We pick things up from Part 1 in New Fantasyland at 10:47am on the morning of Thursday, October 12th. Our morning began with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight and we’re on our way to our tenth ride without having yet used a FastPass+.
Not too shabby for being inside the Park fewer than three hours. We’ll be back for Gaston’s cheese shortly.
Mine Train is up to 80 minutes with the standby line again threatening to spill outside the entrance just before 11am.
45 minutes at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. You might remember that I waited less than ten minutes for Mine Train and less than five minutes for Winnie the Pooh with my early arrival. Now you’d wait more than two hours to ride both back to back.
Old Fantasyland at 10:53am.
Peter Pan’s Flight is just over an hour at 65 minutes, making my 15-minute wait early in the morning seem like a better investment.
But crowd “feel” is still relatively low even with some higher wait times.
There’s even an opportunity to take artsy flower photos with absolutely nothing in focus.
Lower crowds continue to afford us additional opportunities to enjoy reasonable waits in standby. small world is at 15 minutes at 10:58am.
Even so, the indoor portion of the queue has filled completely with the maximum number of FastPass+ returners arriving for each window.
But they seemed to be spaced out well enough that the ride was able to handle the number of people arriving this early and the line moved relatively quickly.
I was on the boat at 11:15am for an actual wait of right around 15 minutes:
The family in the row in front of me was considering a variety of conspiracy theories as to how Disney knew that they were on the ride and were able to display their names at the end. They landed on advanced facial recognition software and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that everyone is just a colorful plastic wristband away from giving up a life’s worth of privacy.
I was back out front at 11:32am for a total experience time of 34 minutes, which is about 14 minutes longer than it would take with FastPass+.
But with FP+ in such limited supply here and elsewhere with the short operating hours, I think it was a good decision.
The now-25 minute wait should prove accurate, which means we’ve managed to stay ahead of the crowds pretty well for the first 3.5 hours of operation.
I moseyed over to Haunted Mansion to use my first FastPass+.
The posted wait is 40 minutes at 11:37am.
The FastPass+ line was backed up to the entrance, which means my wait will be a few minutes longer than usual.
And it was a little over ten minutes before I was in the pre-show room.
I was back out front at 12:06pm for a total experience time of 29 minutes, which is six or seven minutes longer than usual.
The standby line is longer, the FastPass+ return line is shorter, and the posted wait is down five minutes to 35. Go figure.
It’s just before 12:15pm and I decided to head back towards Gaston’s Tavern for the new-ish “Fruit and Cheese Picnic Platter:”
$8.49 worth. I’ll share more thoughts in a separate odd-and-ends post. I’m desperate for pageviews.
Along with Prince Eric’s Refreshing Rainbow of Fried Chicken.
We pick things up at 1:10pm with a 60-minute wait at Space Mountain.
On Saturday at the same time, the wait was 100 minutes longer, or two hours and forty minutes.
Back to Thursday, PeopleMover still sees an extended queue, as it does virtually every afternoon.
1:12pm on Thursday at Buzz with nobody in the extended queue.
1:08pm on Saturday with an 80-minute posted wait and FastPass+ return somewhere near the red circle.
No extended queue at Monsters Inc. on Thursday.
A full extended queue on Saturday at the same time.
I feel like an optometrist…which is better…Thursday?
… Or Saturday?
Thursday…? *click* Or Saturday…? *click*
The difference in crowd level is pretty stark as I head towards Storybook Circus.
Tomorrowland Speedway continues to hold strong at 30 minutes.
Mad Tea Party is still sending people through the extended queue.
But you can at least see the teacups spinning, unlike Saturday.
Dumbo is still posted at 15 minutes at 1:18pm.
Barnstormer is posted the same.
45 minutes on Saturday at the same time.
Outside Journey of the Little Mermaid at 1:22pm with a 15-minute posted wait for the ride.
Saturday. Mine Train was still at 90 minutes on Thursday, which is better than Saturday’s 140 minutes, but there is no such thing as seeing a short wait there in the afternoon unless you time it perfectly after the ride reopens for technical problems or weather.
I still have nightmares about seeing the “Line Starts Here” sign for Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
Old Fantasyland at 1:27pm on Thursday.
Compared to all of the “KEEP RIGHT” signs we saw Saturday.
Above is small world with a 15-minute wait on Thursday.
Versus 45 on Saturday.
Haunted Mansion continues to struggle with a 40-minute wait at 1:30pm on Thursday, which is why we used that FastPass+ earlier.
Across the water.
It’s been fun to see the Country Bears out and about over the last few weeks.
You would think Diamond Horseshoe would be ripe for a character meal hosted by the Jamboree’s finest.
Here at 1:30pm, the Pecos Bill side of the parade route is filling in as the sunnier, hotter area across the way is completely empty.
I’m going to return to watch the parade after riding Big Thunder Mountain.
With a 20-minute wait.
You might remember my experience Saturday, when the FP+ return line started here, with a 105-minute wait. Part of that was due to extended downtime here and at Pirates of the Caribbean.
But I walked right up on Thursday:
I arrived with FastPass+ at 1:35pm and was back out front at 1:50pm for a total experience time of 15 minutes, which is just about as good as it gets.
Festival of Fantasy is scheduled at 2pm through December 22nd before Mickey’s Christmastime Parade takes over from December 22nd through December 31st. Festival of Fantasy returns to its usual 3pm slot beginning on January 1st.
This side of the walkway is a ghost town with five minutes until Parade step-off.
Probably due to the sun beating down.
But people on the other side are five and six deep with those in the front row waiting at least 30 minutes, if not closer to an hour, to hold their spots.
Once the Parade music started, a single row of people slowly materialized. But being slightly more uncomfortable for 15 minutes in exchange for not having to camp out 45 minutes for a worse view seemed like a fair trade-off. And as temperatures hopefully cool, the Rivers of America side will only become more comfortable, and probably more popular.
The Parade takes about 20 minutes to pass this point, upon which a sea of people will follow. Give it a minute to pass.
Finishing up, we’re on our way to Jungle Cruise via Caribbean Plaza. Pirates is at 20 minutes at 2:26pm.
And finally, Jungle Cruise with FastPass+:
I arrived at 2:30pm and was back out front at 2:46pm for a total experience time of 16 minutes. On Saturday, it took exactly one minute longer, even given a standby wait that was more than twice as long.
Overall, it was much easier going on Thursday with far fewer people in the Park.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 8am – 8:15am
- Peter Pan’s Flight: 8:18am – 8:37am
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 8:40am – 8:48am
- Space Mountain: 8:55am – 9:08am
- Buzz Lighttyear’s Space Ranger Spin: 9:10am – 9:17am
- Astro Orbiter: 9:19am – 9:49am
- The Barnstormer: 10:01am – 10:11am
- Dumbo: 10:13am – 10:22am
- Journey of the Little Mermaid: 10:25am – 10:45am
- it’s a small world: 10:58am – 11:32am
- Haunted Mansion with FastPass+: 11:37am – 12:06pm
- Lunch in Fantasyland: 12:15pm – 1pm
- Walking from Tomorrowland to Frontierland taking pictures: 1:05pm – 1:35pm
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with FastPass+: 1:35pm – 1:50pm
- Festival of Fantasy Parade: 1:55pm – 2:20pm
- Jungle Cruise with FastPass+: 2:30pm – 2:46pm
That’s a pretty solid morning and afternoon with minimal effort and my 7:23am arrival. I don’t think there’s anything that I would change outside of a more efficient lunch plan. Going to Columbia Harbour House for something very deep fried would have been a minute away from Haunted Mansion, versus the ten minutes I walked back to Gaston’s Tavern for one hard boiled egg.
For those that want to see Happily Ever After and enjoy Magic Kingdom after dark, the website typically recommends the middle of the week date when the fireworks are offered. That’s usually a Wednesday with evening Extra Magic Hours. Wednesdays typically see lower wait times than Mondays and Saturdays and with a lot of resort guests sticking around for a couple of rides during the EMH, the mass exodus after the fireworks is slightly reduced.
On those busier days with longer hours, it usually makes sense to tour for between four and six hours in the morning, then take a break, and return in the evening. You might also find that a leisurely breakfast, some pool time, and a late arrival works. With one day to visit, you’ll need to decide whether longer wait times and heavier crowds for most of the day are worth seeing the fireworks show from inside the Park. With two or more days, you probably want to key in on one day for Happily Ever After and schedule other touring days around Mickey’s Party dates.
The other good news is that with so many people heading to Magic Kingdom on days with longer hours, that the other Parks are significantly less busy on those days. Saturdays through the end of the year are going to be slammed pretty much everywhere. The State of Florida is typically either not interested in visiting over the summer or their tickets are blocked out, so October is the time of year when local-ish visitors within a couple of hours are going to drive in for the weekend.
But Mickey’s Party dates remain viable, even if other dates around them are slammed. Afternoon waits are still prohibitive at the top priority attractions and quality FastPass+ experiences are going to be in short supply, but it’s much easier to move around with around half the people in the Park compared to a Saturday.
I’ll post one more general Magic Kingdom construction/project/menu update and then we’ll move on to Animal Kingdom or Epcot.