I had the opportunity to visit The Magic Kingdom on Thursday during the Annual Passholder Preview. Here are 10 things that I learned.
1. The Pink Castle is different but not awful. I was a little worried about the pink castle and what it was going to look like in person…. would it be too different? But I found it beautiful against the Florida sky. And as the sun went down…. it caught the light just right. I still associate Cinderella with blues, but I forget about her pink dress that the step sisters ripped. Maybe it was the inspiration?
2. Peter Pan continues to be my favorite attraction. Do you have that one attraction that sums up the magic for you? For me, it continues to be Peter Pan. Due to the low crowds during the preview, I was able to ride it 4 times. I spent one time just reflecting on the magic that Walt Disney has brought to our lives. I just love every single thing about it.
3. Characters are still making a presence. I wasn’t sure what it would be like without character meets and parades…. but Disney found a great solution. Periodically throughout the day, the characters come out in small cavalcades. The princesses come out on one of the parade floats, Gaston rides a horse and other characters dance and wave on the train platform. So you still have character experiences just without the traditional meet and greets.
4. Menus are reduced. Not all restaurants are open and those that are have reduced menus. The topping bar at Pecos Bill was not in operation and only a small selection of entrees were on the menu at Pinocchio Village Haus. So be prepared for smaller offerings during this time.
5. Queue lines are not accurate representations of the wait. If you are someone who usually looks at a queue line to gauge its length….. they aren’t going to be accurate right now. All of the queues have Guests separated by 6 feet (or even more) and the attraction is stopping multiple times an hour to be cleaned. Some queues are utilizing the walk space in front of the attraction to accommodate the additional 6 feet of distance.
6. Mobile ordering is required where available. The restaurants that I visited were utilizing the mobile ordering option and not allowing you into the restaurant until you were notified that your food was ready. Make sure you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone and you are familiar with the mobile ordering options ahead of time to utilize your time wisely.
7. The Stretching Room in Haunted Mansion is not in use. Some people love this and some little kids hate this room….but for now it is not being utilized during the queue of Haunted Mansion. Pay close attention to the door….the frame above it is of the girl above the alligator. This way you know where to stand in the stretching room when it is utilized again in the future.
8. Stores have one way in and one way out. Pay attention to the signs posted as to which doors are being utilized as the entrance and which doors are the exit. Also be sure to limit the handling of the merchandise.
9. The magic lives on. I know there was a lot of question on if this way of Disney life would still feel magical…it does. I’ve always said that when you pull onto property you can feel the joy in the air, and it is still there. Everyone was happy to be there. I didn’t see a single disgruntled Guest. I overheard many people talking about how incredible their day was and how the new regulations weren’t as difficult as they expected.