DVC construction continues at the Polynesian.
It’s currently relegated to the left side of the beach as you look at the water, though that’s expected to change in about two weeks when Captain Cook’s closes and the walls go up in the lobby.
Tarps and walls line much of the resort on that side as well.
With any luck, the brain eating amoeba won’t grow legs.
Unfortunately I arrived on scene only to find out I had forgotten my camera battery LOL so these daytime pix are going to be even worse than usual. Accompanied by some lousy in-camera nighttime HDR pix. The website accepts returns, but does not offer refunds.
The Hub area is more or less in shambles with the moats completely drained and four cranes circling Cinderella Castle.
Disney is in the midst of demolishing the old swan boat dock.
The smoking section/AAA fireworks viewing area is rubble.
Drained leading to the Castle. Some number of rumors indicate the moats will be filled in about two weeks.
The good news(?) is that walls line the entire area, blocking the view.
All the way around the Casey’s Corner area and the bridge leading to Cinderella Castle.
The construction is necessary one might argue, but it makes for a pretty lousy walk into the park.
Cosmic Ray’s terrace seating is now enclosed in glass.
The Casey’s Corner outdoor seating section is open and significantly larger than before.
With the new FastPass+ kiosks opening at Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear, and Fantasyland, lines and waits have eased considerably. Add the fact that off-site guests will be able to book FP+ up to 30 days in advance and lines should hopefully be short to nonexistent within a week or two.
Additional kiosks open next to Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
With Buzz Lightyear’s FP+ kiosks open, waits in Tomorrowland are much shorter.
Arriving at 7:08pm on March 25th, we had no trouble booking three decent FP+ choices. Enchanted Tales, Rapunzel, and Peter Pan’s Flight were still available for two people, among others.
As mentioned a couple days ago, crowds are rough at the moment with the line for Columbia Harbour House out the door around 7:15pm.
Check out this aerial shot of FastPass+ return at Haunted Mansion via the easyWDW helicopter.
All these people with a 60 minute posted wait. The website ran a post a couple weeks ago about how FastPass+ is affecting standby waits based on some number of millions of collected wait times. It spawned a thread on the DIS that is now 74 pages long that consists mostly of people trying to figure out what part of Texas other people live in.
By far the best is this thread brought to my attention via Twitter. Larger and readable: https://www.easywdw.com/reports10/tpr.jpg.
I’m not sure if it’s possible to foam more at the mouth. Although if you want to discuss relevance, that post has seen 79,312+ unique pageviews, while this forum post has brought in a total of 67 in three weeks.
About three years ago, Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square overhauled its menu to add items like this grilled salmon with steamed broccoli and couscous – not exactly the sort of item you’d expect to find from theme park fast food.
I tried the salmon shortly after it debuted, but noted that the broccoli was undercooked and the salmon was too lemon-y and poorly seasoned. The good news is that the salmon is no longer poorly seasoned, but the portion is significantly smaller and there’s about 3x the amount of broccoli, which is now steamed just right. It’s still a well-above-average meal, particularly for quick service.
The clam chowder also remains outstanding.
More walls are down at the Mine Train as training is expected to begin April 13th with soft openings as early as April 20th. But keep in mind this is the same guy that said it was going to be open by Thanksgiving.
Shifting gears, it’s time for some crummy in-camera HDR shots from March 21st. It’s 7:06pm.
Disney had been repainting the Castle’s spires over the last week or so, leaving just a silver base coat on several for a few days. “Rumors” indicated they would stay silver for a Frozen coronation, which of course proved false.
Pirates of the Caribbean sits at a 35-minute wait at 7:20pm, which would have been unheard of prior to the implementation of FastPass+.
Using FastPass+ ourselves, we weren’t helping things.
Like any other attraction newly christened with FastPass+, we’ll skip the standby queue and board with priority.
Continuing through the right side of the queue.
There is perhaps too much hype about the length of the line outside the FastPass+ queue. The fact is that you’re going to wait behind the same 100 people whether it’s outside or inside. One of the key problems at the moment is out-of-inventory FP+ being awarded to guests as part of guest recovery. Disney has a large repertoire of scripts cast follow when guests have problems with MyMagic+, FP+, the MagicBands, etc. One of the easiest and cheapest ways for guest services to get rid of someone is by issuing additional FP+, whether they’re for a specific attraction or any attraction. Imagine being inconvenienced at the resort when the MagicBands don’t work to open the resort room. After heading all the way back to the concierge, they fix your MagicBands and offer two extra FP+ per person that day to make up for your time.These “bonus” FP+ are not considered when issuing the original allotment of FP+ for an attraction. You might be able to imagine what those FP+ do to standby waits, in addition to the length of the FP+ lines. Fortunately(?), resorts are no longer supposed to give out FP+ as a means of guest recovery and Disney is tightening the reins elsewhere.
And FastPass+ or not, we’re all caught in this dozen-boat-backup midway through the ride.
Splash Mountain reopened from its two-and-a-half-month refurbishment a couple days ago.
Unlike last year’s refurbishment, which focused primarily on fixing broken show elements, this year’s concentrated on mechanical elements.
The ride looked good for the most part, though the water jumping effects in the Laughing Place weren’t working on either of our two rides. The attraction still manages to go down for a lengthy period of time most days.
Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom remains the hottest dining reservation with most taken immediately after availability opens 180 days in advance. Fortunately we’ll be joining the Milz family of four who had a reservation for six.
The menu remains the same as our last visit in September though entree prices are 50 cents to $1 more. If anything, the menu shows a bit of restraint on Disney’s part as they could easily charge more and the place would still fill up instantly.
Beer options remain the same and are very good – particularly the Chimay and Dupont. The website continues to recommend the Lasseter Paysage, which is a $52 bottle direct from the head of Pixar’s own winery.
This looks like an okay beer.
This looks like a great beer.
Service and food otherwise continue to improve from their somewhat maligned debut back in September 2012. Your server will now inquire as to how you’d like just about everything prepared, suggesting medium on the pork, for example.
Changes have also come to the kids’ menu, which now includes:
- Mickey Meatloaf – Turkey Meatloaf with Broccoli Florets, Zucchini served with Orange “Stuff” for Dipping, and Fruit Cup. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani Water – $8.99
- Grilled Fish of the Day served with Whole-Grain Rice Pilaf, Seasonal Vegetables, and Fruit Cup. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water – $8.99
- Chicken Brochette with Seasonal Vegetables and Fruit Cup. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasasni – $8.99
- Grilled Steak with Seasonal Vegetables and Fruit Cup. Served with choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani – $10.99
- Beast Casserole includes choice of one (1) Beverage, one (1) Entrées, and one (1) Dessert. Baked Macaroni & Cheese served with Seasonal Vegetables – $8.99
- Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Kids’ Meal includes choice of one (1) Beverage, one (1) Entrées, and one (1) Dessert. Served with Seasonal Vegetables – $8.99
The grilled fish was gobbled up by Steve’s son, Jacob.
And the steak served with fries and green beans. Hopefully most kids can figure something out among the chicken breast, steak, grilled fish, and other items.
Lisa ordered the Garden Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette- $5.99, which is the only item on the menu the website didn’t have a picture of.
It was large and freshly prepared, though too cucumber-y for my tastes.
And her French Onion Soup topped with a Crouton and Gruyère Cheese – $7.99. Gruyere? Probably not, but it is reliably rich and decadent, if not a bit salty.
Steve’s Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop with Au Gratin Macaroni, Seasonal Vegetables, and Red Wine Jus – $23.99 is excellent, cooked to a nice pink with a sizable side of macaroni. I would prefer a creamier mac ‘n cheese, but this works.
Peggy’s Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops with Seasonal Vegetables and Mushrooms served in Puff Pastry with a Creamy Lobster Sauce – $26.99 is served the same way as it was back in September. It’s my favorite item on the menu with a rich lobster sauce covering plenty of shrimp and scallops in a crispy bowl.
My Braised Pork (Coq au Vin Style) – Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots and Bacon served with Puréed Cauliflower and Seasonal Vegetables – $23.49 is basically the same meal as lunch, where it’s about $10 less expensive. I’d order it again at lunch, but the upcharge at dinner doesn’t bring much in quality or portion size. It’s not a particularly filling meal and most of the “vegetables” are onions.
The $4.19 cupcakes remain good, though my suggestion is usually to save the money and pick up a significantly larger cupcake elsewhere for about the same money. Storybook Treats would have a much larger selection of treats just a minute or two away, but this is a quick and satisfying way to end a meal.
The Grey Stuff remains a few dollops of icing on top of a chocolate brownie.
My preference remains lunch’s Master’s Cupcake, which brings the same icing on top of a more traditional cupcake.
Beast makes brief, 30-second appearances in each dining room about every 30 minutes. He poses with guests after their meal through 10:45pm most days. If your meal is running late, as ours was, a cast member will invite you to get up for a picture before your meal is over so you don’t miss him.
I continue to recommend Be Our Guest if you can pick up a reservation. Arriving at the podium at 4pm without a reservation may result in being seated if people don’t show up or cancel.
This is the Main Street Electrical Parade crowd on Main Street at 8:07pm for the 9pm parade. They’ll be waiting over an hour for a curbside spot. It’s usually worse when the tour groups are more common in late January, June, and July as they take up a lot of real estate.
And at 8:56pm, in Frontierland, about five minutes before the Parade steps off on Main Street. It’ll be about 20 minutes until it arrives here.
This new path in Liberty Square connects with Frontierland near Big Thunder Mountain, making it possible to walk in between the two during the Parade.
And why the website always recommends seeing the second Electrical Parade where applicable. It’s 11:08pm, so the second Parade stepped off Main Street eight minutes ago and there’s literally nobody here watching. Okay, there are two people seated.
Hard to tell, but the first float is visible in the distance and still the route is basically empty up here:
Not sure how a 40+ year old parade that makes the Washington Redskins look politically correct is still a thing.
Walls at night.