Does anybody remember the time when if you saw somebody holding up their phone or tablet or camera or what have you that they were probably taking a picture of what’s in front of them and it might be polite to step out of their way? And now there’s a 95% chance that they’re using the front camera to take a picture of themselves and you can just continue about your business?

After spending 2,000+ words and 50+ pictures strutting around Main Street, we head into Adventureland just before 6pm on Sunday May 22nd. As I’ve mentioned in the last couple of updates, May crowds have been lean for the most part. Here’s a look at posted waits over the course of this particular day:

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/mk52216.jpg

These wait times are below average for the first five months of the year and stretching into the last seven months of last year. Still, by 11am, you’re waiting an average of 30 minutes at attractions that post wait times. I used to point out how strange it was to see Pirates of the Caribbean posting a higher wait time than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Space Mountain and the same wait as Buzz Lightyear or Peter Pan’s Flight, but that’s exactly what we see here at 11am. It hasn’t been strange for a couple of years now.


25 minutes at Big Thunder just before 6pm is a little longer than perhaps we’d like to wait, but it’s indicative of relatively low overall crowds, which makes doing everything else that much more pleasant.

I had spent the afternoon at Hollywood Studios (no I don’t know why either) and used a Great Movie Ride FastPass+ there, but secured a Splash Mountain FastPass+ while riding over to Magic Kingdom on the bus around 5pm. That in turn allows me to skip this 40-minute wait:

The total experience time was 35 minutes after I got stuck outside for a good six or seven minutes as it looked more and more likely that we’d be evacuated. You might remember how surprised I was at the 18-minute total experience time from a couple of weeks ago.

That update, including a ride on the Liberty Square Riverboat, is located here in case you missed it.

A look at Frontierland.

Facade refurbishments continue on the Hall of Presidents and Heritage House, though the scrims are so realistic that you might not even notice walking by.

The less picky you are about what additional FastPass+ you’re looking for, the happier you’ll be when you find something convenient that will save you at least 15 minutes in line. If you’re standing in front of Splash Mountain, that might mean Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world, or Peter Pan’s Flight are viable. If you’re dead set on Jungle Cruise then you might find no availability or a return time far in the distant future. Or you might get lucky. I managed to secure Haunted Mansion for 6:25pm – 7:25pm after getting in the FP+ line for Splash just before 6pm. Remember that you can start incessantly refreshing for an additional FastPass+ experience the moment after you scan your MagicBand at the attraction entrance for your last scheduled FP+ of the day. In most cases, you’ll want to schedule three FP+ in advance and then schedule the 4th and subsequent after that. Remember that at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, that you have to use three FastPass+ before the system will allow you to schedule a second Tier 1 FastPass+. So you can’t just schedule one FastPass+ at Toy Story, use it right at 9am, and then try to immediately scheduled another Tier 1 FP+.

There was a thread in the forum concerning the loading area after the stretching room and how unpleasant it can get as it’s packed with people heading towards their doom buggies. You’ll have a better time in this room if you move all the way over to the left and just continue heading forward. Everyone will have to merge into your lane as you’ll be on the side where the loading walkway is.

The door to this room also opens below the painting of the woman holding the umbrella. Instead of standing underneath it and hurrying through, I usually just let everyone else go first. Even if everybody boards before you, we’re talking about waiting an extra two minutes, if that.

are u spooked

With FastPass+, the total experience time was 20 minutes with some brief delays on-ride here and there. The website’s conservative estimate with FP+ is 20 minutes, so we’re right in line with that. Standby would have taken 40 to 50.

Matt and family were nice enough to invite me out to dinner and after debating between joining them at ‘Ohana, Biergarten, or Be Our Guest Restaurant, I opted for Columbia Harbour House for some fish sticks. #bloggability

With the installation of digital menu boards a few years ago, Disney began offering different lunch/dinner menus at a variety of theme park restaurants:

While many resort quick service menus continue to change over from lunch offerings to dinner offerings at 4pm, it’s rarer at the theme parks now – probably due to guest confusion when they expect to see something on the menu only for it to have disappeared eight minutes prior to their arrival.

For a while, this “Seafood Macaroni and Cheese” was dinner-only at Harbour House before glowing away for good.

The”Chicken Pot Pie” used to only be available after 4pm before it became available all day.

The Lobster Roll on the other hand used to be lunch only, disappearing from the menu at 4pm.

But separate lunch/dinner menus is a thing of the past at Harbour House, at least at the moment.

And the menu above should be served all day. The “Corn Cobbette” is a somewhat new addition as a side. Remember that you can substitute any snack credit item for your beverage and dessert on the Disney Dining Plan, so theoretically you could order the $13.29 Salmon or Lobster Roll along with a $6.29 Vegetarian Chili and $6.29 New England Clam Chowder and probably have enough food to feed two people.

This is not a great picture of Matt’s now-$13.29 Lobster Roll with Potato Chips (which you can substitute out for one of the other less expensive sides if you so desire). While the roll here is not going to win #1 at any competitions up north, it’s a nice cold sandwich with a decent amount of lobster on a fresh-baked roll. There is too much mayo and too much filler, but only purists should really be turned off. Call it a “Lobster Salad Sandwich” if you like. I’ve had a lot of luck with it and don’t-not-recommend-it, which is basically the highest award that this website gives out.

The $10.29 Battered Fish Platter with Coleslaw and choice of Corn Cobbette, Apple Slices, or French Fries. This is the exact same fish that Disney has served for years and years. They do a decent job of frying it up so the exterior has a nice crunch, but the fish isn’t much better than you’d find in a box of Gorton’s at the grocery store. The fact that the tartar sauce is some off-brand served at room temperature doesn’t help. With several fresher sandwich options available, I’m not sure what would cause someone to beeline to the fried fish, but it’s edible if you’re in the mood for deep fried.

But you know I do love the Fried Shrimp here for whatever reason – fried to a golden brown and meaty served alongside a zesty cocktail sauce.

The Clam Chowder and Vegetarian Chili are very good also.

So while this is not perhaps the most glowing review of Harbour House (WHAT IS ON THIS WEBSITE), it is my favorite of Magic Kingdom’s quick services for the money and convenience, serving a variety of mostly unique entrees in a relatively calm setting, particularly if you go upstairs and find a table overlooking the Tangled Tower area.

Thanks to Matt and family for the invite. He mentioned that he’s a high school teacher that sometimes employs Disney vacation planning to teach concepts. I suppose that the struggle to secure Frozen Ever After FastPass+ is not unlike the plight facing George Washington and company as they attempted to cross the Delaware. I said that I would be happy to beam the website’s presence into the classroom via Skype and yell at the kids for a while if he had interest, pending that doesn’t interfere with one of my restraining orders.

Speaking of corn, and really when aren’t we, Liberty Square Market is offering a Zellwood Cob for $4.29 accompanied by a variety of seasonings, including Jamaican Jerk, BBQ, and Lemon Pepper. You could probably make a fortune selling American Jerk seasoning with a picture of Donald Trump on it even if it was just repackaged Old Bay. I’ll give you that million dollar idea for free.

As the website has tried to point out, evenings are your friend, particularly at Magic Kingdom. This is just before 8pm on Sunday the 22nd and you could basically walk on small world.

Compared to this scene at 2pm on the 19th.

Or on the Saturday afternoon of our last rope drop earlier this month.

Not everything is a walk-on, of course, but 50 minutes at Peter Pan is down considerably from the usual 65- to 90-minute peak waits.

I suppose that this is as good of a time as any to review the $13.49 Shrimp Alfredo from The Pinocchio Village Haus.

I noticed the addition to the online menu a couple of months ago, but was somewhat horrified to find that the shrimp in the picture were fried.

Most of us probably have a good bit of nostalgia for something Walt Disney World that doesn’t really make a lot of sense if you can somehow remove the emotion. The Chicken Parmesan was one of the first menu items that I reviewed after moving to Orlando just over five years ago now. And it’s not so much the food that I remember but the feeling of accomplishing something by moving across the country by myself with a single suitcase and a box of computer equipment. Moving into a townhouse in a city that I had never visited. Starting something when I had no idea where it would take me. And I remember cutting into this piece of frozen chicken topped with jarred tomato sauce and cheese of questionable origin and thinking, “this might just work.” And I will never forget it.

And that is probably what draws so many of us back to Walt Disney World time and time again. It’s not about the concrete castle or a 30-cent price increase on soda or pork glop platters. It’s about returning to a place that makes us happy where we’ve shared so many memories with the people that we love and cherish. And you never know where exactly you’re going to make those memories. It could be biting into your first Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel at Epcot just before the 4th of July Fireworks erupt overhead or hearing Mickey Mouse greet your kids for the first time inside Town Square Theater. But whatever and wherever it is, it’s something so special and so rare that there is no substitute. And so we return.

The Shrimp Alfredo on the other hand might not be the thing that you want to commit to memory as the fried shrimp look a little radioactive on top of the pasta and spinach.

There’s nothing positive to say about what we were served. The thin, flavorless alfredo sauce causes the shrimp, which are the exact same as what’s served at Harbour House, to lose their crunch. The pasta was both overcooked and limp and the spinach was just kind of there. I like the Flatbread Pizzas here and the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich for lunch, but I’m not sure I’d risk the Alfredo, which wouldn’t be much better with a sad piece of chicken considering the thin consistency of the sauce.

At least you can take it up to the Village Haus Balcony, which is one of the most pleasant places in Magic Kingdom with a nice panoramic view of Old Fantasyland down below.

Marching through a quiet Tomorrowland just after 8pm on the 22nd.

20 minutes at Speedway with the likelihood that a canceled FastPass+ would be available should you wish to bypass what is likely an actual wait around 15 minutes.

Maybe three minutes at People Mover with Space at 40.

With nobody in the extended queue at Buzz or waiting outside in FP+, the 30-minute posted wait is likely closer to ten actual minutes.

Carousel of Progress remains open but is receiving a paint job with some tarps to hide the scaffolding.

A few shots as the sun sets:

As previously discussed, Disney started offering a “Same Day Dessert Party” at a $10/adult and $5/child premium to the one that’s bookable in advance. Same-Day partiers are walked out to a reserved viewing area area in the New Hub Grass on the Tomorrowland side shortly before the fireworks start. With Wishes FastPass+ no longer available, that leaves the Casey’s Corner/Adventureland side completely open for the taking, though it does fill early.

But like other such offerings, it hasn’t sold well with advertisements up all around the Park trying to inform guests of the party’s existence. On one hand, it may be nice that Disney is offering some “spontaneity” by introducing same-day reservations here and at Skipper Canteen. But unsurprisingly, it’s the people that plan in advance that book these kinds of upcharge events. Here for the “Fireworks Dessert Party,” the cost is $59/adult and $35/child. So a family of two adults, one 12-year old, and one 6-year old would cost $212 for cupcakes and a similar view that you could get by standing just outside the reserved area or in the Hub grass area opposite that’s open to everyone. That may be more than most people are spontaneously willing to spend.

A few more on the way out:

That’s four or five Magic Kingdom updates in a row before we get going on Animal Kingdom this weekend and then Epcot in the coming weeks, plus fitting in some Tommy Bahama store pictures from time to time.

Show more