I’m sure there are more depressing places to be than Kissimmee Florida in May, staring down five straight months of unrelenting heat and oppressive humidity. It’s not federal prison (county wasn’t that bad), Afghanistan, Siberia, or most of civil-war-torn Africa. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to whine about it. This is my website after all. You chose to consume it. Or You Googled “How To Get A Grand Floridian Upgrade” and got suckered into making it three sentences into this post only to find out that I’m just kidding about actually getting an upgrade. It’s not going to happen buddy. There’s nothing wrong with Pop.
Fast forward to the end of September and there is almost light at the end of the tunnel. I vaguely recollect what temperatures south of 70 degrees feel like. At least in my dreams, I can imagine what it feels like to step outside (dodging the snake that lives in my shrubs) and not get hit with a wall of heat. We’re not there yet though. Today was miserable. 88 degrees at 11am with 75% humidity = a “RealFeel” of 114 degrees. That’s “put me out of my misery” weather as far as I’m concerned. Weather.com keeps teasing me with high temperatures lower than 90 degrees. Last week, this Wednesday was supposed to be all the way down to 85 degrees. But every day that passes, Weather.com moves that 85-degree-high two days further into the future.
Enough whining. Let’s head out to the Magic Kingdom. According to the September Crowd Calendar:
Magic Kingdom is also rated “green” today, but only under certain conditions. There are two excellent times to tour – 9am to 12pm in particular and also 11:30pm to 1am for evening Extra Magic Hours. Most Disney resort guests who will be headed to the Magic Kingdom will sleep in and arrive around 10:30am, in anticipation of staying until around 11pm (if they even make it that far). If you arrive prior to 9am, you can have a lot of success visiting the Fantasyland attractions and headlining Mountain rides. It will also be a great opportunity to collect FASTPASSes for later in the day. However, the Park will be busy from 1pm to 7pm as the bulk of Disney resort guests arrive en masse. You’ll either want to take a break, Park Hop elsewhere, or plan to visit some of the less popular attractions during that time slot. The relatively late night Extra Magic Hours are also recommended, though the first 90 minutes or so will be pretty busy because it isn’t that late at night and the Main Street Electrical Parade will attract a moderate number of people. If you are staying for Extra Magic Hours, I would recommend beginning in Adventureland because most people will head to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland first. Next, move up through Frontierland and Liberty Square on your way to Tomorrowland. Save Fantasyland for last because most families will be long gone from the Park by 12am and Fantasyland will be low on crowds. It’s not uncommon for Peter Pan’s Flight to have a 45 minute wait in the afternoon and a ten minute or less wait at the end of evening Extra Magic Hours. Save Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh for the very end of the night. You’ll find lower crowds on Tuesday and Friday of this coming week, but tonight won’t be a terrible night to see the Parade and spend a late evening in the Magic Kingdom. Other than tonight, this coming Wednesday is also recommended for Main Street Electrical Parade viewing. Tomorrow will be much more crowded.
The main problem we run into in September, October, most of November, and the first three weeks in December is the Mickey’s Party schedule at Magic Kingdom. As we move into October, Magic Kingdom is going to close four times every week at 7pm to host Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. That leaves just three days where we have the opportunity to see Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. I know many of you want to see these evening shows, so I try to point out your best opportunities to see them, even though all of those days are going to be busier. In September, the two best days are generally Sundays and Wednesdays. In October, it’s almost always Wednesday. The Mickey’s Party schedule is also why we see such long hours at the Magic Kingdom on Saturdays. The extension of operating hours on Saturdays in October and other months is often construed to be some sort of sudden increase in crowds. You might see people saying, “Disney is expecting heavier crowds, that’s why the hours were extended.” While we know that Saturdays at Magic Kingdom are going to be busy because it’s one of the only days where Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes are scheduled, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to see a sudden surge in crowds on Saturdays. The extension in the operating hours is Disney’s attempt to spread out crowds over an extended period of time (during that single day). This lowers wait times overall and gives people a better opportunity to get on the major attractions.
Anyway, the point here is that it’s not an ideal day to visit the Magic Kingdom. It is, however, your second best opportunity of the week to see Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. Let’s see what we’re looking at.
Here we are arriving at 11am. According to the italicized text we both know you didn’t actually read above, we should be expecting to see a lot of Disney resort guests arriving:
A lot of people arriving, as expected.
Let’s take a look at the turnstiles.
One other thing you can do to minimize waits at the turnstiles is to look for a “guest entrance” that consists of two turnstiles and only one line. In the first image above, I’m in one mob of people that is going to separate into two separate lines once we get closer to the turnstiles. If you look to my left (in the second image), the people here are in one line for just one turnstile. Try to find a “guest entrance” where there’s one line for two turnstiles rather than a single line for a single turnstile.
Looking up Main Street at 11:20am:
Not too bad here. The “Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It” Parade is about to march down Main Street.
This Parade is a fantastic opportunity to dance around in 115 degree heat with humans dressed up in ridiculous clothing while the characters you know and love remain perched out of reach on top of gift-wrapped cardboard boxes. I’m guessing that’s not how the Parade is described in Disney’s marketing materials.
Over to Tomorrowland. If you get caught in the Parade madness, you can cut around to Adventureland by taking a left at Casey’s Corner at the end of Main Street and walking by Crystal Palace. To get into Tomorrowland, take a right at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlour and continue walking toward and through Tomorrowland Terrace.
The Lunching Pad and Casey’s Corner recently opened from a refurbishment that lasted a few weeks. The only changes are cosmetic. Here’s the Lunching Pad menu – same as before.
I’m not a big fan of Disney dogs (other than Pluto…Bolt..), but the sweet cream cheese pretzel is amaaaaaaazing.
This is the line for Stitch, one of the “Out of This World Friends” advertised on the Times Guide. You can kind of see him in the distance.
Chip and Dale are also around intermittently. They are very furry…so they are only out for a few minutes at a time.
Space Mountain with a 10 minute posted wait and FASTPASSes just 40 minutes out:
I have to laugh when I see people saying, “Magic Kingdom was packed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….but we walked on Space Mountain four times and wait times were really short.”
Up though Tomorrowland:
Tomorrowland Speedway at 10 minutes.
Fantasyland Expansion construction appears to be going well.
Over to Peter Pan’s Flight/it’s a small world.
A 15 minute posted wait at Peter Pan’s Flight is probably optimistic for 11:40am, but it’s indicative of how good the morning here would have been. If Magic Kingdom was “packed,” the wait time would already be 30+ minutes. In July, the median wait time at 11:30am was 40 minutes.
So Disney is selling tickets to a merchandise event on September 30th with a “Haunted Mansion theme” that run $285/ticket. That event is taking place in a convention center room at the Contemporary Resort. Then Disney announces a completely free event the night before that actually takes place at the Haunted Mansion. Glad I didn’t end up dropping $285 on those tickets. Not to mention the same artists you’re paying $285 to meet on the 30th will be at the Magic Kingdom on October 1st.
On to Frontierland.
Big Thunder Mountain:
FASTPASSes less than 40 minutes out according to the clock.
And Splash Mountain:
FASTPASSes an hour out with a 20 minute wait.
Frontierland into Adventureland:
This area of the Magic Kingdom is almost always crowded. It’s two of Disney’s biggest attractions right next to each other.
Adventureland with Pirates of the Caribbean to our right.
Pirate Goofy is back in place of Angelica from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The line is to the right of the standby entrance to the Pirates ride, underneath the “Castillo del Morro” sign. The line usually isn’t too long because it’s not the most obvious meet and greet location:
Back over to Pinocchio Village Haus for lunch:
Another busy thoroughfare. The first image is looking toward Liberty Square from Frontierland and the second image is looking back at Frontierland from Liberty Square.
The salad binge continues. We’ll try the Mediterranean Salad from Pinocchio Village Haus today. Full menu and more info here: https://www.easywdw.com/menus-and-seating/pinocchio-village-haus-menu-fantasyland-major-quick-service/
This was ultimately forgettable. It’s very similar to the Antipasto Salad from Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom from a couple of days ago, but it doesn’t offer any of the more intriguing items. Black olives instead of the green olives in the Antipasto, chopped red peppers rather than the roasted red peppers in the Antipasto, and chicken instead of salami. The same mozzarella balls and Italian dressing. It wasn’t bad by any means, but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again. The red onion flavor also lingered longer than I would have liked.
Dumbo after lunch – 12:45pm.
Winnie the Pooh:
For anyone who wants to say Magic Kingdom was crowded today, the median wait time at Winnie the Pooh in July at 12:45pm was 45 minutes.
Yes, that is a door where the Rapunzel queue used to be. As good of a place to put a door as any, I suppose. As an avid interior decorator, there are few door opportunities that I don’t “take advantage of” myself.
The full line for Rapunzel. She has a group with her now, so you’re looking at a 30 minute wait if you got in line.
10 minute wait at Tomorrowland Speedway.
Space Mountain was down for about an hour in the afternoon.
Yes, there is a crane next to Cinderella Castle. Like most of you, I tried to demand an upgrade to a Grand Floridian suite because it ruined all of my pictures and ultimately, my entire vacation. Let’s go over some ways to remove the crane from your pictures.
Always a popular technique. Simply use the eraser tool in Microsoft Paint to “erase” the crane. As a bonus, it almost looks like a person.
Another popular technique. Here, we simply copy a portion of the sky that we like and paste it over most of the crane. You’ll notice that we skipped part of the crane for the sake of “art.” We’ll call it a chimney.
Or if you want to be really crafty, you could always clone stamp it out. This is my “least recommended” method for obvious reasons.
Not a bad day here. Are there people around? Absolutely. Magic Kingdom is the most-visited theme park on the planet and depending on your opinion of science, the entire universe.