It’s 7:20am on Saturday January 18th, 2k14. The foreboding monorail queue is a sign of what’s to come. Remember that the Resort and Express Monorails will not be operating most weekdays from 11:30am – 7pm through March. You’ll need to grab a bus or use the boats.
With the 8am regular open, the Resort monorail starts operating at 7am per usual. Express Monorail comes online 30 minutes before regular open and the ferry hopes to get going at the same time.
Resort monorail it is. Ordinarily, the trip from the TTC to Magic Kingdom takes about 20 minutes.
This early, it ended up taking eight minutes as zero people boarded at the Polynesian and exactly two people at Grand Floridian.
With a regular 9am open, the tapstiles usually begin operating before 8am to aid getting guests with dining reservations and tours into the Park.
Guests then wait in the courtyard area in front of the train station. With the 8am regular open, the tapstiles didn’t begin admitting guests until 7:35am.
7:55am. The opening show typically begins about eight minutes before regular open, featuring the Citizens of Main Street along with Mickey and the gang arriving via train. As always, the best view is front and center. But said view results in about a thousand people entering Magic Kingdom before you because the two entrances are off to the sides. You’ll have to prioritize the view or an early entrance.
Once the ropes come down, people typically run down Main Street.
Up until about here, when cast members slow them down.
Disboards’ favorite crane is onsite pulling down the Dream Lights from 11:30pm to 7pm daily through the end of March. That means there’s no crane from 7pm – 11:30pm, when Wishes and the Electrical Parade are typically scheduled. Occasionally you can luck out and it will be down earlier in the day.
Incoming crowds. Larger: https://www.easywdw.com/reports10/mkmorning.jpg.
Ropes may block entrance into each Land this early.
Liberty Square rope.
Heading into Fantasyland, the rope came down as I approached at 7:59am.
Looking over the Cheat Sheet Day 1 Ideal Morning:
Use FastPass+ at Enchanted Tales with Belle, Space Mountain, and Buzz or Tomorrowland Speedway
- Meet Rapunzel or Cinderella at Princess Fairytale Hall if desired: 9am – 9:10am
- Ride Peter Pan’s Flight: 9:13am – 9:25am
- Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 9:30am – 9:45am
- Ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant: 9:50am – 10:05am
- Ride The Barnstormer: 10:07am – 10:15am
- Meet Ariel at Ariel’s Grotto: 10:20am – 10:35am
- Ride Journey of the Little Mermaid: 10:37am – 10:55am
- Ride it’s a small world: 11am – 11:20am
- Ride The Haunted Mansion: 11:25am – 11:45am
- 10. Have lunch. Columbia Harbour House, Pinocchio Village Haus, and Liberty Tree Tavern are close.
- Experience Enchanted Tales with Belle with FastPass+: 12:30pm – 1pm
Afternoon and Evening: Consider an afternoon break or visit the anytime attractions in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland like Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Prince Regal Carousel, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Tomorrowland PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, Stitch’s Great Escape, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. In the afternoon or evening, use FastPass+ at Space Mountain and Tomorrowland Speedway or Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
With the 8am open, we’ll simply subtract an hour from the times listed.
I think you’ll be surprised how much we’re going to accomplish in the early morning. This is Fantasyland at 8:05am.
And this is 1:45pm. I will occasionally get a request to break down the Park recommendations to mornings/evenings like TOURGUIDEMiKE(RIP). The fact is that there is really no such thing as a bad morning on any day at any theme park, so long as you arrive 30 minutes prior to Park opening and tour efficiently. “People” will sometimes mischaracterize the website’s advice on Extra Magic Hours. The website rarely recommends visiting a theme park when it hosts Extra Magic Hours because the afternoon and early evening are so much busier than recommended days during the week. But if you actually arrive in time to take advantage of the morning Extra Magic Hour, you can do extremely well through about noon. By that time, the Parks are typically too busy to do anything other than the highest capacity/lowest popularity attractions. Magic Kingdom is not recommended today, but we’re going to fly through attractions first thing in the morning, like we would be able to do any other day. The difference is really what we’re able to do come 11am. On a non-recommended day like today with a high overall crowd level, we’re not going to be able to do much without a significant wait.
The big news at Magic Kingdom these days is the removal of legacy FASTPASS. As of January 14th, paper FASTPASS is a thing of the past.
On-site guests can book their FP+ attractions up to 60 days in advance via DisneyWorld.com or the My Disney Experience mobile app. Guests can also modify their selections via either method. Off-site guests and those without MagicBands can only select their FP+ experiences and modify them via in-park kiosks on the day of.
As an Annual Passholder with a MagicBand from a recent on-site stay, I can currently book up to 7 days of FP+ experiences simply by going to DisneyWorld.com and selecting FastPass+ from the drop down menu. A MagicBand is the key. With a one-night stay on-site, guests receive a MagicBand. That MagicBand can be connected to your My Disney Experience account. Connect your theme park tickets and you’ll be able to select FastPass+ experiences for each day of the theme park ticket, regardless of whether you’re staying on-site during that day/night or not. In other words, you could conceivably book a night at All-Star Sports, Fort Wilderness Campsite, or another less expensive Disney-owned resort in order to get the MagicBands, link your tickets and Bands to your account, and make FP+ reservations for your entire trip, even if you only have one night booked at the resort. Like most things FP+, this loophole could change. There is a lot of discussion on the topic in the website’s FastPass+ discussion forum. If you have specific questions, it would be prudent to sign up and create a thread. I have 11,000+ posts and try to respond to every thread.
Back to FP+ reservations on DisneyWorld.com. On January 17th, I launched the website to see what FP+ were still available for the next day.
Pick your Park.
And what’s available:
Even the night before, virtually every attraction is available, save for the nighttime spectaculars. From here, you can select any three available attractions or click “FastPicks.”
Said FastPicks, which obviously is not recommended. It will choose three high capacity attractions like Buzz.
The Cheat Sheet recommends FastPass+ at Enchanted Tales with Belle, Space Mountain, and Tomorrowland Speedway, all of which are still available. The prioritization sequence here is of no consequence. Just click Next.
Disney will then assign you times in several configurations. Option A will have morning return times, Option B is afternoon, and option C is evening. “Best Match” is usually early evening.
Option A with the morning times. We’ll be able to change the times after selecting the experiences. Most people will want to schedule their FP+ experiences in the afternoon or evening when standby waits peak. There’s no reason to schedule FP+ early in the morning when standby waits are short. I recommend selecting Option A with the morning FastPass+ times so we can reschedule them in the afternoon without having to worry about overlapping.
After booking the experiences, we can go back and change the individual return times.
Selecting Space Mountain.
This is why originally selecting the three morning times is beneficial. Space Mountain has FP+ return times available between 9am – 12:25pm, but it doesn’t display them because the times overlap with our current selections.
I’ve moved Space Mountain from 8:40am to 12:25pm.
And after some more rearranging, I’ve moved my three FP+ selections to the afternoon when they’re most beneficial.
Curious whether I would be able to schedule the same times in Park as an off-site guest without a MagicBand, I canceled my online reservations. As you can see, at 8:31am I managed to book the same attractions at virtually the same times. I probably could have moved up Tomorrowland Speedway to 1:30pm if I wanted to harass the cast member more.
The slection process took about five minutes and is virtually identical to what you would do online via the My Disney Experience app. If you’d like to set up times for multiple people, you’ll need to have each person’s ticket. You or the cast member will scan the tickets and then the times you select can be linked. You can also set up each person’s FP+ experiences/times individually or in any other configuration you like.
Here in the afternoon, I’m changing a Buzz Lightyear FP+ that I didn’t use for Big Thunder Mountain. The earliest return time was 3:45pm, which is about what you would have expected back in the days of legacy FASTPASS with crowds of this size.
You may then take a picture of your times or have them emailed. If you have a smartphone with your tickets attached in My Disney Experience, you can pull up the times in the “My Plans” tab. However, they can’t be modified via the app unless you have a MagicBand.
If you select the “FastPass+” tab without MagicBands, you’ll likely see this page.
At the moment, FastPass+ experiences on the day of are plentiful, with virtually every attraction available with return times all day. At Magic Kingdom, the two exceptions are the Electrical Parade and Wishes, which have very limited capacities. Anything else should remain readily available.
FastPass+ Kiosk Locations in Order Of Least Busy to Busiest
1. Storybook Circus
Located in the back of Storybook Circus near Pete’s Silly Sideshow, the Circus kiosks are by far the least crowded.
It’s also well stocked with cast members with iPads. Consider setting up your times here in the morning after riding Dumbo and Barnstormer.
2. Town Square Theater (with the possibility this will no longer be true if they add signage)
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the FP+ location just inside the entrance on the right is currently one of the least utilized due to a lack of signage,
Just inside, you’ll see this area with iPads. Like Sid Cahuenga’s, off-site guests can’t use these iPads because there’s no way to scan the tickets. If you’re an on-site guest or one with a MagicBand, you can access DisneyWorld.com and your FP+ experiences through the iPad. This is the best location for doing that because off-site guests won’t clog the line. This is in the middle of the day on one of the busier days of the year and there is one person here.
For off-site guests, the kiosks are located through the doors to the left of the Mickey meet.
In back on the left. It’s air-conditioned, the line is orderly, and there are plenty of cast members there to help. Highly recommended under current conditions with one caveat. Don’t use this location first thing in the morning because it can get swamped with people that want to immediately set up their selections. Waits will be shorter in the various Lands first thing in the morning, even at the kiosks that are not recommended like Stitch.
3. Adventureland Breezeway Near Diamond Horseshoe
Perhaps the hardest location to describe, the Breezeway is less obvious and thus, lines are shorter.
This is the walkway that connects Adventureland and Frontierland/Liberty Square near Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
It isn’t as well-staffed as Town Square or Storybook Circus.
4. Heritage House next to Hall of Presidents
Heritage House is a newly converted (temporary) FastPass+ service center.
It’s an above average location with relatively short waits, but it seems to be the most recommended, resulting in lines a bit longer than the above recommended locations. Still very good and it’s indoors, so it’s a good choice in poor weather.
5. Splash Mountain FASTPASS machines
I apparently neglected to take pictures of this location HAHA but it’s at the old Splash Mountain FASTPASS machines to the right of the entrance. The attraction is currently closed for refurbishment and the area may be a bit busier once it opens, but currently lines are short through at least 11am. It gets busier in the afternoon with people arriving via the train and the fact that it’s the only FP+ kiosk location nearby. This is the last of the recommended locations.
6. City Hall
City Hall Guest Services is busier than ever these days with the addition of FP+ kiosks. Not recommended, particularly with much easier access at Town Square Theater.
7. Adventureland Veranda
Another of the more temporary locations, cast members with iPads are stationed on the Adventureland Veranda outside Tinker Bell’s Nook. Lines are long and it’s a boring place to wait.
8. Fantasyland to the right of Mickey’s PhilharMagic
This usually looks worse than it is due to the high number of cast members with iPads assisting guests. But this location gets busy earlier with its prime location and waits are long and outside in the elements. This temporary location will be replaced with a more permanent installation behind the walls to the left.
9. Stitch’s Great Escape
The line for the kiosks to the left of Stitch doesn’t look bad at first glance.
But it winds all the way back and around the extended queue. You do not want to be in this line.
10. Space Mountain
By far the worst is outside Space Mountain. It’s hard to even see where the line starts and where it goes with so many people around. You’re probably better off just waiting in the 60-minute line for the ride.
Incoming More Permanent Installations
More permanent FastPass+ service locations are being built. One is here at the old Buzz Lightyear FASTPASS machines.
And the one next to Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
And at the old Jungle Cruise FASTPASS machines.
Very Temporary Locations
All you need for a FastPass+ kiosk is a cast member with an iPad. You can run into them throughout the Park. I saw one early in the morning outside of Cosmic Ray’s and used it because there was nobody in line. If you see one and need to use it, by all means.
In Part 2, we’ll go over morning touring at Magic Kingdom with FP+.