Because I hate myself and don’t value my own happiness, we are headed to Magic Kingdom on Presidents Day. For Washington’s Birthday, the overall crowd level is ratcheted up to a “9,” which indicates the highest possible crowds without the risk of one of the theme parks closing to capacity. Magic Kingdom is the least recommended Park according to the February 2012 Crowd Calendar, so we should be looking at some crowds. And some crowds, we will look at. On occasion I’ll see someone say, “The worst day at Disney is still better than the best day at home.” To which I would say, “That depends on if Cops is new tonight.” After all, would you rather be guzzling beer on the couch and watching Monday Night Football or waiting in line for 50 minutes at “it’s a small world?” I know what my answer is and it involves beer.
Today’s Monorail hours with Magic Kingdom open from 8am – 1am and Epcot open from 9am – 9pm:
It’s what we’ve seen in the past.
On days like this, I like to take the ferry. You can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to be crammed into the Express Monorail when crowds are this heavy and there are always crying children onboard between 1pm and 9pm. Always. Crying children making you feel like you’re hitting yourself in the head with a hammer is not exactly the “most magical” way to start your day of taking pictures of people and things.
The total transportation time is probably going to be longer, but it’s fun to get out on the water and ride past the Grand Floridian Resort on your way over to Magic Kingdom.
Grand Floridian across the way with construction going on to the left of it.
And Cinderella Castle across the water. AND THAT STUPID CRANE RUINING THE PICTURE OMMMGGG. I’m freaking out.
Plenty of seating and few people around makes for a much more pleasant trip.
We’re on the General Joe Potter. This is the Richard Irvine coming towards us. The General is probably my favorite of the Walt Disney characters. The coolest guy in the room. We have a lot in common.
Doesn’t look too busy here around 2:30pm. Maybe these “crowd calendar websites” really are just a bunch of hocus pocus. Who is this “Josh” guy anyway? And why doesn’t he have a last name? Who does he think he is? Madonna?
Not much of a line for Guest Relations outside the theme park. I guess the Grand Floridian is full for Presidents Day.
Just inside the Park on the right hand side is the wheelchair, ECV, and locker rental kiosk.
Pricing on the Electric Vehicles is pretty ridiculous. Assuming you get the deposit back, you’re looking at $350 over the course of a seven day vacation.
I’ll take this opportunity to say that this website does accept bribes in exchange for positive reviews of your off-site ECV rental company. Or because this is a full featured blog, I would be more than happy to write a negative review of the competition for a similar fee. Might as well mix it up a little bit.
They were out of “ECV’s.”
I am not sure what makes some wheelchair accessible while others in the same row aren’t. Maybe they ran out of stickers or something.
Yeah, that’s probably not happening today.
Strollers are located underneath the train station just inside the entrance. The area is accessible from either side. Occasionally you’ll see stroller rentals out near the boat launches, but that’s rarer. Usually it’s only during the busiest days (this one not included if I recall correctly).
Stroller rental isn’t particularly popular at this time of day (2:40pm).
Strollers can get expensive too. $231.11 with tax over the course of a seven day vacation for a double stroller. Remember what I said about bribes? It carries over to stroller rentals too. Or anything. Absolutely anything. I’ll write a review about tires if you think it will help.
Dear FTC, I’m “just kidding.”
Princess wait times went from 35 minutes to 55 minutes while I was standing there fiddling with my camera.
This is my favorite place to catch the Parade – right around the railroad station. It never seems to fill up until the last minute, even on a busy day like today. We’re only about 15 minutes away from the start of the Parade. And if you’re headed out after, you’ll beat the rush.
Snow White was meeting guests out in front of Tony’s Town Square.
I’ll borrow a lousy picture from my Twitter thing here. I got a question about whether the 2012 Graduation Ears were available yet. They aren’t – the cast member said to expect them in May, which sounded a little late to me, but we’ll see.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is officially opening February 22nd. It’s been testing for about a month. It’s too nerdy for me to play under normal circumstances, but I will do so for the sake of the site on Thursday.
Someone had asked how much those light boxes were that we saw over at Epcot – they’re $85 a pop.
More Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. They get in the way everywhere.
Plaza Ice Cream is closed through March 27th. It wouldn’t surprise me if they made just as much money from this cart.
With the heavy crowds, the rarely open Tomorrowland Terrace was open for lunch:
It’s only open yesterday and today. Closed for the rest of the week as it usually is. This is the same menu we’ve seen before.
A nice view in the seating section down here. Even when it isn’t open, you can sit and take a rest over here for most of the day. This is also the location of the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party.
It’s crowds time. This is the line for Stitch’s Great Escape. If the wait is any longer than it takes for the next pre-show to begin – you’re in trouble.
Buzz Lightyear with a 40 minute wait and FASTPASSes an hour out. And yes bro, I am taking a picture.
40 minutes might be a little optimistic with the extended queue almost full. But we’ll take their word for it unless you want to hop in line. I don’t.
The 626 Dance Party is scheduled every day this week from 11am to 10pm.
With Chip, Dale, and Stitch out at the moment. It’s not particularly crackin’ at this time in the afternoon. Maybe once the youngsters get some drinks in them later tonight.
A line for PeopleMover. Bad news bears.
The 90 minute wait at Space Mountain dropped to 60 minutes while I was standing there. The FASTPASS I pulled at 3:03pm had a return time of 6:15pm to 7:15pm.
This cart in Tomorrowland is new-ish. Very exciting. We can’t get a very good look at it with so many people around. I wonder what the upgrade is for, “There were too many people around ruining my pictures.”
Disney is taking a page out of the Regal Cinemas playbook:
Notice that the “combos” don’t offer any kind of savings. They are just the popcorn and the “bottled beverage” added together. And actually, the combos are 25 cents more expensive if you select the Dasani.
The R2-D2 Popcorn Buckets have migrated over from Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios, to every day at Hollywood Studios, to every day at Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland too.
Moving up through Tomorrowland with a lot of people around. It’s actually a bit less crowded now than it will be in an hour since the Parade is going on right now.
A line out the door at Auntie Gravity’s. Ordinarily there will be three people in line. It isn’t even particularly warm. Auntie Gravity’s sells smoothies and ice cream and today’s high was around 67 degrees.
Plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers on a day like today. “Literally” as they say.
Thank goodness the extended queue isn’t necessary at Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
Fast forward to July and this is going to be 40 of the most miserable minutes of your life.
Construction on New Fantasyland has been ratcheted up in the past couple of weeks, so we might as well take a quick peek over the walls. This is Prince Eric’s Castle at the new Little Mermaid dark ride.
This spire is new.
Dumbo, his circus tent, and the covered queue. The Great Goofini is back there too.
Information on the upcoming Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid on the construction walls in the back of Fantasyland:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train:
Be Our Guest Restaurant:
Something to look forward to over the next couple of years.
A lot of people in line for the 90 second Mad Tea Party.
Another look at the new concrete around Mad Tea Party. It’s an instance of “You would never guess how long it took to make it look this used.”
A 40 minute wait seems optimistic considering the crowd level.
And people complain about the lack of Photopass photographers in the theme parks. They even have them at cardboard cutouts of the characters!
“New Fantasyland” walls jutting further and further into “Current Fantasyland.”
Sometimes no news is good news. I popped into most of the quick service eateries to check on menu changes. Nothing to really report. This is Pinocchio Village Haus if it isn’t obvious.
The current sport bottle.
And just outside Pinocchio Village Haus. If you were to ask me how to make the most congested walkway in any Walt Disney World theme park even more congested, I would simply reply, “Add strollers.” And so it comes to pass.
As usual, Peter Pan’s Flight FASTPASSes have return times further out than any of the other Magic Kingdom attractions. Almost six hours in this case.
That “interactive queue” at Peter Pan’s Flight turned out to be an accessibility ramp and FASTPASS line. This will make it much easier for those in ECVs and wheelchairs to experience the attraction. Long overdue.
In context. It’s those yellow railings on the left.
If you’re returning with FASTPASSes, you’ll now enter over here rather than just to the left of the standby queue. It should also ease congestion at the standby queue because there won’t be 30 people that arrived too early to use their FASTPASSes hovering around the area like every other attraction.
So your wait won’t be 71 minutes instead of just 70.
Crowded. It’s even worse when Mickey’s PhilharMagic gets out.
Are you sitting down? Yes? Good. This is the back of the line for it’s a small world.
I would really rather not. I think I’ll go home and watch it on YouTube….on mute.
So as you may know, usually when I say that the theme park is “crowded” or I’m “looking for a spot to stop and take a picture,” I’m just kidding. But in this instance it’s actually pretty crowded.
Popping in to Columbia Harbour House for lunch. This is one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World – the second floor seating area. Even with the crowds, there’s only eight or so people up here. And because there’s no elevator, you won’t be dealing with all of the stroller kids.
My little corner of the world above.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it’s worth pointing out again. A lot of the menu items that come with bags of chips or other extras can be ordered without them for less. In this instance, I’ve ordered the Lighthouse Sandwich without the bag of chips.
There’s no mention of this on the menu, where it’s just listed as $8.99.
As we’ve seen in the past, the bag of chips is nothing special and the actual cost is a pretty ridiculous $2.00. I’d rather put that towards a Mickey Pretzel for later in the day. Or beer.
The Lighthouse Sandwich.
What’s in it? I have no idea. Actually, AllEars will tell you exactly what’s in it here. It’s basically tomato, hummus, shredded broccoli, and honey dijon dressing. It’s a unique sandwich, but there really isn’t much “oomph” to it for those of us who aren’t vegetarians. Bread, hummus, and broccoli will only take me so far. I need some MEAT or something. With that said, it is one of the better vegetarian options that is unique to Columbia Harbour House. Other than the lack of oomph, my only complaint is that the amount of dressing on it makes the entire sandwich pretty soggy. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. This is a good choice for vegetarians, but I’d stick with the Fried Shrimp if it was up to me.
A lot of the time I don’t capture the “feel” of the crowds at eye level. Although I am a tall drink of water, we can usually only see a few people directly in front and then what looks like more people in the distance. Here at Columbia Harbour House, we have a better look at things. This is a ton of people around Haunted Mansion.
Work continues behind these walls at the old Skyway Station.
And a lot of dirt. “Rumors” indicate that this will be a new permanent home for the Tangled Meet and Greet. It would be great if it’s true.
They definitely have a ways to go.
We have an extra Turkey Leg Cart here to the right of the entrance to Liberty Square Riverboat to ease congestion over at the more popular Frontierland cart. Sadly, they don’t actually have any Turkey Legs in stock.
The walkway through Frontierland is busy as we might expect.
Frontier Trading Post is back out from underneath scrims after a lengthy refurbishment.
Looks great. We’ll get a better look when there aren’t a million people around.
They have furs and traps. Just a little section is still behind a wall on the right side.
Which leaves just one section of Pecos Bill behind scrims in Frontierland. After Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s refurbishment, this section of the Magic Kingdom is going to look particularly fantastic. And not to mention all that new pavement!
Congestion out near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, though it isn’t as bad as it would be if Big Thunder was actually operating.
I’m willing to bet Big Thunder is going to be awesome when it comes out of refurbishment at the end of May.
Splash Mountain with a long wait, especially considering it’s 65 degrees out. A warm 65 degrees though. It’s just after 4pm, so FASTPASS return times are only about 90 minutes in the future.
With people lined up all the way back here, 55 minutes might be optimistic too.
The small Laughin’ Place Playground near the exit to Splash Mountain. With emphasis on “small.” It isn’t exactly The Boneyard.
Golden Oak Outpost has yet another new menu. This is the fifth or sixth in the past year. You may remember the Flatbreads they used to serve that were pretty sad. Then they went to Hot Dogs. Then nothing. Then back to Flatbreads. Then whatever it was. And now this.
It’s located right across from Pecos Bill. I’ll grab the Chicken Sandwich one of these days, but there really isn’t a compelling reason to eat here other than lines are ordinarily short to nonexistent. Even today there were two people in line.
Over to Adventureland. Pirates of the Caribbean was sitting at a 35 minute posted wait.
All these people out here.
And zero people in line at the Tiki Room. They should have modified the queue so the entrance was out here on the main walkway during its extensive refurbishment.
And what do we have here?
If you guessed, “The end of the queue for Jungle Cruise,” you receive a one year subscription to easyWDW.com! Congratulations winner! The posted wait is 35 minutes, but again, that seems optimistic. FASTPASSes are two hours out, which is further than usual too. Normally, return times are 40 to 50 minutes in the future.
Corn Dog? Egg Roll?
From the Adventureland Egg Roll Cart. The Egg Rolls here are addictive.
The queue for Aladdin’s Magical Carpets. A 30 or 40 minute wait.
Headed out of Adventureland and Magic Kingdom.
You can certainly make a day like today “work” by arriving prior to Park opening, visiting the most popular characters first thing in the morning, collecting FASTPASSes throughout the day, and taking a lengthy afternoon break. At this point in the day, you can only watch Mickey’s PhilharMagic, see Country Bears Jamboree, and ride Liberty Square Riverboat so many times. Once Pirates of the Caribbean and it’s a small world hit 40+ minutes, there aren’t a lot of options. Crowds will also ease considerably later in the evening. At 10:30pm:
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin: 15 minutes
Haunted Mansion: 10 minutes
It’s A Small World: 10 minutes
Peter Pan’s Flight: 30 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: 10 minutes
Space Mountain: Down
Splash Mountain: 20 minutes
Town Square Mickey Meet and Greet: 5 minutes
Town Square Princess Meet and Greet: 15 minutes
Winnie the Pooh: 20 minutes
And wait times should only decrease as it gets closer to 1am.
And I’ll leave you with FernGully, also known as the Grand Floridian Resort’s Disney Vacation Club construction.