with FASTPASSes and fewer people in the standby line because everyone is up in World Showcase watching IllumiNations. Circle of Life is so easy to see in the afternoon that you probably don’t want to take the time to see it after 9pm. Living with the Land is a lot of fun in the dark and there’s virtually nobody in line. Really, the greenhouse portion is a completely different experience and there aren’t a lot of opportunities to ride it in the dark because it would ordinarily stop operating at 7pm. Character Spot also sees much shorter lines. Ideally, I’d do:
- 8:40pm – Ride Soarin’
- 9:15pm – Ride Living with the Land
- 9:40pm – Visit Character Spot
You could also collect FASTPASSes for Soarin’ to use during the 9pm – 10pm hour. Those are usually available around 1:30pm. Obviously this requires skipping IllumiNations. If you’re planning to see IllumiNations, you’re probably only going to have time to do two things. I’d hit either Character Spot or Living with the Land right after IllumiNations and then get in line for Soarin’ after. Soarin’ is going to take at least 25 minutes, no matter what the posted wait says, so you risk missing out on one of the other rides if you get in line for it first.
2. Through August 25, Disney added a second Fantasmic at either 10pm or 10:30pm, depending on date. The second Fantasmic is (virtually) always less crowded than the first. That’s particularly true in the summer, when the second Fantasmic is much later. I recommend the Fantasmic Dining Package for the earlier show or waiting to see the second show. There are also several 11pm Main Street Electrical Parades at Magic Kingdom added. As usual, this Parade is significantly less crowded than the 9pm Parade because so many families leave after Wishes. For the shortest wait and easiest experience, see the 11pm show in Frontierland or Liberty Square. You may also be able to get good viewing spots on Main Street around 10:30pm after Wishes.
3. I added in a note on Animal Kingdom about Kali River Rapids. Due to its low capacity and increased popularity in warm temperatures, Kali tends to have longer waits than Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, or any other attraction. Due to that, I recommend riding before 10:30am, after 6pm, or with FASTPASSes collected by noon. FASTPASS return times will likely be further out than Everest or Safaris. You’re probably going to get soaked on Kali and with the Florida humidity, it isn’t necessarily one of the good varieties of wet.
4. Dumbo and Rapunzel are much lower priorities now that both offer FASTPASS and their respective capacities have doubled. I recommend relying on FASTPASS for the Princesses. Their location is somewhat inconvenient since they meet just inside the entrance. Because you can FASTPASS them and you can’t FASTPASS the other major characters, I don’t think it’s worth the time to meet the three Town Square princesses first thing in the morning. Rapunzel is only guaranteed to meet through 4pm, so I would plan to collect FASTPASSes around 12pm. That will give you enough time to hit the major attractions and the FASTPASS return time will be convenient. I don’t think that I would collect FASTPASSes for them first thing with a return time of 9:40am – 10:40am. That’s going to be a pretty long walk from Fantasyland or Frontierland. If you’re not planning to do the Mountains, then it would be viable to collect FASTPASSes first thing, but it isn’t necessary.
Dumbo is also less of a priority with the playground, FASTPASS, and second spinner. FASTPASS return times have been consistently 40 minutes out, making it a very easy afternoon or evening FASTPASS. If you’d like to experience the playground, I recommend visiting around 10:30am. This will give you enough time to hit the other attractions where wait times will build considerably before riding Dumbo. With the playground experience, you’re looking at about 20 minutes to do Dumbo, which is too long earlier in the morning.
I’ll be going over my “Ideal Magic Kingdom Morning” in more depth over the next week or so now that things have changed considerably. For a long time, it was easy to say, “Go straight to Rapunzel” or, “Go straight to Dumbo.” With that no longer being necessary, we have a lot more options.
For the Princesses, you’ll want to do:
- Princess Merida in Fairytale Garden immediately after rope drop. She begins meeting at 9:15am.
- Tinker Bell in Adventureland. If you have a member willing to wait outside at Ariel, do so. It’s easy for the group to join after Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell begins meeting at 9:15am.
- Ariel in Adventureland. She begins meeting at 10am.
Ariel is the one you don’t want to mess with because she takes a ton of breaks and her waiting area is boring and hot. If you arrive at Tinker Bell and it’s already past 9:30am, I’d ride Aladdin’s Magical Carpets a couple of times and then get in line for Ariel if you don’t have someone to wait in the Ariel line. While Tinker Bell’s wait will be longer after 10am, the area is one of the most pleasantly air-conditioned spots on property. Waiting 30 minutes there later in the afternoon isn’t necessarily the end of the world. Assuming you arrive early to Merida, you should be through at 9:25am. Expect it to be about 9:50am by the time you’re done with Tinker Bell. Then get in line for Ariel. The second best time to meet Tinker Bell is about two hours before close.
I just started working on the February 2013 Crowd Calendar image. Barring any major distractions, it should be ready later this evening. Then I’ll go back and do the January 2013 Daily Analysis and then the February 2013 Daily Analysis.