Just a quickie update from Magic Kingdom today. The story remains the same as it was yesterday – low overall crowds and the Magic Kingdom comes highly recommended. Let’s see where we’re at. I’m taking tomorrow off to work on some “back end” website stuff (Magic Kingdom touring plans), but will be back Friday with Pixar Weekend at Epcot updates.
8:40am crowds waiting for the opening show.
Chooooo-chooooooo. Mickey and friends arriving on the Walt Disney World Railroad.
Remember when I said the voice on the intercom invites you to head to the middle for the best view? Well, you do run the risk of being behind one of two inexplicably placed trees.
The incoming rope drop crowds. As always, don’t be too concerned by what looks like a plethora of people. They’re going in so many directions that waits will be five minutes or less at whatever attraction you pick, even if you’re in the back of the herd.
Taking the path underneath Tomorrowland Terrace is popular, but it doesn’t really save much (any) time. It does spread crowds out a bit though, which is nice.
Space Mountain is probably the most popular first stop on most people’s itineraries. It’s a well known attraction and most touring plans will tell you to head for it first thing. I prefer to collect FASTPASSes for Space Mountain (without riding standby) and then head to Buzz Lightyear. This will keep you ahead of the crowds because it can take a little while to get through Space Mountain first thing in the morning, even with a low posted wait time.
Looks like the Haunted Mansion ghouls have sauntered over to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Fantasyland crowds at 9:30am. Not a bad place to be, huh?
Frontierland at 9:50am. A ghost town.
The raft to Tom Sawyer Island departs from Frontierland, across from Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.
The first raft leaves just after 10:00am. Once you reach the Island, look out for Tom’s paint brushes. They’re hidden around the Island. If you find one, you can exchange it for FASTPASSes to Big Thunder Mountain.
If there’s anything Disney excels at, it’s signage.
Ten minute wait at Big Thunder Mountain at 9:50am. After making it to the loading platform, the wait was more like 90 seconds.
Frontierland “crowds” at 10:30am.
Crowds on Main Street before the 11:00am Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade. The Parade lasts about 20 minutes and occurs three times per day, at 11:00am, 12:40pm, and 5:40pm. It begins near the Park entrance and continues up and around the Hub area in front of Cinderella Castle. Unlike the other Parades, it does not continue down toward Liberty Square and Frontierland. Once the floats loop around the Hub, they stop and the dance party begins.
It’s sort of a “light” version of Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun at Hollywood Studios. The 11am Parade is usually the least crowded because most people think they’re clever heading straight to one of the headlining attractions after they arrive at 10:30am. If you want to get around the Parade, use the walkway through Tomorrowland Terrace into Tomorrowland or by Crystal Palace on the way to Adventureland. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck behind the floats.
This is the crowd for the 11:20am Pirate Tutorial, which is located more-or-less across from Pirates of the Caribbean. It can cause a bit of a traffic jam, so you may want to familiarize yourself with the schedule and try not to pass during a show. Don’t worry though, there’s always a cast member trying to move people forward – usually with mixed results.
Uhhh ohhhhh. This can only mean one thing – Disney Food Blog O’Clock. Today, we’re having lunch at Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland, which is located right across the way from Pirates of the Caribbean. Formerly known as El Pirata Y El Perico, this quick service offers a limited menu and limited hours. This week, it was only open between 11am and 4pm each day. Operating hours are generally extended during busy times to help deal with heavier crowds. In other words, you’ll want to plan to have lunch at Tortuga Tavern rather than dinner. As you can see from the menu, the food is decisively Mexican.
As you’ll note on the adult entree menu, it states that all meals include the “topping bar with tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, and salsa.” You see, entrees are served “naked,” with just the bare essentials (no pun intended). That means you’ll receive a burrito, taco salad, nachos, or quesadilla with exactly what’s listed on the menu. The taco salad will “literally” be a taco shell with seasoned beef in the bottom – no cheese, lettuce, etc. included. This comes as a bit of a surprise to many, but the person serving food quickly instructs the patron to seek out the topping bar, which is located just around the corner.
Your author ordered the chicken burrito. For $7.59, it’s not a particularly expensive meal by Disney standards. The two blue packets you see in the second picture are sour cream. I guess they trust you with the cheese, but sour cream is another story altogether. Because you are expected to “dress” your taco yourself, the burrito comes simply folded over. This presents a challenge when eating because it’s extremely messy to pick up. It occurred to me that I could try to re-fold it “properly,” like you might receive at Chipotle or Taco Time, but that seemed too daunting a task. And I was hungry. I looked around and most people were eating their burritos with a fork and a knife. I guess the moral of the story is that whatever entree you purchase, you’re in essence ordering the taco salad. It just depends on whether you want the hard shell or the soft shell. That was my one complaint during the meal. The burrito was fresh, with well seasoned ingredients, but it was difficult to get in my mouth.
I think when you are going on a first date, they tell you that you should order a “safe” entree, like the barbecue chicken instead of the ribs. Let’s just say that I go on a lot of first dates, but not a whole lot of second dates.
Overall, Tortuga Tavern gets two thumbs up, despite the fact that it was a frustrating experience actually eating the food. For Magic Kingdom, the food is a little different than what you would find from the usual suspects. I’m not sure I would rate it higher than Columbia Harbour House, but you might consider it for lunch if you’re headed to Harbour for dinner or have two or more quick service lunches to plan. The topping bar offers a lot of choices and you can really load up on what you enjoy most, which isn’t always possible from your usual Mexican restaurant.
Here we are at Jungle Cruise at what looks like 11:54am. Jungle Cruise actually has longer waits than Splash, Space, or Big Thunder Mountains from time to time. This is due to slow loading and a low overall capacity. Luckily, FASTPASSes are plentiful. Try to get to Jungle Cruise before 11am or use FASTPASS.
This is near the end of the 11:40am Dream Along With Mickey show at the Castle Forecourt Stage
Usually they make me pull the trolley, so I’m glad they called in the substitute today.
Wait times at precisely 11:59pm. Sorry, couldn’t hold my horses until 12:00pm.
Not a ton of people entering a little after 12pm.
But still more people arriving from the resort monorail.
There you have it – another great day to visit Magic Kingdom, as expected. I’ll be back Friday with a rundown of Pixar Weekend at Epcot and hopefully a look at the Cars event at Downtown Disney as well (which may come Saturday). Stitch Kingdom has a scan of the character map for Pixar Weekend over at: http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-news/theme-parks/cars-2-disneypixar-weekend-epcot-event-map/ if you’re planning to attend.