We’ll pop into Magic Kingdom on the afternoon of Tuesday December 16 to see if there are any new chicken sandwiches or anything. I won’t spoil the surprise (there are).
Perhaps the most revelatory detail from today’s report arrives first – the railing down from the Express Monorail has been replaced.
Disney doesn’t install Magic Kingdom’s “icon tree” until after the ABC Icon Parade taping, which this year concluded on Tuesday December 9th. As a departure from previous years’ schedules, Disney taped the bulk of the parade itself on a Tuesday instead of the usual Saturday.
Happening upon the Christmas trolley show just inside the entrance is always fun. This week it was scheduled at 7:15am, 8:20am, 9:15a,, 10:45am, and 11:40am.
20 minute waits for both Tinker Bell and Mickey at 11:56am.
40 minutes later Mickey is up to 40 minutes. Waits remain surprisingly short at Tinker Bell and she’s a low priority either in standby or with FP+.
Disney’s decorations on the oversized trees are pretty lackluster in my estimation.
If you were looking to add some Frozen pizzazz to the Park, this might have been a better opportunity than kicking out Fairy Godmother and Cinderella from their own castle.
Inside the Chamber of Commerce. I had a purchase from the Emporium that I wanted them to hold onto, but didn’t want to wait the usual 2+ hours for Disney to transport the package 500 feet. So I brought it over and checked it in myself.
Inside Main Street Confectionery.
Hub construction continues. On the Tomorrowland side:
And on the Adventureland side:
The project is expected to take over sections of the central Hub early next year, necessitating the move of the parade FP+ area from the central Hub to the flagpole area of Town Square. That may have been why there was a delay with the release of FP+ for January and February. Those FP+ just became available for booking two days ago, so you may want to take a look if you’re interested and visiting over the next 30 to 60 days.
Painting and prep work continues on what is expected to be a prettier Main Street bypass in between Tomorrowland Terrace and The Plaza Restaurant.
The point of these projects, expected to be completed sometime around September of next year, is to ease congestion around the Hub and on Main Street. Just about anyone that’s visited MK in the evening over the last couple of years has experienced something that looked like this.
FastPass+ availability is only getting worse as more people become privy to the system. Adding about 70,000 cast members with the ability to book FP+ up to seven days in advance hasn’t helped either. These days, it’s not uncommon for Toy Story Mania to be booked solid two weeks in advance. Six months ago you could book next day without any problem.
Despite reducing Magic Kingdom’s number of FP+ kiosk locations from eight to four (plus Guest Services at City Hall), lines continue to dwindle. The least crowded location remains next to Jungle Cruise.
Buzz had a posted wait of 35 minutes at 12:50pm.
But with the line barely spilling out the door, actual waits would be closer to seven minutes if FP+ didn’t bog the line down. Looking at waits over the course of the day:
With FP+ backing things up, it looks like the actual wait time would be about half of posted. We’ll take a look at the other attractions up at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Longtime readers may remember “Extended Queue Saturdays” at Magic Kingdom, back when long lines for rides like PeopleMover weren’t an every day occurrence:
Back in 2011, a line this long was referred to as “scary” because it was so rare.
35 minutes at Space Mountain. With Magic Kingdom as this website’s most recommended Park, these are the shortest waits of the week.
Tomorrowland at 12:55pm.
Disney’s dissemination of chicken sandwiches continues at Cosmic Ray’s, which added a “Deluxe Chicken Sandwich” so recently that they doesn’t even have a picture of it, let alone much of a description of what’s on it.
Unfortunately, the very good vegetarian tortellini salad is no longer available.
This is the Cosmic Ray’s previous iteration – a “Grilled Chicken Sandwich,” served bare on a bun for the same money.
Just about anything would be an upgrade from that.
Turns out this is “Herb-marinated Chicken, American Cheese, and Bacon,” none of which are advertised on the menu. The “American Cheese” looks conspicuously like “pasteurized prepared cheese product (Kraft Singles),” but the bacon is nicely crisp and the herbs from the chicken add a touch of flavor. On the downside, the chicken was very dry and the herbs weren’t as zesty as I would like.
Of the recent additions, Pecos Bill’s Deluxe Chicken is the best with real cheese and a ciabatta roll.
Pinocchio Village Haus’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is a dollar cheaper, but the worst value, consisting of little more than a 42-cent Tyson fried chicken patty on a lousy bun.
Cosmic Ray’s added green beans as a side for its other entrees. These have long been offered over at Bay 1 with the ribs and rotisserie chicken. With the butter and salt, they may or may not be healthier than fries, but they are at least probably a vegetable. They do taste good and are a nice change of pace from the fries or the apple slices.
In related french fry news, it looks like these thinner, crispier fries are going live resort-wide. You may remember they were testing them at Casey’s Corner for a while earlier in the year.
A condiment and toppings bar update for your pleasure. Grilled onions and mushrooms.
Peppers, jalapenos, pickles, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Salt, pepper, ketchup, mayo, barbecue sauce, honey mustard, Smart Balance, sweet relish, and coffee creamer (not pictured).
Hot cheese sauce.
These kinds of toppings bars always seem to be on the receiving end of a lot of hype, but they’ve always struck me as a little inconvenient and a lot gross.
The view from the window.
It’s a little surprising Merida has lasted this long in Fairytale Garden, but perhaps with Princess Fairytale Hall and a lack of new princess movies not-named-Frozen, there’s nobody to fill her spot. Waits have come down from their peaks a couple years ago. I’d still expect to wait 25 to 35 minutes depending on how you time it.
Current cake cups at Cheshire Cafe.
About twelve groups waiting for White Rabbit in front of Mad Tea Party.
Looking back at light Tomorrowland crowds.
A Mango Fruit Bar replaces the orange creamsicles. One wonders how long it will be until everything generic is wrapped up in Olaf packaging like the lemonade bar.
10 minutes at Dumbo at 1:25pm.
10 at Barnstormer with nobody in the extended queue. According to the chart above, the actual wait would be eight minutes, which looks to be accurate.
Short waits continue for Goofy/Donald and Minnie/Minnie. As usual, the wait for the females is posted as 5 minutes longer.
You may remember Disney installed a ton of ummmmmmm “eclectic” seating here a couple of months ago, only to pull it all out shortly thereafter for the Jack Skellington meet during Mickey’s Christmas Party.
Big Top Souvenirs’ treats.
It looks like Disney has done away with those absurdly expensive single fruit skewers.
35 minutes at Ariel’s Grotto. Waits usually begin building here at 10am.
Not much congestion back here these days.
Despite actual waits that never topped 17 minutes, Under the Sea ~ The Journey of the Little Mermaid only showed a posted wait of under 20 minutes once right at 8am.
Gaston gets festive.
Bathroom sign bokeh – the sort of service no other website offers.
Bonjour Gifts has a new line of Be Our Guest merchandise:
It’s a lot more playful than the understated originals.
Gaston adds a $24.95 bow and arrow set.
These steins, one of my favorites pieces of merchandise, are still available.
The standby line to get into Be Our Guest at 1:35pm.
I continually read about Be Our Guest going “FP+ only,” but after visiting Magic Kingdom 50 or more times since the restaurant opened, I’ve never not been able to get in without a FP+. Here at 1:35pm you could saunter up and wait in the line, which the cast member estimated would take 35 to 40 minutes. That’s about 15 minutes longer than it would have taken before FP+ was in the mix. If you can’t score a lunch FP+, visit the restaurant right around 2pm and get in the standby line. They take people through 2:30pm.
No new changes to this side of the menu.
The Eclair a l’Orange recently replaced the “Tropical Fruit Cream Puff.”
Enchanted Tales with Belle looking at a 40 minute posted wait with an expected actual wait of 28 minutes.
There are just about 25 people lined up outside the cottage with about the same number inside. If you were to get in line without FP+ existing, your wait would be about 12 minutes.
But about three shows worth of FP+ users will arrive in the meantime, pushing up the wait another 16 minutes or so. Enchanted Tales remains a good use of an afternoon FP+ with decent actual waits and a long duration. Looking back at the wait times chart, we see that waits don’t accumulate for about an hour in the morning. Waits also drop dramatically during the afternoon Parade and toward the end of the night.
Wait times remain very long at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train virtually from Park open through Park close. A look at wait times over the course of the day:
There isn’t much of a soft spot in Mine Train wait times. It’s either absolutely first thing in the morning if you can hurry up Main Street in front of the crowd, with FP+, or at the very end of the night to avoid long waits.
25 minutes at Winnie the Pooh at 1:45pm with an expected actual wait of 14 minutes.
Disney has released a substantial amount of extra FP+ at the beginning of the month, each of the last two months, as standby to FP+ ratios are tweaked. That’s pushed up actual waits with FP+ from two or three minutes to four or five minutes. It’s difficult to make an apples to apples comparison with standby waits because weather does affect crowd movement even given the same number of people in the Park. But it looks like standby waits are up about eight minutes on average over the last two months given the same crowd level.
The Tremaines are a lot of fun meeting in front of the Castle wall near the entrance to New Fantasyland.
Lines are usually short.
“Short” waits for Anna and Elsa, which are listed at “just” 70 minutes. On the other hand, Rapunzel and Cinderella see a surprisingly high 70 minute posted wait.
Nobody in the extended queue. Actual waits would be around 60 minutes, which is still an awfully long time, but it’s better than the 2+ hour waits over the summer.
A big bowl of NOPE.
No shortage of Frozen stuff. Girls’ princess dresses are up to $69.95 from $64.95 just in time for Icon.
If you really hate someone, you could get them this cardboard “music box” that plays “Let It Go.”
Or perhaps a furry Olaf “media case.”
Frozen “Subtitles Button Edition.”
Short lines at the Fantasyland kiosk.
Old Fantasyland crowds.
It turns out that interactive Peter Pan queue we’ve been talking about over the past year or so actually sort of opened in the old bathroom space next to the ride. Disney didn’t even bother to change the bathroom flooring, which switches from concrete to a variety of bathroom tile throughout. It purportedly is only open when waits top 60 minutes.
The New Normal when it’s a small world with a 15 minute wait in the middle of the afternoon is extremely short. Peak waits are up 150% in the FP+ era.
We first took a look at Memento Mori in this post: https://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/tonys-lunch-review-hub-be-our-guest-update-momento-mori-magic-kingdom-101614/ but here are better looks at a few things:
These ice cube trays always seem like a fun idea and always end up sitting in the cupboard.
One of the biggest casualties of the FP+ era here with a 45 minute wait at Haunted Mansion. That’s three times longer than it would have been given similar crowd levels before FP+ implementation.
Liberty Square Market is your best bet for corn-on-the-cob at Magic Kingdom, now offering a variety of seasonings you can apply yourself.
The location also offers the same tomato bisque as Pinocchio Village Haus and others – a nice way to warm up as temperatures fall.
The “stein” is the same generic brown mug Disney offers at several other locations, including Gaston’s Tavern with Lefou’s Brew.
Larger look at Liberty Square Special Diets: https://www.easywdw.com/reports12/libertydiets.jpg
Some seemingly random items in Frontierland:
Add it to a few obscure Disney references on shirts from this post: https://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/new-magic-kingdom-bus-loop-mine-train-construction-pecos-steak-and-chicken-platter-review-crowds-12313/
Disney is making bigger and bigger deals out of MagicBand skins.
These would set you back 30 bucks a pop and are “limited” to 4,000.
Minnie is new.
As is Sorcerer Mickey.
The website covered the removal of the Taco Salad from Pecos Bill’s menu last month in this post. Disney also added a “Grilled Cheese Sandwich” to the kids’ menu.
Exactly five entrees for lunch.
40 minutes at Big Thunder.
35 at Splash in the middle of the heat of the day around 2:15pm.
Golden Oak Outpost and its waffle fry menu remains closed most days, though I would expect it to be open daily beginning Saturday with the crowds.
The website was already disappointed with the quality and portion size of the waffle fries, which are now served with a bag of apple slices or carrots for $2 more than they were originally. According to EatingWDW, the fries can’t be ordered separately to save the two bucks. I would advise staying away from these whether it’s open or not.
The Taco Salad is still available at Tortuga Tavern across from Pirates of the Caribbean:
Perhaps the exclusivity will allow the quick service to operate more regularly. Tortuga is open more often than its predecessor, but even when it is open, usually only operates from 11am to 3pm.
30 minutes at Pirates of the Caribbean, easily up 20 minutes compared to the pre-FP+ era.
Plenty of available FP+ kiosks next to Jungle Cruise.
Aladdin’s Magical Carpets reopened after a brief refurbishment, here with a 10 minute wait.
Island Supply remains closed for refurbishment with the expectation it will reopen offering more attraction-based merchandise.
Scrims and walls up to the left of Aloha Isle.
An interesting menu update at the Isle as Coca Cola products are no longer offered, save for Dasani:
Dole sponsors this location, among others, and has had a problem with their logo appearing on menus with pictures of rival brands’ products for some time.
You may remember Dole refused to sponsor this year’s Pineapple Promenade at the Flower and Garden Festival, despite their products being prominently offered without the brand name.
Anyway, you may need to make your own Coke Dole Whip Float these days by picking up a fountain beverage at nearby Sunshine Tree Terrace. I would imagine they would give you a float cup along with your Dole Whip if you ask.
Peak season pricing is in effect at the various buffets. Dinner pricing is usually $37.99 at Crystal Palace, so you pay an extra four bucks for the privilege of eating on December 16th instead of December 12th.
An Epcot update is hopefully up next.