Everyone’s favorite lovable, cuddly Pooh Bear caused quite the fuss when he came to the Magic Kingdom several years ago, replacing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Many years later, though, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has become one of the most attended attractions in the Magic Kingdom. It’s one that draws heavy crowds and takes a few tricks to make sure you enjoy it all.
On most of our touring plans, Pooh is among the first rides to do if you have small children. That’s because as great as it is, it has inherent disadvantages to other rides. Like other Fantasyland dark rides, Pooh does feature constant loading vehicles, but they are low capacity. Therefore, it’s best to get to Winnie the Pooh early in the day if you want to avoid long waits. If Pooh is high on your list, make sure you get there soon after the park opens.
Tip: Winnie the Pooh must be one of your first 4 or 5 attractions if you want to ride it during busier times of the year without a long wait. Waits can range from 25-30 minutes on a 1 crowd level to over 45 minutes on a 10 crowd level.
Fortunately for adults whose kids are dying to ride Winnie the Pooh, Disney has created options for making the lines manageable when you aren’t a morning person. First among these is FASTPASS. Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight, two of the most popular rides in Fantasyland, have both been equipped with FASTPASS, so that guests can come and enjoy them later. If you are up early, using FASTPASS for Winnie the Pooh is actually a disadvantage, because it can keep you from getting a pass for other, more popular attractions like Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
Tip: Pay attention to return times on your Winnie the Pooh FASTPASS. If the return time is less than an hour away, you’re probably going to be better off waiting in line. Also, don’t forget that Disney has said they will enforce return times and not allow you to use expired passes after the end of your return window.
The other option for those who are forced to wait in line is the new interactive queue. In order to fit in better with the new Fantasyland coming soon, Winnie the Pooh has been fitted with a new queue area that is made for restless children. There are three basic parts to this. First of all, there is the entrance area, which is made up like Pooh and Eeyore’s houses. Look for the entrance and you’ll see the immaculate detail there, right out of the Winnie the Pooh films.
Tip: If you’re a fan of Walt Disney World history, check inside Pooh’s house and look over the door. You’ll find a picture of the Nautilus, since the tree house was once over the location where the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction used to reside.
Further on, there is the playground area, where guests can play tug of war, pop up pumpkins, play in the garden and generally run around on a soft play surface. This is a great area for guests with children. The kids can run over to that area after rounding the corner from the entrance, and kids can play before entering the long switchbacks of the queue line. My only complaint is that the kids can’t stay in this area until closer to ride time, as they can in other parks with this kind of arrangement. In the Legoland parks, for example, many rides have a Lego play area where kids can play right up until the load area.
Once you pass the playground area, you will pass through more switchbacks before getting to the final part of the interactive queue, the dripping honey walls. These are cool pieces of technology that kids seem to love. The basic idea is that there is a touch screen that shows honey dripping down, and guests clear the honey away with their hands to show pictures underneath. The whole thing is made up as a storybook, just like the sets of the ride, so it fits perfectly with the theme.
Tip: The honey walls are very cool, and many guests back up there playing with them. Don’t get in a hurry around them, as you’ll likely get stuck in that area for a few moments as new guests play around.
Finally, you’ll load on the short ride and into your honey pot. Each honey pot can hold 4-5 guests, depending on their size. Once inside, you’ll find a fairly familiar story if you saw the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh film. As such, I’d advise you watching the movie before you leave. That doesn’t enhance your experience on every ride based on a film, but in this one, you’ll catch little gags and signs that were in the film and it definitely adds to the enjoyment. It also explains the surrealistic Heffalumps and Woozles room.
Tip: When you enter Owl’s house, look to the left at the pictures on the wall. You’ll see Toad granting the deed to the building, since Pooh replaced Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Upon leaving the ride, you’ll of course exit into a gift shop. Tread carefully! There are plenty of nice Pooh souvenirs inside. Winnie the Pooh is quite a fun ride, and among the best of the Fantasyland dark rides, which is a dying breed of attraction. It scores a 3 or above from all age groups in our surveys, and does especially well with younger children. If you want to ride it, get FASTPASS or get your money’s worth out of the queue in that long line. Whichever way you go, you’re sure to enjoy it.