Our day at Magic Kingdom comes to what has to be its conclusion as we head to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café for lunch, which WDWNT named the best quick service in Walt Disney World by a panel of “experts” that I assume made their decision based on the sheer number of entryways. You could make the argument that convenience goes a long way, though I’m not sure anyone brought up that point at the time, instead focusing on the fact that it has the one piano-playing alien in front of the one room serenading guests with bops such as “Won’t You Substitute Those Fries with a Cuties® Mandarin Orange Available in Your Grocer’s Produce Section?” and “Hello Bloggers, I Sure Hope There Isn’t Anything New on the Menu Today.”
Ordinarily, you can head inside Cosmic Ray’s across from Tomorrowland Speedway or Auntie Gravity’s in Tomorrowland. More doors invite guests inside across from Mad Tea Party, and an additional main entrance/exit is across from the old Merida Meet and Greet, among about 25 others. Then just about every other floor-to-ceiling window serves as a prospective door, as long as you’re willing to go full Tasmanian Devil on it. Just make sure you break the glass as you take a powerup and burst through. There are few things more embarrassing than running into a wall only to be denied and fall flat backwards. Disney Food Blog may even stand over your incapacitated body, squeeze a Mickey Sundae between their fingers, and say, “AJ sends her regards. At least you’ll have your more time for cast to put your mobile order together as you apply tourniquets wherever necessary. And the soft serve is pretty good.
Few people know this, but there’s also a bit of a “Mission Impossible” situation on the roof, where you can unlatch a door, put on your latex body suit, fit your cable, and lower yourself down into the establishment just above the sautéed onions. I don’t know if the latex is necessary, it just “feels” a little more Spy Kids 3D. I only know about this roof entry because I stepped out on my balcony about a year ago (or was it eight?) and there was Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café waiting for me just outside, with the neon lights of the topping bar illuminated and the promise of unlimited pickles on my burger making my dinner choice easy. You’ve certainly had plenty of time to consume the previous update, but you can pull it up here, which would link back to the previous updates.
Currently, the Mission: Impossible approach may be your most straightforward approach. Those able to use mobile order on the Disney World app are virtually required to do so at Disney-operated quick services that offer it, which is the vast majority inside the theme parks. With a mobile order, you’re only allowed to enter Cosmic Ray’s on the Fantasyland side across from what would ordinarily be the Merida meet, and along the path that we intially used to enter the Park and head to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
If you’re unable to make it through the mobile order process, cast are present to assist on this side, and ct can also place an order for you if you’d like with a credit card on their own iPads. They take Disney gift cards too, so you can load one of those up if don’t want me to have access to your information after the inevitable breach. If it’s 1957 where you are and cash is your preference, or for whatever reason your cards aren’t working because you spent a little too much time at Tambu the night before, you’ll have to walk around to the Tomorrowland side and use that entrance to place your order. Every cast member will look at you with some amount of disdain.
Here’s the current menu:
We’re interested in the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, which is almost a direct holdover from the Mickey’s Christmas Party offering of 2019 – the main differences being that the bun is not branded on top with Mickey in a Santa Hat, which makes sense given the fact that it’s February, and they use Chicken Strips in place of a patty a la Chicken Guy.
The Sandwich ended up being one of the more impressive fast food offerings I’ve run into in the theme parks in a while.
There’s plenty of crispy chicken tenders that make up the heft as they overlap inside the sandwich. It’s all very Minimalistic Chicken Guy.
The bun would benefit from a little time spent on some grill with a little salt and butter. The Sriracha Aioli would ordinarily be available from the topping bar in one of those squeezable containers, but that’s out at the moment with just the regular packaged condiments available, so they added it to spice up the vinegary slaw that mentions pickle, but it light on the ingredient. You can always being your own.
And leaving off the pickles and other toppings in their entirely is an option while placing your mobile order:
I’m still not certain anyone actually likes Coleslaw, so the small amount here works well, and if you don’t like it, you can easily fling it at a nearby guest not following your own interpretation of Disney’s never-ending changes to their mask policies.
Currently, they would like you to keep your masks on for the most part, even while seated inside a restarant.
Here are the newest changes underlined:
It’s a change from the previous guidance, where guests were “allowed” to remove their masks almost immediately after being seated.
I discuss the changes in a live-streaming show that you may or may not be aware exists. But you can catch me live on YouTube Tuesdays at 10pm and participate in the chat or watch a rerun at https://www.youtube.com/wdwnt at your leisure. Just look for the one that says Josh among the hundreds of other uploads. The first few shows are rough and only worth watching if you’d like to see my own improvement, but it’s just about watchable now, and the last couple have been decent enough, fake apologies and all. It seems like the sort of thing that will only improve with time so episode 10 and on should be better.
If you do have questions you’d like us to discuss, they all come from you, and you can send them to me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We may not exactly answer your question, but it may be the jump off point to another series.
Back to lunch, we’re enjoying the view out the window towards Cinderella Castle. The Chicken Sandwich is one of the better available in the theme parks and I would order it again, which isn’t something I often say when it comes to Magic Kingdom quick service. It was a filling, satisfying meal, without feeling like I was bogged down. With all the plentiful snacks, gorging yourself on any one meal may not make tremendous sense, particularly in the middle of the day. Cosmic Ray’s has plentiful seating indoors and outdoors depending on your preference.
Here’s the line for Tomorrowland Speedway at 12:30pm as we order before heading inside for lunch. So much uncovered queue winding around.
Checking on wait times in the middle of my meal, things aren’t much better elsewhere:
At least Splash is back up. You’d want to make it your last attraction of the day, getting in line a minute or two before close. Or if it’s your only shot at riding, potentially before the undated refurbishment, you may want to get in line when it’s functioning if you only have one day, It could go back down for about a thousand different reasons and waiting an hour may be better than never being able to experience it again.
And now back outside at 1:25pm with the 7pm close. The early close makes an afternoon break difficult, considering you’re likely talking about 45 to 60+ minutes in total transportation time when it comes to walking out of the Park, waiting for a bus, riding it back to your resort, finding your room, and then actually taking the time to get off your feet on your bed, in a the pool, with a cocktail, or a combination of the three.
If you left at 2pm, it would likely be about 3pm before you were back at your resort, and if you left again just 90 minutes later, at 4:30pm, you’d likely return close to 5:30pm after your wait for transportation, transit times, getting ready again etc. Looking at your watch the whole time may make things a little stress-free. You may instead to elect to find seating near a closed quick service or other attraction where things will be quieter and enjoy a snack, or merely some time off your feet, before undertaking the rest of your day. The inside-the-Park break will likely end up being less stressful than trying to get to and from your boat.
I’d recommend the Tortuga Tavern seating area across from Pirates of the Caribbean, or potentially one of the relaxation stations, depending on the weather and crowds. The official relaxation station is across the way in between the closed Golden Oak Outpost and Pirate’s Adventure Scavenger Hunt. There would likely be more foot traffic and hubbub out there. I hide over here in the back of the area in relative peace being mean on Twitter for 20-30 minutes before feeling reenergized.
You could also simply sit and enjoy a beverage and a snack at Tomorrowland Terrace, which is outdoors, covered, and scenic along the water. This is an older picture of that scene. Nobody will ask you to take a hike.
I bring up the break/rest because you’re looking at waiting at least a half hour for most things in the afternoon. With spring break season over the next six weeks, we do see longer hours that you’ll be able to take advantage of with short hours at Magic Kingdom after 8pm when available.
Here’s a reminder of wait times during my visit, where waits were below-average:
From 2pm under after 5:30pm, you’re looking at 30 minutes in line, standing up, likely at least half of which will be outside in an uncovered, temporary extended queue.
Remember this as just one example. You can certainly wait the time, or try to luck into some attractions with lower waits during the heart of the day as they reopened from downtime or increase capacity by putting more cars on the track. Over the last four weeks, the average daily wait has been over a half hour with 35+ minutes averages most days. Spring break may return to averages that approach or eclipse 30 minutes, even with the longer hours.
Here at 1:30pm, the line for The Many Adventures Of Winnie the Pooh stretches back past Cheshire Café. The lines will always appear longer with six feet in between parties, but the actual wait would be about a half hour here, most of which is spent outside of the actual queue and with none of the interactive elements inside the queue available. You’ll remember that our wait just about first thing in the morning was about a minute. But you can’t be everywhere first thing, so you’ll need to make some choices come the afternoon and also think about what you want to do if your trip includes a second or third day at Magic Kingdom. You can obviously prioritize attractions you missed on visit one and rescheduled them for visits two and beyond. Or you can throw that thousand dollars on the ground and leave Florida two days early. The choice is yours.
The two rides in Storybook Circus and Journey of the Little Mermaid in New Fantasyland are typically some of your better afternoon bets.
After getting in line for Dumbo at about 1:30pm, I was onboard in about eight minutes.
With its limited capacity, particularly at the moment with just every other row typically filled, 25 to 40 minutes isn’t an uncommon sight to see on the wait time sign at The Barnstormer.
But with few FastPass+/Rider Swap returners, and the fact that the ride is shorter than this sentence, things usually move relatively quickly as we take a look at Tron construction:
That’s the show building for Tron on the left with the light canopy for the ride on the right.
Tron just gets closer, as most things do as you approach them.
A few more for context:
Tron was supposed to be one of the marquee attractions opening alongside this year’s 50th anniversary of Magic Kingdom and the Vacation Destination of the World on October 1st While I’ve had girlfriends proudly announce that it’s their birthday month at 12:01am on April 1st, with their birth day falls on April 28th, nobody takes it quite as far as Disney with birthdays/anniversaries that can typically last ~18 month, giving those who would like to experience the festivities an opportunity.
While work is not exactly paused in its entirety, the ride is no longer expected to open until 2022, and the group that produced the soundtrack for the movie’s sequel, Daft Punk, no longer perform together. I listen to Daft myself, along with The Knife, Fever Ray, and other electronica, but hopefully we will see a reconciliation. Disney actually closed off the building temporarily to keep the elements out as some exterior work continues. We’ll see how things all come together…probably in a little over a year’s time.
Certainly the plot of land and the space available to fill come into play, but you wonder what it will look like with the movie soundtrack’s “End of Line” and futuristic feel playing along so close to…Dumbo. At least we have at least another year of jokes to make and rumors about potential sequels continuing to swell for another 12+ months instead of a mere six.
But here we are on Goofy’s quaint, single propeller crop duster that I boarded less than five minutes after I initially got in line. Not bad.
The future is to our left as we climb The Barnstormer’s slow lift him. Tron’s may be getting closer to it than another Disney+ price increase. Sometimes at the grocery store you’ll see manufacturer’s coupons near a product. They may install something similar at the Light Cycle, where it will be fitting with coupon dispensers or at least an advertisement for the 19th Marvel show coming to the platform.
Then on the right, Timothy Mouse instructs riders on how to move their pachyderm up and down on the slow-moving carousel.
Considering “Pachydermata” is an obsolete 19th-century taxonomic order of mammals, we may be more on-theme than we initially thought with the future on one side and the past on the other.
Considering I had just about walked onto The Barnstormer and Dumbo, I was a bit taken aback to see the end of the line for Journey of the Little Mermaid stretching past the entrance to the old Grotto. Usually seeing an extended queue sign for Mermaid Ride is code for Resort Pool Pina Cola. Just a word of warning: you’re probably not going back to the parks.
Seeing Mine Train backed up behind its own mountain was far less surprising.
There must have been some issue with the queue – a spill of some kind comes to mind, as the queue had been cleared and then likely walked around to where they were currently standing.
There was no posted wait time, which usually indicates some amount of downtime. But that downtime lasted less than it takes for Beast to finish a bowl of soup before he was introduced to the spoon. They only trust me with rounded-edge cutlery after the incident of Food and Wine2k18, so I can sympathize. Let’s just say I eat a lot of soup. And a lot of pudding. And A lot of things that shouldn’t be picked up, but with the right attitude you can make it hhapen.
There’s that~30 minute wait for the Carousel.
The line wraps around a few times with only a limited number of horses in play.
The Carousel is posting 40 minutes, while PhilharMagic may be optimistic posting 30 behind it.
With Magic Kingdom typically open ten hours most days that aren’t abound the holidays, that’s 20% of your day devoted to make it through what would normally be just about as close to walk-ons as you’d see at Magic Kingdom. You’re looking at 35 minutes or so as an actual wait at the Carrousel, plus two minutes of ride time, for a combined ~37 minutes. Then 40 minutes to wait for PhilharMagic, and another 20 to enter, get situated, watch the show, and exit. That’s 75 minutes. A sizable chunk of time.
Mad Tea Party is back after a brief refurbishment. Though there were some reopening day jitters, things should only improve over the next few days. Changes look to be largely to infrastructure and cosmetics.
If I ever have any time, I’ll review Cinderella’s Royal Table, among others.
The current Royal Table is a great opportunity to experience the meal inside the Castle without having to “worry” about four princesses coming over as you all struggle to come up with answers to what may be obscure questions. With kids, or as adults who enjoy the princess interactive, photos, and autographs, I usually recommend holding off on most character meals until the full experience is restored.
The prices have come down very little or not at all even without the character interaction. At the moment, Cinderella comes over to wave from afar every 15 minutes or so. You can see her standing there in the very back. The last time I was at the “Frozen” meet at Epcot, who knows how long ago, Elsa asked how ice trading was going.
I didn’t want to pull out my phone to check on the FOREX prices of the various sizes and densities of ice cubes, the value of my various calls and puts based on the weight and clarity of each piece, so I just said business was down, since most of the ice had melted and I was planning on heading north for greener pastures and to open up a lemonade franchise.
In general, unless you’re saving a lot of money to go to a character meal where they greet tableside for hugs and autographs, I’d hold off on booking it until next time. Unless you specifically would like to limit your interactions with the characters to distanced selfies and also enjoy the atmosphere and food of the restaurant without having to rush back to make a character rotation.
We’ll get back to Magic Kingdom after the Flower and Garden Festival coverage at Epcot and rope dropping Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to update some touring strategy over there as spring break crowds begin to descend.
For now, we’re off, instead of waiting 20 to 50 minutes to do much of anything else.
The Dapper Dans were serenading us our way out. “Cinderelly Cinderelly, we better have gotten all your money.”
Here’s a look at the scrim along the Frontierland train station.
And too wide.
Make sure you exit based on your desired transportation as marked above. You want to head immediately to the left for the walkway over to the Contemporary before exiting the security perimeter. For the walkway to the Grand Floridian and monorails, look right. The exit to the walkway to the ferry to the Transportation and Ticket Center is also down to the right. If you’re trying to head there, or to one of the monorails or boat launches, and exit through Bus Transportation, you may need to go through security again to get back inside the security perimeter before making a wider choice. They’re still rearranging things for the sake of safety and efficiency,
We’re eligible to Park Hop, which we may want to consider if we have the proper entitlements. Epcot would make sense with the later closes. With spring break, we’re looking at about six weeks of longer hours, making it easier to return to the parks late and take advantage of some lower wait times to close out the night.
Park Hopping relies mostly on buses at the moment with the Epcot monorail still unavailable. I walked right onto that Epcot bus ahead that you probably can’t quite make out. The buses over to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are lined up behind it. The three buses to the other Parks arrive just 2pm and as that’s when you’ll be able to Park Hop elsewhere after first scanning into the Park that you initially made your Park Pass reservation for that day. If there are a lot of people waiting for those direct buses, the bus to the Beach Club/Yacht Club or BoardWalk would also work for Epcot or Hollywood Studios with a scenic walk to the International Gateway in World Showcase before your arrival at Epcot. Park Hopping to Animal Kingdom should be less of an issue, but if the line is backed up, you can always check how long the line is for Animal Kingdom Lodge/Kidani Village. After getting off the bus there, board the bus that will eventually arrive for Animal Kingdom. The ride over is about ten minutes away and likely less congested in the afternoon.
We’ll be getting a lot more updates going on in March and April. I just needed some time off.