You can pull up yesterday’s update here.
I actually don’t think there is any. This is good for me because I don’t have to come up with something that isn’t funny to say about it. And it’s good for you, because you don’t have to read 5,700 words on how Disney changing the Rise of the Resistance boarding group signup time from 7am to 6:57am is going to ruin your life. We’ll try again tomorrow. If nothing comes, we can always try to manufacture some outrage. Or we might be able to find some towels to review.
Tropical Storm #Eta Advisory 43: Noaa Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Reports That Eta is a Little Stronger. Tropical Storm Warning and Storm Surge Watch Issued For Portions Of the West Coast of Florida. https://t.co/VqHn0u1vgc
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) November 11, 2020
One does wonder what “a little” means in this context. For example, rocket engines can apparently reach 5,800 degree Fahrenheit. “A little hotter” might be 5,900 degrees. Not that big of a deal, probably. However, if you were to tell me that it’s going to be 185 degrees in Orlando tomorrow, I would be a little more concerned. But not necessarily surprised. This is still 2020. I’m not even sure a hundred degree increase in temperature would register as unusual at this point. The storm is apparently headed in our direction, though they always say that, potentially because there are more people watching television in Florida than in the middle of the ocean. If we could just send several hundred thousand of you out onto a barge in the middle of the Atlantic, perhaps the forecast would be more accurate a little earlier in the news cycle. You can still stream “The Mandalorian” out there, so I don’t think you’d be missing much.
We begin with our usual chart of Animal Kingdom’s average daily wait since it reopened on July 11th:
Waits on the 10th were shorter than four of the previous five Tuesdays. We may need to update our crowd calendar to reflect the fact that you want to visit Walt Disney World as a tropical storm approaches during what may or may not be the height of a global pandemic. If only we could have predicted this 364 days ago.
Here’s the chart:
While the forecast may have threatened some amount of precipitation, it looks like only about an hour of downtime caused by it was realized. I would again call your attention to how much shorter wait times are towards the end of the day. You’re much better off from 3pm to 5pm than you are from 10am to 12pm. Stay through close at the moment if you can because dinner and Rivers of Light aren’t keeping people around.
It was one of the best days in some time to circle the hole in the middle of Future World as you moved from the plant ride, to the communication ride, to the ride that ends slightly slower than whoever is currently driving in the speedy lane on the freeway. The relatively long operating hours help spread the crowds out. I’m also beginning to think that there’s an inverse relationship between how bad the weather is supposed to be and how long Test Track actually goes down. We’ve seen two of its better days this week with downtime on Tuesday only as necessitated by the weather. Frozen Ever After’s waits remain long with physical-distancing in play and not a whole lot going on in World Showcase at the moment. Posted waits there are also systematically exaggerated by about 20 minutes to account for a cleaning cycle.
It looks to be the worst day of all time (of all time) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I’m not just saying that because it also happens to be a day of the week. Let’s see what happened:
If ever there was a time for the website to pivot from the romantic comedy that it currently is to a complete horror show, this may be the time. American Horror Story: Hollywood Studios has a ring to it. Slinky Dog and Tower of Terror down at open certainly hurt the cause, driving up waits at Runaway Railway and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster right out of the gate. Then more downtime at Slinky with the noontime rain and ongoing technical trouble at Tower of Terror continued causing problems. I don’t think there’s anything on this chart that I like other than the wait time for Alien Swirling Saucers from 6:45pm on. One wonders how Disney can rationalize closing the Studios at 7pm given these wait times, while Epcot stays open until 9pm. Booze sales, probably, particularly when you can’t drink during that 100-minute wait for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at 12:15pm. Such is the life of an 89-second roller coaster that happens to be indoors. But most of the people waiting wouldn’t be and that was the time when it was raining hardest. Have we ever seen an hour wait posted at Muppet*Vision? What line are people choosing to get in at 10:45am? Does a mere hour wait at Star Tours sound good? For just ten minutes more you could do Smugglers Run. Add 20 more and you could do Runaway Railway. Fans of Toy Story Mania remain largely in luck, at least as long as you didn’t get in line just as Slinky’s downtime was ending along with the rain. Maybe we’ll start skipping the Studios and see if not acknowledging the problem fixes it.
Waits were rough at Magic Kingdom as well with its 25.1-minute average slightly lower than last week’s average and higher than the average for the week before. It would still be better than the majority of October, not that knowing that does you a whole lot of good. I never thought I would look at July in Florida with longing, but here we are. I still remember that first day, when just about every blogger out there was standing around Town Square in the early afternoon, all taking the exact same photos and videos of the various character cavalcades, only to rush home and report that they are exactly what you would expect based on the descriptions. The few that still talk to me had all come to the same conclusion: “This is it?” You sweet, sweet summer child.
The chart for the day:
If you’re tired of me pointing out that it’s a small world has a longer average wait than Peter Pan’s Flight, or Pirates of the Caribbean sees longer averages than Space Mountain, then I have bad news. It may just be a bad time to be in a boat overall, though I don’t think pointing that out is going to push too many people to board our barge destined for the middle of the ocean. With Disney continuing to hemorrhage money, it’s unlikely that too much is in the pipeline beyond the projects already underway, and even then, but one wonders if future ride vehicle designs will take into account the potential need for distancing measures. It’s a lot easier to hang a drape from the roof of the boats on Living with the Land and load every row than it is to figure something out for a roofless boat where you can only load the first and last rows with enough room in between. Otherwise, Magic Kingdom sees its usual slow burn in the morning as people are delayed in trying to get across the water from the parking lot. Waits then remain pretty consistent from 10:30am through 6:15pm. Fortunately, we do see a drop to close things out, but Magic Kingdom remains the best Park to visit in that first hour should you be able to make it.
Current Disney Park Pass Availability
I had been promising a Park Pass replenishment for Hollywood Studios in December for a couple of weeks now, and we finally get it, beginning with the last couple of days in November.
Here’s December for Disney Resort Guests and Theme Park Tickets Guests:
The first 19 days of the month now show availability for every Park. I’d say hurry up and go book the Studios if you’re eligible during those dates, but then I would be advising you to go to Hollywood Studios, which I can’t do in good conscience. But hurry up and go book it because these spots are unlikely to last long.
Here’s what December’s availability looked like just yesterday:
That’s a lot more yellow with every day in December a Studios sell out at the time. What a difference a day can make. And particularly one not spent at Hollywood Studios. I was actually relatively normal *counting on fingers* 472 visits to Hollywood Studios ago. We can add that advice to the crowd calendar too. Never go to Hollywood Studios more than 471 times or you risk what little sanity you have left.
Disney hasn’t yet added availability later in December and into 2021:
But we should see them add spots to those dates in the coming weeks. I’m not entirely sure what the logic is behind not allocating all of the spots at once, but as I’ve also said before, my guess is that the quoted 25% capacity limit is a moving target as Disney opens additional things of little consequence, but technically increases the number of people that the Park can handle. Opening ABC Commissary might not do much to help wait times, but it does increase the number of people who can eat lunch. It may also drive last-minute ticket sales or full price resort stays once people see the openings. But there are so few of them that by this time tomorrow, several dates that are currently green will be yellow again.
Passholders also see an increased allotment during the last two days in November and into December:
Magic Kingdom is showing no availability on Christmas, so you’ll want to keep an eye on that if you were planning a visit. Without a resort stay, most Passholders can only book up to three days of Park Passes at a time, which is why dates closer to the present see less availability than distant dates. All of my Park Passes are booked for the next week, for example. Obviously, I am an unusual case in more ways than one, but it’s an ongoing trend as local visitors make plans a couple of weeks out instead of a couple of months.
You can always pull up Disney’s current version of the Park Pass calendar here.
Operating Schedule Changes:
We should see another round at the theme parks on Friday afternoon.
Disney did extend the hours at Disney Springs so that the shopping and dining complex will operate through 11pm from November 20th, 2020, through January 3rd, 2021, instead of 10pm on most weeknights. One last opportunity to get a $32 cocktail. You can pull up Disney’s official operating hours here. Amusingly, you have to click “More Options” under destinations to even see Disney Springs come up, while the shuttered NBA Experience and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park are plainly visible. By default, the schedule for each Park and the Springs comes up. You’ll just need to do a little scrolling.
You can verify the current hours on DisneyWorld.com here.
Interesting Menu Changes:
The Everything POP food court added a bottle of sparkling water to the breakfast menu for $4.99. That might do something for somebody. The Landscape of Flavors food court at Art of Animation added a Pumpkin Tart and an Apple Tart for $4.79 each, along with the same bottle of water. If I was dying of thirst and you asked me if I wanted a five-dollar bottle of water or a Pumpkin Tart for less money than that, I’d probably choose the Tart on principle. It looks like The Lunching Pad underneath Astro Orbiter is going to start offering the same microwavable Bacon Egg and Cheese Sandwich for $6.79 as a lot of other locations. Disney updated the Woody’s Lunch Box menu despite the fact that the location hasn’t yet reopened. The Raspberry Lunch Box Tart returns to the menu, while the Totchos no longer appear as an entrée and the Vegetable Macaroni Salad is no longer available as a side. The Mystic Punch will also apparently be served frozen. The BoardWalk Bakery added Pumpkin Swirl Bread.
That should get you caught up.