With the sun setting over the Magic Kingdom on the evening of Tuesday January 20th, we’ll head inside to try to get a few pictures in before darkness descends.
A short barrier lines the front of the train station – I’m not sure what they’re up to but we’ve seen this before. It shouldn’t be long until they’re gone.
I enjoy the various seasonal overlays, but it’s nice to get back to a classic bright Mickey scene after more than four months of Halloween and Christmas.
A new scrim on Main Street.
Now that the “Wishes Nighttime Spectacular” is “Presented by Pandora,” it’s expected that a Pandora charm store will open in the back of the cinema.
Disney and Starbucks debuted the “You Are Here” mug collection earlier this week. Magic Kingdom is above.
The Epcot version. They’re $14.95 each. The actual size is a bit wider than they probably look in the picture. I picked up one of each and was a little concerned it would only hold a negligible amount of whiskey, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Edit: Disney pulled the Epcot version of the mug because the monorail is purple, which is the same color as the monorail that crashed a few years ago, resulting in the death of the driver. It’s expected that Disney will release a new version of the mug soon. Epcot mugs are currently unavailable.
Each specific Park mug is only available in the Starbucks at that particular Park at the moment. So you have to go to Fountain View at Epcot to buy Epcot and Main Street Bakery at Magic Kingdom to buy Magic Kingdom. Because the Starbucks installations at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom aren’t yet open, those mugs aren’t yet available. If you’d like to pick up a set of mugs and won’t be traveling to the Park(s) anytime soon, Lisa would be happy to pick them up and ship them off to you for a nominal service fee. Just send a quick email to email@example.com.
These Starbucks/Disney Parks tumblers are also new and run $19.95.
It’s the same design as the disposable cups.
In case you’re wondering what’s in the case these days. The seasonal coffee is known just as “The Flat White: Expertly steamed whole milk poured over two shots of espresso, topped with microfoam swirled into beautiful latte art.”
The crane joins Hub construction.
It’s currently scheduled to be in place through February 21st to aid in Dream Light removal.
The same walls we’ve seen a hundred times still line the Hub area on the Adventureland side:
The central hub area is now completely walled off.
Don’t worry, Walt is safely boxed up.
The new Wishes FP+ viewing area is expected to open February 27th in two different spots. The reserved viewing locations are on both sides of Main Street in the Casey’s Corner/Plaza Restaurant areas. It’s expected that, based on available space, guests will have their choice of which side they prefer to be on.
That means most or all of these walls should be down in about a month, even if the project still has another eight months to go until it’s done.
More convincing brick work has been added to the Main Street bypass in between Plaza Restaurant and Tomorrowland Terrace. We’ll have to wait and see if there’s any difference in views from the Plaza and Casey’s Corner sides. Otherwise it seems to make more sense to choose the Tomorrowland side because you can make a quicker exit through the bypass should you decide to exit after the fireworks. Of course, if you’re heading into Advenureland after the fireworks, the Casey’s Corner side would make a lot more sense.
Despite all the construction, things are still pretty in most directions.
Things are pretty rough crowd wise at Magic Kingdom these days as international visitors “help” push up attendance during what is historically “the low season.” Wait times over the course of January 20th:
This is the reality we live in these days as Magic Kingdom was recommended as the best day of the week to see the Main Street Electrical Parade. Magic Kingdom was the most recommend Park the following day and you can see how much lower wait times are. The last two columns are the average wait times on the 20th and 21st.
Pretty significant differences in average and peak wait times and a good example of how this website’s rankings/recommendations, coupled with the daily analysis, provide a little more insight than the other crowd calendars on the market.
The daily analysis for the 20th:
Magic Kingdom is recommended as we come off four busier days in a row with longer operating hours and the Electrical Parades, in addition to heavier overall crowds due to the holiday. Disney ended up adding two Electrical Parades to today as well, in addition to extending the close by an hour to 10pm. That will increase today’s crowd level, but it remains the best day of the week to see the Electrical Parade. If you’re flexible with the date you visit, tomorrow would see significantly lower crowds, but you also won’t have the option to see the Electrical Parade. To have the most success, arrive by 8:25am and tour efficiently in the morning, whether you begin with a popular character, Mine Train, Space Mountain, or whatever else. You’ll have a tremendous amount of success through 10:30am and can continue breezing through rides in the late morning and afternoon with FastPass+. You may want to take an afternoon break when crowds peak around 1:30pm and return in the evening for dinner, a few more rides, Wishes, and the Electrical Parade. The second Electrical Parade is far less crowded, particularly in Liberty Square and Frontierland where crowds will be largely nonexistent. If you’re not interested in the nighttime entertainment, visit Tomorrowland with two hours to close and Fantasyland in the final hour to experience far shorter waits than the afternoon.
And the 21st:
Magic Kingdom is the most recommended Park. Tomorrow’s morning Extra Magic Hour and Electrical Parades will be more popular with resort guests and we don’t have anything specific attracting people today with the earlier close and lack of the Electrical Parade. Yesterday will be busier with the later close and two Electrical Parades attracting visitors. As always, you’ll have the most success by arriving prior to Park opening and taking care of your priorities first thing, followed by intelligent FastPass+ usage in the late morning and afternoon. Consider an afternoon break from around 1pm – 5pm when crowds and waits peak.
While Magic Kingdom may be busier than we’d like virtually every day this year, the website will virtually always get you there when it’s less crowded than the days around it. Weather permitting, anyway.
Back to a busy evening on the 20th where Tomorrowland Speedway has a whopping 50 minute wait at 5:45pm. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many switchbacks in use.
Larger: https://i2.wp.com/easywdw.com/reports12/maximumbuzz.jpg with arrows.
FastPass+ lines at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin have gotten so long that Disney built a permanent extended queue behind the shuttered FastPass+ kiosks.
45 minutes for Buzz at 5:45pm.
Extended queues at PeopleMover are a daily occurrence. Subtract two years and it would be unheard of this time of year.
Space Mountain just five minutes longer than Tomorrowland Speedway with a 55 minute wait. The website had an extended analysis of how FastPass+ is affecting wait times all the way back in March of last year. The post would be nearly identical if it was written today with the same trends we’ve discussed over the last year continuing. FastPass+ continues to push up wait times at historically secondary attractions, particularly the ones that didn’t previously offer FASTPASS, while at the same time decreasing waits at headlining attractions that have historically seen the longest waits. That is not a debatable statement.
A line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that’s just about as long as opening day. The cast member holding the sign that says the wait is 90 minutes marks the end of the line.
Winding around. Disney has increased the allotment of daily FP+ opportunities, which has in turn pushed up standby waits.
The back side of crane.
Cinderella and Rapunzel were reporting a wait of 100 minutes, compared to “just” 85 at Anna/Elsa at 6pm. 15 minutes later the posted wait for the non-Frozen characters dropped to 15 minutes.
The website offered a pretty scathing review of Pinocchio Village Haus’s Barbecue Beef Flatbread last month:
I’m happy to report that it’s now off the menu:
While the Spicy Chicken Sandwich is a terrible value, it’s at least edible (and basically pure profit for the company), and remains.
Interactive elements finally arrived at the Peter Pan queue.
A couple new things at Memento Mori or better pictures of older things:
A 40-minute wait at Haunted Mansion.
You may remember the Adventureland Breezeway is one of four remaining FastPass+ kiosk locations. The others being near Stitch’s Great Escape, Jungle Cruise, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
Two more touchscreens have been added to this particular location, effectively doubling the capacity. Disney still relies on a lot of iPad-wielding cast members in heavier crowds.
This scrim next to Aloha Isle is still up.
Sunshine Tree Terrace added Pineapple Dole Whips late last month.
Just in time for the cool weather and no lines at Aloha. For whatever reason, service at Sunshine Tree always “feels” horrendously slow even with simple orders and short lines. Hopefully this will help reduce lines a bit somewhere.
Island Supply is located just past Aloha Isle as you walk toward Jungle Cruise, Aladdin’s Magical Carpets, etc.
It’s now a sunglasses store presented by “sunglass hut:”
Most of these pairs will run you a minimum of $200. While few people reading this post are probably in the market for a $510 pair of Oliver Peoples Sir O’Malley in Vintage Brown Tortoise Gradient with Indigo Photochromic Glass, many of those international visitors are and Disney is doing more and more to cater to that demographic. That’s particularly clear at the Disney Springs expansion, where the entire thing is predicated on capturing as many international vacation dollars as possible. Ultimately, that means big, generic names like The Art of Shaving and sunglass hut.
FastPass+ viewing for the Festival of Fantasy and Main Street Electrical Parades has moved to the Town Square flag pole area during the Hub refurbishment.
It takes about 20 minutes for the Festival of Fantasy Parade to arrive after it steps off from the Splash Mountain area. The view straight up Main Street toward the Castle can be very good during that Parade, though you are still dealing with the crane and the scrim on the cinema at the moment. FastPass+ users during the Electrical Parade will see the Parade right after it starts on Main Street in between the firehouse and the barber shop. Electrical Parade FP+ users that want to see the Castle projection show and Wishes should follow the Parade up Main Street as it passes and secure a spot closer to the Casey’s Corner area. There’s a lot more room to fill in on Main Street for the fireworks because the entire street and sidewalk are open, instead of just the curb of the sidewalk.
That’s most of what’s going on at Magic Kingdom. We’ll return next week to fill in a couple gaps.