You can pull up the previous update here.
We are a bit behind the times, but I don’t think it will take too long to get caught up on what’s important. It turns out that if you are persistently behind on what you want to get done, that adding another layer of work will cause you to fall further behind what you want to get done, rather than make you more relevant. We all learn new things.
From 7pm through Park close, from now through the end of the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the HolIDaYs, Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members with the proper credentials can save 10% on food and non-alcoholic beverages at what Disney is describing as “select outdoor kitchens” when using electronic payment methods.
I suppose we’ll take what we can get, but I’m not sure a 10% discount for two hours is going to do much to drive sales:
I’m not sure if the Seared Scallops are more attractive at the $5.40 price point, but I guess we will find out, so long as we check our watches and visit during the next ~27 days. Disney did not used to offer any discounts on the food and beverages at the various Festivals, but began offering cast members 20% off on some weekdays at Disney-operated booths during select Festivals a couple of years ago. I think I’m more likely to forget about the discount than whip out my sleek yellow passholder card and ID to potentially save 32 cents, only to be told that I’m very cheap and the kitchen isn’t one that participates, or according to their watch, it’s only 6:58pm, but it’s potentially worth keeping in mind if you’re one of the eight DVC members headed to EpCOt who isn’t putting up their points for sale this year. We’ll just starve until the clock hits seven lest we pay $4.50 for our 4-ounce Frozen Coffee instead of $4.05.
The discount officially extends to:
No word on whether Italy will be offering a 200% discount in an attempt to compete.
You’re looking at $9.50-worth. And no, those aren’t unusually large Bacon Bits.
Two Masai giraffe calves (not pictured) can now be seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Characters (not pictured) will be making their way to the Disney resorts for socially-distanced meet and greets.
Here are Goofy and Pluto rolling up to the Yacht Club in their very colorful RV that they stole from outside my house.
The FIT2RUN store (both pictured and not pictured) will be returning to Disney Springs at some point in the future, likely replacing the Lucky Brand store, which pulled out of its space in the brickyard section of Town Square after going bankrupt (again) earlier this year. Curl, which was previously next door, closed back in 2019. Both will eventually be replaced by M&M’s. It will be nice to finally find somewhere that you can purchase both shoes and candy, since you’re otherwise limited to about 4,000 Wal-Marts nationwide. Or Prime Now, which would deliver both to your resort for less money in a couple of hours.
Disney made a slew of demands on its tenants back when they were formulating their plans for the Springs, including forcing just about every location to either renovate or offer a service that you couldn’t find anywhere else. For example, the Columbia store, which I am quite familiar with, is the only one that will embroider your name on your shirt for you. Otherwise, you might be liable to pick up somebody else’s gear and go out on a boat with the wrong guy. Not that that has ever happened to me and is why I only wear the one shirt with my name clearly displayed. Most of the stores opened just in time for the South American economy to tank, along with all of Disney’s revenue and traffic projections. There is no word on whether Paddlefish will be able to afford to purchase the title of “Best Seafood Restaurant in Orlando” again this year, but it seems unlikely.
Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom will be closed for longer than initially expected, reopening on April 2nd, 2021, after closing on January 3rd. If you’d like to replicate the experience during the downtime, for about $10, you can buy a SmartWater, pour it over your head, feel bad about deforestation while standing on a 40-square mile plot of land that Disney paved over 50 years ago, while occasionally spinning around. It’s more fun than it sounds.
Disney Investor Day 2020 is coming up in about a week, and is expected to last about four hours, which is probably about as long as most people spend per year watching Disney+ given the shorter runtimes of the various episodes of “The Mandalorian” this season. You can view the stream here when the time comes and learn more about why Disney isn’t going to pay you a dividend on your stock this year. Or you could spend the same four hours trying to find something you want to watch on Disney+ that isn’t titled “The Mandalorian.” Good luck.
Disney is rolling out mobile checkout at stores, beginning with a test at Temporary Mouse Gear at EPCOT. If you’d like to participate, you’ll grab a designated mobile checkout bag, scan the item barcodes with your phone app as you place them in your bag, hit the checkout button when you’re done, pay in the app, and then show your QR code to a cast member as you exit. Ideally not at the same time as you try to steal something. It doesn’t strike me as being particularly convenient as you’re basically becoming Disney’s employee, but I also spent longer than I’d like to admit trying to figure out how to turn my new AirPods off today, so I may be as behind the times with this stuff as Disney. Instead of having to make a list of the eight steps it takes to complete mobile checkout and post them in 37 different places around the store, they could probably just say, “You know, like at Sam’s Club in 2014.”
“KRNR The Rock Station,” better known as, “That Kiosk You Pass On the Left While Scoffing at the Length of the Line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster,” is set to reopen on Saturday with the menu below:
Noticeably absent are its usual entrees of Hot Dogs and Macaroni & Cheese.
I’m not sure what Jack Daniel’s tastes like with something mixed in, but it sounds promising.
And if you needed any more proof that big evil corporations such as myself can give back from time to time, Disney released their Magic Carpets of Aladdin Wishables series with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish. The line is available on shopDisney (the ‘s’ is lowercase) here.
We begin with our usual chart of Animal Kingdom’s average daily wait since it reopened on July 11th:
Thanksgiving week was a wild one at Animal Kingdom with waits on Monday through Friday that were nearly twice as long as the week before. The average for the week was a little more than 20% higher than the previous high of 35.5 minutes realized all the way back in October. Waits dropped significantly this week, but it looks like the weekly average will still come in around 29 minutes, which would make it around the sixth busiest week since the Parks reopened. Had you visited on the Monday of Thanksgiving Week, you would have waited over ten times longer than a few days during opening week, and around five times longer than each of the first eight Mondays. Here we are pining for Florida in July again.
Here’s the chart for Thursday:
Downtime looks to be the cause of some of the higher waits with DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest, and It’s Tough To Be A Bug going down in their entirety at some point, and what is likely at least one theater on Flight of Passage going down at the end of the night, causing waits to more than double from the afternoon’s 40 to 60 minutes. For a while, Na’vi River Journey actually saw higher waits than Flight of Passage, in large part because only one party is seated per boat through the tunnel of song. People then apparently realized Flight of Passage still existed and it returned to its rightful spot as the longest average wait at the Park. River Journey is making a bit of a comeback with its 50-minute average. The short hours, combined with the capacity increase, certainly aren’t helping distribute heavier crowds. Waits do drop in the evening, for the most part, but afternoon downtime plagued the end of the day.
Waits were just about average at Epcot when compared to the past couple of months. Like what we saw at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Frozen’s waits should eventually go down assuming they eventually install the plastic barriers on every boat and load every row. But with the Future World rides outside of Test Track and Soarin’ posting an average of around 15 minutes each, it should have been a pretty easy day. Seeing the 12pm start to the day remains slightly shocking.
This may not be the crowd for a Nine Inch Nails reference, but every day at the Studios is exactly the same, with the Park basically selling out of Park Passes across each of the ticket segments every day, and with the Park rarely increasing its operating hours over the last five months. We still see some variance in wait times based on attraction downtime and how exaggerated waits may be throughout the day. But it doesn’t really matter what day you go, other than weekends are a better bet because they aren’t any worse. Typically, the other Parks see longer waits on the weekends with Passholders more likely to visit. Over Thanksgiving, the Friday and Saturday had the lowest averages of the week, which is not something that you would probably predict. A post that you may see after this one will explain why the cells are green beginning on that Tuesday, but it’s the start of when Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway basically doubled capacity overnight. That brought its average wait down from around 85 minutes to around 45 minutes. So it isn’t like attendance is down because wait times are down over the last couple of weeks. They’re just down at that one attraction and there are so few at the Studios that it has a greater impact than it would at something like Magic Kingdom. It is a little goofy to see Thanksgiving week with the lowest average since the second week in September, though.
Here’s the chart:
Rise of the Resistance had a particularly bad day, only moving through about 60 boarding groups, compared to its recent average of well over 100. That likely caused people to both stick around hoping they would get to ride, and caused thousands of people to be in line somewhere else during multiple hours of downtime, in turn increasing waits. But even then, the overall average wait is within a few seconds of the holiday before it, and within a couple of minutes of the averages from the last couple of weeks. There may be a good day to go to the Studios at some point, but there’s really no way to identify when Rise is going to operate all day or Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway won’t go down. Outside of Rise, this is actually pretty good. If Slinky opened late, as it did due to cold weather during a couple of the previous days, or went down in the afternoon, things would be even worse. But what you see above is about what you can expect. You might hit the jackpot and go on a day when the average is only 38 minutes instead of 42 minutes, but it’s not going to make a tremendous amount of difference. Of course, if you get boarding group 82, and it’s the one day that week when they only make it to group 65, you’d probably have a different opinion.
I doubt too many people had the Thursday a week after Thanksgiving as having an average wait within a minute of the holiday, and longer than the previous Saturday, but here we are. Overall, Thanksgiving did see the longest waits yet, but we’ve seen plenty of other days with 30+ minute averages as recently as the end of September. Assuming the averages on Friday and Saturday are about the same as two weeks ago, this week will be the third or fourth busiest since the Parks reopened in July. Given that Disney acknowledged their capacity increase, it’s not a big surprise considering we’re not seeing the hours extended enough to keep waits as low as they were before.
Here’s the chart:
Waits are above-average, probably in part due to some capacity reductions at the likes of Big Thunder, which shouldn’t be posting 75 minutes at 11:15am, or Space Mountain, which didn’t used to hit a half hour before 10am. If you’re going on a day with these operating hours over the next couple of months, this is about what I would plan to experience. If average waits are closer to 25 minutes than 30 minutes, then you’ll just be that much better off.
Current Disney Park Pass Availability
Somewhat interestingly, Magic Kingdom is the most likely Park to be out of availability for Disney Resort Guests or Theme Park Tickets Guests at the moment. You may also notice that they’ve changed the wording above the calendar to make your ticket purchase more clear.
As recently as about a week ago, the top portion would have read like this:
It only took about six months of confusion to lay things out more clearly.
Here’s January for the same segment:
It’s clear where Disney hasn’t yet replenished Park Pass availability at the Studios as it’s the only Park currently unavailable over the first five days of the month. At one time, the Studios showed no Studios availability whatsoever for Disney Resort Guests in December. One wonders if they would have spent the money to install dividers on attractions like Runaway Railway if it didn’t also mean they could sell more tickets and still say they were following CDC guidelines. That question probably answers itself though.
Passholders continue to see limited to no availability on most weekends where lower tier Passes aren’t blocked out:
Currently, no Passholders without a resort reservation would be able to book anything over the next two Saturdays or Sundays. Friday the 4th is also a sellout. On all of the other yellow days, only the Studios is unavailable, with the exception of the 11th, when Magic Kingdom is also unavailable.
The Studios remains the only unavailable Park in January. Disney will likely replenish availability in the next week or two. Otherwise, Magic Kingdom on October 1st remains the only other unavailable Park/day in 2021 beyond January.
You can always pull up Disney’s current version of the calendar here.
Operating Schedule Changes:
Disney typically makes their changes on Friday afternoons, so we should see another round then. You can always pull up Disney’s official calendar here.
From last week:
- December 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19: 8am – 8pm (from 8am-7pm)
- December 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17: 8am – 5pm (from 9am – 5pm)
- December 31: 7am – 8pm (from 9am – 5pm)
- December 31: 10am – 10pm (from 12pm – 8pm)
- December 6 through 19: 9am – 7pm (from 10am – 7pm)
- December 31: 9am – 9pm (from 10am – 7pm)
- December 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19: 8am – 9pm (from 9am – 9pm
- December 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17: 8am – 8pm (from 9am – 8pm)
- December 31: 8am – 11pm (from 9am – 7pm)
We’ll go back to the clearer daily format with the next update.
Interesting Menu Changes:
BaseLine Tap House:
- Golden Road 329 Lager replaced with Golden Road Golden State Cerveza
Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining:
- The California Roll is back to being grilled
Cinderella’s Royal Table:
- Added Braised Lamb Shank – Cannellini Bean Ragoût, Caramelized Pickled Shallots, and Herbed Panko Breadcrumbs
We’ll try to keep more up to date over the coming weeks now that we have another visit to Hollywood Studios out of the way.