A January Stroll through Magic Kingdom

| January 20, 2014 | 23 Replies

It’s that time of year where many people are experiencing the blahs of Winter. For Floridians it is the time of year that we look forward to.  The theme parks are not as crowded at Walt Disney World. I decided it was time for another stroll through Magic Kingdom. This is also typically when you see many rehabs going on in the park.

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The first thing you will notice is that the crane is up behind Cinderella Castle.  It is taking down the lights on the castle and they are doing some rehab to the Castle.  There are times when the crane will be down so you might want to grab a quick picture.

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 They are also working outside of Guest Relations as you enter the park.

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As you stroll down Main Street you will also see a scrim on your right. If you step past this building you will be able to get a great photo looking down Main Street USA.

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I wanted to try out my annual pass with same day FastPass+ reservations. Walt Disney World is doing away with the old FastPass machines.  If you are a WDW resort guest you will be able to make FastPass reservations 60 days before you arrive. If you are an offsite guest you will only be able to arrange your FastPass reservation the day you enter the park.  You are allowed to select 3 attractions for the day in the same park. This week Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be covering the fastpass machines and you will need to use My Disney Experience or the kiosks in the parks to make your FastPass+ reservations. It will work the same way as the test at Animal Kingdom.

I went with someone who is a cast member and they aren’t able to use My Disney Experience yet to make reservations. I also went with my grandson who didn’t require a FastPass. I have an Annual Pass. We went into Town Hall to make our reservation. The cast member directed me to use the iPad and sign into  My Disney Experience. Once I explained to the cast member what I was trying to do, he escorted me out to the kiosk for the meet and greet at Town Hall.  The cast member there told me I needed to go back inside and proceed like I was going to visit the characters.  There was a very long line on the far left that led to more iPads to make my selections.  We decided not to wait in that line. I had been to Magic Kingdom several days earlier and knew there were other Fastpass+ service locations.

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I went back to Heritage House next to the Hall of Presidents and it was almost a walk up to the cast members. So remember that you don’t have to stop at the first place you see to make your reservations. Once you make your reservations you can have them sent to your email.  I don’t know about you but I typically don’t check my phone once I am in the park. I took what I thought were good pictures with my iPhone only to realize I left the details out of the picture. Notice what is missing?  Why, it is times for my FastPasses! I tried to access my email to check the details but where I was sitting I was unable to download my email. You can always write down the details or visit a kiosk if you can’t get the email.

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It worked well for us and I didn’t miss the FastPass machines.  In fact, I am glad the machines are going away.  I have heard too many stories of people double-dipping or in one case, quadruple-dipping, for FastPasses.

Continuing my stroll through the park I found some more construction walls.  This is by the Liberty Belle.

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Here is the back of Cinderella Castle with the crane.

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They have started the landscaping for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  The picture was taken through the peep holes they have in the fence.

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This is a great time of year to visit the 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World. The weather can be a little crazy during January.  It can be frosty one day and in the 70′s the next. The crowds are lower so many of the attractions will be a walk on.

If you have visited during this time of year what do you think? Do seeing the construction walls put a damper on your vacation enjoyment.  I like to think of how beautiful it will look when it is done. This is the time of year that I get to ride attractions that are usually so busy I don’t want to wait in the line.  You get spoiled living here.  If the line looks long you figure you will ride it the next time you come.

See you in the parks!


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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

Kathy Werling discovered Walt Disney World later than most people but has made up for it. Living close to the theme parks hasn't gotten old yet for her. Kathy is an accomplished photographer and is always out finding new and different things to photograph in the Orlando theme parks. Kathy is also part of the Orlando DIS Unplugged Podcast team.
  • Cat

    We used to love Disney in January but between the sometimes VERY cold weather and the closures/rehabs decided to switch to warmer off season months which we enjoy more. Today, however, I am missing Disney since we were there for MLK Jr week in 2008, 2009 & 2010.

  • CrazyAuntie

    I enjoyed visiting WDW during the quiet times and I don’t mind a little nip in the air. Thanks for posting your Fast Pass/Magic Band experience. It still sounds a little confusing to me, but I’ll probably find it to be pretty easy once I finally get to do it myself. I’m glad that I just want to use FOR for Soarin! LOL

  • CrazyAuntie

    I meant to say Fast Pass – not FOR. This spell check is a pain!

  • parksfan

    Thanks for the January update, the photos are great! We are excited to be there in 2 days and hoping for lower crowds. The construction walls won’t damper our fun times, but we will look forward to the next visit when we can try out the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I’m a little bummed the weather fluctuates so much, but even if it’s only 55 the day we arrive that is still 40-50 degrees warmer than where we are coming from! :)

  • Robert Arbuckle

    I am an AP holder that has been using FP+ for a few months. You don’t have to wait for the day of. I have made reservations in the morning before heading out to a park, but I have also made FP+ selections days in advance.

    • Kathy Werling

      Hi Robert, I am guessing you have had a resort stay in the past. I didn’t mention this in the blog because I didn’t want to confuse people. Disney still says that annual pass holders are not eligible for magic bands at this time.

      • yankeesusa

        Very true. But now that I will be staying at a resort and have my magic bands I was able to link my ap to the mb and actually used it at mk last Friday. My resort stay isn’t till February. It actually worked very well. When the system works, the magic bands make the experience so much better.

        • Kathy Werling

          Yes, there are still things they are working on.

  • Amanda Hoopes

    i was always bummed by scrims, but they used to make them look like the buildings they were rehabbing.. this brown blob is very disconcerting.. maybe it’s starbucks… coffee colored.

    • Kathy Werling

      I am hoping that the scrim that matches the building will go up.

  • Kari

    I understand that as an off site guest you can make FP + reservations when you get to the park at these kiosks. Thanks for the tip on the one next to Hall of Presidents! What I don’t understand is what do you show the cast member at the ride in order to get into the fastpass line since you don’t have magic bands and they don’t give you a paper ticket?

    • Kathy Werling

      You would tap your ticket to the scanner at the entrance to the fast pass line. Typically there are two places at each attraction where you do this.

      • Kari

        So they give you a paper ticket?

        • Kathy Werling

          You use the ticket you have to enter the park.

          • Kari

            Thanks! I understand now!

  • Nancy Nolan

    Doesn’t look too appealing to me this time of year. I was there mid December and it was only crowded Friday night – Sunday afternoon. During the week it wasn’t bad and it was gorgeous with all the Christmas trimmings. I usually go anywhere from October – December when the parks are all decorated. Gets a bit too chilly after that.

  • Kathleen Evans

    I will be visiting in late February and have mixed feelings about Fastpass+ and the weather. Yes, there are many rehabs and must forego the water parks. But unfortunately I hate crowds but love WDW – the great conundrum. Now I hear Disney is offering Florida residents super-discounted admission Jan-Mar. I guess they want crowds all the time and crowd-out us “tourists” who already pay high hotel prices plus airfare, not to mention regular admission versus annualpass. (note: the annualpass is practically giveaway). Of course, I love the beauty of early Spring and Fall so I’ll stay in Virginia.

    • sandra

      I am done with Disney for quite a while. FastPass+ is a nightmare, especially if you have hoppers. One park a day, limited to 3, all the planning, just not my style. Sucking the magic out of it. The amount of control is very limiting to the sense of discovery and spontainiety. I’ve been a fan since the 80′s and these changes are so sad.

      • Disneyland1955

        Go to Disneyland. We still don’t have fastpast+ for now thank goodness. :)

  • Jose Serrano

    Thanks for the post Kathy. Well done as always and great to get an update on this FP+ fiasco. We’re going back in August and I’m kind of worried a bit. Thanks again!

    • Kathy Werling

      Jose, I think you will find the magicbands and fastpasses very easy to use. The magic is still there at WDW.

      • Jose Serrano

        Thank you Kathy. Trust me, as soon as I walk into the custom house at CBR, I am in magic land!!! I used to stress more before but slowing the pace down has been our motto the last few trips – and can you believe this….it has felt like we’ve seen and done more now that we’ve slowed down a bit. We did things this last trip [Aug 2013] that we’ve never done in 12 previous trips. Go figure….

  • Karen B.

    We are visiting WDW now and have had nothing but good experiences so far with the Fastpass+ in the 5 days we’ve been here. We did have a few problems with setting up the FP’s prior to our visit but all was fixed. Since we got here it was extremely easy to check and change our Fastpasses with My Disney Experience and we had not one problem with using our magic bands! We visit every other year and love being here at this time of year. The weather isn’t too hot and the lines are very short compared to busier times. Thanks Kathy for all your info.