Trip Report for Day 2 of our February 2018 Trip
Quick summary of our day and what you’ll find inside the report:
Parks we visited: Magic Kingdom
Dining Reservations: Ohana for dinner! Shrimp and bread pudding, NOM.
Noteable eats/drinks: Cheshire Cat Tails, drinks at Trader Sam’s, Ohana shrimp, and bread pudding 🙂
Longest wait in line: Astro Orbiter at 24 minutes (Amy had never done it!), otherwise 6 minutes at Mad Tea Party
Estimated crowd level per stats: 7 out of 10 (slightly heavy for a weekday this time of year)
Arrival time: 9:15am (15 minutes past opening. Oops.)
I tried for 9am…blergh, whatever. I was still awake at 5:45am given my fresh time zone difference, k?! I’m also not a crowd lover, so rope drop doesn’t really excite me, and actually is quite frightening. I definitely still advise it to some clients though – if you are early birds, you might as well. The opening ceremony is also really fun to be there for, which typically happens right at 5 minutes before park opening.
If we get to the park the first hour, we ride stand-by until the park starts to get crowded, which is usually around 10:30/11am. We typically book our first FP+ reservation and use it towards the end of the time slot. We recommend this strategy for everyone for prime touring: take advantage of the short stand-by lines until around 10:30am, and then start using FP+. Book your first FP+ so that the reservation window ENDS around 10:30 or 10:45am, e.g. book Seven Dwarves Mine Train first for a time slot of 9:40-10:40am and use it around 10:40am.
While a lot of experts recommend first heading to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland around park opening, we typically like to jump in line for the at the major Frontierland attractions (Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain), and then start using our FP in Fantasyland after.
First ride: Big Thunder Mountain – standby – wait was 3 minutes (9:23am in line) – at slower times of year, you’ll usually be able to get in line for this before 10-10:30am a wait less than 20 minutes before lines build.
Peter Pan 1st FP+ reservation @ 9:20-10:20am – again, we don’t use our first reservation until the end of the slot – this is so we can immediately use our next FP reservation without waiting (i.e., book your next FP for a timeslot as close to 10:20am as you can get). We recommend the same, and this is so you can start getting additional Fastpasses as soon as your first three are used.
Since this was a morning we got dressed and left the hotel quickly, next was breakfast at the park. We stopped at the Cheshire Cafe in between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, since they now offer cold brew coffee, and the delicious Cheshire Cat Tails that we tried for the first time. If you like sweet pastries for breakfast (or anytime), I highly recommend. This will be a staple I will look forward to, although the treats change frequently here (RIP cake cups, whomp whomppp.)
Astro Orbiter – Amy has actually never been on this, so we had to do it this trip. I wouldn’t call it a headliner or must do, but it’s really fun to “fly” above the park. There’s no FP+ option for this though, so you’ll need to watch the lines if you don’t want to wait – (we had a 24 minute wait @ 10:10am, I recommend going within 90 minutes of opening or closing). Posted times for this ride particularly tend to not match the actual wait, so eyeball the line. If it looks really long, it could easily be longer than the posted time.
Space Mountain 2nd FP+ reservation 10:20-11:20am – it never gets old. You’ll want to do this more than once!
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 3rd FP+ reservation 11:30am-12:30pm – highly, highly recommend using one of your FP+ reservations for this ride. You’ll want to book as soon as your 30 or 60 day window opens up. If you cannot secure a reservation for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, keep checking back, and especially check back the night before between 8pm-12am.
Under the Sea 4th FP+ – we don’t love to go in and out of Fantasyland because of the crowd level and stroller madness in this hub of the park, so we squeeze in as many rides as we can at once. Around noon is a great time to try and ride the non-headliners in Fantasyland, as queues for headliners are often too long to wait in at this time. There will also likely be a decent amount of character meet and greets open now that aren’t necessarily found on the map, such as Tigger and Piglet by the Winnie the Pooh ride.
Mad Tea Party – standby 6 minutes, whoop! We love this ride. The faster we go and dizzier we get, the better. Be wary if you don’t like the feeling of being dizzy, or don’t spin the middle plate much. We desparately wish Disney could somehow capture and sell videos of us while on this ride. You can actually feel how hilariously ridiculous you look.
Winnie the Pooh 5th FP+ recommended for all ages. So cute!
“Lunch” – alright, disclaimer. Amy and I are not the biggest fans of a lot of Magic Kingdom food options, and sometimes leave the park and go to a monorail resort for lunch. However, since we were already hopping later for happy hour at Trader Sam’s followed by dinner at Ohana, we opted to stay in the park. Which meant lunch was…drumroll please…a Mickey pretzel with cheese and frozen cokes from the Lunching Pad. I usually recommend going with classic theme park fare at Cosmic Ray’s, a chicken waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow’s, or going to Columbia Harbour House (probably my #1 overall rec – there are more options for everyone, and more unique eats such as lobster rolls, fried shrimp, and clam chowder).
After lunch we grabbed ahold of a FP+ for one of our favorites…
Buzz Lightyear 6th FP+ – good for all ages, do not skip – Buzz is a blast, and hard to go on only one time!
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – standby, queded for next show (no actual wait) – *there is FP option for this, but unless it’s a pretty crowded time of year, you’ll usually get in to the next show.
Pirates 7th FP+ – we’ve overheard a lot of people using 1 of their 3 FP+ reservations for this. If you want to do the Mountains and major Fantasyland attractions like SD Mine Train and Peter Pan, we don’t recommend using Pirates for a reservation. Try getting a FP later in the day, or waiting for stand-by waits to soften.
Oh hey, it’s time for a Dole Whip treat from Aloha Isle. As a sugar addict, I personally go for the float version. Sugar sitting in sugar. Nom nom nom.
Enchanted Tiki Room – weird, entertaining, cult-y Magic Kingdom classic, just like Country Bears. Go if you’d like a break in the AC and a seat. **YOU CAN BRING IN FOOD SO BE A GOOD TOURIST AND GRAB A DOLE WHIP TREAT FIRST.**
A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas – this is a really fun interactive scavenger hunt contained within Adventureland. You can do it anytime, so do it in the afternoon when lines are busy and you want to kill some time. Although this is an “easier” version of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, as 30-something’s, we thought it was a ball. Recommended for all ages, IMO.
Jungle Cruise FP+ – another sort of cult classic ride. I tell most of my clients to do it if you can get a day-of FP or if lines are short, otherwise save it for another trip. It’ll be alright.
Cosmic Ray’s Cafe snack – Amy didn’t want to wait till Ohana for dinner and doesn’t snack on sugar all day like I do, so we stopped here for a meal. Amy eats really slow (and I am a beast), so I ended up shoveling most of her fries into my face. (side note: I loveeeee most of the quick-service Disney fries. They’re like a mix between McDonald’s and Burger King fries. Yummm.)
Old lady leisure time…we were getting a bit worn out, so took the Railroad around the park. You’ll get to sit, catch a breeze, and you can get off at three different locations whenever you choose.
Space Mountain FP+ – *again, because you can’t ride it just once. I can’t recommend the content in the “Line Hacks” site enough if you aren’t familiar with how to beat the lines/crowds at Disney.
TIME TO LEAVE THE PARK! We did a lot, crushed the lines, and were getting tired. And we love resort hopping and were ready to head to our beloved Polynesian resort. Since we scored a last-minute Ohana dinner reservation a couple of nights before, we headed over to the Polynesian around 5pm. Which also meant it was our first monorail ride, yay! (Everyone should experience the monorail, so plan on that if you haven’t).
We immediately went to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and were lucky enough to find immediate seating, and next to a really cool couple celebrating their 20th anniversary. We appreciate our adult beverages on vacation, and we love tiki drinks. The atmosphere is something else, and super Disney.
It’s hard to get into details, so we just recommend checking it out. Warning, this is a popular place and often has hefty waits. Plan accordingly or work with us while you plan your trip. We also highly recommend the lobby bar at the Polynesian, the Tambu Lounge.
After a few rounds at Trader Sam’s we headed to Ohana for our dining reservation.
Ohana is a very popular dinner reservation at Magic Kingdom, and with good reason. They serve excellent food, and serve similar to the style that a Brazilian steakhouse does (well, that’s what Amy says. I’ve never been to one :). I’m not always a huge meat eater, but I love and eat everything here. My favorite is the shrimp and of course, the bread pudding (every loves this and we think it tastes so much better than it looks or sounds, actually). Another great thing about Ohana is that you have a good chance of being able to view the Magic Kingdom nighttime fireworks if you’re here at this time. Ohana will play the soundtrack throughout the restaurant, and it’s actually really exciting. It’s a great way to see the fireworks if you don’t like crowds. And, there’s plenty of other entertainment at Ohana.
After stuffing ourselves…time to go home and get our rest. As always, let us know your thoughts, comments, questions, etc. – leave them below! Are you an Ohana junkie? What do your touring days look like at the Magic Kingdom?