We’ll be a little more focused than usual this time for a look around the new Dumbo complex. No, I don’t know how it’s going to go either. Actually, I had a discussion once about my roundabout way of getting to “the point.” I offered that perhaps our definition of “the point” was different. I can assure you that as a celebrity Disney blogger, I arrive at the point precisely when I mean to. We’ll take a look at Fantasyland update stuff now and then return for some other goodies.
The look from the Hub.
So the big question: “If you want to avoid an uncomfortable 30 minute wait for Dumbo, do you still have to head there first thing in the morning?” Prior to the opening of Storybook Circus, Dumbo was a carnival ride located in the middle of “Old Fantasyland.” The queue was merely a monotonous switchback as guests walked up one way and then doubled back down the other way until it was their time to board their elephant. Virtually every day by 9:30am, the wait would be 30 minutes and it would stay that until after 10pm, assuming Magic Kingdom was open later. This was particularly unpleasant in the summer heat and rain.
Fast forward to June 2012 and it’s a completely different story. There are now two Dumbo spinners and they are located in an area of “New Fantasyland” called “Storybook Circus.” Dumbo now offers FASTPASS. The queue and surrounding areas are much more pleasant. The ride is beautiful at night as it lights up with bright LEDs and spins over water fountains. There’s even an indoor, air-conditioned queue area where kids can play and parents can sit and relax.
Are the days of needing to head immediately to Dumbo over? It certainly seems to appear that way. I rode Dumbo five times today. Once with FASTPASS. I only had to wait for the next cycle to start. Once waiting in the interactive queue. I spent about ten minutes there in peaceful air-conditioning until I made my way outside and waited for the next cycle. I also waited in the standby line three times, still only having to wait for the next cycle to start each time. This was all after 10am. Rewind a year and it would take me two and a half hours in line to ride five times.
Take away Dumbo and what are our other priorities? Peter Pan’s Flight remains near or at the top. With wait times that are often the longest at Magic Kingdom and FASTPASSes that almost always have return times further out than any other attraction, it’s important to visit before 9:30am or with FASTPASS. Lines also die down in the evening during the Electrical Parade/Wishes or after 10pm. Like most things, waits only get shorter as it gets later into the evening. Winnie the Pooh also sees long waits that built relatively quickly due to a lousy capacity and decent popularity. Wait times are often in the 40 to 50 minute range from 10:30am through 7pm. FASTPASSes are easier to secure though with return times often 40 to 60 minutes out.
Other than that, there are some obvious priorities. Space/Big Thunder/Splash Mountains are all going to have decent wait times. Splash Mountain’s FASTPASS return times are further out in the summer when it’s hot out. Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad usually have FASTPASSes with return times in the 60 to 80 minute range, though Space Mountain is more likely to have FASTPASSes further out.
In Tomorrowland, there’s Astro Orbiter and Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, both of which have dismal capacities and often see unfortunate waits in the 25 to 40 minute range. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin can see 30+ minute afternoon waits, but FASTPASS return times are virtually always 40 minutes in the future. Jungle Cruise is similar in that respect in that wait times can be 30 to 50 minutes after 11am, but FASTPASS return times are almost always under 60 minutes out.
Let’s take a look at how Dumbo looked today. It’s a little early to definitively say that Dumbo-first is a thing of the past (needs more data, needs more simulations), but it’s looking to be likely. If the kids want to spend time in the interactive queue, they can just as easily do that at 2pm than 9am, although it may be more crowded in the afternoon. Depending on FASTPASS return times, it should be an easy FASTPASS. And with double the capacity, wait times will be inherently shorter.
So we just passed through the Castle on the Quick Route to Peter Pan above.
Dumbo FASTPASSes are distributed alongside Winnie the Pooh’s outside Mickey’s PhilharMagic. That sign on the bottom right states the same though their arrows are highly lacking.
Dear Disney, the only arrow color we accept is red. And the only font the Internet accepts is Impact.
It’s 10:01am, so FASTPASSes for both Dumbo and Winnie the Pooh are 40 minutes out. The cast member on the right here is relaying the fact that the return time for Dumbo should be 10:40am to 11:40am, rather than 11:40 to 10:40. These signs are brand new with the standby wait time listed to the right. Since Dumbo in particular is a ways away, it’s helpful to see the posted wait time, assuming it’s anywhere near accurate. We’re going to see some pretty bizarre behavior from the posted wait times as we progress.
FASTPASSes for Dumbo work just like most others.
The walkway to Dumbo is located directly behind Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland.
Looking in the opposite direction from the walkway into Storybook.
The new Dumbo complex.
Proceeding through the standby queue, we head into the tent.
Where the pager system is explained in pictures:
Hopefully people can get there head around it. In the standby line, you have two options. You can opt to enter the interactive queue area or you can bypass it and continue to the regular standby line. We’ll take a look at the interactive queue in a minute.
FASTPASS users also enter the tent on the opposite side.
And proceed to the cast member here who is manning a rope. She can send you to either spinner depending probably on which has a shorter wait. The current stance is that FASTPASS users can’t opt to enter the interactive queue. I’m not sure how lenient they’ll be with that, considering how few people in the grand scheme of things would even know the interactive queue exists. If it isn’t busy, they might allow FASTPASS users into the interactive area or may tell them to return in the standby line.
Back inside the tent on the standby side, we have the option of entering the interactive queue area to the right. Other people were skipping it and heading to a Dumbo.
Sorry I don’t have a better picture of the pager, but this should give you an idea of what it looks like and how big it is. It slips into a pocket.
Cast members look at a screen indicating how many people are in the interactive queue and how long it’s taking before they activate your pager.
Sorry this picture isn’t any better. I didn’t want to get all up in there and snap a picture and Mother still won’t allow the purchase of our 70-200mm lens. The 28 number is the “Current Count.” The number on the right is the “Available Slots.” Underneath it reads “Current wait in lounge is approximately 10-15 minutes.” Autopilot is running. Shoulder Period is on. That means 175 people can be in the interactive queue at any given time.
And the maximum occupancy is 429 people inside. Theoretically, it’s possible that you would also wait outside the tent.
You’re not going to be able to convince me that this isn’t the cutest thing in the world. I’m on Twitter and troll the various Disney forums and there was an obnoxious “outcry” about this area because there “wasn’t anything for adults to do.” Along with the “What would Walt think?” And the quote about how Walt wanted to build something where adults and children could do things together. I don’t know how to engage these people. First of all, you can bypass the interactive queue entirely in either line if that’s what you want. The tent is air-conditioned. As the parent, you get to sit down while your kids frolic about. And if you happen to be childless, you can refresh your Twitter account with 47.3k tweets/472 following/19 followers just as easily in here as you could out on the concrete in the unforgiving sun.
I took a little two minute video looking around a little bit. Thanks to the child for honking the firetruck’s horn right as I zoomed in and thanks to Mom for not engaging me in the, “Why are you taking a video of my son?” discussion. Dumbo is flying with Timothy. The platforms make bouncing sounds as the kids jump around. There’s a slide. Several of the set pieces “do something” when engaged. I wish I was three years old again as this would have just dazzled me and will likely dazzle other children.
The area in the center is for two and three year olds. Along with the truck, you can go down the world’s smallest slide or play around with the characters and their costumes.
As indicated. The rest of the area is officially for two to eight year olds.
Nicely themed benches circle most of the tent.
The explosives. One of those things where you want to follow the “this side up” arrow.
Pull my string.
Setting the scene. I don’t know much about Dumbo because the movie is too sad to watch.
So after 10 to 15 minutes, your buzzer will go off and you’ll return to the podium where you received your pager. I’ve seen some questions as to what happens when the buzzer goes off if the kids want to continue playing. The answer is that Disney can’t track you down, but the buzzer does continue to buzz, which may or may not be annoying.
So the question is really just how fun this place is going to be with 175 people in it. Like the Landscape of Flavors which was awesome until people showed up, I can see this as being a very noisy, very ruckus experience when another 100 people are involved. We’ll see.
Finally, the tent is still in “soft opening” mode, so it may not be operating early in the morning. Recently, it’s been opening right at 11am.
Then you’ll be sent to one of the two spinners. I don’t think the wait would be longer than a cycle or two. It depends on how many people return with FASTPASS and opt out of the interactive queue.
Here’s a video riding the new Dumbo. I wouldn’t watch it though, it’s pretty dizzying.
And the cute exit.
I mentioned we would see some odd posted wait time behavior. The wait time at Dumbo isn’t 75 minutes. It’s closer to ten, if that.
I investigated and the posted wait time is 75 minutes at the attraction itself, which makes me think that the wait time you see here will also be “correctly” posted above the FASTPASS machines. I asked the cast member if it was accurate and she said, “No it’s more like 15 minutes, no one is in line.”
Casey Jr. wasn’t particularly popular on a cloudy morning. My guess is that they’ll turn the water off when it’s cooler.
Towels for sale next door. Very cute theme!
Along with water shoes and sunscreen.
I got a kick out of these hooded towels:
I think they have gloves too.
Management continues to assess the area and decide what they’re going to do about that fence around the front of Casey Jr.
Otherwise Magic Kingdom wasn’t crowded whatsoever. It was actually the “second most recommended park” according to the Crowd Calendar, which you might think is odd for a Saturday during the summer. But the reality is that most locals avoid the entirety of Walt Disney World in the summer because of the heat and crowds. We also have evening Extra Magic Hours on Fridays and Sundays, which helps pull resort guests away. And with the evening entertainment/long operating hours scheduled every day, there just isn’t anything driving crowds to Magic Kingdom on Saturdays over the summer.
A ten minute posted wait at Barnstormer.
There were “literally” 14 people in line. It’s 10:51am too so it isn’t like we’re gauging things first thing in the morning.
As mentioned previously, the Winnie the Pooh Meet and Greet is open next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction.
It’s the worst place to meet Tigger and Winnie because it’s an obvious location (longer waits), it’s outdoors, and the backdrop isn’t great. Lines are much shorter at the Animation Building at Hollywood Studios or Toy Soldier store in the UK Pavilion at Epcot and both are air-conditioned.
If you are interested, the entrances to this and the ride are better separated now. You’d get in line for the Meet and Greet all the way over there on the left where the rope starts.
Construction in Fantasyland continues to ramp up. We have three covered spires now.
An idea about how tall the Mine Coaster is going to be. It’s going to be fun to look down on Fantasyland from the top!
Behind the scenes.
Peter Pan’s Flight remains a top priority with the longest wait in the Park.
By 10:31am, return times are more than two hours, compared to 40 minutes at every other attraction.
Speaking of odd posted wait times.
As confirmed by the cast member and the fact that there’s no extended queue in use, the actual wait time is less than ten minutes.
An update on Merida now that her movie is going to open to 70 million this weekend. Wait times were still reasonable the two times I swung by. The wait here would be around 20 – 30 minutes as we have another group already inside. With the various activities while you wait, that isn’t necessarily all wasted time. She remains a lower priority than Rapunzel, Ariel, and Tinker Bell.
It was a different version of Merida than we saw before.
And there you have it.