We continue our walking tour of Magic Kingdom from Part Four, after starting our day in Tomorrowland with the 8am open and finding a lot of success touring so far. With peak crowds approaching, it’s time to hide away for lunch at Columbia Harbour House as the time nears 1pm.
Here’s the front of the Liberty Square quick service’s menu:
Harbour House is probably my favorite summertime lunch spot with a variety of cold, satisfying entrees that are filling without being overly heavy. The Lobster Roll, Lighthouse Sandwich, Tuna Sandwich, and Harbour Salad all fit into that category. Hot items like the Grilled Salmon at least “feel” a little healthier than a lot of the burgers, fries, hot dogs, and other items available elsewhere. And if you want to go Full Fried, you can rock the Trio Platter. The two soups, each good for a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan, are also hearty and sharing one of those, in addition to an entree, may be enough food for two to share. The Chicken Pot Pie isn’t a showstopper, but it’s just fine for the money as well.
Kids enjoy a couple of interesting options, in addition to the usual Chicken Nuggets, Mac & Cheese, and Uncrustables.
It’s worth noting again that Harbour House continues to be overrun during peak meal times, to the point where Disney has added high top tables to the upstairs dining room because there’s so often nowhere to sit. Not only does this make for a more cluttered dining experience, but it also increases the noise level. I lucked into a pleasant corner table, complete with a chair, but there wasn’t more than one other sit-down table vacant in the entire place at 12:45pm. Eating at off-times is still your best bet, particularly at lunch when people are more likely to be looking for something “quick” and “easy.” If you can get here by 11:30am, you’ll be in the best shape. Any time after 2:30pm is also better.
In my own defense, I actually had no plans to go to Harbour House on this particular day. My intended destination was Golden Oak Outpost, which had been advertising Loaded Onion Rings via the online menu for a few days. “Unfortunately,” they were not yet actually available at the physical location:
And actually, the side of Loaded Onion Rings was my (distant) second choice. My first choice was Be Our Guest Restaurant, because the Disney Parks Blog ran a story that a flurry of new soups and entrees were “now available.”
Now, over two weeks after said announcement post, in a completely different month, none of those items are available:
This is the same menu that we’ve seen for years. After both options fell through, and seeing the number of people aimlessly searching for a vacant table at Pecos Bill, I ended up at Harbour House.
The $16 “Lobster Roll – Chilled Lobster with a touch of Mayonnaise on a New England Style Bun, served with House-made Potato Chips” has been on the menu for several years now, though we’ve seen a number of different preparations. Above is what I was served this month. Here is the original, which I think looks gross enough that it should come with a disclaimer. Don’t open the picture if you’re planning on eating anytime soon. Or open it now if you’d like to put lunch off for a couple of hours.
As far as Magic Kingdom fast food goes, the Lobster Roll is more than competent with a ton of chunky, meaty lobster mixed with a little bit of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of herbs on top of a large, slippery piece of lettuce and a lightly toasted, soft buttery roll. On a hot day, it was exactly what I was looking for – cold, fresh, and relatively easy on the tum-tum.
As usual, I took advantage of mobile order via the My Disney Experience app to bypass the line:
Mobile order typically offers more options than the menu insinuates, here with a selection of sides that you can substitute for the “House-made Potato Chips,” which are the default. The cast member taking your order at the register may or may not ask if “Chips are okay” and then offer the other choices if you’re feeling Carrots instead.
I added the $5 “Mickey and Minnie Whoopie Pie,” the pair of which arrives plated as pictured.
Like the majority of Disney treats, they probably look more precious than they end up tasting good, but I wasn’t particularly mad about it. On the Minnie Whoopie Pie, the two soft Red Velvet Cookies did a nice job of containing a generous amount of sweet cream cheese frosting and the chocolate accents on top of both added a little bit of a crunch, in addition to some contrasting texture. The Mickey Whoopie Pie cookies were similarly soft, but carried more of a light chocolate flavor. I’d consider them on the novelty factor, but there are certainly tastier, larger desserts for the money. These will likely be available through the end of September as part of Mickey’s 90th birthday celebration.
That puts us back outside at 1:10pm, where the standby line for Haunted Mansion stretches back closer to the entrance to Liberty Square Riverboat than the stretching room. I basically walked on with FastPass+ around 11:30am.
small world is posting a 35-minute wait, which is probably about right given the elevated number of FastPass+ returners arriving in the afternoon. My 25-minute wait earlier in the day wasn’t ideal, but it could have been worse.
Peter Pan’s Flight is up to 75 minutes, making my FastPass+ visit, which took less than 15 minutes, appear intelligent in contrast.
Considering crowds are just about at their highest levels of the day, Old Fantasyland remains more than manageable.
The 165-minute standby line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, on the other hand, does not.
That’s a two-hour-and-forty-five minute wait. That’s probably exaggerated, but FastPass+ takes up an incredible amount of capacity here. There probably aren’t even 500 people waiting in standby, but that line is going to inch along as at least 70% of the vehicles are filled with FP+ users. Without FastPass+, everyone in standby could ride in about 20 minutes.
It will be interesting to see what a lack of FP+ means at Smugglers Run over at Galaxy’s Edge. I don’t think standby waits will be any shorter than they would be with FP+, but there will be far more people waiting in standby since FastPass+ isn’t an option. FP+ does make standby waits longer with fewer people in line, but if you move all of the people who would use FP+ into the standby line, you also haven’t gained anything. The frustrating aspect of FP+, when you’re in standby, is the number of people who arrive after you, but still get to ride before you because they have FP+ priority boarding. At least that won’t be an issue at the Star Wars rides – at least initially.
The Many Adventures was back operating, posting its usual 30-minute wait. It can hit that with just 50 or 60 people in standby.
Mad Tea Party comes in at 20 minutes. Earlier in the morning, just five teacups were filled.
RealFeel 115 degrees – another good reason to take care of the Speedway early. While I complained about the fact that cast were only loading and unloading four cars at a time, it did result in far less car exhaust.
The live-action Dumbo was a bit of a bust. I saw it, and while the scope of the movie was incredible, particularly during the second half, the acting was among the worst I’ve ever seen.
While that may be true, the movie’s release was probably the reason behind Casey Jr. receiving a vibrant coat of paint.
The poor guy was in pretty bad shape.
The Dumbo Popcorn Buckets are still available. The smoke stack is removable and works as a whistle. Note that for $17, you only get the front half.
The Sipper Cup, which makes up the car attachment in the back, will set you back another $16. You’ll find it at Pinocchio Village Haus, while the locomotive popcorn bucket is available at the popcorn cart on the right as you head into Storybook Circus. I actually bought a set for myself for the combined price of $35.13 after tax. At that price point, you can probably do better for your money, which is probably part of the reason why so many are still available.
We’ll see how long this unappetizing brownie lasts.
The Barnstormer’s wait was around 15 minutes with Tron continuing to rise in the huge construction zone immediately behind it.
Crowds remain relatively low.
At least in Storybook Circus.
Tomorrowland Speedway, in June, in the afternoon, in standby, with a 45+ minute wait, may be the worst place you could possibly be. Its only saving grace is the fact that it wasn’t moved to Hollywood Studios.
And 45 minutes might be about right, though the extended queue isn’t quite in use. Hopefully(?) these people can cram in.
Space’s 70-minute wait is making my decision to visit the indoor roller coaster first thing “feel” smart.
I wonder if the person reaching out on the right is really trying to drag themselves out of this box. Imagine being so close to the light, only for your friend to mistake your desperation for wanting them to hand you an empty coffee cup.
Astro Orbiter looks to be about 25 minutes, which is both below average and longer than we want to wait, making my early arrival look good in comparison.
When I visited PeopleMover about an hour into operation, I had the entire set of vehicles to myself.
Here at 1:42pm, you’d be riding with a lot more people after waiting 20+ minutes for the privilege.
We also haven’t seen the end of the line in any of these pictures.
We’re getting close. Technically, the end of the line still isn’t visible. If you really want to see the end of the lines, you’d have to subscribe to my platinum level Patreon. Bronze gets the front of the line and Silver gets the middle of the line.
Carousel of Progress would be a more comfortable expenditure of time. But remember, wait times all around us are below average and PeopleMover’s line remains that long. It’s an everyday phenomenon, so don’t expect to mosey over to Tomorrowland in the afternoon when waits are long everywhere else and expect to find no line at the Mover. The fact that the line is long is not an indication of overall crowds being above average.
Disney removed the Toy Story Alien kiosk over a year ago and unfortunately, you can probably chalk this one up to a permanent subtraction. We do still have a couple racks of merchandise, though.
Buzz’s 70-minute wait “feels” exaggerated.
Standby is “only” backed up outside the entrance a short distance. On the other hand, FastPass+ dominates here in particular and it’s not that uncommon to see the priority boarding line legitimately stretch back towards Monsters Inc. after overflowing past the switchbacks in place. At that point, only two or three standby riders will board per fourteen or fifteen FP+ users. FastPass+: Great if you have it. Sucks if you don’t. Which you could probably say about most things. At least you saved some money by not joining Club 33. Every day, I’m $33,000 richer.
That just about wraps things up on the touring front.
The line for Monsters, Inc. backs up outside, which is usually a good indication that it’s time to hit the pool bar.
Brighter colors look to dominate the walls over on the old Stitch’s Great Escape side of Tomorrowland, contrasting with the paler pastels around the corner and closer to Cosmic Ray’s.
It will be interesting to see whether the retro vibe around here clashes with the futuristic look of the Tron roller coaster. Maybe it will be like Adventureland, where there are two distinct areas. Old Tomorrowland and New Tomorrowland. Past Future and Future Future.
But there must be an overarching plan.
The blue, brick-like paint scheme on the other side matches the PeopleMover fence overhead.
Whether it’s a cohesive unit or a complete mishmash remains to be seen.
Disney painted the rocks over here throughout much of last year. It might have been the year before.
A few more pictures, noting the white color scheme on Cosmic Ray’s and the fact that as recently as a few weeks ago, the water in this area was completely drained:
Things seem to be coming along, but like most Disney projects, we’re talking about a snail’s pace. At least they’re careful! Probably.
Overall, my day went swimmingly.
- Space Mountain: 8:01am – 8:20am
- Tomorrowland Speedway: 8:24am – 8:50am
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin: 8:53am – 9:01am
- Astro Orbiter: 9:04am – 9:22am
- The PeopleMover: 9:22am – 9:34am
- The Barnstormer: 9:43am – 9:50am
- Dumbo: 9:51am – 10:04am
- Journey of the Little Mermaid Ride: 10:06am – 10:21am
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with FastPass+: 10:30am – 10:42am
- it’s a small world: 10:50am – 11:32am
- Haunted Mansion with FP+: 11:38am – 11:59am
- Peter Pan’s Flight with FastPass+: 12:02pm – 12:13pm
- Lunch: 12:25pm – 1pm
Once I used my three initial FastPass+, it’s just a matter of refreshing availability for additional experiences, while mixing in the anytime attractions.
Or, you could spend some time taking pictures of flowers.
Maybe go for a bit of an artistic angle.
Our next stop should be Animal Kingdom.
To rope drop Flight of Passage, while taking advantage of another 8am regular open.
As far as how my day went, there isn’t much that I would necessarily change. My wait for small world was about ten minutes longer than I would have liked, but the only ways to avoid that would have been to get there earlier or use FastPass+. And with the way I had set up my FastPass+ in advance, with Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan’s Flight within a few steps of the classic boat ride, it made sense to get in line when I did. I would have been even better off if I had planned on eating lunch at Harbour House, since the Liberty Square quick service is also right there across from Mansion.
But it ended up being a great day with a minimal amount of waiting, a minimal amount of walking, and a minimal amount of stress, due in large part to the 8am open. It’s hard to beat that extra hour of low crowds.
From August 29th to November 2nd, Magic Kingdom will open at 8am every day with a 7am to 8am morning Extra Magic Hour also scheduled every day. For those eligible and able to make it by 7am to take advantage of the full extra hour, there may be no better time to visit the most popular theme park in the world. 7am to 9am should prove to be idyllic, which is not a word I typically use when describing Walt Disney World crowds. We’ll take a closer look at what that entails once that schedule takes over in about three months.
At the moment, Magic Kingdom doesn’t see another regular 8am open until July 3rd and then again on July 4th. That’s good news for those traveling over the holiday, as even though afternoon crowds will be heavier than most other summer days, the morning will be a great time to tour.
Animal Kingdom is next. Hopefully it will be a concise, 4-part post.