We pick things up after Part One, where we set the stage for our morning visit on Sunday, November 10th, 2019. So far, we have visited:
- Jingle Cruise: 9:07am – 9:34am
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 9:40am – 10:04am
I ended up waiting about 15 minutes for Jingle Cruise first thing, in large part due to a delay in getting the ride going. At Big Thunder, my wait came in just under 20 minutes. As I established in the last part, acquiring additional FastPass+ experiences in the afternoon isn’t going to be an easy feat given the heavy crowds and relatively short operating hours. 20 minutes is longer than I like to wait for a ride, but we don’t have a lot of other options to experience some of these attractions unless we strategically use standby to wait as little as possible.
I’m heading through the standby line at Splash Mountain at 10:04am with the 25-minute posted wait.
Since none of this extended queue is currently in use, we should be in for a wait that’s just about exactly what’s posted.
The line quickly began to build behind me. Even though I’ve run into a couple of waits already that were a little longer than I would have liked, everyone else is in the exact same boat. I would guess a lot of people who arrived here around 10am along with me were planning on being here closer to 9:45am, or at least have made it through another attraction before moving over here around now. I fully expected to be able to ride Pirates of the Caribbean with a short wait after Jingle Cruise, only to find 35 minutes posted at 9:30am. That’s about 3.5x the average posted wait for that time of day, which indicated early that we were in for a relatively rough morning as far as crowds and wait times are concerned. We’ll have to try to make some smart decisions moving forward.
The line moved relatively quickly, but it was still 25 minutes before I’d board.
Part of the long wait was likely due to an early morning capacity reduction, which was unfortunate given the heavy crowds and the later 9am open. Disney wasn’t loading these logs immediately to our left.
As I mentioned in the last post, part of why we started our day with Jingle Cruise in Adventureland is because I wanted to get to Splash Mountain a little later in the morning, after the temperature had the opportunity to rise a little. Fortunately, Disney typically “turns down” the water on Splash Mountain and certain other water attractions given lower temperatures, knowing that people probably don’t want to get soaked when it’s 65 degrees out. As you may be aware, it’s not the logs and their motion that create the majority of the spray. It’s a series of pipes, one of which is circled. The water then sprays in tandem with the log plummeting down the drop.
If you’re a little wary of getting wet, you can take a look and see if the water here is spraying straight out as logs pass. A direct hit is just about as wet as you can get on Splash.
Likewise, when you pull around the first corner and see a log headed down.
It’s not the forward motion that creates the spray. Those are the pipes that are going to get you – at least when they’re turned on, which they aren’t now.
We’ll enjoy a relatively dry ride:
I arrived at 10:04am, and was back out front at 10:51am, for a total experience time of 47 minutes, which is about 22 minutes longer than the ride takes with FastPass+. The actual wait looks to be about twice as long now as it was when I got in line, with the posted wait doubling in turn. My 25-minute wait is about 15 minutes longer than I’d like, but with such limited FastPass+ availability, I don’t have much of a choice unless I want to ride after the sun goes down and waits drop again. It’s impossible to be everywhere first thing, so we’ve got to try to make some intelligent decisions about which attractions will see waits that rise faster, and try to beat those higher wait times.
From the side, closer to Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain’s wait actually looked like it was posted at ten minutes, with several people exclaiming as such.
Upon further inspection, there is a third digit in the wait, bringing it up to one hour and fifty minutes at 10:51am. That makes our 15ish minute wait as our second stop of the day look pretty good in comparison.
Here’s a look back at the Frontierland crowd as I hurry over to use my Haunted Mansion FastPass+ before the 10:55am cutoff.
And into Liberty Square as I pass by the seating area construction behind Liberty Square Market.
Unfortunately, I ran into a bit of a snag:
You might remember that my second FastPass+ of the day is for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from 10:40am to 11:40am. On my walk over to Haunted Mansion, I got a push notification from My Disney Experience on my phone that said the Mine Train had evidently gone down, which meant my FP+ changed into a “Multiple Experiences” FastPass+. This means I can use my Mine Train FP+ at any point later in the day after the ride comes back online, or I can use it at virtually any other attraction immediately. My plan was to ride Haunted Mansion at the end of the grace period. As usual, you can use a FastPass+ up to five minutes before and up to 15 minutes after the stated one-hour return window. While I’m technically inside that window, if I were to scan my FastPass+ at Haunted Mansion right now, it would actually take my Multiple Experiences FastPass+ away because the system thinks I want to swap out Mine Train for Haunted Mansion.
Unfortunately, there is no button in the app that says, “Have you met me? I absolutely do not want to do that.” Actually, it might help if we all had a button like that on our person at all times. Maybe that is the definition of the future.
I could probably explain all of this to a cast member, but it was more hassle than I wanted to deal with at this point in the day. Really, the only thing they could do at the attraction itself is to allow me to board Haunted Mansion without scanning my ticket/MagicBand.
My problem here does go back to advice that I don’t typically follow myself, which is to plan on using your FastPass+ during the one-hour window. You’ll run into far more problems if you’re planning on using the FP+ during the grace period, as that’s when unexpected delays or unusual circumstances can cause some issues that might make you miss your experience. I’ll be able to get back to Haunted Mansion with FastPass+ at some point later in the day, or I could return after 8pm when wait times drop substantially.
Simply rescheduling the FastPass+ for later in the day isn’t going to be particularly easy. Here’s what availability looks like at 11:05am:
There’s “literally” no availability for Haunted Mansion over the course of the day, so I can’t simply re-book it for after lunch. Even a low priority FastPass+, like The Barnstormer, only has one return time late at night. Buzz Lightyear, which distributes a “literal” ton of FastPass+ experiences every hour, is only showing availability after 9pm. And only two slots are available for one person. In order to secure any more quality FastPass+ experiences, or to rearrange the ones that I already have booked, I’m either going to have to refresh a lot or get incredibly lucky.
I’m headed onward to use my Seven Dwarfs Mine Train/Multiple Experiences FastPass+ instead, since the gem-excavation coaster was operating. At this point in the morning, there isn’t a whole lot that I can do without waiting at least 30 minutes, outside of high-capacity shows like Mickey’s PhilharMagic. It’s hard to tell, but at least half of the people in the picture above are actually in line for it’s a small world, where the actual wait would be 30 to 40 minutes.
The end of the FastPass+ return line for Peter Pan’s Flight is not in view here. I’m going to run into an even longer line when I use my FastPass+ in about an hour.
Here’s a look at the day’s wait times through lunch:
By 11am, the average wait across these 19 non-meet-and-greet attractions is 54 minutes, with only one attraction under a half hour. Six attractions are posting waits of an hour or more and I’ve already been on three of them – Jingle Cruise, Big Thunder, and Splash. The other three attractions with 60+ minute waits are Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Peter Pan’s Flight. I’ll be able to take care of two of those with my pre-booked FastPass+. Moving forward, after using those pre-booked FastPass+ experiences, visiting high capacity/low priority attractions, and mixing in FastPass+ experiences whenever available, is the only way we’re going to be able to get anything done.
At 11:05am, Mine Train is posting a 110-minute wait.
Crowds out here in front of the attraction aren’t too bad. You can always do the “pavement test.” If you can see more than an inch of the ground in any picture, things could be much worse.
With FastPass+, I was on-board in less than ten minutes:
I was back out front to the same 110-minute wait at 11:19am, for a total experience time of just 15 minutes, which is right around average. As usual, FastPass+ is great when you have it, but sucks when you don’t. Sure, I waited 15 minutes longer than I’d like at a couple of attractions already, but that’s better than waiting almost two hours for one ride. Two hours is probably a quarter of most people’s visits to the Park, and probably why your average guest only experiences seven or eight attractions over the course of their day.
As promised, we do have additional snack cart movement.
Maurice’s Amazing Popping Machine has moved out here near Storybook Treats.
It originally sat to the right of Bonjour Gifts in New Fantasyland, where visibility wasn’t nearly as high.
Back to the day’s crowds, I’m not sure where the line starts for Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
I do know where the end of the line for Peter Pan’s FastPass+ return is because it’s out of frame, even with the iPhone’s 13mm wide lens.
I’ll be getting in an even longer return line for Pan when it’s my turn in about a half hour.
Temperatures are finally beginning to cool here in Central Florida. This past October was the hottest on record, with a temperature that was more than five degrees above the historical average. Even though we’re headed towards the halfway point in November, days with 80+ degree highs aren’t unusual at all. That was right around the temperature on this particular Sunday with nary a cloud in sight.
I’m headed to Liberty Square Riverboat, which might be my favorite of the anytime attractions at Magic Kingdom.
First, the boat runs on a set schedule, making it easy to time your arrival a couple of minutes before departure. At a show like Country Bear Jamboree or Enchanted Tiki Room, they’ll tell you how many minutes it is until the next show with signage outside the entrance, but how long you’ll wait is just a matter of luck.
The Riverboat is also away from the people, making it a nice afternoon getaway.
Even on hotter days, it’s a relatively cool ride on the water as the boat slowly makes it way through the Rivers of America.
The Riverboat enjoys three decks, so if somebody is bugging you, you can put at least ten vertical feet between you, in addition to being able to move all the way to the other side of the boat. If you’d like to sit under cover, check the “secret” room at the back of the second deck. Most people head to the third deck or the front of the first deck.
The Riverboat is also scenic, offering some views that you won’t find anywhere else.
Tarps were down on this bridge that the Walt Disney World Railroad ordinarily uses. The train has been down since December of last year due to Tron construction in Tomorrowland. There’s still no known reopening date.
But if this is the guy in charge, then it may be a while.
It’s “let’s ride the riverboat at 11am” crowded pic.twitter.com/gYzy3LCXUQ
— josh (@easywdw) November 10, 2019
Chances are good that you’ll need to kill 20 or so minutes in front of a FastPass+ return window opening up, and Liberty Square Riverboat is typically a convenient way to do so.
So far, my day has gone pretty well, all things considered. I’ve accomplished:
- Jingle Cruise: 9:07am – 9:34am
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 9:40am – 10:04am
- Splash Mountain: 10:04am – 10:51am
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with FastPass+: 11:05am – 11:19am
- Liberty Square Riverboat: 11:25am – 11:54am
Next up, we’ll see how long it takes to ride Peter Pan’s Flight with FastPass+ when the return line is backed up to Mickey’s PhilharMagic, as well as see about returning to Pirates of the Caribbean with FastPass+, among other things.