Our late July, Saturday morning touring continues after Part 1, where we started the day by rope dropping Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Part 2, where we continued in Frontierland with Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.
Dumbo is posting a 15-minute wait at 11:15am, which seems reasonable considering the Park has been open for more than three hours.
That’s particularly true when you consider that the wait will be air-conditioned with the opportunity for the kids to have fun in the play area while the adults relax on the benches that surround it and have an opportunity to refresh my hilarious Twitter feed.
What a life pic.twitter.com/e9TWlU1y2n
— josh (@easywdw) July 28, 2018
I opted to book the ride as my 5th FastPass+ of the day considering it was so easily available.
I arrived at 11:18am and was back out front at 11:28am after enjoying an easy experience.
While I walked through the Dumbo queue, I booked a FastPass+ for The Barnstormer with an immediate return time. Remember that you can begin refreshing for additional FastPass+ availability, as outlined in Part 2, as soon as you scan your MagicBand at the first touch point for your current attraction.
Barnstormer was still posting a 15-minute wait at 11:30am, which is probably just about accurate.
The wait is a little less pleasant than Dumbo given the fact that the queue is entirely outdoors, but it does offer a glimpse of the Tron Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster construction that’s currently in progress behind Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland. At least so long as your eyes don’t photograph at f1.4 with the focus point on the shrubs in front. #NailedIt
With FastPass+, my actual wait ended up being just under five minutes.
And I was back out front at 11:38am for a total experience time of eight minutes.
With the heat of the afternoon beginning to bear down, I stopped at Prince Eric’s Village Market, which is located across from the entrance to Journey of the Little Mermaid and the Ariel’s Grotto meet and greet.
The menu here has changed considerably over the years. The menu above is current.
I’m probably the only person that thinks it’s funny that Disney’s site still advertises this as an opportunity to “revitalize your appetite with a rainbow of refreshing and healthy snacks” like Beer Cheese Sauce and Jumbo Pretzels.
The Pretzels are the same style as what’s served in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot and now in Pandora at Pongu Pongu in Pandora, among other locations. They offer a large number of carbohydrates for the money and are typically in desperate need of that cheese sauce to spice things up a bit. Their quality depends entirely on how fresh they are and you can be pretty certain that the pretzels aren’t flying off the shelves at an outlet helmed by one of Disney’s more generic princes.
You might remember this part of the cornucopia of health that was once Prince Eric’s in this 3-piece Honey Fried Chicken that was actually somewhat decent.
Terrible Sno-Cones were available here for a while, in addition to this Minute-Maid Frozen Lemonade that still graces the menu.
A recent addition is the “opportunity” to add one of seven Flavored Syrups at a 50-cent upcharge, each of which will be squirted onto the bottom of the cup before the Frozen Coca-Cola is dispensed on top.
I ordered the Toasted Marshmallow and didn’t have much luck mixing the viscous, sticky syrup into the lighter, sticky frozen beverage. After a while, the Frozen Coke started to melt a bit and it was easier to stir up and homogenize the concoction, but even then, I’m not sure what the artificial marshmallow flavor added to the artificial flavor of the Coca-Cola other than to give me flashbacks to my first encounter with LeFou’s Brew from Gaston’s Tavern. I suppose you might consider adding one of the syrups, but I think most of it is going to sit at the bottom of the cup. Fortunately(?), it’s virtually impossible to suck anything through that Mickey Straw, so by the time you probably give up and weigh the future of the turtles versus your need to consume your frozen theme park beverage, it will be easier to stir. Personally, I think the standard Frozen Coke is more refreshing, but you might give one of the flavors a shot if you have a blog and feel like you’re one frozen beverage review away from relevance.
Here we are heading through Old Fantasyland just before noon.
It’s busier, but the extended queue still isn’t in use at small world, which is surprising given it’s typically an everyday thing.
Here’s a look at wait times over the course of the day:
The 30-minute overall average wait is well below average. The fact that the average wait across all attractions doesn’t hit 26 minutes until 10:45am, or almost three hours after Park open, is surprisingly good. And this is all on a Saturday in July at Disney World.
Here’s a look at the Thursday prior:
If you still have the misfortune of trying to subscribe to a Disney World “crowd calendar,” I can guarantee you that they would have this Thursday as one of the best days of the week to visit. Yet, wait times are more than 35% higher than Saturday, which I can guarantee you that they didn’t recommend. Why? Probably because they don’t have this website to copy off of anymore.
But as we’ve come to learn from our analysis of wait times in, “Does It Really Matter What Day of the Week You Visit Magic Kingdom?” just about everything you thought you knew about Disney World crowd patterns is wrong in the FastPass+ era. And because of that, you’re probably going to find yourself visiting the Parks on the busiest days of the week if you try to follow guidelines that haven’t been true for years.
We continue in Fantasyland, passing by Peter Pan’s Flight with its 55-minute wait just before noon.
And the Liberty Bell as the Liberty Square Riverboat refurbishment has been extended at least through the end of August.
Make way for the king.
Here’s Frontierland at 12:06pm, where things have certainly gotten busier, though we still have the opportunity to enjoy quite a bit of concrete.
This is almost the same vantage point from 8:47am.
Walt Disney World quick services continue to make a number of changes to their menus. These items from Pecos Bill should look familiar, but the Beef Nachos on the bottom right are now available with Chicken or as a Vegetarian option with Zucchini and Squash. The Southwest Salad is also Vegetarian by default, with the option of adding Chicken or Beef for $2 more. That’s a welcome sight considering the Salad used to be served with Chicken of Beef by default and if you wanted it without beef or chicken, you’d pay the same 12 bucks instead of receiving a discount for leaving off the most expensive ingredient.
The song is the same with the Rice Bowls, which are back again. The Taco Trio remains true and the Jerk Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a new addition along with the Plant-based Southwest Cheeseburger Topped with Vegan Jalapeno Jack Cheese and Vegan Avocado Aioli on a Toasted Bun. This all seems like good news for those with dietary restrictions/preferences. On the downside, the various Burrito options are no longer on the menu.
Here’s a reminder of what the Taco Trio, which remains on the menu, looks like as served.
And after loading things up at the toppings bar.
It’s a flavorful option that pairs nicely with either a side of Tortilla Chips or one of the Nachos combinations.
Here’s the $9.49 Veggie Nachos with Queso, Zucchini, and Squash. That’s $3 less than the Chicken/Beef option. You won’t see it on the overhead menu, but it’s available via mobile order and can be purchased by request from any of the cashiers. If mobile order is available at the quick service that you’re visiting, you might pull up the menu even if you’re planning on ordering from a real life human. There are often options that aren’t listed on the printed menus.
As served, the Veggie Nachos weren’t really working for me – the zucchini and squash were served lukewarm at best and added an off-putting, soft, squishy texture to the chips without really offering any additional flavor. You’d hope for some variety of roasted quality, but that’s entirely absent. Instead, it’s just bland vegetable mush.
On the plus side, this is a substantial amount of chips and it comes with the queso, which adds a dollar on its own. So you end up paying three dollars more than the Tortilla Chips side for a lot more chips and some vegetables that you probably wish weren’t there. But I think I would skip this overall. If you’re vegetarian and not in the mood for the Plant-based Burger, get the Taco Trio with three of the Spicy Cauliflower Tacos. Those are really satisfying. Of course, squishy vegetables might be your thing. And if that’s the case, I have good news.
This time around, I ordered the $11 “Jerk Chicken Lettuce Wraps – Bib Lettuce Cups filled with Jerk Chicken topped with Vegetable Slaw and tossed with Soy Lime Vinaigrette.”
These were a bit awkward to eat by hand. First of all, each “wrap” was made of two individual pieces of lettuce pushed together that had a tendency to fall apart given the fact that they overlapped in the middle ever-so-slightly underneath the pile of what was largely crunchy slaw. It was also harder than I was expecting to differentiate between the lettuce underneath and all of the green stuff on top. Typically, these sorts of Lettuce Wraps are filled with a mixture that’s almost entirely made of meat.
Fortunately, the flavors were nice and light with the Soy-Lime Vinaigrette deftly balancing salt, sugar, and citrus on top of all the fresh, crunchy vegetables. The chicken placement was a little uneven. The far wrap is piled high with chicken, while the in-focus wrap towards the front is piled high with vegetables. After a little bit of rearranging, each wrap included a nice amount of the grilled, lightly-seasoned chicken that probably could have used a heavier pinch of seasoning. The one thing I didn’t like was the amount of parsley, which added an unwelcome-amount of bitterness to the dish. It was probably supposed to counteract some of the heat from the chicken, but there really wasn’t any there.
Anyway, I ended up looking like I was eating salad with my hands for about half the meal, intermittently cutting up the lettuce and eating it along with the other stuff via a fork. If you’re looking for a lighter option, then this is a good choice. The vinaigrette brightens things just enough and you feel like you’re eating quite a bit of food without being weighed down. I enjoyed it overall and it’s a really nice change of pace from all the rice, beans, and tortillas.
Here’s a look at the Kids’ Meals:
For smaller appetites, the Rice Bowl and Beef Nachos are also good choices. You can load both of those up at the toppings bar, which is something that doesn’t work so well with the Lettuce Wraps.
Still no large fountain drinks to be had across Magic Kingdom and the Strawberry Lemonade Slushy is made with Odwalla at the moment.
We’ll check out a lot more food in a separate update.
So far, I’ve accomplished:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: 7:59am – 8:16am
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: 8:17am – 8:25am
- Haunted Mansion: 8:30am – 8:46am
- Jungle Cruise: 8:54am – 9:06am
- Pirates of the Caribbean: 9:08am – 9:21am
- Splash Mountain with FP+: 9:25am – 9:46am
- Big Thunder Mountain with FP+: 9:49am – 10:03am
- it’s a small world: 10:13am – 10:37am
- Peter Pan’s Flight with FP+: 10:44am – 10:53am
- Journey of the Little Mermaid with FP+: 11:04am – 11:16am
- Dumbo with FastPass+: 11:18am – 11:28am
- The Barnstormer with FastPass+: 11:29am – 11:38am
- Frozen Coca-Cola: 11:40am – 11:45am
- Lunch: 12:10pm – 12:50pm
And all in just 6,000 words across three posts.
Next, we’ll check in on the netting at Swiss Family Treehouse and see how we can blend in some more FastPass+ experiences with more shows and snacks.