If you have the misfortune of following me on Twitter or have read this website for more than one day, you’ve probably seen me discussing what at least “feels” like a serious drop in summer attendance at Walt Disney World, even if Iger won’t cop to it on earnings calls.
After seeing some surprisingly short waits, even for the least busy days of the year, I thought it would be prudent to investigate.
As in the past couple of updates, these pictures will be wider than either of us would like.
If that upsets your delicate sensibilities, this alternate Epcot update is very zoomed in.
Nikon. Not even once.
It’s 2:58pm on Saturday June 24th, 2017.
Ordinarily at this time of day, you’d want a FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth. Looking over wait times from March of this year:
It looks like 15 minutes is what we can expect when crowds are lower with 40-50 minute averages during peak spring break dates. But the 28-minute overall average probably means that we don’t want to risk standby. Furthermore, the Saturdays during March were on the 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th, and it looks like wait times on those dates are typically higher than the dates around it, though the longest waits of the month occur on the 14th for whatever reason.
This was the scene on this particular Saturday.
It looks like a total of 13 people in standby and zero waiting in FastPass+.
Going to need to get the Sigma 14mm f1.8 lens for dark ride photos.
Maybe next month.
Otherwise, we got in line at 3:02pm and were back outside at 3:25pm.
That was after a couple of brief on-ride stops.
Barring lawsuits etc. Disney should put Beverly in every dispenser on April Fool’s.
Last week, Disney switched out two of the shorts that make up Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival.
This is of course the attraction located in the old Captain EO/Honey I Shrunk the Audience space in the Imagination Pavilion.
I had seen “feast,” which premiered before “Big Hero 6,” but not “piper,” which premiered before “Finding Dory.” “GET A HORSE!” returns from the original trio. It’s expertly crafted and genuinely funny, but I’ve always thought it was a bit too over-the-top in its depiction of violence for the sake of a laugh.
During the refurbishment/switch out of the two shorts, Disney did a great job of fixing the in-theater effects. I was genuinely surprised by the amount of theater movement.
Otherwise, all of these shorts are available on DVD/Blu-ray/YouTube, but the 3D aspect is fun. The theater is also comfortable and gloriously air-conditioned, making this a great spot to take a bit of a rest during the heat of the afternoon.
If you have two days at Epcot or otherwise find yourself with a spare 30 minutes, you might take advantage of a cool seat. “feast” is fantastic and “piper” is very cute.
A reminder that the Disney Visa Meet and Greet is also located up here from 1pm to 7pm daily. During busier days, waits may be up to 20 minutes before 5pm, but are almost guaranteed to be nonexistent after 5pm.
There would be nobody in line here at 4pm, though I do count a total of 25 people in the vicinity. They could make a break for it just as you decide to head over.
Elsewhere on the reminder front, this is still the only signup location for Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure – on the walkway into World Showcase from Future World.
Looks like one person streaming out and eight people heading into the Land Pavilion. Check out Soarin’ wait times so far in June:
It’s interesting how much longer waits were earlier in the month. The overall average wait so far this month is 50 minutes, but the last ten days have been well below that.
Here’s Spaceship Earth in June:
The website typically reserves the word “AH.MAZE.ING.” for things like produced-by-the-thousand cupcakes at Be Our Guest Restaurant or macaroni and cheese that’s been sitting inside of a warmer inside of a kiosk at Animal Kingdom for six hours, but the drop in wait times is at a minimum, surprising. During March of this year, Spaceship Earth’s average wait at 3pm was 29 minutes. Here in June, it’s 18 minutes. And over the last ten days, just 11.5 minutes. You might pull up your favorite “Disney World crowd calendar” and see if they had the middle of June as the least crowded time of the year. I’m just guessing here, but I bet they didn’t. And if they don’t, you might have to ask yourself what the point is.
This is not a phenomenon unique to Epcot. Here’s Animal Kingdom posted wait times from Sunday June 25th:
Granted, I’m not an expert, but if you asked me if I’d be interested in visiting Animal Kingdom when Expedition Everest’s average wait is 20 minutes and Kilimanjaro Safaris never hits 30 minutes, I’d say, “probably.”
Studios from this past Saturday, the 24th:
Three hours of downtime at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster looks to throw this off, but 43 minutes at Toy Story Mania is below average and in this day and age, 25 minutes at Star Tours is pretty good too. Let’s subtract a day:
That looks a little better, though you’ve still got two hours of downtime at Great Movie Ride. But compare the above to say…March 12th:
Waits for the rides are substantially higher when we’re talking about what actually is an “8 out of 10.”
And if you want to see what things look like when they really fall off the rails, here’s March 13th. The average wait for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, an 87-second ride, is two hours, twenty-two minutes. Tower of Terror follows with 2+ hours. And we’re only three months removed from these dates, so it’s not like we’re talking about the Twilight Zone here.
There are still enough people interested in going to Disney World to make the average wait at Expedition Everest hit 60+ minutes. They’re just no longer interested in going in June.
Heading up to World Showcase:
And not finding a whole lot of resistance on a Saturday afternoon at 4:45pm.
What seems like never-ending construction continues behind this wall on the walkway into Mexico. Eventually, it will be the location of Choza de Margarita. You can probably guess what they’ll offer.
Mexico continues to use their Food and Wine booth as a temporary outlet.
The menu offers some insight into what will be offered at the new kiosk.
Prices do not include tax and it remains to be seen if Choza receipts arrive with a tip line, but you’re looking at a minimum of $15.71 for an Avocado Margarita, which certainly “feels” like it’s on the high side.
The pyramid in Mexico is receiving a paint job that might go unnoticed.
It’s not done as far as I know.
But it also could be.
This is what it looked like before – a lot less “clean,” than it is now, perhaps.
With no effort whatsoever, I managed to score day-of FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After. I think I refreshed the app three times around noon before a convenient 4:45pm return time for three people appeared.
The posted wait at 4:55pm was still 120 minutes, but with nobody waiting outside, was probably closer to 80.
And back out front to a 130-minute posted wait at 5:11pm, for a total experience time of 16 minutes. That’s a minute or two better than average.
Joy of Tea is the name of the kiosk alongside the water.
It’s a quick, no-nonsense stop for a relatively inexpensive drink or snack.
We were going to try the Strawberry Oolong Tea Smoothie, but were told that it wasn’t yet frozen. So we went with the $4.95 Mango Green Tea Smoothie after being informed it was ready for prime time. It was not and ended up being an incredibly syrupy, way-too-sweet experience. This is also much more of a “slushie” than your typical “smoothie” that’s blended with fresh fruit or vegetables. The name is confusing in that regard.
I went with the $6.50 “Bubble Milk Tea (Sweetened) – Peach Flavored Black Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls.” For me, this was a little too thick and a little too creamy given the heat – almost like drinking half and half that had been cut with a little bit of water.
But the tapioca pearls are a lot of fun to slurp up and it was relatively refreshing for the short time it lasted. With the ice and boba taking up so much room in the cup, there isn’t a lot of space for liquid.
It’s potentially worth trying, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick it up again. The Tipsy Ducks in Love is excellent if you like bourbon and coffee, though.
We had established that there were not a lot of people at Epcot, but seeing “literally” nobody in line for beer at either of Germany’s outdoor kiosks or Sommerfest was almost disheartening.
This is 5:30pm on a Saturday – there should be no busier time in World Showcase over the course of any given week.
This is a Saturday in October.
Things did not pick up in Italy:
Disney quietly discontinued the “Sounds Like Summer” concert series at the America Gardens Theater. You’ll need to find some other venue to catch your third favorite Bee Gees cover band.
Epcot’s newest attraction – updated garbage cans.
Fighting past the throngs:
That’s a lot of concrete.
We took advantage of what should be one of the least crowded days at Epcot by stopping at the Park’s least crowded restaurant for dinner. I’ll review Spice Road Table again separately, but it is a pleasant experience with the opportunity to try a large variety of flavors for not a lot of money.
Rumors continue to swirl about the arrival of a Ratatouille ride similar or the same as what’s offered in Paris.
So we stopped in and paid our respects to Impressions de France, which now conveniently begins at :15 and :45 past the hour. Whether or not Impressions survives what may still not be an expansion of the France Pavilion remains to be seen.
Personally, I’m all-in on a new ride in World Showcase and Ratatouille seems like a logical fit, though hopefully it’s not a carbon-copy of what’s found in Walt Disney Studios Park.
Better crowd dispersal, more FastPass+ availability, lower overall waits, and a fun ride based on what is arguably a top-3 Pixar movie all seem like positive things.
I’m not sure how important the whole Intellectual Property debate is. If Ratatouille was an original character created for Epcot, all but the hard-line”But Walt said…” crowd would welcome it with open arms.
So how important is it really that the rats are from one of the world’s most beloved movies?
Closing things out with a classic:
Relatively low crowds should continue for the next eight weeks, though you can expect a bump around July 4th. And Magic Kingdom, being the most popular theme park on earth, remains congested with higher wait times with so much FastPass+ distribution. We’ll see what things look like in a couple of weeks.