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.
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.
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:
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.
Waiting 50 minutes for Speedway is not magical.
Winding around Mad Tea Party.
55 minutes at Dumbo at 12:40pm.
30 at Barnstormer.
No wait for the Splash Zone at least.
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.
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.
Making I-4 seem less congested.
55 at Big Thunder at 1pm.
45 at Splash seems optimistic.
Are they having a sale?
55 at Pirates.
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.