The website has been neglecting Magic Kingdom with all of the additions and changes happening elsewhere over the last few weeks, so we will take a moment to check in on recent happenings. As I’ve pointed out before, Magic Kingdom’s lack of new additions may benefit your visit to the Park more than the addition of a new headlining experience. With most casual vacationers looking to spend a second day at Epcot for Frozen Ever After/New Soaring/Royal Sommerhus, potentially adding a second night at Hollywood Studios in order to see both the Galactic Spectacular and Fantasmic, and at least seven people staying late at Animal Kingdom for Jungle Book: Awaken the Animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris Please I’ll Do Anything, that just means fewer people clogging up the walkways and queues at Magic Kingdom.
And the good news keeps rolling in as our favorite sign is back at the monorail station protecting many of us from irreparable injury. It’s full steam ahead on major road expansions around property, but once that’s complete, we should see significant changes arrive at Magic Kingdom’s entrance. Circle 2042 on your calendar. It’s shaping up to be a choice year.
We’re less than a week away from the Independence Day holiday, which means Disney has gone all out with the decorations across property or added some bunting on the train station railing. I’ll let you guess which.
Over the first four weeks in June, crowds have been shockingly weak. I’ve been working on a new song for the website’s debut album titled, “Where Have All The Tourists Gone” loosely based on this Paula Cole jam.
You might remember that Disney went to an all-day menu at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. And for some reason, $26 defrosted Chicken Parmesans don’t sell like they used to, causing Disney to try to bundle a 3-course fixed price meal along with a guaranteed spot for Main Street Electrical Parade. Just in case you haven’t had an opportunity to catch that show sometime since it debuted 44 years ago.
More information is available here: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/06/reservations-open-tomorrow-for-new-dining-package-at-tonys-town-square-restaurant-at-magic-kingdompark/. I would mention that the package, which is available only during lunch hours, may be a good value on the Disney Dining Plan as it costs $45 out of pocket and also includes an appetizer, in addition to the Electrical Parade viewing. For one table service credit, that’s a decent value. Tony’s also serves the same “New York Strip Steak” as every other single-credit restaurant on property and there is some value if your in-laws are forcing you to eat here and you order some of the more expensive items. With the $16 Assorted Meats and Cheeses appetizer, $34 Steak, and $8 Cannoli, you would have spent $58 or 28.9% more than the package costs. Of course, you would have also eaten at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.
Tomorrowland Terrace is the name of the seasonal quick service located in…wait for it…Tomorrowland. Basically, whenever it’s open for more than three days in a row, Disney completely overhauls the menu, almost always for the worse.
This is the previous menu:
I am not sure what the equivalent of “faking sick” is when your occupation is being a celebrity Disney blogger, but you might say that I “went out for cigarettes” the last time the menu changed. And I haven’t been back to Magic Kingdom since.
The menu looks to see some enhancements, at least in description – A Pretzel Bun on the burger, four choices on dipping sauce on the chicken strips, and at least an implication that the chicken sandwich will be decent.
The Pulled Pork Banh Mi sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but the pretzel bun on the Smoked Sausage sounds like a game-changer. And there is a salad.
The Tres Leches Cake and Brownie are all-new and this is perhaps the only location that serves Chicken Strips in place of the usual nuggets in the Kids’ Meal.
I ordered the $9.99 Spicy Chicken Sandwich – Spicy Fried Chicken Breast topped with Pepper Jack, Lettuce, and Tomato served on a Sesame Seed Bun with Apple Slices or House-made Chips.
The website panned a similar offering served for a short time in late 2014 at Pinocchio Village Haus. The Fantasyland version was laughably terrible and didn’t even come with a slice of cheese, let alone more than a speck or two of tomato, a few shards of lettuce, and a dollop of Ken’s ranch salad dressing. For $9.49, it was perhaps the most egregious entree Disney has served up in the last couple of years. But I’m sure that I’m forgetting something.
Tomorrowland Terrace’s chicken sandwich is an improvement on every avenue, arriving with fresh leaf lettuce, a thick slice of ripe tomato, and in a turn of events that is almost unheard of at Walt Disney World, the elusive SLICE OF CHEESE.
With that said, I would classify this in “just okay” or “it is what it is” territory. It’s still a fried Tyson-quality chicken patty on a fresh bun with crunchy vegetables, the cheese with a hint of a kick, and a zesty sauce. It’s not at all memorable but it will likely do the trick. You could do a lot worse.
Tom ordered the $10.99 Dipped Chicken Strips – 4 Pieces – Dipped in your choice of Buffalo, Barbecue, Honey Mustard, or Garlic Parmesan Sauce and served with Apple Slices or House-made Chips.
I don’t talk about Disney’s chicken nuggets very often because that would make the website’s meager stream of content even more boring, but they do a nice job with it. Chicken Strips left the Parks some number of years ago in favor of the chicken chunks on most other menus. But these might be even better as you receive more chicken and it’s a little more flavorful and tender with a little less breading. It was a sizable amount of food for about $1.50 more than the 8-nugget meal. The Buffalo sauce here is just Frank’s RedHot, but it does a nice job of spicing things up and Disney provides enough Ken’s ranch to clog the hearts of everyone running next year’s marathon.
While the menu mentions chips or apples as the side, the default is actually fries, which were served hot and crispy. I have not had a ton of luck forgoing the side in order to save the usual $2 since the price increases in March, Tomorrowland Terrace had no problem serving me just the sandwich for $7.99. I probably would have accepted the fries had I known they were a possibility.
I will have to return for the Polish Sausage and Banh Mi. When the Terrace originally started serving the sausage, it was the exact same thing that Casey’s Corner had been offering for years. But they have apparently changed to the pretzel situation. Neither Tom nor I were in the mood for anything long and narrow on this particular afternoon – it was far too hot – but we will be back.
There is perhaps good news on the horizon as the 2017 Disney Dining Plan eliminates the dessert attached to the quick service meal and instead allots one additional snack credit per night. So if you want to add the mass produced pudding thimble with your bacon quadruple cheeseburger then you can still opt for it, but if you want to save it for something more prudent like a $1 side of cheese sauce with your Mickey Pretzel, then you can do that too. It should also ease some of the confusion that’s currently going on with the ability to switch out the quick service dessert for any other snack credit item on the menu.
The $4.49 Coconut Tres Leches Cake was easily the best of the two “real” desserts offered – flavorful, light, and airy with cream and cinnamon on top. I don’t think that I can name a dessert from a major theme park quick service that I would go out of my way to order, and this wouldn’t be it either, but it would be in the top 10% property wide. Quite good really.
I ordered the $4.59 Rocky Road Brownie.
Which was pretty terrible despite what I feel like is an attractive exterior. WELCOME TO ONLINE DATING. Brownies, like a lot of baked goods, are best when they’re fresh out of the oven. And these are decidedly not that, at least in our experience in the middle of the afternoon. The brownie was dense, dry, and had am off-putting, chemically chocolate-y flavor underneath some toppings that would have been quite good had the brownie been fresher. You might have better luck. But you probably won’t.
Tomorrowland Terrace has a few things going for it otherwise. While seating is all outdoors, the terrace overlooks the picturesque waterways around Cinderella Castle and provides some of the best views outside of the Pinocchio Village Haus balcony. It’s also an unpopular spot that is typically well-staffed, so you should have your food quicker and with less hassle than Pecos Bill, Cosmic Ray’s, or somewhere else. Disney seems committed to keeping the Terrace open daily from 11am to 9pm throughout the summer. I’m not sure the menu demands a visit, but the ease of the experience and what should be decent entrees for less money than other options might be enough for you to give it a shot.
Carousel of Progress is receiving a paint job.
There is some chatter that a new final show scene may be in the works for the short refurbishment that begins at the end of next month.
I would not put money on it.
There’s been a lot of focus on the fading signage around Storybook Circus since the website brought it up last month.
Disney may be replacing the art as these banners to the right of The Barnstormer are new.
With Anna/Elsa moving over to their Royal Sommerhus at Epcot, Rapunzel and Cinderella have separated and are now meeting alongside a “visiting princess.” That means Tiana usually joins Rapunzel.
Rapunzel and Cinderella are the “guaranteed” princesses, so their faces appear on the FastPass+ entrance signage.
It’s Cinderella and Aurora on the other side.
Here are Cinderella’s wait times since Anna/Elsa left:
The distribution is about what we would expect with low waits in the morning/ late evening and higher waits in the afternoon.
As was the case pre-Anna/Elsa, Rapunzel sees slightly higher waits with the popularity and relative rarity of Rapunzel. The takeaway here is that like much of Fantasyland, Princess Fairytale Hall needs to be prioritized early in the morning or saved for late at night in order to bypass long waits. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be the first thing you do as Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Winnie the Pooh would see higher waits earlier in the day.
With Anna/Elsa out, merchandise in the store attached to the exit is back to being mostly other princesses.
While you might be able to argue that the movie was a box office flop with just 75 million domestic versus a production budget that exceeded 170 million, Through The Looking Glass has brought in 175 million in foreign box office receipts, so it should be okay. I know we’re all pretty concerned about how well Bob Iger sleeps at night.
The Hall of Presidents is out from behind scrims.
As is Heritage House, where the second floor remains conspicuously boarded up.
Downstairs, some chairs and tables have been installed for a makeshift rest/triage area.
Nearby Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, which eliminated its Waffle Sandwiches (with the exception of the Nutella/Waffle) some number of months ago, has added this Sausage and Cheddar-stuffed Pretzel.
Side of Castle.
The bathrooms next to City Hall should be newly reopened now.
There are some new popcorn flavors.
I really can’t imagine.
I just don’t know.
Disney is offering a refillable souvenir popcorn bucket this summer. The bucket will run you $10 with refills costing $1.50 each, but the reduced price is only good on the day of purchase. They should add a sticker to the side of the bucket to designate which day the bucket was purchased so you can’t bring it back the following day TO TRY AND ROB THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY OF THE $2.50 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE REGULAR PRICE OF POPCORN AND THE REFILL PRICE.
The somewhat absurdly priced Kingdom Couture line debuted back in mid-April. This clutch will run you $118.
These prices are not typos.
Summer, and the wet weather that comes with it, has arrived in full force. After five years in Florida, I finally bought an umbrella.
I’m not sure where we’ll end up next.