RideMax Updated for New Early Morning Magic Program at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World recently announced a new separately-ticketed event for the Magic Kingdom called Extra Morning Magic. It basically consists of early morning access to three attractions in Fantasyland, plus breakfast.

Those who purchase tickets for this event (at $69 for adults and $59 for kids) will be allowed into Fantasyland at 7:45am, when they can experience Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Peter Pan’s Flight before the park opens to regular guests at 9:00am. Breakfast will be served at the Village Haus Restaurant until 10:00am.

So far, announced dates for the event are the following Tuesdays and Saturdays:

Continue reading “RideMax Updated for New Early Morning Magic Program at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom”

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Spring Break 2016 RideMax Test at the Magic Kingdom, Part II: FastPass+ Kiosk Insanity, Small World Letdown, Fort Langhorn, Pecos Bill’s Cafe Lunch Review

Welcome back to Part II of my spring break 2016 RideMax test at the Magic Kingdom. As you recall from Part I, I’m using the following RideMax plan on Tuesday, March 22nd, to visit the Magic Kingdom:

Spring Break 2016 Magic Kingdom RideMax Test - Walt Disney World

It’s now 9:52am, and so far in Part I we’ve already completed everything up to and including the Haunted Mansion, along with Madame Leota’s shrimp taco speech. Next up on today’s plan is “it’s a small world.”

it's a small world - Short Wait - Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Our RideMax plan has allotted eight minutes for this, so taking a look at the wait time above, you might be encouraged…

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Spring Break RideMax Test at the Magic Kingdom, Part I: Rope Drop to Mine Train, Happy Duck, Buzz Lightyear Target Tips, Madame Leota’s Shrimp Taco Rant

Rope Drop at the Magic Kingdom
Rope Drop at the Magic Kingdom, March 22, 2016. This view never gets old. 😉

This post is part one of my visit to the Magic Kingdom this past Tuesday, March 22nd, during the busiest period of spring break. Like the RideMax Roulette visits I’ve done previously, I took along a RideMax plan to see how well things would hold up on such a busy day.

Before I get started, I should warn you that I got a bit carried away with this recap of my visit, so I split it into two separate posts. The recap contains northward of 250 images total. Even split in two, it’s still a very large download for each half.

I just warn you about the post size especially if you’re on a cellular data plan with limited data — you may want to read this someplace you have a fast (and free) wifi connection. 🙂

Continue reading “Spring Break RideMax Test at the Magic Kingdom, Part I: Rope Drop to Mine Train, Happy Duck, Buzz Lightyear Target Tips, Madame Leota’s Shrimp Taco Rant”

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RideMax Roulette with Sixteen Magic Kingdom Attractions, Rope Drop to Mine Train, Soap Dish Lunch, Missing the Boat

For those who follow this blog, you know that I like to play a little game I call “RideMax Roulette.” I select a list of attractions at random, plug them into RideMax, then take the resulting RideMax touring plan to the park.

I decided to do this again last Thursday, February 25th, when the Magic Kingdom opened at 8am. These hour-earlier-than-normal openings are great, as they can really give you a jump on the crowds. (This advantage for 8am openings applies at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, by the way.) Add to that the fact that Thursday was a “RideMax Recommended” day for the Magic Kingdom (even without the 8am opening) and it sounded like a great day to get out and take a RideMax plan for a spin.

The list of sixteen attractions I’ll be visiting — and which I plugged into RideMax — are the following, in no particular order:

  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Barnstormer
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Haunted Mansion (twice)
  • Splash Mountain
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Tiki Room
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Liberty Belle Riverboat
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (twice)

Just to show you something of the process I go through when I create a plan with RideMax, I first created the plan without selecting any attractions for FastPass+. Here is the initial plan RideMax created:

RideMax Roulette - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

I’m not finished yet, though, because I’ll definitely want to use FP+ to see if I can reduce the amount of time I spend in line. Because it’s hard to know in advance which FP+ will be available for any given date and group size, you get to decide for yourself which specific attractions you want to use FP+ for when creating your RideMax plan (and the “Tips” inside RideMax itself can help you prioritize if you’re unsure).

In considering where to use FP+, I like to create a plan like the above which uses no FP+, then look at the following:

  • If the plan begins right when the park opens, which attraction is showing up first thing on the RideMax plan? Because the minutes right when the park opens are so valuable in terms of short wait times, if FP+ is available for that first attraction, it’s likely a good candidate to consider using FP+ for.
  • Which attractions in the list have the longest wait times? These are also good candidates for FP+, if available.

Using that first criterion above, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train would be a good candidate for FP+ because it’s the first thing on the list and is taking up that very valuable first time slot. Unfortunately, I’m creating this plan just two days in advance of my visit, and FP+ reservations for 7DMT are long gone by now. I’ll just have to bite the bullet and ride this one standby.

So, using the second criterion, I’d look at what are the attractions with the longest wait times, and are there FP+ reservations available for these? In the plan above, the two attractions that stand out the most are the Tomorrowland Speedway and the Jungle Cruise. I typically don’t like to use FP+ for a “show” attraction like PhilharMagic (with 14 minutes just being a conservative worst-case scenario estimate, and where FP+ likely wouldn’t make a bit of difference), so the next one I’d consider using FP+ for is Splash Mountain.

I check these three attractions off on the FastPass+ options screen in RideMax, and have it re-run the plan. I get the following, quite different touring order:

RideMax Roulette Plan - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Note that in this plan with FP+, RideMax has knocked 53 minutes off the original overall wait estimate, and a couple of minutes off the estimated walking time as well, so this looks pretty decent.

FastPass+ reservations were still available for all of the time slots indicated on the plan, so I made those reservations, then took this plan to the park. (And if those time slots hadn’t been available, I could also have specified to RideMax the time at which I wanted to use the FP+ reservations, and it would have planned for these accordingly.)

Monorail - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

I arrived in the parking lot a little later than I had hoped, but I was still on the resort monorail by 7:24am. (The express monorail wasn’t running yet.) As you can see, we were packed in pretty tight here without a lot of elbow room.

Morning Arrival - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Above is the scene that awaited me after passing through the turnstiles (along with my first-ever metal detector security check. That extra lens in my jacket pocket must have looked scary lol). It’s now 7:35am, so I’ve made fairly good time getting here. (By the way, you can click on any image in this post for a larger view, then use your browser’s BACK button to return to the post.)

Even though the above scene may look fairly busy, this is really nothing compared to the crowds you’d see 25 minutes before a 9:00am opening. So again, these 8:00am openings are golden.

Rope Drop - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

In the picture just above, I’ve made my way to the opposite side of the crowds shown in the previous picture, and I’m now standing over near the wheelchair rental area. Especially if I’m heading to Mine Train first thing, I like to get as close to the tunnel as possible, even if it’s off to the right-hand side a bit.

Rope Drop - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Here, I’ve moved into position in an empty spot of concrete nearer the entrance tunnel.

We're OFF - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

The countdown finishes at 7:45am, and we’re off!

Continue reading “RideMax Roulette with Sixteen Magic Kingdom Attractions, Rope Drop to Mine Train, Soap Dish Lunch, Missing the Boat”

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More Skipper Canteen Food Reviews, Riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Castle - Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

I’m later than normal getting this out, but Liesle and I stopped into the Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours on Friday, February 5th, mostly to take in some sunshine and so that Liesle could experience the new Skipper Canteen Restaurant. I had been there before myself with Josh from easyWDW, but thought it was time for a more serious — if brief — food review than what I had done previously, even though we’ll just be trying a few items from the menu this trip.

Continue reading “More Skipper Canteen Food Reviews, Riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom”

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