Hidden Magic in Disney World

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The Magic is Subtle Sometimes

A quick five day trip netted these photos.  My favorite 12 out of 379 photos taken.


Fireworks from Gaston’s


Bay Lake Tower


Everest in the Distance at Animal Kingdom


First Order on the Move at Hollywood Studios


Narcoossee’s Designer Water


Pandora at Night


Classic Disney


Capturing a Rainbow


Maharajah Jungle Trek




Light Lunch Epcot


Chocolate crusted key lime pie

In 2008 the family went to Key West, but we forgot to try the Key Lime Pie. So when we got back we started planning on our next adventure in WDW – the great Key Lime Pie adventure. In 2009 we visited twice that summer and during the trips we tasted every key lime pie on property. The Chocolate Crusted Key Lime from the Grand Floridian Cafe had a perfect score. So we continued to visit the cafe every trip for the pie. Along the way we shared it with many friends.

Then in 2015 a new chef showed up and promptly took it off the menu. We were stunned and abandoned the Grand Floridian Cafe.

So last week I wrote a letter to guest services to request a pie as a surprise for our group, and today it all worked out. The magic of Pie.



WDW in three photos 

There are places to go at WDW to avoid the madness and crowds.  Here are three of them. Being in Epcot at 11:00 ready to eat is one of the most relaxing parts of my trips. The ferries provide me endless entertainment. It’s a Small World reminds of what made WDW special. Innovation. 

Quiet dining in Epcot

Anthony driving the Friendship 3

Classic ride developed by Walt

A Day of Adventure at WDW

I never visited the Adventurer’s Club before it was closed down, but there are hints of it still floating around.  So, we went off in search of finding a little of that magic. We started at the Jambo House, and we stumbled on to this artifact in the Zawadi Marketplace.


A cast member at the desk suggested that we try the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd at the Magic Kingdom.  The entire staff is made up of Jungle adventurers.  Off we went.  Along the way, we were sidetracked by the allure of the Tiki Birds.


They sang of mysteries in the Jungle and treasure that we should seek.


And warned us to be on the look out for danger…


Upon arriving at the Skipper Canteen, we knew immediately that we were in the right spot.  The servers talked in riddles and clues were embedded throughout the building…



We needed to stock up on food, so we ordered Cachapas (incredible) Shu Mai, Falefel, and duck confit noodle bowls.


And enjoyed Sangria in the Magic Kingdom…


From the clues at the Navigation Company and tips from the servers we knew we must set off to explore the major rivers of the world.  So we took a cruise.


During the journey, we spent most of the time in de Nile.  We avoided anacondas, gators, hippos, and waterfalls and finally found who we were looking for…


Trader Sam said, “I’ll give you a clue – if you want to experience the Adventurer’s Club you need to find the Grog Grotto. I will tell you know more.”


My band of intrepid explorers traveled by boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon to Polynesia and there we found excitement.

We found fire!


Glowing Hippopottamai-tais


And Captain Nemo and the Nautilus – A true adventurer.


Shortly after we ran out of money, we made our way back to Africa.  And after an arduous journey we stopped in to the Nomad Lounge.


The server immediately came up to us and winked.  He led us to a special table and said, “We have been waiting for you.”  He brought out a specially brewed beer for the Nomad Club.

He smiled, and said, “Kungaloosh!”


It’s the little things at WDW. 

These are a few of my favorite things at Walt Disney World. I wish I didn’t have to pay a $600+ cover charge to enjoy the food. But nonetheless, I pay – and I enjoy. 

An Anhinga at Disney Springs

Sorcerer Mickey at the Contemporary

Shooting pool on the pier

Black Cherry Mules at Geyser Point

The impotent Geyser at Wilderness Lodge

Flaming uh-oa at Trader Sam’s.

Animal Kingdom at Night. Stunning

Moroccan coffee at Spice Road Table

The Stars bust loose.

Duck Confit Sliders at Brown Derby Lounge

An Eye for Detail in Disney Parks

This summer I spent week at Disneyland, and then a week later, I played at WDW. This was my 16th trip to Disney parks, so it always a challenge to “see” something new. The following are things that I had not noticed on previous trips.

The Wonderful World of Disney Color…

Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure

All the pavilions at the Flame Tree in Disney Animal Kingdom have carved examples of predators attacking prey. Bizarre. This is just one of those images.

Death Pavilions at Flametree Barbecue

Death Pavilions at Flametree Barbecue

The helium balloons are captivating.



Mary Blair’s art work is on display in It’s a Small World, The Grand Fiesta Tour in Epcot, and the Contemporary Mural.

Mary Blair art at Contemporary

Mary Blair art at Contemporary

The Frozen Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are among the best I have ever watched.

Frozen Fireworks 1

Frozen Fireworks 1

Frozen Fireworks

Frozen Fireworks

Frozen fireworks 2

Frozen fireworks 2

Two Magic Bands – they work interchangeably.

dueling magic bands

dueling magic bands

The recreation of Africa in Harambe is stunning.

Tusker House

Tusker House

Asia is fantastic too…

The Yeti at Everest

The Yeti at Everest

The Beastly Kingdom was never completed, but it would have been awesome I am sure…

Remnants of the long lost Beastly Kingdom

Remnants of the long lost Beastly Kingdom

The Tower of Terror scores a perfect 10 for theming, pre-show, and ride. A perfect theme park experience.

The Hollywood Hotel

The Hollywood Hotel

Details in the Hollywood Hotel Basement

Details in the Hollywood Hotel Basement

Being a librarian, you would think I would have noticed this before…

Streets of America in Hollywood Studios

Streets of America in Hollywood Studios

The World Showcase in Epcot…

Japan in Epcot

Japan in Epcot

Japan - Anime Exhibit

Japan – Anime Exhibit

Morocco in Epcot

Morocco in Epcot

Up close and personal with a terra cotta warrior

Up close and personal with a terra cotta warrior

It’s Tough to Be a Bug pre-show. This is an incredibly well themed area…

Movie Poster Tough to be a Bug

Movie Poster Tough to be a Bug

A Dung Ball in Tough to be a Bug

A Dung Ball in Tough to be a Bug


Wall-E is one of Pixar’s best films, but Wall-E is banished from the parks except in the Pin Trader store in Downtown Disney…

Wall E

Wall E

Hollywood Studios is desperate for attractions, so they closed their weak Pirates of the Caribbean experience, and replaced it with some benches…

A lounge to cool off

A lounge to cool off

Funny bathroom image…

Kill the Beast - restroom signs in New Fantasyland

Kill the Beast – restroom signs in New Fantasyland

At the Muppet Theater…

Gonzo hanging on for dear life.

Gonzo hanging on for dear life.

Sadly, staff must have been cut at the Magic Kingdom, because this is becoming more common…

Peter Pan trashed #2

Peter Pan trashed #2

Peter Pan trashed

Peter Pan trashed

Theoretical/Operational Hourly Ride Capacity at WDW

Link to the DISboards.

Updated 6/17/2017

Comments welcome.  Most attractions have a solid connection found in a wide variety of sources.  Some of these attractions I haven’t been able to begin to guess.

THRC – Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacity

OHRC – Operational Hourly Ride Capacity (during a peak time)

FP+ allocation – is a pure guess at 70% based on observations.

% attendance – shows what percent of a daily population could actually book a FP+.  So, with the Mine Train, only 24% of the people in a 60,000 population day could actually schedule a FP+ for this ride.

 Magic Kingdom  14 hour day THRC OHRC Daily Capacity  FP+  allocation % attendance
14 0.7 60000
Big Thunder N.R. 1500 1350 18900 13230 0.2205
Space Mountain 2000 1800 25200 17640 0.294
Splash Mountain 1200 1080 15120 10584 0.1764
Peter Pan’s Flight 800 720 10080 7056 0.1176
Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin 800 720 10080 7056 0.1176
Haunted Mansion 3200 2880 40320 28224 0.4704
Jungle Cruise 1800 1620 22680 15876 0.2646
Pirates of Caribbean 3200 2880 40320 28224 0.4704
Barnstormer 350 315 4410 3087 0.05145
Winnie the Pooh 850 765 10710 7497 0.12495
Tomorrowland Speedway 500 450 6300 4410 0.0735
Under the Sea 2200 1980 27720 19404 0.3234
Dumbo  the Flying Elepahnt 1000 900 12600 8820 0.147
It’s a Small World 3000 2700 37800 26460 0.441
Mad Tea Party 850 765 10710 7497 0.12495
Mickey’s Philharmagic 1500 1350 18900 13230 0.2205
Magic Carpets of Aladdin 550 495 6930 4851 0.08085
7 Dwarf Mine Train 1650 1485 20790 14553 0.2425
Meet Ariel at Her Grotto 0 0 0 0
Meet Cinderella 0 0 0 0
Meet Rapunzel 0 0 0 0
Celebrate a Dream Come Parade 0 0 0 0
Meet Mickey Town Square 0 0 0 0
Monsters Inc 1000 900 12600 8820 0.147
Wishes 0 0 0 0
Enchanted Tales w Belle 300 270 3780 2646 0.0441
Magic Kingdom Totals: 249165 4.1
Epcot    12 hour day THRC OHRC Daily Capacity  FP+ allocation % attendance
12 0.7 37800
Soarin (3 theaters) 2088 1879 22550 15785 0.41
Test Track 1200 1080 12960 9072 0.24
Frozen Ever After 1000 900 10800 7560 0.2
Mission: Space 1600 1440 17280 12096 0.32
Spaceship Earth 2400 2160 25920 18144 0.48
Journey into Imagination 2200 1980 23760 16632 0.44
The Seas with Nemo 2200 1980 23760 16632 0.44
Living with the Land 1600 1440 17280 12096 0.32
Meet Disney Pals at Epcot 0 0 0 0
Captain EO 0 0 0 0
Turtle Talk with Crush 0 0 0 0
Illuminations 0 0 0 0
Epcot Totals: 108017 2.85
Hollywood Studios   13 Hour Day THRC OHRC Daily Capacity FP+ allocation % attendance
13 0.7 35000
RocknRoller Coaster 1800 1620 21060 14742 0.4212
Tower of Terror 2000 1800 23400 16380 0.468
Toy Story Midway Mania (+3rd track) 2400 2160 25920 18,144 0.518
Star Tours 1800 1620 21060 14742 0.4212
The Great Movie Ride 2400 2160 28080 19656 0.5616
Disney Junior 1500 1050 0.03
Fantasmic 10000 7000 0.2
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular 10000 7000 0.2
Muppet 3D  1692  900 11700 8190 .39
Beauty & Beast Stage  7500  5250  0.15
 112164  3.20
 DHS Totals  112728  3.2
Animal Kingdom   10 Hour Day THRC OHRC Daily Capacity FP+ allocation Attendance
12 0.7 35000
Expedition Everest 1800 1620 19440 13608 0.388
Kali River Rapids 1800 1620 19440 13608 0.388
Kilimanjaro Safaris 1400 1260 15120 10584 0.302
Dinosaur 2400 2160 25920 18144 0.527
Primeaval Whirl 1000 900 10800 7560 0.216
It’s Tough to Be a Bug 2000 1800 21600 15120 0.432
Avatar: Flight of Passage (projected)  1600  1440  17280 12096 0.345
Na’vi River Journey 1200 1080 12960 9072 0.259
Festival of Lion King 1375 8250 5775 0.165
Meet and Greet 200 2000 1400 0.043
Finding Nemo  1500  6000  4200  0.12
Animal Kingdom Totals 111,167 3.18

FP+ Walt Disney World – What we know.

The Last Update.   This is a fitting conclusion to the My Magic + Saga.  I do think the entire story is a little disenchanting and sad.  The Messy Business of Reinventing Happiness 

Last updated: 4/24/2014 – Additional Fastpasses available after using your original three.  Explanation.

4/6/2014. Swan and dolphin get 60 day advanced online booking.

4/3/2014 FP+ will be adding extra FP selections, offsite guests can fully participate, and hopping will be coming soon. Wdw blog post for more.

3/11/2014 Josh from easywdw.com published a blog post about standby wait times this year compared to the same time period last year.  Standby lines for the secondary rides are going up.

3/11/2014 MSN story about the FP+ “backlash”.

3/6/2014  Annual Pass members and off site guests are starting to get their opportunity. Story.

1/23/2014  first promotional video for FP+ from Disney.

1/18/2014 – Magic Kingdom – traditional fastpass system covered up.  Epcot and Hollywood Studios targeted next week.  This MiceChat report is informative.

1/1/2014 – full fastpass + to begin roll out soon.  Legacy FP to fade away, off site guests access to kiosks like at Animal Kingdom. Article.

12/13/2013 – Off Site Guests getting their first shot at FP+ at Disney Animal Kingdom Only. Story.
12/1/2013 – Next step in FP+, requiring all on site guests to use magic band and restrict them to 3 per day? It may have started today. A report.
11/17/2013  TIERS Re-Introduced in Fastpass+ system.  Now at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  Here is a story from easywdw.com.

11/2/2013 – interesting look at magic band potential. Theme park Insider article

8/19/2013 – good report from D23 about fastpass+.

8/17/2013 – Several test runs have been occurring in August. The same style as December 2012. Participants are able to use the magicbands for FP+ and still pull regular fastpass.

7/21/2013 – micechat article discussing the “Why” of FP+ and MM+.
7/18/2013 – Disboard post listing available FP+ attractions and includes a priority level. Informative discussion.
7/13/2013 – Next round of testing will happen for Bay Lake Towers guests checking in July 22-24. It will be interesting to see if the testers are restricted to just FP+ and not be able to pull regular FP too.

7/12/2013 – Article describing Disney’s perception of how the trials are working. The magic bands are generating more money per guest.

7/12/2013 – Disney’s official FAQ page.

7/5/2013 – Six months after initial announcement and we know very little. The latest round of tests were carbon copies of the December tests and did not reveal anything new about the workings of FP+. But Lights, Motors, Action is ready to go with FP+ . Very strange.

6/2/2013. Official MyMagic+ and FP+ tests will be run in all the parks June 20 – June 26. For select guests. See DIS post.

5/23/2013 – The DIS unplugged videocast shared up to date information about magicbands (starting at 17:00) and FP+ (starting at 29:00).

5/17/2013 The Disney CFO explains the real reason for MyMagic + In this article.

4/14/2013. Testing in Animal Kingdom? Here is the story.

2/25/2013 – A Disney Guest lucked into a preview of the FP+ system on the app. See report here.

Timeline: According to several reports – roll out should start in selected resorts at WDW sometime this year. At this time the FP+ option has not been opened up for use.

Thoughtful Blogs exploring the issues of Park Planning and the FP+ issues:

What We Know:

You can read the fine print from the My Disney Experience Known Terms and Conditions:

  • The FP+ will be managed through the My Disney Experience website and apps.
  • The number of FP+ per day will be limited and vary based on park, ride, and day of the week, and time of the year.
  • Can be used in 1 Park per day (This would limit FP+ at two parks while hopping).
  • Can be used only once per ride per day
  • User can login and reserve rides and events up to 60 days in advance
  • Once a customer is using FP+ that customer will not be able to use the standard FP
  • One user will be able to book rides and events for multiple people online as long as a network of friends has been set up.
  • * Credit Cards will be linked up to accounts
  • FP+ will include a wide range of rides, character meet and greets, quick service meal ordering, select locations for parades, shows, and fireworks.
  • The number of days you can hold a FP+ reservation will be limited.
  • A user may change their reservations throughout the day (based on availibilty).
  • Disney has the right to re-assign FP+ for you in case of unplanned attraction down time.
  • Customers will be able to use their personal devices, computers, and concierge services in the resorts.
  • Patrons can choose to get email and text alerts and reminders throughout the day.
  • Based on Terms and Conditions and several articles – any valid MYW ticket will be able to link to My Disney Experience and then access FP+

My Disney Experience – Frequently Asked Questions explains about information collected about customers and how it is used.

Frommer’s Travel Guides Pan the FP+ – Article

BigAWL has a thread dedicated to My Disney Experience site and App.

NBC VIDEO that shows entries to park and discusses security.

CBS Local News Story describes the coming changes 2/11/2013.

Be Our Guest Fastpass + advance dining ordering – test run starting this week. -2/22/2013 –

Things verified from other sites:

WDWMagic FAQs summarizes nicely. And here is an updated FAQ July 2013.

  • Everyone will have access on site and off site.
  • No extra cost (unless you want buy bracelets)
  • AP holders will be included and be provided magicbands.
  • Customers can use their phones or kiosks in the park.

WDW Blog post from Tom Staggs, Chairman of the Parks.

  • Use smartphones and kiosks to keep adjusting all day as you go.
  • People can opt out or participate in as little or as much as they want.
  • AP holders will be fully included.
  • People will be able to customize their bands and purchase a wide range of styles.
  • Roll-out starts this spring.

MyMagic+ Patent information can be found here.

Good summary from Computerworld. Covers wristbands, security, and future. Nick Franklin V.P. Next Gen Technology confirms:

  • 3 FP+ for each day
  • Special bonus FP+ might be shared throughout the day. A good example here of a dumbo surprise.
  • Select seating for Parades, Fireworks, Meet and Greets will be available.
  • It will be available to all guests, it will be free, and it won’t be tiered based on resort.

The interactive device will be a magicband. More information from wdwinfo blog about how the magicbands will work.

Interesting read about the MyMagic+ patent at this site.

This article from Time does a nice job explaining the wristbands potential economic impact on Disney.

There will be a lot of personalized interactions throughout the parks. For example, at a Character meet, the character will greet a child with a first name and know any special occasions. New York Times has a good example here.

Easywdw has new changes to calendars. These official changes are coming out much earlier than normal check them out here and read the commentary.

the Infinity Game provides an additional source of revenue connected to the RFID bands. Check out the Forbes article and this article.

What happens to people without personal devices? Kiosks in Park (Video half way down shows kiosks) OR – you could buy a wi-fi enabled device that doesn’t need a service plan like an ipod touch version 4 or 5 to ensure connectivity. iPhones need to be 3GS or newer with 3.0 ios or newer.

Orlando Sentinel highlights the opening of Antarctica at Sea World and discusses impact on Disney.

What we still dont know and Speculation and/or Reliable Source Answer:

Ticket Questions:

  • IF we link a ticket with less days than resort days or less days than other people in the party, will Disney offer us immediate upgrade options?
  • How will it affect AP users not staying on site? “Our Annual Passholders are very important to us and were taking extra care to provide access to all the features and benefits of MyMagic+ ” – Tom Staggs, Chairman of the parks.
  • Will there be a limit on FP+ per quarter for AP holders?
  • How will it affect YES tickets?
  • Will Guest Assistance Card (GAC) be affected? Here is an article addressing this issue.
  • How will military discounts be affected. One question is if military discounts have to purchased on site, will the military families be able to book anything in advance?
  • Annual Pass on will call basis. How do AP holders participate with no voucher number? (On the app, there is a place to add your confirmation # to link your pass).


  • How will it affect DVC owners? Nearly everything suggests that DVC will have full access to all of FP+, new website going to be unveiled soon.
  • Will a valid DVC resort reservation be enough to book advanced FP+? (It looks like a Ticket will be needed )

Other Concerns

  • How will this affect Rider Swap?
  • Will there be a cancellation policy for changing FP+ from park to park, or canceling the day of?
  • On the 60th day will we be able to book our entire trip, or would we need to login everyday and book FP+?
  • What will the Ride Categories be and how many FP+ in each category? (Based on Test Runs: MK top tier – ???? DHS top tier – ????) Micechat has a nice article though.


  • BigAWL has a thread dedicated to the My Disney Experience and App.
  • Will we be able to see the FP+ inventory (shop around) before we purchase our tickets?
  • How much in advance will TSMM run out of FP+?
  • How will this affect Standby lines? According to the ny times article Disney believes this is the average patrons experience:

“Disney World guests currently plod through entrance turnstiles, redeeming paper tickets, and then decide what to ride; food and merchandise are bought with cash or credit cards. (Disney hotel key cards can also be used to charge items.) People race to FastPass kiosks, which dispense a limited number of free line-skipping tickets. But gridlock quickly sets in and most people wait. And wait.” – The FP+ is designed to “fix” that problem.

This Orlando Sentinal article shares more of Tom Staggs vision.

Pure Speculation:

  • Will deluxe resorts get more than 3 FP+?
  • Will people be able to purchase FP+ extra packages?
  • Will people be able to purchase FP+ one at a time on demand? (wild speculation)
  • Is this based on the followingYield Management concepts? check out this site for a description.
  • Will dynamic pricing be introduced next? Different park pricing for different days of the week, times of the year, parks? click here for hints from the Orlando Sentinal.
  • Is this all tied to together with the reduction of EMH?
  • Connected to rumors of No FD offers? (If extra FP+ -in addition to three free- are available for deluxe resorts, maybe)
  • Taking the non-expiration ticket offer off the webpage?

Opinions from disboard posts:

  • DIS unplugged Video Podcast 45 minutes of discussion about FP+.
  • Doug7856 provides a great explanation of how these changes affects individuals in different ways.
  • A balanced perspective from “educated user” Rileygirl can be found on this post!
  • Ninja mom talks from experience about meeting those pre arranged FP times.
  • MichiganDVC paints a very peaceful picture of how FP+ will work for him.
  • MAGICFOR2 wrote a letter to Disney and got a response.
  • Colleen27 – Fastpass+ system collapse under its own weight?
  • Finedice provides a scenario for bonus fastpass distribution (“surprise and delight” passes).
  • Excellent analysis from mbrittb00 about FP+ and FP coexisting. The numbers don’t look good.
  • Good post about fastpass + and possible motive of Disney.
  • ORIGINAL THREAD – FP+ What we know and what we want to know.