We pick things up right at 9am after enjoying an exclusive 75 minutes in Fantasyland as part of the newly expanded Early Morning Magic, the review for which you can find here.
As you may recall, I’ve already ridden Seven Dwarfs Mine Train six times, along with Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh two times each. From our Tomorrowland rope drop experience from earlier this year, we know that it will take about 30 minutes to ride Space Mountain if we arrive after the initial rush. If I wanted to ride with a shorter wait, I’d want to be in this area by 8:57am in order to beat the rope drop onslaught, which likely means giving up a Fantasyland ride during Early Morning Magic. You might remember that I opted for a second ride on Peter Pan’s Flight and stopped for a moment to take a couple of pictures of the rope drop crowd arriving at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. With the Early Morning Magic breakfast now at Cosmic Ray’s, you can get pretty close to the Space Mountain entrance and should have no trouble getting here before anyone from the Hub so long as you’re in the area by 8:57am at the latest. If you’re able to do that, your total experience time will be closer to 20 minutes, which includes the walk in and out of the building.
What a life pic.twitter.com/XVXrU7IPWI
— josh (@easywdw) December 2, 2018
Instead, I opted to ride Astro Orbiter “literally” by myself. You can watch the video above.
“Feels crowded” as I look down at 9:10am. As a reminder, this is Sunday, December 2nd – a Mickey’s Christmas Party date with a 6pm close. That likely makes this the best day to visit in terms of wait times since we know that Sundays are typically the least crowded day of the week at Magic Kingdom.
Space Mountain is probably still at a 20ish minute wait.
Buzz should still be a walk-on, so we’ll head in that direction.
It looks like it’s basically a straight-shot to load:
I arrived at 9:14am and was back out front at 9:22am for a total experience time of just eight minutes, which is about as short as it gets. I could easily ride again with a wait of three or four minutes. This is also around the time you’d be arriving here if you were among the first people to experience Space Mountain.
I elected to take it easy on the PeopleMover:
With Early Morning Magic:
6x Mine Train
2x Winnie the Pooh
2x Peter Pan
Now rockin breakfast with Sonny Eclipse pic.twitter.com/C7mlA6O7vs
— josh (@easywdw) December 2, 2018
I arrived at 9:22am and disembarked at 9:35am. While PeopleMover is far from a morning priority, it is a lot of fun to ride in the front and have the entire section of cars to yourself as I did.
Buzz is posting a 10-minute wait. It’s probably still closer to five.
Space Mountain’s actual wait should be up to around 30 minutes.
I spent the next 35 minutes at breakfast as part of Early Morning Magic.
As we pick things up in Fantasyland at 10:18am.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is up to 70 minutes. You might remember that I rode six times over the course of 45 minutes during Early Morning Magic.
Winnie the Pooh is up to 40 minutes. I rode twice in about twelve minutes during Early Morning Magic.
For whatever reason, character meet and greet wait times remain relatively low compared to what we would have seen a couple of years ago. Both Princess Fairytale Hall wait times are just 15 minutes at 10:20am.
Crowds are well below average.
As we pass through Old Fantasyland.
It’s hard to tell, but Peter Pan’s Flight is up to 55 minutes. I rode twice over the course of about 12 minutes during Early Morning Magic.
small world is posting a 15-minute wait.
That’s probably about right – it’ll be closer to ten minutes with fewer FastPass+ returners.
Haunted Mansion is posting a 25-minute wait. I’ll be circling back around a little later to ride with FastPass+.
After months of delays, the Liberty Belle Riverboat is back, but not yet operating.
It should be up and running for the Christmas rush in a couple of weeks.
Frontierland just before 10:30am.
At this point, the touring strategy is just about the same no matter what you ultimately decide to do.
I’m going to use my three FastPass+ experiences that I booked in advance.
Then visit the anytime high capacity/low priority attractions as I refresh the My Disney Experience app to try to book additional FP+ experiences that will save me a lot of time. Big Thunder is posting a 25-minute wait at 10:30am.
My first FastPass+ is at Splash Mountain, but it could just as easily be another priority.
Splash makes some sense as it has the fourth or fifth longest wait time in the Park at this time of day.
With the extended queue filling, 40 minutes is probably about right.
I was on in five minutes:
I was back out front at 10:59am for a total experience time of 25 minutes, which is right around average.
The posted wait has since increased to 50 minutes.
Big Thunder has jumped to 45 minutes, making our use of FastPass+ appropriate:
Left turns only. I was back out front at 11:15am for a total experience time of 15 minutes.
With about a half hour until it’s time to use my Haunted Mansion FastPass+, I can take the opportunity to visit one of the nearby anytime attractions, which include Country Bear Jamboree, Enchanted Tiki Room, Swiss Family Treehouse, and Hall of Presidents.
I opted for the Hall of Presidents as I push through low crowds in Frontierland at 11:20am.
We ended up being about 15 minutes early for the show.
So we stopped by the Christmas shop across the way.
And after Hall of Presidents, I caught a show just as patriotic in “The Muppets Present Great Moments in American History.” It’s a must-see.
Haunted Mansion is up to 40 minutes at 12:08pm.
That’s probably about accurate, particularly with a lot of FastPass+ users to move through.
IS THIS THE SLOWPASS LINE? OR THE FASTPASS LINE?
I was back out front at 12:31pm for a total experience time of 23 minutes. which is a couple of minutes above average.
Crowds have peaked here in the afternoon as we head back through Old Fantasyland.
small world is up to 30 minutes, but you’d be better off seeing Mickey’s PhilharMagic and refreshing for a FastPass+ for it if one wasn’t immediately available.
Peter Pan’s Flight is only at 40 minutes thanks to the below-average crowd level.
Even the Fairytale Hall Meet and Greets are at 20 minutes.
Still, 75 minutes for Mine Train.
Pretty mild crowds.
Still 40 minutes for The Many Adventures.
And ten minutes for Mad Tea Party, which is why we weren’t in a hurry to ride it earlier in the day and particularly not during Early Morning Magic.
We’re heading back into Tomorrowland, now with a few more people around.
The Speedway is posting a 35-minute wait.
We were able to pull a Space Mountain FastPass+ selection for just 15 minutes in the future as we exited Haunted Mansion thanks to somebody cancelling/changing their plans. The posted wait is a relatively-nominal 45 minutes at 1pm.
As you’ve probably heard, the moving walkway that used to carry you from the unload area to the gift shop has been removed and replaced with carpet:
It’s a bit of a trek, but I was happy to see the dioramas survive the work; the end of the walk “feels” sort of like you’re at the doctor’s office heading back to get your blood pressure taken. I’d say the walk takes about three minutes. It took me five as I stopped every few feet to snap a picture.
I was back out front to a 50-minute posted wait at 1:23pm for a total experience time of 23 minutes, which is right around average.
After disembarking Space, we pulled a Peter Pan’s Flight FastPass+ with a return time of about 15 minutes in the future, so we stopped by Carousel of Progress in the meantime:
And now we head back to Fantasyland at 1:51pm. With the 2pm Festival of Fantasy Parade step off, we’ll benefit from a lot of people being in Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Main Street to see it:
Getting in line around 15 minutes before the Parade steps off is just about the third best time to get in the standby line for a priority attraction. The other two times are obviously first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Most attractions see a 25% to 35% reduction in wait times around Parade time2 with Peter Pan’s Flight at a meager 30 minutes.
Still, FastPass+ is where it’s at with my wait coming in at about five minutes.
Overall, it ended up being a very pleasant, very laid back day thanks to my stress-free morning via Early Morning Magic in Fantasyland followed by some easy Tomorrowland rides. After that, I was able to use my three FastPass+ experiences at Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Haunted Mansion while mixing in Hall of Presidents and The Muppets Present. Then it was FastPass+ at Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight with Carousel of Progress in between. That’s 18 rides/shows over the course of about six hours with breakfast and an ice cream sundae mixed in.
What a life.
We’ll check out Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom next.