Update: Disney will let you wait in line through a break if it’s one of her shorter breaks. Apparently when I was watching, she was about to take an hour long break and the line was cut.
I took 596 pictures today, including a walkthrough of Magic Kingdom, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad construction, a ride on Jungle Cruise, the Sweet and Spicy Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, an exhaustive look at everything Test Track, and I’m sure a bunch of random garbage that a smarter blogger wouldn’t bore you with. We’ll start with the Rapunzel move and then work through the rest of it. If Disney releases the May operating schedule update along with the November 2012 schedule tomorrow, it will be more of a delayed release.
I’m also planning to head out to Epcot tomorrow to see what’s going on with Test Track. The refurbishment is listed on this week’s Times Guide as beginning Monday, despite DisneyWorld.com still saying it begins on June 1st and continues through July 31st. In the Times Guide, there’s no mention of an a cappella group performing at the attraction and it lists Circle of Life and Living with the Land as closing at 9pm. They may indeed stay open until 10pm. I’ll investigate.
Rapunzel originally began greeting guests at Fairytale Gardens alongside Flynn Rider. The characters would dance with the kids and then the two of them would greet guests together. Wait times were ordinarily over 90 minutes and could easily hit two hours. The capacity was virtually 100 people per hour. As this was untenable, Disney removed Flynn on July 3, 2011 and instead a cast member danced with the kids while Rapunzel took a break. Lines were shorter, but still almost always 45+ minutes in the afternoon and upwards of 60 to 90 minutes when Magic Kingdom was busy. Rapunzel moved from Fairytale Gardens to Tourguide Gardens today to make way for Princess Merida from Brave. Disney Parks Blog originally announced that Flynn would return for the summer. They reversed course a few days later and announced that would come to pass. Merida should begin greeting guests in the middle of May.
This is the meet and greet area in context. It’s just inside the main entrance on the left side. If you’re headed here first thing in the morning, you’ll want to position yourself as close to the front as you can on the left side. If you try to enter on the right side of the railroad station, you’ll have to try to cross through a ton of people and will arrive much later than anyone entering on the left side. This is the first day that Rapunzel greeted here, but I don’t see this meet and greet being any less of a priority than it was before. You want to head here first thing if you want to meet her or be prepared to wait 45+ minutes later in the day. While I was standing there, the cast members were actively turning away everyone that tried to enter the line because they wouldn’t be able to meet during this session. I’ll have to return to see if you can time it so you walk right into the Meet and Greet or whether the line is long enough that you would have to wait through a break. I don’t have her exact meet times at the moment, but will update when they become available.
Rapunzel meets with the same generic background as Winnie the Pooh and other characters that have appeared here. There’s no longer any coloring or dancing involved. It operates like any regular meet and greet.
Even if you’re the first person here, you’ll still looking at a 20 minute wait from the time Magic Kingdom officially opens. The main problem I think we’ll see is that it isn’t going to be as easy to meet her towards the end of the day since people may see her and decide to hop in line as they exit. That wasn’t as big of a deal at Fairytale Gardens because it’s out of the way. Luckily, Town Square Courtyard isn’t particularly obvious and the great majority of people have never heard of it.
Ropes extend out here now to allow for more people to get in line. When it was just Winnie the Pooh and Tigger meeting, the ropes weren’t necessary.
The line only looks this short because they aren’t letting anyone else in line.
The last time I made one of these “Enter Here” arrows, I ended up pointing at a woman’s crotch, so I’m going to be careful not to do that again. The entrance to the queue is on this side. There were about eight suits monitoring the situation while I was there. We may see some changes as to how it operates over the coming weeks. I would love to see a better backdrop and some props of some sort. It’s pretty boring as it stands.
Fairytale Gardens as it sits empty. It’s the nicest of the meet and greet areas as far as I can remember.
For Rapunzel, the new meet and greet area is a definite demotion. The old one was way better and Disney announcing that Flynn would be appearing and then retracting is unfortunate. I think it would be easier to overlook her sparse surroundings if Flynn was also meeting guests. Since Disney has the pocketbook and the talent to add Flynn, it’s a shame that they’ve chosen not to. And he’s appearing in the Parade now. So he’s already there. With that said, Merida is the next big thing and only one princess can meet at Fairytale Gardens. Hopefully New Fantasyland will present some new opportunities for guests to meet the characters in more interesting surroundings. Disney did an excellent job with Tinker Bell’s Nook and Merida’s meet should be even better.
Woody and Jessie continue greeting guests to the left of Splash Mountain. Lines are even longer than they were when they met near Splash Mountain’s exit.
I’d like to join your posse, boys, but first I’m gonna sing a little song.
End of line.
Great picture, right? Winnie the Pooh and Tigger continue to greet guests near the exit to Splash Mountain.
Doubling down on bad pictures, this one was taken last week where they meet. You can sort of see Tigger’s ears to the left there.
Pinocchio is reportedly no longer greeting guests in Town Square. I looked for him and didn’t see him, but he does take a lot of breaks.
So there you have it! The latest!