Adding Under the Sea – Voyage of the Little Mermaid to a Tweens Magic Kingdom Touring Plan

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Note: If you’re interested in adapting this touring plan for your family’s visit, you can use our free Disney World touring plan software to create your own version.  No subscription or download is required.  Your plan can include different attractions, character greetings, an afternoon break, sit-down meals and more.

We’ve updated our Magic Kingdom touring plans for the November 19, 2012, opening of Under the Sea – Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  Today’s blog post describes how we’ve incorporated Under the Sea into our one-day Magic Kingdom Tweens touring plan.

We expect Under the Sea to be extremely popular from opening day through the end of the year, with peak waits of perhaps 90 to 150 minutes during its first month of operation.  Under the Sea should settle down to peak waits of 30 to 60 minutes in 2013.  That would follow the pattern set by DCA’s Little Mermaid, which had a month of 75- to 90-minute waits when it opened in June 2011, before settling down to peak waits of 15 to 30 minutes in July.  It’s true that the Magic Kingdom gets somewhere between 2.5 and 3 times as many guests as DCA, but I don’t think Under the Sea’s waits will be 2.5 to 3 times as long.  Other than opening weekend (maybe), I don’t expect many families to stand in line for 3 or 4 hours just to experience this one attraction; there’s a point at which parents or kids will balk at those waits, especially with so many other great rides in the Magic Kingdom.

I’ve assumed that our ‘tween family is visiting the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, December 22, 2012, and arriving in time for a 9 a.m. park opening.  In addition to Under the Sea, the family wants to experience all of the Magic Kingdom’s headliner attractions: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and Peter Pan’s Flight, plus other attractions.  To avoid crowds, our family wants to have a counter-service lunch when those restaurants open around 11 am, and a counter-service dinner around 5:30 pm.  They’re willing to skip a nap and the afternoon parade in order to see attractions, and they’re going to stay to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Holiday Wishes fireworks.

Here’s the touring plan our software came up with for our ‘tween family’s visit:

Step

Attraction

Arrival
Time

Estimated
Wait
(Minutes)

Duration
(Minutes)

Free Time
Before
Next Step
(Minutes)

Walk Time
to
Next Step
(Minutes)

1

Space Mountain

9:10 am

4

3

0

5

2

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

9:22 am

4

4

0

4

3

Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

9:34 am

4

10

0

5

4

Peter Pan’s Flight

9:53 am

16

3

0

2

5

The Haunted Mansion

10:14 am

9

10

0

7

6

Get FASTPASSes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Est. FP Return: 11:45 am

10:40 am

0

1

0

2

7

Splash Mountain

10:43 am

11

18

0

10

8

Eat lunch

11:22 am

0

45

0

10

9

Pirates of the Caribbean

12:17 pm

12

8

0

4

10

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (using FASTPASS)

12:41 pm

4

7

0

6

11

The Hall of Presidents

12:58 pm

11

23

0

4

12

Get FASTPASSes for the Jungle Cruise
Est. FP Return 02:25 pm

1:36 pm

0

1

0

2

13

Country Bear Jamboree

1:39 pm

7

15

0

1

14

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

2:02 pm

7

16

0

1

15

Jungle Cruise (using FASTPASS)

2:26 pm

7

8

0

2

16

Swiss Family Treehouse

2:43 pm

0

13

0

6

17

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

3:02 pm

10

12

0

3

18

Mad Tea Party

3:27 pm

12

2

0

3

19

Get FASTPASSes for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Est. FP Return 04:35 pm

3:44 pm

0

1

0

6

20

Walt Disney World Railroad – Fantasyland Station

3:51 pm

6

20

0

7

21

Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor

4:24 pm

7

15

0

1

22

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (using FASTPASS)

4:47 pm

4

5

14

10

23

Eat dinner

5:20 pm

0

45

150

10

24

Main Street Electrical Parade
Showtimes: 9:00 pm

8:45 pm

15

18

25

2

25

Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
Showtimes: 10:00 pm

9:45 pm

15

10

0

7

Totals

165

313

189

120

 

Our software thinks that one of the best options for seeing Under the Sea is early in the morning, after Space Mountain.  Since Winnie the Pooh is on the way, and will develop longer lines later in the day, the software has us ride that on the way to see Ariel.

In general, seeing Under the Sea as one of the first few attractions in the day is a pretty good strategy.  Using our touring plan software’s Evaluate function, for example, we can see that visiting Under the Sea first would only add couple of minutes to the overall length of the touring plan, due to longer lines at Space Mountain.  Placing Under the Sea second in the plan (after Space Mountain) adds just under 10 minutes to the overall plan, due to longer waits at Pooh and Pan.  And having Under the Sea fourth, after Space, Pooh and Pan, adds about five minutes of backtracking to our family’s walking time.

Our optimizing software also found a completely different strategy for seeing Under the Sea with low waits in line: visiting during the Magic Kingdom’s afternoon parade.  These plans put Under the Sea between Mickey’s PhilharMagic in Step 17 and Mad Tea Party in Step 18.  Many people leave Fantasyland to view the afternoon parade and the optimizer’s alternate strategy is to take advantage of this.  With this alternate strategy our family would be in Fantasyland well before the Magic Kingdom’s afternoon parade crow control ropes cut off access to Fantasyland from Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square.  This is also the strategy the optimizer uses for summer crowds, and is the version of the ‘tween plan in the 2013 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.

Our family should complete its last attraction, Buzz Lightyear, a little after 5 pm, and it’s on to an early dinner from there.  After dinner, our family will have around 2 ½ hours of free time to shop, relax or revisit favorite attractions, before getting spots for the Main Street Electrical Parade 9 pm and Holiday Wishes at 10 pm.

What happens to the plan if something unexpected happens, such as getting to the park late, extra rides on the Haunted Mansion, or a sudden need for a Mickey-shaped ice cream bar?  If you’re using our mobile app Lines (iTunes / Android), just click the ‘Optimize’ button on your touring plan and Lines will figure out what to do next, based on where you’re at in the park and the waits in line at the attractions left to visit.  No matter what just happened, Lines will figure out the best way to continue your day in the park.

 

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Posted on August 30, 2012

19 Responses to “Adding Under the Sea – Voyage of the Little Mermaid to a Tweens Magic Kingdom Touring Plan”

  • by Andrew Drummond on August 30, 2012, at 3:34 pm EDT

    It’s always a wrench in the plans when you have a sudden “need” for mickey shaped ice cream. Though for me it’s usually a turkey leg (or at least the half of one that I can eat.)

  • We were in DCA the first week of August. It was literally a walk on both times we rode–late morning/early afternoon. They were giving away surprise FPs for it somewhere but the CMs were laughing and telling people they didn’t need them. At least at DCA this ride is not that popular. And while it’s cute, it’s certainly not worth a long wait.

    • Yeah, the wait times were fairly low through the summer. We did see peaks of around 30 minutes during spring break.

    • Speaking of Surprise FastPasses, we were at MK last week and machines were printing them for PhilharMagic. And a cast member was handing out PhilharMagic FastPasses good until August 31 at Pinocchio Village Haus which is a distribution method I hadn’t personally seen before. I guess it was an exercise in crowd management…

  • by Andrew Drummond on August 30, 2012, at 4:27 pm EDT

    Also, is Voyage of the Little Mermaid a FastPass attraction?

  • I would also like to know if Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a FastPass attraction.

  • We used an optimized plan in early July for a one day touring plan of Magic Kingdom. I have used plans from the Unofficial Guide before and love them, so I was thrilled with the app. It worked fantastic. The crowds were high that day (8.9) but the longest line we waited in was the line for our lunch ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We actually were able to add several more rides in the morning that were scheduled for later in the evening. We just marked them as done and then optimized. It was fantasic. I am hooked on the app. Our trip was on my birthday and thanks to your app and some Disney magic, it was the best birthday ever!!! Way to go touringplans.com!!!!

    • Thanks Felicia! Glad to hear the app worked well. If you have a chance to review it on iTunes or Google Play, I’d really appreciate it.

      Thanks again!

  • So Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be open on the 19th? Is that a soft opening? I had heard that Passholders will get a special preview, is the 19th their special preview day? Just trying to figure all this out, we’ll be at MK on 11/20, HOPING to try the new ride out.

  • Just updated our MK touring plan for Jan 7 2013. It has us visiting under the the sea at 3pm. Says to go to barnstormer first then most of the other fantasyland attractions excluding Dumbo. Has dumbo at 2pm. I find this odd after visiting many times and using your touring plans. We have never used the optimized plans and I know it is pretty early to have an optimized one. Will see how it changes once the ride opens.

    • Yes, it’s recognizing that the afternoon parade should drop the standby times. Also, since Dumbo has added that second spinner and moved to the old Toontown real estate, the lines haven’t been as long as they once were.

      • Thanks Len for the info! Looking forward to the trip and using an optimized plan! I have no doubts that all your team’s hard work will be beneficial for my family!!

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a Fast Pass attraction according to the Disney World Blog.

    http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/08/new-fantasyland-grand-opening-set-for-december-6-at-magic-kingdom-park-at-walt-disney-world-resort/comment-page-3/#comments

    A guest asked:

    Will Journey Under the Sea have FP?

    Jennifer Fickley-Baker on August 8th, 2012 at 11:00 am responded:

    Yes, this attraction will have a Fast Pass.

  • I meant Disney Parks Blog above, not Disney World Blog.
    Disney Parks Blog the official Disney blog.

  • Any chance it will be added to the list of attractions open during EMH?

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