It’s finally here. We’ll set out on the morning of the grand opening to see how Seven Dwarfs Mine Train affects Magic Kingdom touring.
It’s 7:52am as we arrive via the Resort Monorail. As always, the Resort Monorail starts operation at 7am, the Express Monorail starts 30 minutes prior to regular Park open, and the ferry starts around the same time as Express.
The Mickey Readers usually start letting guests into the courtyard area in front of the train station at 8am, so there is a bit of a backup as guests are just starting to enter.
These people all know what’s up and proceed to one of the two sides of the courtyard for a quick entry once the rope drops. If you’re headed to Tomorrowland or Fantasyland, you want to head right. If you’re headed to Adventureland/Liberty Square, you want to be on the left. More on this later.
Rope drop crowds:
By 8:35am, the courtyard is full and anyone arriving after is stuck waiting outside of the courtyard for the area to clear after the opening show sometime between 8:45am and 8:55am. This will be the case every day moving forward until the end of August as crowds only increase moving toward the July 4th holiday.
This is a 10-minute video showing rope drop through the walk up Main Street and to Anna/Elsa and then onto the Mine Train. Direct YouTube link if above doesn’t embed correctly.
Guests are no longer allowed to walk (or run) up Main Street at their own pace. Instead, about 20 cast members slowly walk guests up Main Street.
If you’re headed to Frontierland/Adventureland or Tomorrowland first, you want to break off from this group as quickly as possible. For Tomorrowland, stay as far to the right as possible and take a right once you pass Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. For Adventureland or Frontierland, stay as far to the left as possible and take a left after passing Casey’s Corner.
The crowd behind me.
It’s a bit difficult to see here, but Adventureland cast members have moved all the way up here to the fence to block guests from heading in that direction. To the casual vacationer, it seems like you have no choice but continue following the mob, but cast actually relents as the crowd passes and falls back into Adventureland. If you’re headed in that direction and can’t or don’t want to take a left at Casey’s Corner, either wait a moment for them to leave or go say hi.
There they go.
Coming in from the other side.
As I’ve discussed before, the smart money is walking up the path toward Mad Tea Party to the right of Cinderella Castle instead of walking through the narrow Castle.
A better angle. If you’re headed to Peter Pan’s Flight and made it this far anyway, your best bet is to continue through the Castle. As you see in the video, virtually nobody is headed to Peter Pan’s Flight and you can make a quick cut over. Stay to the left. Heading through Liberty Square to the left of the Castle will take much longer and you may be grilled by cast members about what you’re doing there as people were on this particular morning.
To the rear. Spoiler: My wait at Mine Train is 58 minutes with all these people still streaming in. Keep in mind it’s not yet 9am.
As in the past, a dozen cast members block the walkway to the right forcing guests around the Carrousel to the left.
If you’ve secured FastPass+ for Anna/Elsa and/or Mine Train, you may want to forgo visiting either first thing and instead head to another priority like Peter Pan’s Flight, where you’ll be able to make it on and off within ten minutes.
If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that fewer people are headed to Anna and Elsa first thing.
In turn dropping the wait from 180 minutes to like 100. Sorry I think I had a stroke around 8:06.
And here we are. The Mine entrance is across from Storybook Treats. The exit spits you back out in the same area.
It’s still not yet 9am and the full Mine Train queue is full, which means we have to walk all the way down past Mad Tea Party and toward Storybook Circus. Another benefit of heading toward Mad Tea Party is that should the queue fill, you’re already closer to the end of the extended queue down near Tea Party and don’t have to try to traverse this clustercuss.
End of line.
The line is not a first day phenomenon and things should look similar throughout the summer so long as Disney continues walking the thousands of people from the main entrance back here with what looks like guards standing in the way of each of the lands. Magic Kingdom rope drop at one time was quite pleasant as people were headed in at least a dozen smart directions, in addition to 50 or more dumb directions. Rope drop now looks like the old Studios or Epcot drops where guests were admitted into the Park and then walked as a huge clump to either Toy Story Mania or Soarin’.
Winding around the stroller area.
And into the main queue. It’s 9:18am so it took about 20 minutes to make it from Mad Tea Party into the actual queue itself.
These fans are surprisingly powerful and while the RealFeel was already 87 degrees at 9:30am, it “felt” cooler in the outdoor queue than it did inside, where there’s only weak air-conditioning and no fans.
The queue winds around and around. It’s lush, but there is not a whole lot to see or do out here. Some excitement about a first ride helps pass the time.
It took 12 minutes to get here to the covered queue section.
Which is particularly pretty at night.
There are a couple “interactive elements” in the queue that don’t really work. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has an interactive queue that works well enough because the parents are able to hold their place in line while the kids play. The Haunted Mansion queue works okay because it’s continuous and people just poke things while they walk.
A mine train vehicle departs every 45 seconds and the queue is continuously moving forward, giving people just 10 or 15 seconds to stand here and play Tetris before they’re holding up the line and the guy behind them is ready to stick a knife in their backs. Even if there’s really nowhere to go.
It does make it easy to pick out the OCD.
The water glows, not necessarily because of the brain eating amoeba.
The area outside the vault takes another 10 minutes to walk. It’s been exactly 45 minutes in line so far.
New rides? Well…..no. But we do have this water fountain.
Here, spinning barrels will make a dwarf appear above. Spin all the barrels and Snow White appears in the center.
The load area is a bit convoluted but this is not our problem. There’s actually a designated area for guests requesting the first or last rows. The first row offers the best views and mildest ride while the back row is wildest, much like Big Thunder.
Unlike Big Thunder Mountain and Barnstormer, Mine Train has individual seats with individual harnesses.
This is a picture of my crotch along with some random guy sitting next to me to give you an idea about what we’re talking about. I’m 6’2″ and 220 pounds on a good day and it was a snug fit, particularly with my backpack at my feet. The thick restraint bar pulls down and takes up quite a bit of real estate. Unlike most other roller coasts, where the restraint has a little “give” between one notch and the next, there is no give here. What you pull down is what you get, so situate yourself pulling it down. Unfortunately, there is no test vehicle at the moment, though I would imagine one is in production as we speak. The DIS has a thread on people’s experiences with what may be cramped quarters: http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3282813 with people over 300lbs being able to fit without much trouble (apparently). I know people over 6’5″ that fit, but would tell you it’s uncomfortable. If you can keep your backpack or other bags elsewhere, you want to do so. I rode later in the evening without a backpack and was much more comfortable.
I will otherwise not spoil the ride. I think it’s a lot of fun and a perfect fit for the area which is plagued by too many dark rides in cement boxes.
It gets a nine out of ten from me. With no new rides coming to the Magic Kingdom in lord knows how long, everyone is going to want to ride this anyway. You can make up your own mind about what you think.
There are exactly three good times to ride with a short wait:
- Immediately at Park open if you can be among the first couple hundred people to arrive.
- With FastPass+. Mine Train FastPass+ have been nearly as difficult to obtain as Anna and Elsa. If you’re staying off-site, you want to book at 30 days. If you’re staying on-site, you want to book as close to 60 days as possible, though there should be good availability for several days after the 60-day window opens. I returned in the evening to use a FastPass+ and waited maybe three minutes for the back row. It’s a straight shot to the loading area and bypasses the interactive queue entirely.
- At the very end of the night. Get in line a few minutes prior to close. Note that if it’s dark (as it will be at close every night from now until September 1st) that the outdoor portions are not as well lit as you might expect, though the queue is much prettier.
Most people are going to want to ride twice because it’s new and fun. If you’re willing to ride once or can ride one time on multiple days, you’re best served heading elsewhere first thing in the morning as Anna and Elsa and Mine Train are pulling away more people than any two attractions have in years. If you’re fast and arrive early, you can ride Mine Train in just a few minutes first thing and then hustle elsewhere, but you need to be quick. Or you’ll end up arriving at 8am and waiting an hour like I did. On day one, the highest posted wait was 180 minutes, but that didn’t last long. More common posted waits were 70 to 120 minutes with the longest actual waits in the 90 to 110 minute range. Expect this to be the norm moving forward.
In fact, we can take a look at posted waits all day if we want to with Mine Train consistently seeing the longest waits in the Park.
Or if you really want to nerd it up, how about a spreadsheet of waits times every day in May? https://i2.wp.com/easywdw.com/reports11/mkmay.xlsx. That’s “raw data” so there may be some uncorrected abnormalities like a random 250 minute wait at it’s a small world popping up.
Anna and Elsa posted waits remain long. Beginning June 1st, they will meet from Park open through 30 minutes before regular Park close, which should help reduce waits and increase FastPass+ availability. Expect additional FP+ for Anna/Elsa to be released for the hours after 5pm shortly.
Is the wait really 240 minutes? I doubt it…but I’m also not going to find out. I guess you could go to the exit around 1pm and ask people what time they got in line.
Old Fantasyland at 10:10am. Peter Pan’s Flight had a 45-minute posted wait and it’s a small world was at 10 minutes. Peter Pan’s line looked to be closer to 20-minutes – they may not have updated estimates with Mine Train coming online that morning. small world is again behind tarps and walls as it has been off and on for years.
With guests being able to book additional FP+ experiences after their initial three, kiosk crowds have gotten a bit longer. They’re still more than manageable for the most part, even here in Fantasyland where you’d wait just a couple of minutes. As a refresher if you’re out of the loop, guests staying at non-Disney resorts can book three FP+ up to 30 days in advance. Guests staying on-site can start booking at 60 days. Once you use your three FP+ in the Parks or the last one expires, you can book a fourth FP+. And once you use that one or it expires, you can book a 5th. And then a 6th and so on, all based on availability.
Magic Kingdom doesn’t use these signs, but you’ll see them at the other Parks near the FP+ kiosks offering guests an idea about what they can expect from later availability. Here, “Limited” actually means “completely gone” other than the possibility of an occasional cancellation.
Throughout the summer, a family of four can expect to find the following FP+ availability at Magic Kingdom come 2pm. For our purposes, “Limited” is going to mean there are a limited number of times available:
- “it’s a small world:” Lots
- Big Thunder Mountain: Moderate
- Buzz Lightyear: Lots
- Disney Festival of Fantasy: Gone – this is a high priority and FP+ are usually unavailable the day before and the day of
- Dumbo: Lots
- Enchanted Tales with Belle: Limited
- Haunted Mansion: Lots
- Jungle Cruise: Moderate
- Mad Tea Party: Lots
- Main Street Electrical Parade: Availability for second parade
- Meet Anna and Elsa: lol
- Meet Ariel: Limited or None
- Meet Cinderella and Rapunzel: Limited or None
- Meet Tinker Bell: Lots
- Mickey’s PhiharMagic: Lots
- Monsters Inc: Lots
- Peter Pan’s Flight: Moderate
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Lots
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: NOPE
- Space Mountain: Moderate
- Splash Mountain: Limited or None
- The Barnstormer: Moderate
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Lots
- Tomorrowland Speedway: Moderate
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid: Lots
- Wishes: None
There are two ways to go here once you start booking the 4th, 5th, etc. FP+. If you’re headed out for a break, it would be prudent to pick an attraction with limited availability for a window after you return. Say you’re leaving at 2pm and headed back at 7pm and Space Mountain has 7:30pm-8:30pm, 9:15pm-10:15pm, and 10:45pm-11:45pm available and you want to ride because you don’t value your joints. Booking 7:30pm would be smart. If you have no interest in a break or it’s earlier in the day, there are two directions you could go. You could opt for Space Mountain at 7:30pm while it’s still available, but that means you won’t be able to book an additional FP+ until after you use your Space FP+ sometime after 7:30pm. On the other hand, you could opt for an experience with a lot of availability. Let’s say it’s 2pm and Pirates has availability for 2:15pm-3:15pm. You could pick 2:15pm, use it right at 2:15pm, and then return to a kiosk to book another FP+ right after – say The Magic Carpets of Aladdin at 2:45pm.
There’s no “right answer” here, though looking over the wait times at 2pm, there are a limited number of things to do in standby with short waits, though the wait time list doesn’t include anytime attractions like Hall of Presidents and Liberty Square Riverboat. For more on FastPass+ and attraction priorities, see the Cheat Sheets.
One other major change worth noting is Tinker Bell’s move from her spot in Adventureland to Town Square Theater opposite Mickey just inside the entrance in a building to the right.
Tinker Bell waits have been about half as long as Mickey thus far from 10am – 5pm. After that, Mickey waits drop. Tink meets alone here – there is no visiting fairy. This is 12:35pm with Tink at 25 minutes and Mickey at 45.
Fast forward and it’s 6:35pm still on May 28th. Tink is at 20 while Mickey has dropped to 15.
Tink’s arrival means no more FastPass+ temporary kiosk in back here.
Town Square does have this bank of iPads set up for guests to access their MyDisney+ account on the Internet if you don’t have a smart phone or yours is out of battery. But there is no way to scan a MagicBand or ticket here like there is at the other kiosks.
During the first Electrical Parade, waits drop significantly – here all the way to 5 minutes at Tink with “literally” nobody in line. Note that it is a bit of a hassle to get here prior to the Parade with the streets lined with people waiting to see what 1976 looked like.
One thing you can do is take the railroad from the Frontierland stop near Splash Mountain or the New Fantasyland stop in Storybook Circus near Barnstormer and get off at the Main Street stop. Note that the railroad stops one hour before Wishes begins and does not ordinarily resume thereafter.
Tink to the left, Mickey to the right.
Tink remains a moderate FP+ priority, best secured in the afternoon as a 4th or 5th selection. Availability has been very good thus far, though that may change as more people realize she’s available.
The meet and greet is as cute as the Adventureland iteration.
Here, we await being shrunk down and the lights begin to twinkle.
Inside, you’ll wait five or so minutes for your turn depending on the order.
She has a lot of personality and interactions tend to be longer than the stone-faced princesses. It’s a lot of fun and a potentially great picture.
The exit is the same as Mickey at the gift shop next door.
A few odds and ends will come in a separate post.