We pick things up in Frontierland at 12:33pm with the 90-minute wait for Big Thunder Mountain. This is Part 3 in an ongoing series. Part 1 included a look at what to expect when rope dropping Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from the main entrance on a busy day with an 8am open. Part 2, located here, picked up where things left off in the late morning.
While we enjoyed quite a bit of success earlier in the day – making it through six attractions in the first 90 minutes of operation, including Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, we’re now going to run into a lot of people.
As a reminder, here’s a look at wait times over the course of this particular day, with the current time highlighted:
There isn’t really anywhere to turn here with the likes of Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Mad Tea Party, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, and Monsters Inc. seeing actual waits of 20+ minutes. 12 attractions are posting a wait of an hour or more. It’s probably time to head back to the resort for a swim (or to the bar for a tall scotch), but you could still find some enjoyment mixing in some of the high capacity attractions with 10-20 minute waits along with whatever FP+ experiences you can luck into securing.
Even the wait for the barge over to Tom Sawyer Island exceeded 15 minutes.
Only a 15-second wait to take this picture, at least.
Luckily, there were still opportunities to have a little fun.
Even if it’s at the Country Bears’ expense.
The pressed penny machine ate the poor guy’s penny. Such is the life of a union employee.
I see plenty of available space over there to the left. Somebody isn’t doing their job.
Of course, it could be because everyone is waiting in the back of this line for Hall of Presidents at 12:50pm. Imagine not even being able to fit in the pre-show area.
People streaming in from the Hub.
I saw the “Line Starts Here” sign for Haunted Mansion and thought, “That’s not so bad…I can see the end of the line and the attraction entrance…AT THE SAME TIME.”
But alas, I’m cheating because the line for Mansion goes down towards the dock for Liberty Square Riverboat and then comes back up somewhere (probably).
The posted wait is 60 minutes, but I’d expect it to be closer to 90.
it’s a small world is posted at 50 minutes if you can get over there to get in it.
Hmmmmmmmmmm. My 20-minute actual wait earlier in the day is looking a little more attractive.
Old Fantasyland with a lot of blurry “Keep Right” signs. As with the past two updates, you can click any image to enlarge it.
There are some slivers of concrete available though.
Even if I could have waded my way over towards it’s a small world back near the entrance, the line actually starts back here.
It’s probably easier to find the end of the line for Peter Pan’s Flight, but you’ll also wait over twice as long for the privilege.
Sometimes you let the ice cart delivery guy, seen towards the bottom of the frame, plow through the crowds and take pictures as the dominoes fall.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen the mythical “Prince Charming Regal Carrousel Line Starts Here” sign, but there it is. And that’s with the ride basically surrounded by walls and tarps.
It’s also been a while since I’ve seen the full queues for the Princess Fairytale Hall Meet and Greets full.
The theme continues with the FastPass+ line for Mine Train beginning here with the attraction entrance somewhere out of frame.
That’s still 40 minutes shorter than Space Mountain.
52 minutes longer than I waited much earlier in the morning.
Mad Tea Party was posted at 25 minutes, but the end of the line is again not visible in this picture.
There it is.
I think this is still technically Fantasyland, even if it’s just about even with Tomorrowland Speedway. So there’s that.
That’s 80 minutes for Dumbo. Including the wait, ride length, and the time that it took me to walk back out to the front of the attraction, my total experience time was nine minutes when I rode earlier in the day. That’s 71 minutes less, or approximately half of the time that it takes to make it through one of these posts.
That’s the end of the FastPass+ return line.
45 minutes for The Barnstormer, a ride that lasts about 25 seconds after the initial lift hill. I was on and off in about ten minutes earlier in the day.
Heading through New Fantasyland at 85mm.
Journey of the Little Mermaid probably remains one of the better bangs for your buck, even if the ride itself is (arguably) on the lackluster side. The queue is beautiful and slightly interactive and the ride time is decent even with a 30ish minute actual wait. There are far worse places to be.
We are, after all, coming up on Tomorrowland Speedway.
I do see a smidgen of available space – it just happens to be in the extended queue for said Speedway.
That’s a 70-minute wait sucking down exhaust and wishing you were somewhere more pleasant, like the actual DMV.
The cast member smiling and waving at what I’m assuming is a passing child is the same smile and wave that I’m making while passing Tomorrowland Speedway. TWINSIES.
It will be interesting to see what the arrival of Tron means for the rest of the Park’s attractions. It will certainly be the “new” Mine Train.
Disney does try to extend certain entertainment offerings to expand capacity, often to little effect. This DJ in Tomorrowland is playing to more people looking at the long lines in the opposite direction than are actively participating in taking two steps to the left and two steps to the right. Maybe if he could get people to take two more steps…and then two more steps…and then two more steps…towards Hollywood Studios.
Crowds do come with certain privileges – another one of those that you probably don’t want is the $4.25 “Sno-Cone.”
While I think we can all agree that the frozen water glistens in the sunlight, the ice is so hard and gritty as the syrup quickly slides off the ice ball and pools at the bottom. Yum.
Lines have gotten so long at Space Mountain, which currently has a 165-minute posted wait, that there are signs in front of the other signs indicating the locations of the standby and FastPass+ entrances.
Hopefully you can spot the “Line Starts Here” sign for the PeopleMover somewhere in the distance. If you can, there’s nothing stopping you from moving to Florida and taking up Easter Week Disney World blogging. It’s really fun.
Astro Orbiter sees its extended queue filled.
A wider look – it’s hard to tell where the line for PeopleMover ends and the line for Astro Orbiter begins. Half these people probably missed both signs for Space Mountain and think they’re in line for the roller coaster.
The standby line for Buzz isn’t backed up that far, relatively speaking.
But the posted wait is still 75 minutes.
And with 80% of the ride’s capacity going to FastPass+ users – and the FastPass+ line backed up to wherever this is – 75 minutes might be optimistic.
That FP+ sign is being held somewhere down on the right.
Stitch’s Great Escape, which sees very good capacity, did not reopen for the Spring Break/Easter Holiday. Say what you will about an “attraction” that was routinely voted Walt Disney World’s worst, but somebody sitting in there enjoying the smell of chili dogs and the terror of being squirted with water in the dark is not also standing out here taking up available space. Instead, Stitch meets to a line that stretches well out the door.
The extended queue for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which has filled to capacity. The attraction entrance is sort of visible up to the right, but the end of the line is not.
Because it’s back there at Tomorrowland Terrace.
Even the ordering area for said quick service is being actively policed – you’ll have to go around if you’re interested in one of the three entrees offered.
A couple of pictures around the Hub before we return to Adventureland:
And we head to Adventureland at 1:43pm.
75 minutes for Jungle Cruise isn’t much worse than usual.
Here’s a look at March wait times:
You might expect that wait times at priority attractions would be wildly higher given the number of people in line at secondary attractions, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Today’s 75-minute wait for Jungle Cruise at 1:45pm is exactly average for March. Even during the first ten days of the month, which is squarely before spring break gets underway, the wait at 1:45pm is 55+ minutes on nine of ten days.
Here’s a look at Space Mountain:
The average wait on the day of this particular visit is 113 minutes, or nearly two hours. But that’s “only” 15 minutes longer than the 98-minute overall average for the entire month. And the average wait is higher on ten other days over the course of March, including five days out of the first fifteen, when we’re far away from peak Spring Break/Easter crowds.
Here’s Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid:
Omnimovers, or rides that are constantly moving at the same speed with a fixed number of vehicles on the track, are typically a good indication of overall wait times since variable capacity doesn’t come into play. In other words, the wait isn’t longer or shorter because there are fewer vehicles operating, like you might see at something like Space Mountain when only one side of the ride is operating. The average wait on this particular visit is 28 minutes over the course of the day, which is exactly the same as the overall average for the month.
Here’s a look at the Mermaid Ride one month earlier:
February, a month when you would expect to see low waits outside of Presidents Day Weekend, sees just a modest decrease in the month’s overall wait – just four minutes, or 16.7%.
This all goes back to a big point that the website has been making for years – FastPass+ increases wait times significantly with 70% or more of an attraction’s capacity given to those with priority boarding. It only takes 200 people in standby for Peter Pan’s Flight to hit a 60+ minute standby wait. And you’re going to see those 200 people waiting that amount of time regardless of whether there’s 35,000 people in the Park or 75,000 people in the Park. On busier days, more people are getting in line, which in turn pushes that standby wait higher, but the same number of FP+ users are cycling through Peter Pan’s Flight every hour whether it’s one of the most- or least-crowded days of the year. Remember how few FP+ experiences were available on this particular day, which means every attraction is basically pushing through the maximum number of FP+ users every hour from Park open through Park close. Very few standby riders ride. And that’s true most days of the year.
Of course, visiting on a lower attendance day is probably still ideal in the grand scheme of things, even if wait times are ultimately similar.
I managed to secure a 5th FP+ for Pirates of the Caribbean and used it at 1:47pm with a 60-minute posted wait:
I arrived at 1:48pm and was back out front at 2:07pm for a total experience time of 19 minutes. That’s three minutes longer than it took earlier in the morning and right around the average time.
A lot of people around.
It may be best to focus on what’s free and clear up in the sky.
As bad as things might “feel,” we’re really only in holy !@#$ territory if Swiss Family Treehouse sees a backup.
And as I walked by and saw the bridge clear, I thought, “I guess it’s not so bad.”
But then I looked left and saw the people waiting.
The cast member was waiting to pulse a handful of people through.
And this is the actual end of the line.
It’s very bad when you can’t see the end of the Swiss Family Treehouse line and the attraction entrance.
Overall, I was impressed by how much I was able to accomplish in the morning – nine major attractions by 11am, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, using “just” an early morning arrival and my initial three FP+ selections. But even by 10am, or two hours after Park open, waits are high and crowds are heavy. It’s intelligent to head out by 1pm, perhaps with plans to return in the evening for the fireworks and some late night rides when wait times are again relatively reasonable.
But there’s still certainly hope for those planning on visiting on some of the busiest days of the year and perhaps some reassurance that wait times will actually be quite similar to some of the less crowded days of the year. Of course, for those keying in on a time that’s historically “less crowded,” wait times are going to be comparable to Easter at the majority of attractions, even if there are fewer people clogging up walkways and waiting in extended queues.
I’d say what’s coming next, but it never turns out to be true.