We continue our Presidents Day jaunt at Magic Kingdom after beginning our day at Animal Kingdom with Flight of Passage as seen in this post.
I’ll go over what we accomplished and what we saw in this post and then we’ll go over various projects and what else is going on around the Park separately. I’m sure I’m just as excited to write the 17th tater tot review that’s appeared on the Internet as you are excited to read it.
Temperatures remain about ten degrees hotter than average with a promised high of 88 degrees this Sunday.
Festival of Fantasy is a smart parade in that the floats are tall and most of the action is visible over the tops of shoulder kids.
We enjoyed watching a couple of floats pass by upon our 3:22pm arrival. It takes the Parade about 18 minutes to arrive in the Town Square area after beginning to the left of Splash Mountain.
Since it’s a bit of a hassle to walk up Main Street with a parade going by and because we had a FastPass+ for Splash Mountain, we hopped on the train.
Here’s an aerial look at Presidents Day crowds waiting outside for Splash Mountain. At least this particular day’s high was “only” 86 degrees. The number of people sitting down offers an idea about how slowly the line is moving.
A 95-minute posted standby wait at 3:41pm might be optimistic given the length of the line.
Splash reopened after another refurbishment about three weeks ago.
It “feels” like a lot of the scenes are now considerably darker:
I’m not sure if there’s going to be more black light effects or what the plan is, but it “felt” like the animatronics are harder to see. Maybe they are so ready for the ride to go down for mechanical problems that they already have the lights drawn down.
These poor, poor people. Granted, it would be difficult/lucky to score a day-of Splash Mountain FP+ for a large party, but you could grab a spoon at Pecos Bill and eat guacamole directly out of the giant vat and at least try refreshing the app for an hour and a half instead of spending it out here.
We managed to score a FastPass+ for two for 2:40pm – 3:40pm while in line for Expedition Everest over at Animal Kingdom. But it’s definitely becoming more and more difficult to score quality 4th, 5th, etc. FastPass+ experiences as more people than ever are vying for them and more and more inventory is taken well in advance. We arrived at 3:41pm and were back out front at 4:06pm for a total experience time of 25 minutes, which is about five minutes less than average.
We barely waited at all, which is probably why standby looks like this. Sorry guys.
We’ll get back to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad after dark, but it sits at 80 minutes just after 4pm.
Aloha Isle Refreshments participates in mobile order and with the line to order looking like this, we opted to “take advantage.”
But the mobile ordering process seems to get less and less efficient each time that I’ve used it over the last few weeks. Here at Aloha Isle, it was completely worthless.
We put in and paid for our order on the app – a process that’s intuitive enough. But after pressing the “I’m here” button and receiving the “Order is ready” notification, we found that we were going to have to wait behind more than a dozen people that had completed the same process and were looking at the same screen. So we waited in line for ten minutes to pick up our order which wasn’t made until we got to the front of the line. So if you are doing mobile order for a Dole Whip, I’d suggest getting in the mobile order line after submitting your order. It may take a couple of minutes for your order to show up as “ready,” but once it does, it will only be filled after you make it to the front of the line. And you’ll be that much closer to the front if you’re already in line.
Of course, if things improve and there is no line then you can hang out with the same smug look of satisfaction that I enjoyed early on in my mobile order days. My estimation is that the number of mobile orders has increased now that the Disney Dining Plan is accepted and Annual Passholders no longer receive discounts at most quick services. Back when I could get 20% off at Pecos Bill, Liberty Inn, and other participating locations, I’d wait in line rather than use mobile order since mobile order doesn’t offer discounts. Now I’ll use mobile order at those locations since I’m paying the same price.
Something like Aloha Isle would get hit particularly hard with Dining Plan users given everything on the menu can be exchanged for a snack credit. And Disney has seemingly not increased mobile order staffing in proportion to the increase in orders.
The website posted the first online review of the Pineapple Upside Down Cake in this update back in October of 2017. If you caught my last podcast appearance, you might remember that I name said cake as my favorite snack at Walt Disney World. And while it’s rare that I return to something that I’ve tried before, I hadn’t given Erin an opportunity to give it a whirl and I was curious if the quality was consistent with my initial experience. Plus, the app offered the ability to order the “Swirl” flavor, which was more like half pineapple on top of half vanilla. But while the cake wasn’t as fresh and fluffy as what I originally sampled, we were graced with a huge portion of Dole Whip, which largely made up for the discrepancy.
Here’s my original – a short stack of non-dairy treat on top of the spongy cake. But for an extra two bucks compared to the Dole Whip Cup, I think it’s worth adding the cake and hopefully yours will be fresh out of the oven and piled high with soft serve. If not, start a blog and begin a lifetime of complaints just like I did.
Caribbean Plaza at 4:40pm.
Something you don’t see every day – the “Keep Right” Pirates of the Caribbean sign.
Still, the posted wait for Pirates was “only” 40 minutes, which isn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things.
Here’s a look at wait times at Pirates of the Caribbean so far this calendar year:
Just like we saw at Animal Kingdom and despite heavier crowds, wait times are actually below average. On this particular holiday, Pirates’ average wait was 32 minutes, which is two minutes less than the 2018 average and lower than every day during the week leading up to Presidents Day. So much for “never go to Magic Kingdom on a Monday,” let alone “never go to Magic Kingdom on a holiday.”
We arrived with FastPass+ at 4:42pm.
And found ourselves back out front at 5:04pm for a total experience time of 22 minutes.
That’s right around average now with a 50-minute posted wait.
We continued relying on our ability to refresh FastPass+ availability on the app and managed to find an immediate return time for Haunted Mansion.
The standby queue is backed up just about to the entrance at 5:17pm with a 40-minute posted wait.
A live look at me rapidly aging as I continuously refresh the app.
We were stretching seven minutes later.
And on the ride not long after that.
Here at 5:40pm, we’re looking at the extended queue sign with the line backed up near the Liberty Square Riverboat dock.
Not real sure what we ultimately wanted to do for dinner, we decided on sharing a “snack” at Columbia Harbour House, which quickly turned into splitting the $12.49 “Combination Platter – Choose two of our delicious offerings: Fried Shrimp, Battered Fish or Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets served with Corn on the Cob and choice of Steamed Fresh Vegetables, Apple Slices or French Fries.”
One of the nice things about mobile order is that it does lay out some options that you might not think of asking about – in this case, the menu stipulates a side of corn along with a choice of a second side.
But you can pick any side in place of the corn and then Apple Slices and Potato Chips are also available. So even if you’re not planning on completing a mobile order, you might take a look at the quick service location that you’re planning on visiting and seeing what all of the menu choices are.
Otherwise, we went with the Fish and the Shrimp with two of the french fry sides since I’m on vacation. The fish is the same that they’ve been using for years – middling Gorton’s freezer-aisle-style stuff that does the job with enough tartar sauce. The portion of shrimp is just four, which is kind of sad, but they remain nicely-battered and perfectly-crunchy. I was a little “concerned” that our second order of fries was going to be the equivalent of a couple more potatoes tossed on top of the pile, but we did come away with a separate cardboard tray full. Harbour House otherwise did a nice job of getting us ready to get back to it.
The “Hoedown Happening” is currently scheduled at 5:10pm, 6pm, and 6:45pm and is a nice opportunity to see the Country Bears and friends dancing and mingling with guests outside Country Bear Jamboree.
The characters are out for about 20 minutes at a time.
Our next FastPass+ score was for Big Thunder Mountain, which had a 50 minute wait at 7pm.
We were on-board ten minutes later:
We were back out front at 7:16pm for a total experience time of 16 minutes.
Not bad at all.
One of my favorite things to do these days is watch the Happily Ever After fireworks in New Fantasyland.
So that’s where we headed with moderate crowds in Frontierland.
Getting in line for most attractions an hour before the fireworks is a good choice as the nighttime entertainment pulls so many people away. Old Fantasyland at 7:45pm is the least crowded it’s been since 9:30am.
I’m sitting on a bench across from the entrance to the Little Mermaid ride.
There’s nobody within 15 feet of me.
Real chill back in New Fantasyland pic.twitter.com/UEJ48zaug5
— josh (@easywdw) February 3, 2018
You may be surprised by how big and how loud the fireworks are so close to a launch site as seen/heard in the video.
It’s probably not ideal for a first viewing, when you might want to try to angle for a prime piece of real estate on Main Street and at least have an opportunity to see the projections and the other fireworks launched from other sites. But I think it’s a fun alternative if you’re not in the mood for the hassle.
The location also offers a good opportunity to visit a nearby attraction when it will have a short standby wait as people try to push and shove their way back towards the rides after the show concludes.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at 8:23pm with a 15-minute posted wait.
We were on the ride eight minutes later.
That feeling when you’re refreshing FastPass+ availability and you see something you want but are so used to clicking refresh that you hit it again and miss out on the experience that you actually wanted. Up up and away.
We were back out front at 8:36pm for a total experience time of 13 minutes.
The Once Upon A Time finale from outside Gaston’s Tavern at 9pm.
A 40-minute posted wait for Tomorrowland Speedway.
We had about an hour to kill before a 10:05pm Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FP+, so we took the opportunity to enjoy Carousel of Progress:
A very pleasant 20 minutes indeed.
PeopleMover was sort of a walk-on.
You’ll now find this winding rope queue most days, which does help keep the line from stretching back to Space Mountain:
We arrived at 9:32pm and after some technical problems, were back out front at 9:55pm.
80 minutes at Space Mountain.
Mine Train was posted at “just” 50 minutes with two full hours until Park close.
The actual wait would probably be closer to 40 minutes with the line stretching just outside the mine itself.
With FastPass+, we were on in about seven minutes:
And back out front at 10:22pm for a total experience time of under 15 minutes.
If we were smart, we’d take advantage of the midnight close and stay for another hour and a half when standby waits would only get shorter.
But since we were able to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade and ride the train, in addition to experiencing Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, Carousel of Progress, PeopleMover, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, in addition to enjoying dinner, a couple of snacks, and the Happily Ever After fireworks, we were satisfied with our afternoon and evening.
We’ll return to Animal Kingdom for a nighttime update before revisiting Magic Kingdom to see all of the various projects that are going on.