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PHOTO REPORT: Magic Kingdom 1/16/21 (Huge Crowds and Long Waits, Pirates of the Caribbean Sign Returns, TRON Lightcycle Run Construction, and More)

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom — seemingly The Most Crowded Place On Earth! Despite the holidays being behind us and the decorations being removed, Walt Disney World parks only seems to be getting busier, not to mention 12 hour Virtual Queue waits for Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs today. Busy days don’t scare us away, though, so let’s head to the park and see what’s going on.

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The Dapper Dans were performing today, as they regularly do, though today the Dans were merely a trio instead of the usual quartet.

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After enjoying a few tunes, we popped into Uptown Jewelers and noticed they had a stock of the elusive neon park icon Loungefly mini backpacks which have rarely been seen since their release back in September.

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Heading up Main Street, we would catch our first of two sightings of the Mickey & Friends Cavalcade as it moved through the park.

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Less than a week ago, we reported that the new Pirates of the Caribbean sail had been blank for nearly two months as it was being refurbished. Mere days later, the sign has finally had the title of the attraction added to the sail (along with some holes), our first signs of progress since November.

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In Frontierland, the large-scale refurbishment continues for the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island. Significant restorative work grinds on for Harper’s Mill while other projects take place on and around the island.

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At Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, eagle-eyed (or tall) guests might notice a familiar character hiding within the shop.

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Moving over to Fantasyland, we start to get a clearer picture of the crowds. Stroller corrals seem just as packed as they were this time last year, and the number of guests in surrounding areas doesn’t feel a whole lot different, either.

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At The Friar’s Nook, each line was at least a dozen guests deep as parkgoers tried to find food as the offerings have been reduced.

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Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid saw its line extend almost all the way to Storybook Circus.

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Inside Storybook Circus, The Barnstormer had waits approaching an hour in the afternoon. As is commonplace these days, the queue snaked through Fantasyland Station in an effort to find space for everyone in line.

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Work continues around the platform of the aforementioned Fantasyland Station as new track continues to be laid as part of the years long refurbishment of the Walt Disney World Railroad.

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Moving on to Tomorrowland, we were given a pretty clear visual of the rising crowd levels within the park. The amount of guests is a far cry from the days of even the 35% capacity level that the parks operated at in mid-November, only two months ago.

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Contributing to this flood of people are queues, such as the only for Tomorrowland Speedway, that can do nothing but spill out into walkways when they become longer than what Disney plans for.

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Hopefully new attractions will help absorb guests and keep wait times and crowds manageable. Despite the exterior work that TRON Lightcycle Run has been undergoing, though, it will be at least a year until it opens.

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Finally, on our way out of the park, we caught our second showing of the Mickey & Friends Cavalcade on Main Street as the sun was beginning to set for the day.

Thanks for following along with us on this busy day at the Magic Kingdom! For all of the latest updates on Disney news, construction, crowds, and more, click here and follow @WDWNT on Twitter!

  1. uh… I hope the crowd level doesn’t backfire on them either angry guests or pandemic numbers wise… Wow, that’s a lot of people.

      1. Yes, “no spikes”…as per Disney/Universal and the governments of Orlando, Orange County, and Florida…all benefactors of the tremendous Sales and Sales Tax revenue that the open Disney/Universal brings in. Yes, go at your own risk, but let’s be honest, Florida’s spikes are centered right here. There are just way too many people who benefit from the parks being open for anyone to be honest about what’s going on there.

    1. a lot of them seem to be taken with a telephoto lens, which will make it appear as though crowds are denser than they might actually be.

  2. Why would any one want to go to WDW when the line wait times are approaching two hours. There are many other places to go for vacation at one-third to cost of a WDW vacation.

  3. Live seeing Florida experiencing life instead of being scared and hissing from it!! Florida is our vacation destination this year, for get Hawaii and their fear!

  4. Wow I guess the pandemic is over then???? Nice crowds with ZERO social distancing. So12,000+ new cases a day isn’t enough now?? Oh entertainment is more important….of course, silly me! This is Florida after all! The state who cares more about tourism than they do their own residents. Sad!

    1. I was here and actually the social distancing on lines, restaurants, and rides was pretty impressive. Walking down the streets could get a little busy and there were a few arguing with staff about wearing masks.

    2. We’re going there this February. If your worried stay home. Kinda strange how there is 98% drop in the flu. The media & the CDC are putting fear into so many people and lives, let’s see what’s coming next.

    3. People are wearing masks, because of this, other viral diseases have actually also been reduced by large percentages!

  5. That is insane! Have none of these folks heard about the new UK Covid-19 varient that’s spreading around? Is this how people are spending their stimulus check, instead of on rent and food?

    1. People who can afford to stay on-site don’t need the stimulus checks. I doubt anyone visiting WDW right now is in need of those checks to feed their families.

    2. I haven’t missed a days work. To be honest I put mine into the stock market and doubled it. Thanks for being concerned about my finances.

  6. Stay home!!! Since March, the state has seen more than 1.5 million cases and 23,981 deaths. But go ahead and risk the health and safety of others by going to WDW right now. It’s so “essential”

    1. No, not stay home. Im really over hearing people telling other people what to do! I lost my mother at age 56 due to her havng acute pneumonia, that was dismissed and over looked due to doctors and nurses strictly looking for COVID-19 symptoms, and viewed her as being “non-essential.” I missed my opportunity to see her for 3 months due to hiding in my home, which is something I cannot take back or change. So learning from this horrible experience, hiding from the virus and playing keep away WILL only make you more vulnerable and weaken your immune system, ridiculous!! Life is short and you don’t know when your time is up!As people should have their right to live how they feel suits them, not knock them down, judge, and ridicule them. Because you don’t know them and what they have gone and/or are currently going thru. The end.

  7. We got there at 2:10 pm and Speedway was 15min wait, dumbo and under the sea was a walk through, and seven dwarf was 60min. 1/16 wasn’t bad at all.

    1. My thought, too. Going in the morning for or just after opening is crazy; it’s a fraction of that crowd later in the day.

  8. The propaganda machine is hard at work. Stay away from Disney until this is over. Waste of money!!!

  9. What happened to social distancing? If this predicts what the park will be like when things get back to normal, then I’ll pass. Too much money for me to stand in horrendous lines.

  10. I was here all weekend and the crowds were not so bad I felt. The wait times were not too bad especially when they are not seating every row many of the times. Definitely seemed less crowded then last year but was also expecting it to be more of a drastic difference.

  11. Glad to see those that are not high risk out supporting businesses like Disney. Definitely not hating, enjoy 😁

  12. I was there 1/16. It was a complete trainwreck. Zero social distancing, and guests fighting with each other over being too close. Crowd was the biggest I’ve ever seen at MK including before pandemic.

    1. Weird because they’re only at 25/35% capacity. So highly doubt it was as crowded as before the pandemic.

      1. That percentage number can be misleading. What is 100% capacity and how often are they actually at 100%? So the lesser percent at certain times can seem just like regular times considering some stores, restaurants, etc closed. Plus no fast passes and not as much park hopping right now.

  13. Does anyone know if these crowds are specific to holiday weekend or if it looks like this everyday now?

    1. From all the people I know that are there almost weekly, it is a holiday and weekend thing. Weekdays most rides are walk on or 20 min waits. Rise of the Resistance is still hard to ge though

      1. As we go pretty much daily, I can tell you the walk-on to 20 minutes wait thing was true in July and August and has not been true otherwise, except at maybe EPCOT on a weeknight.

  14. Line for Haunted Mansion nearly met up with the line for Thunder Mountain as they both wrapped around the dry lagoon. I told one of the cast members holding the “line starts here” plaque that once the two meet I’m taking a picture. Minutes later both lines were quickly shifted to other areas. Guess the good people in the control panel weren’t too keen on the idea.

  15. Hey 3,5 and 8 year old…who wants to go to Disney and wait in lines for 3/4 of the day?!? This sounds like literally the worst fun ever…

  16. This is terrible. I don’t what’s worse, Disney letting this many people in, or the amount of people going and not worried about their families catching civid.

  17. I went new years day waited half of whatever the posted wait time was and the longest i waited 55 minutes for splash mountain because they were loading one party per boat even if that party had 2 PEOPLE or just 1 guy. the avg was 5 people in each boat but they were in the same party meanwhile the line for splash stretched all the way to the bridge overlooking splash mountain cause of the stupid social distancing.
    my point being is that the crowds here are grossly misjudged because the social distancing makes all the lines look wayyyy too long
    space mountain at 10-stretched all the way out to the bathrooms by space and i waited 20 minutes posted was 45
    pirates posted 50 waited 25 and the line stretched into frontierland.
    so go yourself before you complain about the LaCk Of SaFeTy

  18. Hah, these wait lines were only 15 mins for any ride at most last Thursday. You picked the wrong day. We rode barnstormer 10 times back to back at 3:30pm. The little mermaid mid day never had more than a 5 min wait. The only rides that had an hour long wait were the 7 dwarfs and it’s a small world. Even thunder mountain only had a 30 min wait. Everything else was about 15 mins.

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