After a week of sailing on the Disney Magic, it was a little surreal to step back into the Magic Kingdom again for my first post-Disney Cruise visit to Walt Disney World. Even at Orlando’s oldest theme park, things are always on the move, as I discovered in my mid-morning trip around the park’s eastern half. Here are some fresh observations from Magic Kingdom on 10/23/2014, including policy updates at Be Our Guest lunch, a bold new Tomorrowland color scheme, and the finale of Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It.
Be Our Guest Lunch
Fantasyland‘s popular Be Our Guest restaurant has bedeviled guests in recent months with its evolving lunch policies, which have shifted from favoring walk-up counter service toward FastPass+ reservations.
Here is what’s happening with Be Our Guest lunch seatings, as of my latest visit:
- Guests without reservations may form a standby line before the restaurant’s 10:30 a.m. opening.
- By the time I arrived at approximately 10:45 a.m., the standby line had already “closed for capacity.”
- No paper return time tickets were distributed for standby seating.
- I was told that standby seating was possible (but not guaranteed) in the last half-hour before lunch service ended at 2:30 p.m.
- Some same-day dinner reservations were available due to cancellations, but all were during the hard-ticket Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
FastPass+ reservations are now essentially required for ensuring a lunch visit to Be Our Guest, and are only available to WDW onsite resort guests via a special website. BoG reservations don’t count against your 3 daily FastPass+ picks, but usally can’t be secured until 27 days out and can be tough to come by. I recommend Liberty Square’s Columbia Harbour House as a tasty, hassle-free alternative around the corner.
Peter Pan Queue
Construction has progressed on the standby queue for Peter Pan’s Flight, although without any signs of the the long-rumored interactive elements.
The most noticeable changes are the relocation of these FastPass+ touchpoints, and the rerouting of the standby side, moving the merge point closer much closer to the entrance.
The standby/FastPass+ merger appeared somewhat smoother under this configuration, which appears to be the aim of the queue improvements so far. I’m uncertain if additional scenic elements are still to be added to the standby side, or if those plans were abandoned entirely.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
I’d heard rumors recently that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had been experiencing chronic technical difficulties, resulting in frequent downtimes. While anecdotal evidence suggests 7DMT has been having uneven operations ever since opening, I was lucky enough on my latest visit to experience the ride without any breakdowns.
I secured a midday FastPass+ less than 24 hours beforehand (it’s much easier to do when you are only booking for 1), and was riding within 6 minutes while the standby wait was posted at 60. It’s interesting to note that the other new mine train across town in Universal’s Diagon Alley was posting nearly identical waits at the same time, according to data in Lines.
7DMT has definitely grown on me after multiple rides, though it still leaves me wanting more as both a thrill junkie and dark ride connoisseur. Just do your best to use a FastPass+ for it, because the hyped interactive elements only appear in the last portions of the very long queue.
Storybook Circus and Fantasyland Railroad Station
As an iPhone user, I frequently find my battery drained after only a few hours in the park. So I’m pleased to report that the USB charging ports inside Storybook Circus’ former FastPass+ service station are still fully functional (unlike their brethren outside the Tangled restrooms).
Thanks to these ports, you can leave the electrical plug at home, and just carry a slender cable to replenish your phone.
Speaking of replenishing, don’t bother trying to do so at Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrowland. The sign for the charging station may still be there, but power provider itself was removed weeks ago.
The Walt Disney World Railroad is closed for refurbishment through November 7. A peek past the construction tarps showed some significant renovations going on, including the apparent removal of a portion of track.
New Tomorrowland Color Scheme
The biggest change while I was away was the return to service of Tomorrowland’s Astro Orbiter, accompanied by the debut of a new color scheme for the immediate area.
The new Tomorrowland color scheme could be said to recall the 1964 World’s Fair, Horizons, the Miami Dolphins… or even a Howard Johnson’s. We’ll let you make up your own mind about its aesthetic merits.
Either way, it’s good to see the Astro Orbiter operating again, although unfortunately the extensive refurbishment did not make the ornamental planets rotate again.
Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party Ends
As I was heading back to Main Street, U.S.A., I caught the tail end of one of the last-ever Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street parties.
The mini-parade was retired at the end of that day, and replaced the next morning with the extremely similar Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!.
The “new” street party has new music and some additional characters, but is essentially the same; if (like me) you found it skippable before, you probably still will.
I’ll share further any thoughts and photos after I see the new show in person on my next visit.
Magic Kingdom Hub Construction
After a swift sausage snack at Casey’s Corner (yay for free cheese sauce!), I concluded my tour of the Magic Kingdom’s east side with these photos of the ongoing hub construction project, as seen from the porch of the Crystal Palace buffet:
What are you interested in seeing in our future WDW observations? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll try to go look at it for you!