After spending some time covering morning touring in this post, we now find ourselves in Frontierland just after 1:15pm on Saturday May 7th.
As a refresher, this is what wait times looked like on this particular day and by 1:15pm, we’re up to an average wait of 34 minutes at attractions that post them. That’s just slightly above average.
I had spent about an hour eating my eight waffle fries and catching up on trolling people on Twitter. My favorite place to hang out on this side of the Park is in the Tortuga Tavern seating section across from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Tortuga is rarely open and when it is, it’s usually just from 11am-3pm on particularly busy days. Otherwise, all of these tables, most of which are shaded, are comfortable and provide a good vantage point to enjoy the many meltdowns that the summer heat and crowds bring. Of course, you are less likely to join the fray should you take some time off your feet AND REFRESH MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR FastPass+ AVAILABILITY BECAUSE IF WE DON’T GET A GOOD RIDE THE KIDS AREN’T GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME AND WE’RE GOING TO HAVE WASTED SO MUCH MONEY COMING HERE AND I JUST WANTED TO GO TO THE BEACH AND I HATE YOUR MOTHER.
Just 20 minutes sitting down, eight waffle fries, and four free cups of water that are available from any quick service with a fountain beverage machine and everything will be better.
Speaking of FastPass+, here I am seeing if I can switch out my Buzz Lightyear FP+ for something else early in the morning. It’s 9:40am:
Even searching for one person at 9:40am, there is literally no availability at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at any time of day with a 12am close. Every experience is taken.
Continuing to scroll, Space Mountain is offering 3pm and Splash Mountain is offering 6:30pm. If you click into an attraction, it will refresh again and show you all (or whatever it’s in the mood to show you) of the available times. The screen above will not automatically show the nearest time by default. The selection I chose was “morning” which is why it’s saying that there were no results during that time but there are some later in the day.
[Tinder joke redacted by corporate]
If you click into an attraction, you may well see times that are completely different than the previous screen. If you want one of the times on the previous screen, click it as soon as you have the chance to lock it in. From here, you may want to swipe left or right around where the available times are on the screen to refresh the times again. I’m hoping to do a little better than eight hours in the future.
And after three minutes of refreshing and taking screenshots, I managed to pull up a 2:10pm time that I thought would work well enough with what I otherwise had going on.
Then after pulling the app back up a few minutes later, I was able to move Splash all the way up to 1:05pm, which is basically best case scenario with the Peter Pan window ending at 1pm.
So what did we learn? Relying on 4th FastPass+ availability at a headliner at a certain time slot probably isn’t going to come to fruition. Or at least, you’ll have the best time if you’re flexible. If you’re planning on being in Tomorrowland from 2pm to 4pm and are happy with a 4th FastPass+ for Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, or Buzz Lightyear somewhere in there then you’re going to have a lot better time than if it has to be Space Mountain from 1:15pm to 2:15pm. I’ve been saying FastPass+ availability gets worse every day for months now. And tomorrow it will again be worse than today as more and more people are privy to what’s going on.
At 1:17pm, Splash was posted at 30 minutes but was up to 55 minutes by 1:45pm, which is probably more accurate with the standby queue spilling outside.
Your face when you pull up 4th FastPass+ availability at 10:30am and your choices are Mickey’s PhilharMagic for 1:10pm – 2:10pm or Mad Tea Party for 6:50pm – 7:50pm.
Me trying to stuff those last couple loafs [sic] of cornbread into my mouth at Trail’s End brunch on Sunday.
Most of the water effects here have been broken for some number of years, but I was surprised with how many were working, including the water shooting over the boats:
Your face when you score four Space Mountain FastPass+ for your party just five minutes in the future in the heart of the afternoon.
It’s always nice to see improvements without the need for extended downtime. I was sort of surprised to see DINOSAUR over at Animal Kingdom closed for refurbishment from July 25 – September 29, considering attendance is expected to go up with the nighttime enhancements and Rivers of Did You Really Think This Show Was Going to Have Movement? Even if you have no interest in DINO, that still eliminates 15,000+ FastPass+ experiences from the pool, which means less availability everywhere else.
Splash ended up taking just 18 minutes, which is on the very low side with virtually no backup at unloading and virtually no wait after walking the queue. I pulled up FastPass+ availability a few minutes later to see if I could sneak on Big Thunder while I was in the area. Yeah…no.
Even an omnimover like Buzz, with a huge hourly capacity, doesn’t have anything for six and a half hours. And I’m searching for a party of one, which means larger parties would see even less availability. And that 10:50pm Big Thunder has already been gobbled up within a minute’s time and is no longer available even if I wanted to spend the next nine hours at Tortuga Tavern.
I never say no to Pirates (wait what), so I clicked in to see if it would give me a better time than 5:15pm.
I managed to pick up a Pirates for 25 minutes in the future, which is just fine. There are probably 1,000 or more people refreshing their phones at any given time and you can really drive yourself crazy with it. And with the ability to trade out attractions at other Parks, there’s a ton of availability that opens up and is taken away almost instantaneously.
Of course, you might deem a pleasant ride around the Rivers of America more pleasant than the constant tapping of your mobile device.
There is no rush to arrive for your 19ish minute voyage, so plan an arrival around :27 or :57 after the hour:
Here at 2:25pm, Haunted Mansion is posting a solid 35 minute wait with the actual wait in the vicinity.
If you’re not planning on seeing the Festival of Fantasy Parade, you may want to start thinking about heading back to your resort as early as 1:30pm, particularly here during the summer when the RealFeel is going to be 110 degrees and rain is likely. Waits drop off considerably at 9:45pm with the overall average wait falling in half to 18 minutes with just over two hours of operation left. If you are not keen on taking the transportation time for a lengthy break or find that you are unable to leave the air-conditioning to return to the theme park, then you may want to plow through experiencing the anytime attractions in standby and seeing what FastPass+ become available.
I had a dinner reservation with some friends so I was sticking around, but you’d want to ask yourself if you’d rather be here or poolside with a Pina Colava in-hand.
Total experience time with FastPass+ earlier in the day was nine minutes.
Prince Regal Carrousel switchbacks.
With 2+ hours of downtime earlier in the day, you’ve got thousands more people returning into fewer operating hours. And thus, FP+ return is backed up to here. Wherever this is. Got a prime surrender cobra up there with the guy in the teal shirt.
This took 14 minutes total in standby first thing.
11 minutes second thing.
The 18 minutes from earlier is better than the 35-55 now.
30 minutes in the blazing sun versus a total of nine minutes for us.
Space Mountain is down. At 4:15pm it would be 130 minutes. Our total experience time, including the time it took to walk the queue, wait for the ride, ride the ride, and return out front was 13 minutes from 9:26am – 9:39am. I still can’t believe that but I can’t help but kill it.
PeopleMover is not always backed up this far, but the extended queue is a near-every-day-occurrence.
Buzz is posted at 35.
But with FastPass+ return backed up waaaayyyy overrrrr therrrrre…
Buzz at least seems to have fixed its issues with downtime that plagued it since its refurbishment earlier this year.
Pool + Pina Colava = ?
Main Street about ten minutes before Festival of Fantasy steps off from Frontierland. It’s about 25 minutes before the parade will arrive here.
I had a Pirates FastPass+ for 2:10pm but the ride was down when I arrived at 2:04pm and I headed back to my fortress of solitude at Tortuga Tavern.
Within 15 minutes it was open again. I could have beaten some number of people if I was more actively watching the entrance.
But as it stood, I arrived a bit later and it took 11 minutes from the time I got in line until I was floating by these skeletons.
And back out front at 2:42pm to a 35-minute wait and a 21-minute total experience time.
START HISTORY OF PECOS BILL HAMBURGERS
If you just want to see how bad it was skip down to END HISTORY OF PECOS BILL HAMBURGERS
I am not yet ready to relive Diamond Horseshoe Round 2, so we instead head into Pecos Bill. You know things are dire when the Taco Burger is preferable.
I have lost count of how many times Pecos Bill has changed its menu in the last eight-or-so months after moving away from burgers, pork sandwiches, taco salads AND EVERYTHING THAT MADE THIS COUNTRY GREAT.
If you haven’t visited since October of last year, you probably remember something like the above.
Disney pulled the Taco Salads a couple of years ago now both here and at nearby Tortuga Tavern ostensibly to eliminate the cost of offering the toppings bar to everyone with a bag of Tostitos in their pants. My feeling is that the salads really didn’t survey well with most guests because if you ordered one of these, Disney would literally hand you the shell with maybe three ounces of low quality taco beef on the bottom. You had to do the rest of the work yourself. And who has time for that in between BBB reservations, Aladdin’s Magical Carpets FastPass+, and the spontaneity that comes with Disney not even announcing The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic showtimes a week in front of the show debuting? I really feel like the spontaneity is back now that I don’t even know if my family is going to be able to see the Star Wars fireworks on the day we’re visiting in early June and man do I really want FastPass+ for the Royal Sommerhus meet and greet. Confusing times.
Wind back to the days before digital and you’d find this menu circa 2011 #makedisneygreatagain.
Disney went to this burger-less menu last October, in addition to offering the Chicken Enchilada Soup, Churros, and Sopapilla to the sides and desserts. And check out that fixin’s bar. The Rice Bowl pictured here did not last more than a couple of months, despite being the best item available I thought.
Before Christmas, the Hamburger Whiners won as the menu became more homogenized, dropping the much-more-interesting Chicken Enchilada Soup for Chili and the Sopapilla altogether. Note that beef listed here is either “Steak” or “Spicy Beef.”
But Disney was not done mess mess messing with our hearts and introduced what appeared to be the biggest atrocity since Cosmic Ray’s Angus Pizza Burger in the Taco Burger.
Otherwise, instead of choosing between the $14.49 “Steak” and the $13.49 “Chicken” Fajitas, it now comes with half “Barbacoa Beef” and half “Chicken.”
The Beef Nachos, which are a particularly sad portion, are also relatively new.
END HISTORY OF PECOS BILL HAMBURGERS
I took one for the team and ordered what I think is the most expensive quick service theme park hamburger at Walt Disney World. Liberty Inn at Epcot offers a $14.99 7 oz. Angus Burger with Vermont Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle on a Brioche Bun. Cosmic Ray’s also recently introduced an unfortunate-I’m-sure Barbecued Pork Bacon Cheeseburger, also at $14.99.
Life is an expectations game and mine were abysmally low, but this was actually pretty good. We’re to the point where just a Bacon Cheeseburger with fries is $12.99.
So for an extra three bucks you get a pretty sizable amount of seasoned taco meat and a few bits of lettuce and tomato, in addition to the pepperjack cheese.
And then you can dress it up further at the toppings bar, which is almost impossible to photograph attractively with the harsh light.
But you can add all-you-care-to-enjoy shredded cheese, roasted corn, guacamole, salsa, verde sauce, jalapenos, banana peppers, chipotle ranch salad dressing, red onion, limes, sour cream, and pico de gallo to the burger or accompanying chips.
For the money, we would have appreciated a few more chips, but Disney obviously doesn’t want to make this “too” shareable. The pepperjack cheese had a nice spiciness and the taco seasoning added some moisture and spice into the mix, in addition to bringing out some of the flavor in the burger.
If you’re in the market for a burger, then you may want to seek this out for a couple dollars more than a standard bacon cheeseburger and just $1 more than what is certainly terrible at Cosmic Ray’s. If you load up the burger and chips from the toppings bar then it might be easier to split than alternatives and this is one of the three or four most expensive quick service entrees at Magic Kingdom if you’re on the Dining Plan.
A lot of things are opening but we should be able to check out some projects going on around Magic Kingdom and perhaps visit Hollywood Studios to stare at the same walls that we’ll be staring at every day for the next 10-15 years. There is also my 750 picture centerfold inside the Ugg store at Disney Springs.