While pictures like the one above will forever be immortalized in hastily written articles the Internet over, the situation surrounding Frozen Ever After looks to be improving.
Certainly the website is not above going for some shock value in providing images like the one above from a post like this.
And inherent problems remain. Disney neglected to increase capacity by adding rows to the ride vehicles. And there is still just one load platform, which is somewhat inconceivable given what you would hope would be Walt Disney Company’s knowledge of operating attractions.
In fact, Disney probably decreased the capacity in keeping the load area so small. One of the problems is that there is no space and no time for the loader to find smaller size groups to fill boats that are mostly full when a large group follows. For example, let’s say you have a group of four, followed by a couple and then a group of five. The loader would be able to put the group of four in rows one and two and then the couple in row three, but the group of five would obviously not fit in the last row and it’s unlikely that there would be time to find a group of one to three people to occupy the final row. That effectively reduces the capacity of that ride vehicle by at least 25% and in turn, drops the hourly capacity further. On my first ride, the second half of our boat was completely empty. On my second, the first row was completely empty. Go figure.
While the majority of rides give 70% of their capacity to FastPass+, Frozen Ever After started distributing FastPass+ for what Disney thought would be 80% of the number of people that would be able to ride per hour. Add additional people arriving with Disability Access Service Card return times and you have very little capacity given to standby riders even with 100% uptime. In the afternoon, there can be 100 people in standby and the 101st person can still wait over an hour to ride.
You absolutely want FastPass+ for Frozen and the only way to secure them is to be staying on property and booking 60+ days out. With FastPass+ booking now starting at 7am, that means being on your computer with all of your tickets linked and ready to book no later than 6:59am on the east coast (3:59am pacific). I suggest booking Epcot FastPass+ first for whatever date you plan to visit furthest away from your check-in date. That will result in the most availability. But if you’re booking on a date that is essentially 65 or 66 days out, there will be people that are staying 10+ days on property that are able to book 68 or 69 days in advance. There will still be availability on day 64, but return times will only be in shorter and shorter supply the closer we get to a given date. 30 days out, there will literally be zero availability outside of cancellations, which are obviously infrequent.
Here’s a look at what wait times have looked like since the ride opened last week. Remember that red boxes indicate when the ride is either down OR only accepting FastPass+ returners:
It’s an awful lot of red over the first couple of days of operation that seems to turn more and more green as we get closer to the current date. It “feels” premature to declare that we’re out of the woods, but just over an hour of downtime/no-standby-time over the last two days certainly looks better. You may remember that there were “literally” no public soft opens for the attraction, so it does seem natural that there would be some initial growing pains. Obviously that situation is not ideal, but I’d hate to see what the fill gap would have been if we had another Rivers of Light situation on our hands. “No, really guys! We’re serious this time! Star Wars! July 19, 2023!!! Really! Book it!!”
This post from a few days ago goes into a lot more detail about how to experience Frozen Ever After with a relatively short wait, but I would reiterate that the very end of the night is your best bet, particularly if you’re visiting Epcot over two days. You can try to get in line around 8:55pm on your first night and if the ride is down, you can try something else on day two to guarantee a ride – either heading there first thing or waiting it out in the afternoon. Or hold out for the late night again. While Disney likely won’t drop the posted wait below 120 minutes after 8:30pm, actual waits should be much shorter with few FastPass+ returners heading to the ride that late and significantly more capacity given to standby.
Over at the nearby Royal Sommerhus meet and greet, where guests have the opportunity to meet Anna and Elsa in succession, wait times remain short for the most part with some of the lowest waits of the day happening in the heart of the afternoon. And with the cute, air-conditioned queue, most people won’t mind spending ten or fifteen minutes in line anyway.
The website will continue to monitor the situation.