We’ll take a brief moment to go over what you can expect to see and do if you’re rope dropping Seven Dwarfs Mine Train after enjoying a pre-opening breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant this fall/winter.
I’ve offered quite a bit of detail in the past on how the pre-opening breakfast works. You can reference this post from earlier this year for a full walk-through along with more thoughts on the value proposition of the meal.
Basically, we’re using the early breakfast reservation as a means to get back to Fantasyland before the regular rope drop crowd arrives. Only pre-opening breakfasts at Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table (theoretically) offer a touring advantage now that everyone is able to enter the Park at 7:45am and proceed as far as the area in front of Cinderella Castle. Those dining at Crystal Palace or Plaza Restaurant will then join the regular rope drop crowd if they finish up prior to official Park open. With the high cost of Cinderella’s Royal Table and the likelihood that the experience will take more than an hour, I wouldn’t recommend booking the princess meal for a touring advantage. Be Our Guest is really the only one that makes sense. Also keep in mind that on a day with a regular 9am open, anyone with a Be Our Guest Restaurant reservation before 9am will be allowed to head back immediately after being released from the main entrance at 7:45am. If your reservation is for 8:30am or 8:45am then you don’t have to wait until then to head back to breakfast. Your reservation is just as good as an 8am reservation as far as Disney and the restaurant are concerned. Erin and I actually booked our reservation for 8:45am while walking over from the Contemporary that morning.
After eating breakfast at Be Our Guest, you’ll want to be outside no later than 8:50am and then line up here along the fence next to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. At some point before before official Park open, we’ll be walked to the Magic Kingdom’s most popular attraction with far less stress and hassle than those hurrying from the main entrance. Erin and I are lined up here at 8:54am, which is when the walk over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train commenced. In past years, breakfast guests were typically walked over to the Mine Train earlier in the morning – as early as 8:30am, but typically around 8:40am. More recently, the walk has started much closer to 8:55am.
Even with the later start to the walk over to Mine Train, the early reservation puts us in the best possible position to experience Mine Train without something that looks like this. Above is the holiday rope drop crowd in front of Cinderella Castle from February of this year.
Here we are on the same morning trying to hurry to Mine Train with several thousand other people. From Be Our Guest, there’s maybe a hundred people walking over in an orderly fashion and even if you’re the last person in that group, your actual wait for the roller coaster will be less than ten minutes.
Our ride through the Mine took all of eleven minutes from the time we arrived at the entrance to the queue until the time we were off the ride and standing back out front, which is right around the minimum possible experience time with FastPass+ later in the day. Here at 9:04am, the standby queue is backed up towards Mad Tea Party and if you were to get in line now, you’d be looking at a 60ish minute wait.
Be Our Guest Breakfast does come at a substantial cost – $28 per adult and $15 per child, to be exact. Erin and I might have shared the Assorted Cured Meats and Cheeses along with the Assorted Pastries that are presented tableside. It’s just about the right amount of food to start the day for $14 per person. It’s still a poor value considering the quality of the food, but the jump on Mine Train is virtually priceless.
If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck for an early morning meal, check out this Plaza Restaurant breakfast review.
Plaza just began serving breakfast earlier this month and it’s almost unbelievable what you’ll get for under 20 bucks.
Just look at this Lobster Eggs Benedict.
Our rope drops are typically an exercise in seeing how much we can get done along with experimenting a little bit along the way to see if we can make any improvements in efficiency. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t get in the standby line for Peter Pan’s Flight immediately after Seven Dwarfs Mine Train because it’s one of only two or three attractions that will have an appreciable wait this early in the morning. It makes more sense to bypass Pan in favor of other attractions and instead rely on FastPass+ later in the day.
Of course, you can’t use FP+ on everything, particularly on a day with truncated operating hours. With the 6pm closes on Mickey’s Party dates, crowds and wait times might be lower than other days, but the number of FastPass+ experiences distributed is far less than a day with a much later close. With an 11pm close, we obviously have five more hours to enjoy the Park, but also five more hours of FastPass+ distribution and five more hours to help distribute the crowds. With over 25 attractions at Magic Kingdom offering FastPass+, tens of thousands of FP+ experiences would be distributed between 6pm and 11pm with the later close. In other words, we may run into some problems trying to book priority attractions after using our initial three FP+, so it makes some sense to wait a little longer than we might like in standby for attractions that are going to be difficult to secure FP+ for later in the day.
Our main purpose for going through standby was to see the Peter Pan queue. Erin and I almost always use FP+, which means we bypass the interactive elements of the standby queue.
Outside of last thing at night, the only other time to experience Peter Pan’s Flight with a relatively short standby wait is first thing in the morning.
It’s 9:07am and we find ourselves here in line for Peter Pan’s Flight. While the line is backed up outside the entrance, all of the switchbacks aren’t yet in place, so the queue isn’t actually full. It just looks like it is. Still, by going to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first, we’re in line behind everyone that decided to visit Peter Pan’s Flight as their first attraction from the main entrance.
We were back out front at 9:33am for a total experience time of 26 minutes or a wait that ended up being about 22 minutes.
That’s longer than I like to wait this early, but we’re already looking at a 40ish minute actual wait just after 9:30am and it will be 60+ before 10am. Moving through Fantasyland’s two most popular attractions, and two rides that will see a peak combined standby wait of over three hours later in the day, in about 30 minutes isn’t too shabby.
We arrived at Haunted Mansion next with a 15-minute posted wait at 9:38am. We ended up virtually walking into the stretching room as is usually the case at this hour. The queue appears fuller because the interactive portion is still roped off to aid in moving through people quicker.
We were back out front at 9:57am for a total experience time of 19 minutes, which is also somewhere around the minimum. We stopped a couple of times for what I’m assuming was an assortment of hauntings. Speaking of which, you should definitely watch “The Haunting of Hill House” during the run up to Halloween next year if you missed this year’s festivities.
It’s 10am or exactly one hour after regular Park open and we’ve managed to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Haunted Mansion in standby, which is a good start. If I wanted to hit the Frontierland priorities – Big Thunder and Splash Mountain, then I’d want to head over right after Mine Train and perhaps The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. By 10am, we’re going to be looking at 20-30 minutes at Big Thunder and around the same for Splash, though it depends on the weather. As I type this, it’s an unimaginable 49 degrees out. Splash isn’t going to have an appreciable wait in those blizzard-like conditions. On a warmer November morning, waits will be longer.
Adventureland priorities should still be in play as we arrive at Jungle Cruise at 10:01am.
I was surprised to see the 40-minute posted wait so early, but then the newly-branded Citizen clock underneath the FastPass+ Entrance sign is about 20 minutes slow. Skipper hijinks, perhaps.
Fortunately, the length of Jungle Cruise’s queue is largely visible from the area around the FastPass+ kiosks.
I took a peek to see about six people in line. By the time we circled back around the various switchbacks, there was nobody in front of us waiting versus at least eight people waiting in FastPass+. MORE LIKE SLOWPASS AM I RIGHT?
We were back out front at 10:20am for a total experience time of about 19 minutes, which is right around the minimum.
We prioritize Jungle Cruise because waits typically build faster and peak higher than Pirates of the Caribbean. FastPass+ for Pirates is/are also easier to come by later in the day. Here at 10:21am, Pirates’ posted wait is 10 minutes.
We ended up waiting just a minute or two and found ourselves back outside at 10:39am for a total experience time of 18 minutes. The posted wait is up to 15 minutes, which is probably approaching reality.
I booked FastPass+ for Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train beginning at 9:45am – 10:45am, which gives us plenty of opportunities to enjoy short waits at a variety of popular attractions before using our priority boarding at attractions that have accumulated a sizable-enough standby wait to make it worthwhile.
At 10:42am, Big Thunder is up to 35 minutes – not bad, but probably longer than we want to spend walking back and forth up there.
Our first FastPass+ is at Splash Mountain, which is up to 40 minutes on a relatively warm morning.
With the extended queue already filling outside, 40 minutes might be a bit optimistic.
The Ziploc Bag distribution continues off and on. There’s no safer place to stow your blog while on a wet ride like this.
Is it art?
We were back out front at 11:05am for a total experience time of 22 minutes, which is a little below average. The posted wait remains 40 minutes.
Big Thunder is still posted at 35 minutes at 11:09am.
With FastPass+, we were back out front 15 minutes later.
Just before 11:30am, we’re nearing peak crowds and wait times as we look back at Frontierland.
As a reminder, this is what things looked like 90 minutes earlier.
It’s onward back to New Fantasyland.
What a life pic.twitter.com/jxutCaEM26
— josh (@easywdw) November 12, 2018
After spending about an hour enjoying lunch at the Pinocchio Village Haus balcony and waiting for the rain to pass, we headed over to Mine Train to use our third FastPass+.
Mine Train is posted at 80 minutes, which is right around average for 12:30pm. We scanned our MagicBands and it took 15 minutes to ride with FastPass+, which is right around average.
After scanning my third FastPass+, I can open up the app and check availability for a 4th FP+. Most attractions are unavailable, even for a party of two people with just under six hours until closing. We’ve got no availability for Big Thunder or Buzz Lightyear.
Nothing for Enchanted Tales with Belle, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, or any of the Meet and Greets, which include Ariel, Princess Fairy Tale Hall, Mickey, and Tinker Bell.
Pirates is offering exactly one return time due to a cancellation and even that is 3.5+ hours in the future. That means no availability for Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Tomorrowland Speedway.
In other words, it’s a good thing we arrived early and made it through seven priority attractions in the first couple of hours of Park operation because it’s going to take a lot of luck and a lot of refreshing to be able to find any more decent FastPass+ opportunities. The above FP+ availability is also on a day with below average crowds and wait times, so it only gets worse from there, for the most part.
With some amount of refreshing over six or seven minutes, I was able to pull a FastPass+ for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with just about an immediate return time.
From here on out, we’d continue to refresh FP+ availability while mixing in anytime attractions.
If you’re wondering what those anytime attractions are, then you might pull up the website’s Magic Kingdom Cheat Sheet. The attractions highlighted in green typically see waits of 15 minutes or less throughout the day. The Cheat Sheets also include projected wait times based on crowd levels, rope drop strategies, FastPass+ priority, touring plans, parade/fireworks viewing tips, and a lot more information. It’s basically everything you need to know about visiting the theme parks across just five or six pages.
This is what we accomplished:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from Be Our Guest Restaurant: 8:54am – 9:05am
- Peter Pan’s Flight: 9:07am – 9:33am
- Haunted Mansion: 9:38am – 9:57am
- Jungle Cruise: 10:02am – 10:20am
- Pirates of the Caribbean: 10:21am – 10:39am
- Splash Mountain with FastPass+: 10:43am – 11:05am
- Big Thunder Mountain with FastPass+: 11:09am – 11:24am
- Lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus: 11:30am – 12:20pm
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with FastPass+: 12:22pm – 12:36pm
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with FastPass+: 12:38pm – 12:48pm
That’s a pretty solid morning. The only thing I would potentially change is skipping Peter Pan’s Flight, but there’s no better way to experience it other than using a pre-booked FastPass+ or hoping that it becomes available with a lot of refreshing as a 4th or subsequent selection. We can’t use FastPass+ at every attraction or ride everything first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
We’ll continue our late fall touring strategy updates with rope drops at the other Parks. Next time, it shouldn’t be all iPhone pictures, either.