We’ll take a visit to Magic Kingdom to catch up on a few newsworthy notes happening around the Park, in addition to stopping for dinner at Pecos Bill to see how the Beef Nachos hold up to other offerings.
It’s always fun seeing the Park transform for the Halloween season. The picture immediately above this one is from August 28th, just five days before the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. And while September 1st might seem a bit early to go Full Halloween…
I think the decorations are tasteful and not unlike what a small town might do leading up to the holiday. Granted they might not put up said decorations until mid-Halloween. But Halloween is fun and perhaps More Halloween is more fun in the land of make believe anyway.
With skies this blue and cloud cover so pretty, you might first consider taking watercraft over from the Transportation and Ticket Center, Polynesian Village, or Grand Floridian Resort.
And here we are. Not a moment too soon.
The Princess Elena Royal Welcome is scheduled on the Castle Forecourt Stage in front of Cinderella Castle four times a day at the moment – 9:05am, 10am, 12:20pm, and 1:35pm. In related news, People en Espanol magazine named the fictional(?) Princess as one of the most powerful Latinas, or “25 Mujeres Más Poderosas.” No word on whether Queen Elsa will be offered a similar award in People en Norwegian magazine.
The show lasts less than ten minutes, but may be worthwhile if you have interest. It’s not typically as heavily attended as Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.
That show also has a special fall finale, which seems like a nice plus for the season.
Crane disciples will be happy to know that she is standing tall over the Castle as various work is done.
In addition to hanging the Dream Lights. We are not worthy.
In Tomorrowland, the “big” news might be THE PAINTING OF SOME ROCKS.
They used to be this sort of reddish orange Grand Canyon color.
This is New Tomorrowland:
Not as interesting as incremental price increases on fountain beverages in my opinion.
But the “real” big news is perhaps that Stitch’s Great Escape will become “seasonal” beginning October 2nd. At the moment, it’s only scheduled to be open:
- Thanksgiving Week: November 19 through November 26
- Christmas Weeks: December 17 through January 2
With no word on when (or if) it would be open after that. Perhaps not until Easter.
I never had a big problem with Stitch myself though I very rarely go on it and if I was looking to do something indoors in Tomorrowland, would probably pick the more relaxing Carousel of Progress. But I think Stitch executes what it’s trying to accomplish better than most people give it credit for and the animatronic itself is fantastic.
And listening to people freak out throughout the show may or may not be more entertaining than most attractions. Word seems to be that a Wreck-It Ralph attraction will appear in its place sometime down the line. Personally, I think this area is ripe for an eighth or ninth Guardians of the Galaxy ride.
Still waiting on what may be new signage to the right of Carousel of Progress, though the one there complements the new color scheme rather well already.
We still headed in for a show:
The building is particularly beautiful at night when the lighting really pops.
You might have caught my article, “September Returns With A Vengeance To Walt Disney World” back on September 7th with a followup on the 9th, aptly titled, “Walt Disney World Wait Times Continue Their September Decline and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Waits.” But Magic Kingdom waits are not short every day and that is particularly true of Saturdays moving through most weeks up until the end of the year, when Magic Kingdom is going to be open somewhere between 9am-11pm and 8am-1am with Wishes scheduled, versus the four nights per week it closes at 7pm for the Mickey’s Parties.
Here are posted wait times from the 10th, which the picture above was taken on:
This isn’t necessarily terrible (and it cuts the 8am-9am hour off)…but if you remember the chart from just two days prior:
The overall average wait is almost half. And any afternoon that Mickey’s PhilharMagic is posting 25 minutes is probably one that you want to find the keys to your resort pool.
For a more recent example, here is this past Saturday:
This chart again cuts off the 8am-9am hour when you’d see some of the shortest waits of the day. Afternoon peak wait times are considerably shorter than the 10th even if the overall wait is only a minute less since there isn’t the 11pm-12am hour of shorter waits late into the evening. But one important takeaway from days with longer hours is the short waits early and late. While you don’t want to be in standby for the majority of attractions even as early as 11am, 8am-10am and anything after 8pm is going to be very good. And 8pm to 12am might even be more fun as crowds get lower and waits get shorter instead of the morning when it’s the other way around.
Here’s waits from yesterday, September 20th, a Party date:
Note how much shorter afternoon waits are with the average peak never over 25 minutes.
But there are opportunities to take advantage of lower waits even on the most crowded days, even if the line starts here at Haunted Mansion in the middle of the afternoon.
Hopefully you didn’t cheat and actually look at the wait times chart from the 10th, but what do you think the Dumbo wait is here at 2:45pm?
80 minutes is the correct answer. It would hit that at noon and peak at 90.
it’s a small world had been closed for refurbishment for a few weeks, but recently reopened with even more technical problems than before. You might remember our study of Pirates of the Caribbean downtime last year. When Pirates reopened, it closed for technical difficulties more often than before the refurbishment. You can find all of those charts in this post. When Buzz closed earlier this year for a lengthy refurbishment where no work was actually done, the ride was so unreliable when it reopened that they had to close it again about a month later.
Never look down in the Buzz queue. Trust me. Unless you want to see what you tripped over. Which you don’t.
Speaking of refurbishments, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is down for a major one. A tour along the water:
If you look closely you can see one person working so it should finish up on time. Hopefully we will see some improvements to the earthquake rock effect thing near the end of the ride a la Disneyland.
Elsewhere in Frontierland, Woody and Jessie continue to meet here. For how much longer is anybody’s guess.
In a move perhaps nobody saw coming, you might remember that Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe changed its menu to burritos and fajitas about a year ago now.
But while many welcomed the change – variety is the spice of life after all except if you are thinking about visiting another Disney World blog which is a “super” bad idea – some number of people “just wanted a burger” like you could have picked up for however many decades prior.
But while Pecos didn’t originally offer a burger during its initial menu change, it has since added two, only one of which you’ll see on the online menu.
But a Southwest Burger topped with Pepper Jack Cheese, Lettuce, and Sliced Tomato is also available for $12.99. So it’s basically the Taco Burger without the seasoned ground beef at a $3 discount.
But this time around we are after the $11.99 Beef Nachos, which are served in a bowl with taco meat on top along with some lettuce and a few pieces of diced tomato.
These can be dressed up with an unlimited supply from the “fixin’s bar.” which is nearly impossible to make look attractive. I apologize:
But you’ve got sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapenos, pico de gallo, corn salsa, and guacamole.
Be careful with what looks like cheese sauce because it’s actually southwest salad dressing. There’s also a variety of salsas and other toppings.
But speaking of cheese, or something in the vicinity of cheese, you can now add a side of “queso” for a dollar, which is a pretty sizable cup of grocery store quality cheese dip that tastes mostly artificial. But in a good way. If you don’t care about the beef, you can ask about an off-menu side of chips that comes in at just $3.99. That could make for a sizable snack or full meal if you hit the toppings bar hard.
Loaded up, the nachos reminded me a lot of the old Taco Salads you used to be able to order here and at Tortuga Tavern. The problem with the Taco Salad was that Disney served it with just a dollop of beef inside of the cavernous shell, which appeared like a really chintzy portion at first blush. This probably isn’t any more beef than what was served inside those shells, but it “feels” heftier since the beef is placed on a pedestal of chips. The Taco Salad shell would have been more unique though – fluffier, crispier, and more airy than tortilla chips.
Granted I was hungry, but I thought these were satisfying with fresh flavors and vibrant colors. The beef they’re using is (hopefully) not going to find its way on the American Kobe menu anytime soon, but it was spiced well enough and there was enough of it that each chip got some. With the ability to add as much cheese, guac, and other stuff, you really have a big, shareable snack or meal here.
The nachos at Cantina are perhaps a little better with higher quality chips, but they’re much less customizable. And if you are at Pecos Bill then you are not at Epcot. So I think they’re worth a look whether you want to go with the beef or just order a side of chips.
Pecos is also doing a “Strawberry Lemonade Slush,” which I thought was refreshing with a pretty natural, sweet strawberry flavor that was only enhanced by a slight sourness of the lemonade. The last few slushes I’ve ordered at quick services have come with these straws automatically, but they are virtually useless.
Back outside, the relatively new smoking section outside the Park is picturesque along the water and well out of the way on the bus turnaround side near the ferryboat entrance. In the Park, it’s just Frontierland across from Big Thunder and that walkway that connects Fantasyland and Tomorrowland behind The Barnstormer and to the left of Space Mountain.
A reminder that you can now take a bus directly TO Disney Springs from any of the four major theme parks but not FROM Disney Springs to the theme parks. I hopped on the first bus to Disney Springs from Hollywood Studios a couple of weeks ago, which arrived at 4:08pm, departed at 4:09pm, and I was at Disney Springs something like 12 minutes later. So the bus won’t necessarily be waiting there at 4pm, but it should arrive shortly thereafter.
For now you’ll find me on the boat.
I guess we’ll go booth by booth at Food and Wine now? I feel like at an hour each to write it up, it’s going to take 30 hours. Maybe I will just say everything is super fun and really amazing.