I decided to head out to check on Magic Kingdom this morning, since it had been a few days and we’re in the midst of what should be low overall crowds. According to the May Crowd Calendar, the overall crowd level comes in at a “3” and Magic Kingdom specifically is “highly recommended.” Let’s see how we stacked up.
Here we are arriving at 8:30am. It was a humid morning, so much so that I actually welcomed the afternoon heat. Temperatures got up to about 88 degrees in the afternoon and are expected to approach 95 degrees tomorrow. As usual, the rope drop crowds seem large, but it’s only because we’re crammed into a relatively small space.
There are two entrances into the Magic Kingdom from the opening show area – one on the far left and one on the far right. The voice on the intercom will invite you to head to the center section for the “best view of the show.” While this may be true, you may want to stay to the far left or right because those are the people that will be entering the Magic Kingdom first. If you position yourself in the center, you’ll have to move toward one of the two entrances and a lot of people could potentially get in front of you, even if you arrived before them. I prefer to be about where I am, half way between the right entrance and the turnstiles.
Looks like a lot of people, but it really isn’t.
The opening show begins about ten minutes before Park opening on the Wat Disney World Railroad Platform. The Mayor will come out and make an announcement.
After some dancers appear, Mickey and friends will pull up to the station on their locomotive.
The “Family of the Day” will be introduced, followed by a countdown, streamers, and a single set of fireworks. People are usually let into the Magic Kingdom about five minutes before the official opening time.
The incoming crowds.
Much better. The crowds rolling into Tomorrowland from Main Street at 8:57am.
Virtually no one will be headed to Buzz Lightyear first. You probably shouldn’t either because it will just be a 5-10 minute wait until at least 9:30am, if not 10am or later. You’ll want to be headed to Dumbo or one of the headlining Mountain rides first thing in most scenarios. I’m headed to Space Mountain.
This doesn’t look good. It’s 9:07am and people should be moving inside to ride!
And it’s not good. Turns out Space Mountain isn’t operational this morning. Try again later!
Still collecting menus for the site. This one looks like it’s worth coming back to later.
Not a lot of takers at Mad Tea Party at 9:15am. Not a big rush to get here most days. Afternoon wait times should just be 15-20 minutes today and 25-30 minutes on busier days. Still, you’ll want to get it out of the way in the morning if you can, after going to most of the other Fantasyland attractions or headlining Mountain rides.
Dumbo with a 30 minute wait at 9:17am. Note that no other attraction currently has a wait over 10 minutes. If Dumbo is on your itinerary, you either want to head there immediately after rope drop or wait until the very end of the night. Dumbo will be 30-40 minutes for most, if not the entire, day.
I decided to take a quick detour into the Haunted Mansion. The posted wait time is 10 minutes at 9:25am, but that’s really the entire time between when you enter the line and when you enter your “doom buggy” after the pre-show. There was only a two minute wait to start the pre-show and no wait for the buggy once inside.
People often ask what I look like so that they can look out for me in the Parks. This statue was modeled after my face, so it will give you a good idea about what to look out for. Don’t worry, I don’t usually have my serpent. Security is a stickler for that sort of thing.
Always ask an attendant how haunted the Mansion is at that particular time. If they don’t indicate that it’s particularly haunted, try again later. This ride through was “very” haunted, as you can see.
Two of easyWDW’s finest staff members.
Big Thunder Mountain had a posted wait time of 10 minutes at 9:51am. Yesterday, when Magic Kingdom was “the worst Park to visit,” the wait time was 30 minutes at the exact same time. The actual wait time after you got to the ride loading platform was 30 seconds.
Splash Mountain with a posted wait time of 5 minutes at 9:52am. It took about five minutes to walk to the loading gates and about 20 seconds to actually get on a boat.
All of the potentially scary rides will have a “chicken exit” close to the loading area. This means you can join your group in line and bail out at the last second if you wish. Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t offer this service at attractions I would like to skip out in the middle of, like Stitch’s Great Escape and it’s a small world. I keep writing it on the comments card, but they don’t seem to pay attention to their most loyal customers.
The view of Frontierland from high atop Splash Mountain.
The view from the tippy top of Splash Mountain, right before the “big drop.” It’s a nice final image, just in case you die on the way down.
A 5 minute wait at 10:15am. 35 minutes the day before.
A 10 minute posted wait at Big Thunder Mountain at 10:15am.
The adult entree options at Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland. It was open today.
Aladdin’s Magical Carpets in Adventureland is very similar to Dumbo. Actually, it’s a superior attraction in just about every way. Plus, the wait was just 5 minutes, compared to 35 minutes over at Dumbo. If you don’t have kids or can get away with going to Aladdin instead, you might just want to do so.
Everyone’s favorite reconstituted-from-a-powder-non-dairy-treat – the Dole Whip, served exclusively at Aloha Isle in Adventureland and Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort.
Incoming crowds into Adventureland. Based on the number of people, I would say it’s about 11am.
The 11am Move It Shake It! Josh It! Parade (see what I did there?) Plenty of room for youngsters to see up front.
Wait times at 11am. The billboard is located at the end of Main Street on the left side, across from Casey’s Corner.
The incoming crowds behind the Josh It! Parade.
Frontierland crowds (or lack thereof, as the case may be) at 11:15am
Fantasyland crowds at 11:46am.
You know what this means don’t you? It’s Disney Food Blog O’Clock. Today we’re having lunch at Columbia Harbour House, the number one quick service location according to the Best Magic Kingdom Quick Service Rankings. I ordered the Fried Shrimp Basket. While it’s the most expensive entree on the menu, I think it’s also the most compelling value. Seafood isn’t cheap no matter where you go, and the shrimp platter includes ten large shrimp, a healthy portion of french fries, and a side of coleslaw. The shrimp have a distinct crunch, yet the breading is light and the shrimp flavorful. In your author’s opinion, the shrimp platter is a higher quality meal than your run-of-the-mill burger or chicken nugget basket and offers a better value for your money. Check out the menu and put Columbia Harbour House near the top of your list if you’re looking for something a little different. Their salads and sandwiches are excellent as well, especially if you’re looking for something that is seemingly healthier. Columbia Harbour House is located in Liberty Square, with the entrance across from Haunted Mansion. There is additional seating upstairs, so look for the stairs opposite of where you ordered and head on up for a little more privacy or more tables.
Wait times board at 1pm.
Main Street Crowds at 1pm. Even with the number of people on Main Street, the Town Square Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet still had a five minute wait and the Princesses had a 20 minute wait – not bad at all.
Overall, an excellent day at Magic Kingdom, as expected with the low overall crowd level and high recommendation. It’s pretty tough to beat five minute waits at Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain from 9am to 11am. Anyone in the Park at rope drop pretty much had their choice of rides to visit for two full hours with virtually no waits. We got off to a bit of a rocky start with Space Mountain, but I was able to ride with a ten minute wait in the early afternoon. Yesterday was a much different story, with significantly heavier crowds.