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Walt Disney World gets ready to change the way it starts the day

December 28, 2016, 12:43 PM · Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom will change the way it lets fans into the park in the mornings, starting next month.

Beginning January 9, the park will start letting visitors onto Main Street USA before the park's official opening time, where some shops (including Starbucks) will be open for guests. The "opening moment" show will move from the Main Street train station to the Castle Forecourt stage, and visitors will be able to disperse into the lands from the hub following a rope drop at the official opening time.

That makes the Magic Kingdom's opening more like Disneyland's, with the addition of the opening moment show at the MK.

The change actually should allow fans to show up a bit closer to the park's scheduled opening time and still be able to make it into relatively empty queues throughout the park right after opening. However, the change also means those queues should fill up even faster, too. And the change minimizes or eliminates the advantage that people who booked character breakfasts in the park had in getting on rides first in the morning.

Here's why: Under the current opening, fans crammed into much less space in front of the train station at opening before filing through the passageways under the train station to get into the park. That created a premium for fans who arrived first, encouraging people to show up well before the official opening time. Under the new system, there's quite a bit more space in the hub for visitors awaiting the start of the day, and fans can position themselves directly in front of the land they wish to visit. The Starbucks and other Main Street shops also should distract some people, too, meaning that visitors should be able to show up later and still make their way up to a "front row" position to enter the part of the park they want to experience first.

But with all those people waiting at the hub now, any advantage that breakfast diners had at the Crystal Palace in the morning is gone. And people eating breakfast in Fantasyland won't be any closer to many attractions that people on the hub will be.

The additional volume of people entering the park at opening also should fill queues throughout the park faster than they do now, with fans entering from the train station. Think of the difference between how much water you can pour out of a bucket than from a bottle. The new system is like a bucket of fans pouring into the park.

From Disney's perspective, that's a much more efficient way to "load" the park in the mornings, though it requires spending more money on labor to staff the Main Street locations earlier in the day. But with so many people coming to the Magic Kingdom, spending a more on labor surely seems worth leveraging what should be more sales revenue in the morning and might be better guest satisfaction, as well.

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Replies (12)

December 28, 2016 at 1:01 PM · Wow. Dropping the Casey Jnr portion of the welcome won't be popular, even if the castle show is better and the logistics work better. Disney need someone to tell them nostalgia isn't rational, and people fear change.
December 28, 2016 at 1:06 PM · I also wonder if this will impact the Main Street vehicles. MK hardly ever has them out, and if so it's usually right at park opening.
December 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM · Let's just make the hour before opening a giant Main Street "dance party" - get that **** out of the way - then turn over Main Street to the vehicles for the remainder of the day. How about that?
December 28, 2016 at 2:20 PM · Another potential reason for this change: security. Think about what could happen if some nutjob with a gun showed up outside the Magic Kingdom on a busy morning. Before even making it to the security checkpoint, a weapon could be drawn and all of those people crammed into a tight spot are sitting ducks to say nothing of the ensuing stampede. Now with everyone spread out throughout the park, there won't be a huge glut of people all mulling around a tight space near the bag check and metal detectors.

And of course there's the extra money they'll spend at the Emporium and Starbucks, haha.

December 28, 2016 at 4:55 PM · I'll I know it's that the cast members how are there at 5am would have to be there at 4 or earlier.
December 28, 2016 at 7:28 PM · There's no front row when you're getting your Starbucks coffee. It will disperse the crowd for those that rather go on rides instead of seeing the show. The view will be much better for late comers, but no guarantee. The park will still be a madhouse in the mornings. Best to get your Fastpasses in case you arrive late.
December 29, 2016 at 7:49 AM · I would certainly prefer to wait on Main Street rather than by the check-in station. At least there would be something to see or do while you wait. Yes, I would spend a few bucks getting a hot chocolate or cold drink from the famous coffee store (non-coffee drinker). I was there in September, when the crowds were not too bad, and it was bad enough. I cannot even envision doing that in July in the heat! Change can be good!
December 29, 2016 at 9:05 AM · I feel that Disney should minimize the number of tickets sold evryday. I have been to both parks in the US since I was a year old, and the last two years I have found that it's so crowded that you can't even take pictures in front of the castle the MAGIC that once was DISNEY is gone! So you either purchase your ticket ahead of time or take the chance that they haven't sold out for that day.
Michelle Gasper ~ Nevada
December 29, 2016 at 2:34 PM · This is just a return to the way it was several years back. Main Street was opened before the rest of the park. Don't know when it changed. Maybe it was when they started the extra magic hours.
December 30, 2016 at 12:37 PM · I'm glad Disney is making these changes but it will be just as crowded down Main Street. The positive side to this is I rather be sitting in a crowd drinking my morning coffee from Starbucks.

For those who have character breakfast reservations, I could see how this change would be frustrating not getting the advantage of being 1st on a ride. I have not had the opportunity to experience a character breakfast at Magic Kingdom only Chef Mickey, but Disney should consider giving 1 extra fastpass ticket for a specific ride. The prices of these breakfasts are costly so for those who have character reservations at a park restaurant should consider doing something small that can go a long way for those individuals.

January 1, 2017 at 12:49 PM · Security is a big Issue - as - if someone will do an Terror Attack at a Themepark then first Pick wouldd be Ddisney MK - but didn't the Security Check recently movedd more near to the Lake for that Reason?

The Train Show was always short but touching! It adds to the whole Experience! I can not i marine without it!

Why not - If official opening is 9 am do at 8:30 the Train Opening after that allowing Passengers to board the Train at 8:45 and at 9 the opening Show at the Hub. In that way you can decide to be first in a Land or see the 2 nd Opening Show and getting in in the Official Way?

January 2, 2017 at 12:52 PM · This really isn't new. Disney used to do it back in the 70's and 80's. When I was at Disney World in November they were letting people in early at EPCOT.

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