Magic Kingdom Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Rope Drop with New Opening Procedure

Larger: https://www.easywdw.com/reports13/9am_mk_rope_drop.jpg

We return to Magic Kingdom to see how rope dropping Seven Dwarfs Mine Train from the main entrance goes on a particularly crowded Saturday morning. Above is the crowd in front of Cinderella Castle just before the Welcome Show wrapped up. Previously, I reviewed Be Our Guest breakfast and discussed the touring advantage that a pre-opening meal offers in this post.

Basically, instead of dealing with the crowd in the first picture, this is what you’re dealing with instead. Thousands of people versus eight people.

I also reviewed the rope drop procedure to Peter Pan’s Flight on a much less crowded day, in addition to reviewing new breakfast items from Casey’s Corner and Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in this post.

Here we are arriving at the main entrance on the morning of Saturday February 4, 2017 at 8:24am.

Much better than the scene that same day at 1:45pm…

This was about ten minutes later than I wanted to arrive…but realistically you’re probably going to be running late too. That’s why there are so few people here 45 minutes before opening.

At least at the moment, Casey’s Corner has ceased breakfast operation.

Which means you’re going to have to wait until 10am for one of those footlongs. It was a little conspicuous that Disney didn’t bother printing a breakfast menu, though we may see them open early again come Presidents Day Weekend or Spring Break. The hot dog eatery was not doing a lot of business on the mornings I’ve visited.

The scene just before 8:30am remains chill.

There’s maybe ten people waiting for the Adventureland rope to drop. I was originally going to do the Adventureland/Frontierland thing, but then realized that my Crystal Palace reservation was for 10:30am rather than 11:30am. So I thought it would be more interesting to check out the Fantasyland situation rather than just walk on a few things on the other side of the Park. We’ll return to the wild west once things pick up around Presidents Day.

At 8:30am, you could still waltz up to the rope leading through the Castle, which is what I recommend doing if you’re heading to any Fantasyland attraction other than Mine Train or Merida.

Maybe 30 people waiting for Tomorrowland. You might remember that there isn’t a huge rush over there – a 9:30am arrival after doing a couple higher priority Fantasyland rides is fine.

But Seven Dwarfs Mine Train remains the top priority at Magic Kingdom and it continues to necessitate an arrival earlier than either of us would like. I recommend being at bag check by 8:15am if you can. These people in front of me are all better than this than I am. Let’s hope they don’t have blogs.

The march to the ride is more comfortable from the front and arriving at the ride earlier means you’ll be on your way to your next attraction earlier, resulting in shorter waits. Basically, every minute you arrive after 8:15am means you’ll be waiting one minute longer for the Mine Train. The advantage to waiting before the Park opens is of course that we’re not wasting much more precious, and much more expensive, theme park touring time waiting.

This is an above average number of people waiting at 9am, but it’s indicative of the importance of arriving earlier. It would be difficult or impossible to navigate through this crowd from the back.

The Welcome Show ended at 8:59am and we began our walk past Cosmic Ray’s and towards Mad Tea Party before making a left towards the Dwarfs.

And here I am at 9:02am as the large crowd pushes together and narrows heading into the entrance.

Don’t be too discouraged if you find yourself back here – it’s not nearly as bad as it might look at first blush. But you are shooting to be one of the first 300ish people here in the morning.

On the other hand, if you find yourself backed up in Storybook Circus or arrive after the queue has filled, you probably want to find something else to do first thing. By the time the Mine Train queue fills, and it will be before 9:05am, you’re looking at a 60+ minute wait.

With my 8:30am arrival, I was inside the interactive queue portion before 9:10am.

And on the ride by about 9:17am.

As I stood in front of the entrance after riding, the line spilled back around the corner towards Storybook Circus with a 60-minute posted wait. It would be somewhere between 50 and 75 minutes.

There’s almost no worse place to be than the end of this line…anything other than Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight should have a largely nonexistent wait. If you have to wait an hour for Mine Train, it’s much better to be here at 4pm when waits are longer everywhere else. Of course, a FastPass+ is smarter and an arrival a minute or two before official Park close should result in a wait under 20 minutes.

I opted for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh next, which is viable in standby until about 9:30am. After that, the actual wait is going to be 25+ minutes with its nightmarish loading time. Peter Pan’s Flight standby is already going to be 30+ minutes.

I arrived at 9:24am and was on board at 9:38am for a total wait under 15 minutes.

If I had arrived earlier and made it through Mine Train in about 10 minutes instead of about 20, my wait here would be more like four minutes.

At 9:45am, the line for Mine Train is almost within the confines of the queue. With more FastPass+ users arriving, the actual wait would still be about an hour.

No wait to book Mad Tea Party FastPass+ at a kiosk.

Old Fantasyland at 9:43am.

Versus 12:50pm.

I had booked a 9am FastPass+ for Peter Pan’s Flight. There are only a couple of attractions where it makes sense to use FP+ this early – but Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fit that bill as both are relatively short attractions that almost instantaneously see appreciable wait times.

About eight people in front of me at FP+.



And back out front at 9:52am for a total experience time of 11 minutes.

It doesn’t make a ton of sense to ride it’s a small world before 10am as you have until about 10:40am before the actual wait will hit 10 minutes, but I was here and didn’t want to risk running late for Crystal Palace, so I hopped on:











And back out front at 10:10am for a total experience time of 18 minutes.

Maybe they will re-theme Tower of Terror to Tangled Tower.

Still posted 10 minutes at Haunted Mansion.

A Muppets Present… show was just starting. A MUST SEE.

Feels crowded.

Big Thunder was already up to 35 minutes at 10:23am. It’s a bit of a Dumbo-situation in that Disney doesn’t typically start running both loading bays until later in the morning. You still have until about 9:45am before a 10-minute wait accumulates though.

10 minutes at Splash.



Pirates had already gone down for mechanical problems with the queue cleared.



35 minutes at Jungle Cruise, making FP+ this early a wise decision. You may remember that I did just that on my rope drop from a few days before.

I’ll write a review of Crystal Palace separately since I was able to get pictures of all of the breakfast/lunch/dinner options.

But I was particularly impressed with the lunch/dinner spread. It was a nice array of fresh salads and several of the entree-ish dishes impressed, including the jambalaya that was packed with shrimp and the salmon.

With that said, it took “forever” for the characters to arrive at our table – our server made up for that by handing us one of these mythical “No Strings Attached” FastPasses, which is good for priority boarding at any attraction. So while we might have been there for 90 minutes, we could save two hours in line at Mine Train. Not a bad deal and there are worse places to be stuck than an arm’s length away from unlimited soft serve.

I was surprised with how busy Magic Kingdom “felt.” Granted it was a Saturday, but Disney is typically better prepared to deal with the influx of people. Looking over waits over the course of the day:

Larger: https://www.easywdw.com/reports13/magic_kingdom_waits_2417.jpg

Downtime at three key attractions – Pirates, Mine Train, and Space Mountain early certainly didn’t help things along, but the Park was swamped in the afternoon.

This is FastPass+ return at Space Mountain just before 12:30pm or about a half hour after the ride reopened.

The back of the line for PeopleMover.

This is a terrible picture of it, but the FP+ return line for Buzz winds around outside down towards Monsters Inc.

Tomorrowland.

Waiting 50 minutes for Speedway is not magical.

Winding around Mad Tea Party.

Storybook Circus.

55 minutes at Dumbo at 12:40pm.

30 at Barnstormer.

No wait for the Splash Zone at least.

New Fantasyland.

35 at Mermaid Ride.

Unintentionally artsy line for Be Our Guest lunch.

With downtime at Mine Train, actual FP+ waits would be in the vicinity of 20 minutes.

Regal Carrousel at 12:50pm.

Old Fantasyland.

70.

The 35-minute wait for small world is making my 2-minute wait earlier in the day seem like the better choice.

50 at Haunted Mansion.

Frontierland.

Making I-4 seem less congested.

55 at Big Thunder at 1pm.

45 at Splash seems optimistic.

Frontierland.

Are they having a sale?

55 at Pirates.

Adventureland.

75 at Jungle Cruise at 1:10pm.

One minute at Swiss Family.

Too long for a hot dog.

No wait for a nice sunny day at 1:35pm.

About a week for a proper scrim on The Emporium.

There it is.

The masses waiting to get in at 1:45pm. Setting that alarm is probably looking pretty good right now.

With no extra bag checkers…

And the metal detector on the Contemporary walkway taken down…

Thank goodness for The Wave.

Overall, I was satisfied with how well my morning went. A 15-minute actual wait at Mine Train is not bad all things considered and I made it through Winnie the Pooh with minimal effort. Peter Pan’s Flight with FastPass+ was easy and there was no wait for it’s a small world. I could have fit in a couple more moderate priority attractions in the morning and after breakfast/lunch, could have fit in my other FastPass+ selections in addition to visiting a couple anytime attractions. But the afternoon “felt” a lot more like Presidents Day Weekend than a Saturday earlier in the month. That was helped along a bit by poor staffing and unfortunate downtime, but there were a lot of people in Magic Kingdom this past Saturday. There’s no denying that.

We’ll take a look at a much easier day at Animal Kingdom from last week and perhaps take a look at Paddlefish. Writing that review wouldn’t take a ton of time, but it’s been a while since we’ve discussed the Springs’ culinary landscape. We’ll see.

Comments

  1. Mike C says

    Pretty cool to see my family and I in several pictures on the site of the #1 celebrity Disney blogger of all time of all time. Had I known you were almost right behind me, I would have thanked you in person for the unquantifiable amount of assistance you provide us in planning our trips and for giving us that Disney fix we need between trips. Theres nothing like your blog out there. Thanks for what you do.

  2. CB says

    We were there on Saturday and I was looking for ya but it looks like we were on opposite ends of the park most of the day. Definitely felt pretty crowded. Think that Golden oak line is as long as I’ve ever seen it. Going back for Presidents Day weekend and hoping the crowds aren’t too much worse.

  3. JM says

    I was there on Saturday as well and it was insanity. Not expecting such high crowds, having downtime at multiple attractions didn’t help either. We left the park at noon and there was no clear path to exit the park, forcing us to fight our way through the masses waiting for bag check and prompting a security guard to walk behind us trying to clear an exit path. 45 minuets later I was at Nomad Lounge in AK enjoying a cocktail. Still crowded over there but more manageable with some adult beverages.

  4. DJ says

    It felt really crowded but I still managed to efficiently maximize attractions. I went Peter Pan first then to btmr. Rode that then went to splash and back to btmr all in first hour. Pirates being down sort of slowed us down but we jumped into jungle cruise because the posted wait time (30) seemed way too high (our actual was about 15ish) then did haunted mansion before an early BOG lunch.

  5. Lisa Brown says

    Always entertaining and informative, thank you!! Any thoughts on crowds the week of April 3? Headed down with the fam that week for Spring Break (not sure if I just like to torture myself or I am just crazy).

  6. VaCamm says

    I’ve been following your advice for years… and your early morning park photos are the reason (well, one of the reasons… ) that my family hates me so much on vacation. I literally am dragging them out of bed to be a the parks 45 min before they open so that we don’t get stuck in those afternoon MOBS. We totally also take your advice so that we can enjoy our afternoon cocktails poolside or in air conditioning.

  7. Natalie says

    Josh, I feel like you’ve conditioned me to read in a sarcastic tone. I’ve seen you say a couple of times that The Muppets Present…show is a “MUST SEE.” Is this real enthusiasm or sarcasm?
    I’m a die-hard Muppets fan so I’m hoping it’s genuine! (I don’t begrudge you the sarcasm, of course, just curious)

      • Redhed_2001 says

        I second the “real” comment!

        I can also vouch for it. We really enjoyed it and if you’re a Muppets fan, you pronably will too!

    • Natalie says

      I would say REAL as well! I am a huge Muppet fan, and found it adorable in October. It was drawing pretty nice sized crowds to stop and watch as well. I definitely suggest catching it if you have time!

  8. EB says

    Saturday was our last day there and my son and I decided to hit MK (while wife and other son hit the pool). We hadn’t planned to be there that day so a bit of luck getting fastpasses to the Mine Train on the monorail ride over helped our cause. Other than some time at Splash Mountain we were right around where you were most of the day. I think we darned near walked out of the park at the same time. After referring to the patio on the Mexico pavilion last Sunday as “the place where Josh was yesterday” I should have been keeping an eye out for Disney Blogger Celebrities…

  9. Mike wolf says

    Josh, a couple of questions for you. First, if you want to head to Peter Pan at rope drop, would you stand on the sides of the castle to go through the castle or would it better to go into Liberty Square and. Use the side walkway up to the castle. Related, when the opening show ends, are you able to walk through the castle or do they wait for the characters and performers to clear so that you are technically a little bit behind everyone else’s rope drop?

    Second question is much easier. Is this the same opening procedure now for extra magic hours?

    Thanks for the help

  10. Jen says

    Based on the line up for mine train what would you suggest for meeting Merida? She is a must for our daughter to see for our spring break visit next month buy with a mine train fastpass later in the day we don’t need to follow the herd to the ride. Is there a better path to Merida or are waits for her not too bad later in the day?

  11. Carol johnson says

    I dont mind pics outside rides but inside the rides really let people enjoy them without people like you snapping pics its so rude and unnessasary ! If they want to experience rides firsthand and keep the magic alive then please keep photos outside!!

  12. Ava says

    Love these rope drop touring plan posts! My younger DD wants to meet Princesses, but I don’t necessarily want to use all of our FPs for that. So I was thinking of doing Fairytale Hall at rope drop. Do you think we could ride Peter Pan first then go to Fairytale Hall, or will the waits at FTH be long already by the time we get off Pan? I am also wondering if we could do Pooh in standby after FTH. I don’t mind waiting a little bit for Pooh since my kids always want to go in the play area in the standby line anyway. Then we could use our FPs for 7DMT, Buzz, and Space.

    • Disney Fanboy says

      How about NO!

      Princess Fairytale Hall is a slow moving line. Remember that each group gets about 2 minutes with each princess. You can visit Peter Pan first if you want. If you go to Peter Pan you will probably not get to Fairytale Hall until about 9:15 or later. By that time many groups will have arrived at PFT before you. I would guess you’re looking at about 40 minutes for PFT at 9:20.

      So you can do it, but don’t expect to hit Peter Pan and then go to Fairytale Hall and have a 10 minute wait.

      • Disney Fanboy says

        Josh’s wait times thin the post shows the wait at FairyTale Hall at 9:30 is about 25 minutes.

        So it looks like I was wrong. It won’t be 40 minutes.

        So you should be able to pull off the Peter Pan first, Fairytale Hall second plan.

  13. Disney Fanboy says

    I can’t wait for the next recession to thin out these crowds! If it’s this bad when school is in session what will President’s day – April 20th bring us! Easter is late this year meaning there will be two full months of SPRING BREAK!

    (not that I’m hoping for a recession because I want people to lose their job or house or something, I’m just saying a recession helps thin out WDW crowds)

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