While overall crowds are down considerably from what they were over the first few days of 2016, long wait times at Magic Kingdom seem to be persisting. The website is considering making these kinds of posts a daily occurrence if there’s any interest, probably along with some brief commentary linked in the column to the left (or at the very end of the page on mobile).
We begin at Animal Kingdom, where wait times remain more than reasonable. DINOSAUR’s 40-minute peak waits are longer than they would have been back in the legacy FASTPASS days, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to visit in the first 90 minutes or last two hours of operation, when the ride would be a walk-on. Everest’s average is good, though 30 minutes is longer than we’d like to see at 10am. There would still be plenty of time to get over there after a ride on Safaris and the wait heads steadily lower towards close. Safaris waits are surprisingly short given the higher waits at Everest – the 18 minute average is what you would expect from a “crowd level 1 day.” Primeval is more or less a walk-on all day as is TriceraTop Spin. Basically, this is what you would expect from the least crowded time of year.
January 6th was the third day of Soarin’s closure. If you missed the post from a couple of days ago titled, “Epcot Wait Times with Soarin’ Closed and Operational Changes As Sunshine Seasons Closes Early,” then you may want to read it and get educated. Otherwise, Journey into Imagination’s waits do briefly peak around 30 minutes before dropping back down to five a while later, and then again climbing back up to 30 minutes. It’s hard to say how accurate any of that is. Character Spot’s average of 17 minutes is what you would expect from a “crowd level 1 day.” Living with the Land’s 4-minute average is further proof that far fewer people are visiting The Land Pavilion with Soarin’ closed even as Disney elects to keep it and Circle of Life operating through Park close. Of course, that also means all of the people that would be in line for Soarin’ and Living with the Land are instead filling in elsewhere. Mission: SPACE hits a peak wait of 60 minutes for an hour between 1:30pm and 2:30pm before dropping to 10 to 15 minutes for much of the rest of the day. It does appear like standby waits are rising a bit faster in the morning, though not enough to make it unreasonable to first visit Test Track and Sum of All Thrills. Spaceship Earth’s average of 10 minutes is below the 11-minute average you’d expect from a “crowd level 1 day.” Basically, this is as low as wait times are going to be for the next nine months, save for a couple of days at the end of January.
Test Track being down for an hour and a half at Park open is inexcusable in my opinion, particularly with Soarin’ closed. Imagine if a restaurant that was supposed to open for dinner at 6pm with a full book of reservations didn’t open until 7:30pm because somebody forgot to run the dishwasher. Or your cable company that was supposed to arrive “sometime between the hours of 7:18am and 7:42pm” showed up at 8:30pm instead. There’s no way either…wait…there’s no way the restaurant would still be in business if it was a regular occurrence. Even one problem like that would be damaging when everyone that can open their mouths wide enough to take a bite of a chicken nugget is a Yelp Star. But it’s Epcot’s reality and has been for years. That downtime likely has an effect on Mission: SPACE’s waits taking off earlier, though we still await more data on that front until we can make any definitive statements. Test Track does peak higher because of the downtime, but waits are short as early as 7:45pm. You almost never see the posted wait under 30 minutes. I would think you could get three rides in standby after 8pm. Nemo’s median peak wait in 2015 was 20 minutes, so the 15 minutes there for a moment is below average.
The song remains the same at Hollywood Studios, where the Park continues to struggle with its five operating rides and the unexpected extension of the Osborne Lights with the 10pm close that went along with it. There really isn’t much else to say other than this is what wait times are going to look like with far fewer people in the Park than average, at least compared to 2015. It’s hard to imagine that 2016 will see a departure from ever-increasing-crowds and ever-increasing-waits. Not to mention ever-increasing-prices.
With Soarin’s closure at Epcot causing fewer people to spend a second day there and the Studios pulling fewer people with the number of closures over there, Magic Kingdom continues to suffer under the additional weight. I mean, where else are people going to go? Universal? It’s nothing a couple low capacity meet and greets won’t fix I always say.
The wait times above are going to be average at best moving forward, meaning the majority of days in 2016 will see longer waits. The number of people in the Park would be well below average compared to what we saw in 2015. It’s kind of a mixture of shockingly long waits juxtaposed with the short waits you’d expect from “low” crowds. On one hand, you’ve got a 125-minute peak wait at Big Thunder Mountain. On the other hand, the posted wait is 20 minutes just an hour later. At 2:30pm, the posted wait for Stitch’s Great Escape is the same as the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet at Princess Fairytale Hall. There’s a sentence I bet you never thought you’d read. You’ve got a 140-minute wait at Space Mountain at the same time you’ve got a 10-minute wait at Enchanted Tales with Belle. Such is the erratic nature of waits under FastPass+ where it really doesn’t take a lot of people waiting in standby to dramatically increase wait times. Still, these waits are well below average for the most part, even when you consider this is a day with evening Extra Magic Hours.
Moving forward, this isn’t quite as good as it’s going to get. But it’s almost as good as it’s going to get.