Last week we saw crowds fade to levels lower than that of the previous week. It appears that Sunday was the last day of a Spring Break peak that was followed by busy but manageable crowds. Our predictions did very well with none missing by more than two index levels all week. We also correctly predicted differences between park crowd levels on most days.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up day-to-day last week.
While predictions for Magic Kingdom (7) and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (5) proved accurate on Sunday, we underpredicted Epcot and Animal Kingdom by two levels. Soarin’ averaged 86 minutes (we predicted 65) while most other attractions were only off by a few minutes. Similarly, Animal Kingdom’s higher than expected crowd level came from mostly from one attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris. We predicted a 26-minute average posted wait while the observed value was almost double, at 50 minutes. Resort-wide, the crowd level ’7′ ended up the highest level we would see all week.
When will it ever open?! I think that’s how all of us feel about this much anticipated attraction - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It is the final piece of the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom and we have watched, with bated breath, as it has grown up in the land.
While we still don’t know the exact opening date (though rumors have indicated May 2, keep in mind those are still rumors…nothing official has come from Disney yet), we are getting closer to the opening of the attraction, as I have come across some brand new information, detailing what you can expect with this new attraction. Let’s go on a journey, shall we?
First, we will start with the queue. As previously mentioned, this will be an interactive queue, and there will be three different interactive sections. You enter the queue and pass by a cottage as you make your way towards the mountain. You will then enter the mine of the Seven Dwarfs. Here, Doc will have a series of tasks that need to be completed, and you are invited to help!
First, guests will begin by sorting the jewels. Guests are asked to match jewels by color and shape as they flow down a wooden trough (created by touch screen video screens). After that, they will then wash the jewels by using a musical water spigot. Make sure to listen, as each spigot plays notes that together should create a familiar tune. Finally, guests enter the vault, where they see wooden barrels with stones. As the stones are turned, the ceiling above transforms.
Ok, so now we are going to get into the actual ride spoilers. If you want to be spoiled, click on to continue…
Hi, everyone! Glad you’re able to stop by for a look at the beautiful, sunny weather at Epcot on April 5, 2014! I have a lot to show you, including the new Muppets Scavenger Hunt that just started today. As always, I have lots of photos and video to share. If you were hoping for a look at the Flower & Garden Festival you can look here, this week is more about random fun in the park. Of course, this time of year you almost can’t take a photo without capturing some lovely flowers. So why don’t we start there?
Pretty, aren’t they? But just so you don’t miss the full experience, I grabbed a few seconds of the tram ride in. Doesn’t it feel like you’re really there?
In an effort to promote Muppets Most Wanted, a brand new scavenger hunt has been introduced to Epcot’s World Showcase. The scavenger hunt starts with guests stopping to pick up a clue packet in the World Showcase Plaza. From there, they can choose to take part in one of two missions: Team Napoleon or Team Eagle. (These are the two law enforcement agents in the movie.) During the hunt, guests are on a search for the famous villain, Constantine.
After you pick up your clues and choose your mission, you will then go around World Showcase, solving the clues at various checkpoints found around the World Showcase countries. There are three checkpoints for each mission. Your clue packet will include documents and information on how to solve the case.
Luckily, the game is short enough that if you wish to do both missions, you should be able to accomplish them in one day.
It appears to be an interesting little distraction and especially fun for you Muppet fans! The scavenger hunt is expected to take place for the remainder of Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival. (P.S.: Be on the lookout for a review from Daisy about this experience tomorrow!)
FastPass+ is not only the future of trip planning at Walt Disney World, it is the present. For those of you who have grown familiar with FASTPASS since its introduction in 1999, FastPass+ is a similar system although using more current technology. In short, what FastPass+ does is allow you to make a reservation for a ride or show at Disney World from a computer, smart phone, or in-park kiosk. So, how does all of this work?
When you only have a few days to spend at Walt Disney World sacrifices have to be made. With so many shows and attractions to experience I think the interactive games in the parks are one of the first things to be cut. However, some of these are worth the time to explore. Today I’ll be ranking these from “lowest priority” to “can’t miss” and sharing a little bit of information about each. All of these games are included in your park admission so take notes on what you’d like to play on your next visit!
#4 – A Pirate’s Adventure: Just because this one came in 4th doesn’t mean it isn’t tons of fun! The reason I ranked it low is because the missions take very little effort, it’s short, and it seems to be targeted more for smaller children. Located in the Magic Kingdom this game is played entirely in Adventureland. It’s very easy to pick up a map and start a game. Simply stop by the sign up station located just past the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Once there you’ll be able to choose your mission and grab a map just by swiping your park admission ticket. Even if you don’t want to play grabbing a map is very quick and they make a nice, free souvenir. Captain Jack will surely sign your treasure map and that would look great in a scrapbook! If you decide to play you’ll be sent to a location on your map to start your mission. You can expect each mission to take about 15 minutes to complete. During this time you’ll visit 5 or so locations and experience 30-45 seconds of activity at each stop. There’s nothing needed from you with this one, you’ll just be watching the story unfold. You aren’t missing a ton skipping A Pirate’s Adventure but if you have an extra 15 minutes why not stop by? Especially if you have little kids they might just love it!
Back in early February we took at look at How FastPass+ Is Affecting Your Wait In Line At Disney World. We saw a small increase in standby wait times for secondary attractions like Spaceship Earth and Great Movie Ride, and a small drop in standby wait times for super-headliners like Space Mountain and Expedition Everest. With 2014′s Presidents’ Day and March Spring Break crowds behind us, it’s time to take another look.
Attendance is Up, And So are Wait Times
Walt Disney World attendance increased about 4% in 2013, and attendance is up about 4% again in the first quarter of 2014, or a little more than 8% over the past two years. To put that in perspective, if the average wait at Soarin’ was 60 minutes at 2012′s crowd levels, it’d be about 65 minutes adjusted for 2014′s higher crowds. When we’re looking at the impact of FastPass+ on standby wait times, the first thing we have to do is factor out the higher attendance.
For this analysis we’re comparing standby wait times from February 1 through March 31, 2014, with data from the same months in 2012 and 2013. To factor out the 8% increase in attendance from 2012 to 2014, we’ve increased 2012′s wait times by 8%. To factor out the 4% increase in attendance from 2013 to 2014, we’ve increased 2013′s wait times by 4%. (Disney doesn’t release official attendance figures, but even if our estimate of attendance increases is off by 1-2%, the results don’t change significantly.)
For data, we get posted wait times for every attraction about every 5 minutes, from both Disney’s My Disney Experience app and from our Lines community. That works out to about 250,000 wait times just for this study.
Currently, Disney is working on two new enhancements to the FastPass+ experience. This is proof that Disney is listening to guest feedback about this new service, as both of these changes address common complaints about the FastPass+ system.
The first problem being addressed is the limited number of FastPass+ entitlements that guests receive in a day. Currently that number sits at three. Disney is working to add the ability for guests to book additional FastPass+ reservations during their visits. (Yay!) Here’s how it will eventually work. Once guests have used their original three FastPass+ reservations, they will be able to head to a FastPass+ kiosk (which can be found throughout the park) and add a fourth choice. This fourth FastPass entitlement will then be a rolling entitlement. As soon as guests use this fourth FastPass+ reservation, they can then go back to a FastPass+ kiosk to select yet another FastPass+, and so on.
The other issue that Disney is currently working on deals with the ability to make FastPass+ reservations in more than one park in a single day. Currently, guests who Park Hop cannot make FastPass+ reservations in all the parks they choose to visit; they can only make reservations in a single park. This will change. as Disney is adding a Park Hopping feature to FastPass+. (Yay, again!)
Currently, there is no official timeline that has been announced, but be on the lookout for these changes to take place over the next few months. We’ll make sure to keep you posted as the perks get rolled out.
The Sounds Like Summer concert series is returning, yet again, starting this June. These fun concerts take place at Epcot’sAmerica Gardens Theatre, which is found at the American Adventure Pavilion. These concerts feature tribute band performers that are extremely talented, singing classic songs you know and love.
Seven acts will light up the stage this year. Each band will perform for a week at a time. This year’s concert line up includes:
June 8-14: Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles
June 15-21: Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey Tribute Band
June 22-28: Good Vibrations – A Tribute to The Beach Boys
June 29-July 5: Don’t Look Back – Boston Tribute Band
July 6-12: Stayin’ Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees
July 13-19: Slippery When Wet – The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute
July 20-26: 2U – A Tribute to U2
Show times are at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m., with the exception of July 4, when show times are at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9 p.m. Do keep in mind that shows are subject to change.
Best of all, the Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with Epcot admission.
Have you ever wondered about the big pools of water on the counter in the middle of the Japan Pavilion at Epcot? That’s one of the Pick-A-Pearl stations at Walt Disney World. Here’s what you need to know.
Pick-A-Pearl station at the Japan Pavilion at Epcot.
What’s a Pick-A-Pearl?
The name is pretty self explanatory. At a Pick-A-Pearl station, you’ll find a large, shallow tank of water with several oysters placed on the bottom. At the station, you choose (“pick”) an oyster to buy. The cast member at the station opens the oyster in front of you, the pearl inside is yours to keep.
Is the Japan Pavilion the only place to do this at Walt Disney World?
There are actually four places to Pick-A-Pearl at Walt Disney World: inside the large Mitsukoshi store at the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, at a kiosk at Downtown Disney near the Pin Traders outpost, at a kiosk at Typhoon Lagoon, and at a kiosk on the pathway just outside the Stormalong Bay pool area at the Yacht & Beach Club resorts. While the general Pick-A-Pearl concept is the same at all the locations, they are operated by different entities, so some details may vary.