Fun Friday: RideMax Roulette at the Magic Kingdom

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

If anyone wants to join me, either virtually or in-person, I’ll be in the Magic Kingdom again this coming Friday, May 8th, doing live tweets and Facebook updates as I play another round of RideMax Roulette.

For those not familiar, RideMax Roulette is a game using the RideMax planning tool, where I select a list of attractions at random and plug them into RideMax. RideMax then creates an optimized game plan using those attractions designed to minimize my waiting and walking. I then take the plan to the park to see how it works out. (Just FYI, because I’m biased, I call this a “RideMax plan,” but I know that some would call this a “touring plan” instead, lol).

Playing this “game” helps me keep things real by actually using plans the software produces, as well as having me ride attractions that I might not normally visit, but which customers very well could. (“Business philosophy” note here: There’s nothing quite like putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and actually, you know, *using* your own product, to help you know where the strengths of that product are, as well as learning what could be improved.)

For this week’s test, my only requirement going into the process was that I wanted to at least hit the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. So I made sure I included that attraction, then added attractions to the list using my handy-dandy random number generator, until I had enough attractions to fill a half-day at the park.

In alphabetical order, here is the complete list of twelve attractions I plan to visit from 9:00am, when the park opens, until noon-ish:

  • Aladdin’s Magic Carpets
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Astro Orbiter (Yes, I’ll be visiting this one twice.)  🙂
  • Barnstormer
  • Barnstormer (Yes, also twice!)
  • Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Splash Mountain

Before creating the plan, I had to decide what I wanted to use my three FastPass+ reservations for. While this can sometimes be a hard choice, this time it seemed obvious: Peter Pan, Splash Mountain, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train probably offer the most opportunity for time-saving with FP+. (And If I couldn’t get a FP+ reservation for 7DMT, I’d probably use it for the Haunted Mansion instead.)

Well, as luck would have it, there was still a FP+ slot available for 7DMT in Disney’s reservation system, so I went with it.

Here is the plan RideMax came up with for Friday, and which I plan to use:

RideMax Touring Plan for Disney World's Magic Kingdom

So, you might be asking yourself, “But what if you weren’t able to get that 7DMT FastPass+ reservation? What would the plan look like in that case?”

Well, since you asked, here is the RideMax plan the software produced when I told RideMax to use FP+ for the Haunted Mansion instead of 7DMT:

RideMax Plan riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train standby

As you can see, this plan estimates we’d wait 43 minutes longer overall using FP+ for Haunted Mansion and visiting 7DMT using the standby line right at opening time. As I look at this second scenario, the estimates for Astro Orbiter look a bit high to me, but even if the actual combined wait for Astro Orbiter ends up being 15 minutes less than shown on the plan, this second scenario would still involve an extra 30 minutes or so of waiting over the first plan.

The other thing to note about this second scenario is that the 10-minute estimate for 7DMT right at opening time depends on your ability to follow some pretty specific instructions, and to get to the ride right after rope drop. (That note in the plan next to the 7DMT entry to “see tip #1 below” is crucial to the plan’s success.) RideMax subscribers will see various tips like this sprinkled throughout their RideMax plans, and this particular tip is probably the longest and most detailed of any, as you’re trying to stay ahead of a rope-drop crowd that looks like the scene below, with many or even most of the crowd headed to 7DMT:

Magic Kingdom Rope Drop

I guess the moral of this story is that if you can use FP+ for the Mine Train ride, do it, since it can help you avoid this whole rope-drop mess. (And of course the second moral of the story is that RideMax makes plan comparisons like this very simple.)

So, please join me Friday morning for live tweets and Facebook updates as I go along, including pictures of the day as it progresses. And if you want to join me in person, watch for me near the Newsstand outside the Magic Kingdom tunnel just before the rope drop. I’ll be the really tall guy with a large-ish camera hanging around my neck, getting ready to make a beeline to Astro Orbiter as soon as the opening countdown finishes. 🙂


Tax Day: RideMax Roulette at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom

Similar to last week’s round of RideMax Roulette at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I’ve decided to celebrate tax day, which falls on Wednesday, April 15th, by doing another round of RideMax Roulette, this time at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. If anyone is in the park Wednesday and cares to join me, feel free to look for the really tall guy in the rope drop crowd holding a camera over his head and taking pictures of the crowds (hopefully) behind me. I’ll be making my way to Fantasyland on Wednesday as soon as the park opens.

I’ll be doing another half-day visit, and again, I ran my trusty random number generator to come up with a list of attractions to plug into RideMax. This time, the list doesn’t happen to include any of the big “mountain” rides, but the plan might be suitable for someone with young children who just wants to drop in for the morning.

Here is the randomly-generated attraction list, in alphabetical order:

  • Aladdin’s Magic Carpets
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Dumbo, the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island
  • Stitch’s Great Escape
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Winnie the Pooh

As far as FP+ selections go, there’s nothing here that would absolutely call for FP+. I first tried using FP+ for Aladdin’s Magic Carpets, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Winnie the Pooh, but this close to my visit date Disney’s system didn’t have my needed time selection for ETWB, so I swapped it out for the Teacups. FP+ there isn’t really needed, but the new plan RideMax came up with looks good, at least on paper. (And despite the lack of the more “thrilling” attractions, I know this exercise is good for helping me to “keep RideMax real” for customers. It’s been a long time since I’ve actually visited TSI, for example.)

Here’s a screenshot of the game plan RideMax came up with. Remember, RideMax’s goal is to minimize both waiting and walking time:

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Touring Plan

Like last week, I’ll be posting live updates from the park Wednesday on Facebook and on Twitter.

Follow along there, or if you want some exercise, join me at ETWB right after rope drop, and enjoy tax day in the park!


Beating the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Crowds at Park Opening. Festival of the Lion King Opens in New Harambe Theater.

Magic Kingdom - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train CrowdsAs you can see in the image above, Disney is now using a new “follow the rope” procedure when they open the Magic Kingdom in the morning. This is used to help prevent guests from running to the very popular new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride, as well as to the Anna and Elsa meet and greet.

I visited the Magic Kingdom yesterday, and followed pretty closely behind the Cast Members leading the way, as the picture above — and the one right below — shows.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Park Opening

What may not be obvious from these pictures, is the HUGE crowds following behind. I somehow managed to hold my camera over my head, pointing backwards, and caught the following amazing sight (click on any image for a larger view):

Magic Kingdom Crowds

With most of these folks attempting to get to these new attractions, you can see how important it is to both arrive early and to know what you’re doing once you get there. The first one is up to you, and if you’re a RideMax subscriber, we’ve added an in-plan tip (our longest one yet) to help with the second one.

New Lion King Theater in Africa

I also hopped over to the Animal Kingdom yesterday to check out the new Festival of the Lion King theater, which has been built in Africa, replacing the old location in Camp Minnie-Mickey. As you can see in the picture above, the standby entrance is on the left, with FP+ access on the right.

Festival of the Lion King - New Theater Location in Africa

Just to put the new location in context, this is the wide-angle view from the bridge leading into Africa. Kilimanjaro Safaris is straight ahead on the right-hand side of the picture, with the new Lion King theater on the very far left-hand side of the image.

New Lion King Theater

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, just hang a left here to get to the new theater.

New Festival of the Lion King Theater in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Here’s the view of the theater building taken from the far end, looking back toward where the previous picture was taken.

Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King

It’s the same great show as before, one I consider a “must see” attraction!

A final note is that in my observations yesterday, there is no need to use FP+ to visit the FOTLK. For the noon show, you could still get in standby by showing up just 15 minutes before showtime. Arriving a half-hour early should be a safe bet on all but the busiest days of the year.



Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Available in RideMax

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train EntranceJust a quick note to say that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is now available for selection in RideMax, for plans beginning May 28th.

I expect that we’ll update our wait time estimates after the attraction is actually open and we’ve had the chance to see the lines firsthand, so stay tuned for that.

Happy Planning!




Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Opens May 28th! Press Preview at the Magic Kingdom

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
The construction walls are down now around the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s two-day preview for the press began yesterday. Cameras and press people were everywhere.

The big announcement is that the attraction will open for all guests on May 28th, with FastPass+ reservations available beginning on that date. There could also be soft openings ahead of the 28th, but nothing official at this point.

Here are a handful of pictures taken yesterday:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
Disney wasn’t allowing any “regular” guests to ride the attraction, but every now and then you could see some of the press folks on the ride.
Mine Cars
I like the detail on the ride vehicles, but I’m not sure if these guys riding the cars could look any more excited…  🙂
Grumpy was playing his part well.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - Park Location
The above picture shows the location of the ride entrance which is on the far left edge of this shot. As you can see, the entrance is located just across the street from the Winnie the Pooh exit.

For those of you using RideMax, stay tuned! We expect to have this new attraction added to RideMax soon for dates beginning May 28th. We’ll use some very rough wait time estimates before it opens, and expect to refine those after we’ve had the chance to see the queue in actual operation.