Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Looking for LUV

Author's note: I first wrote this late last winter and filed it in the "get-it-off-my-chest-but-don't-post-it" category; however, with the recent news of Frontier Airlines ending service from our local airport, this immediately jumped to mind.  With a few edits, I was able to update the original writing to the present time it is being posted.  Please note that the expressions here are strictly my own; I am not representing any entity other than myself.





Okay…so I had a little free time on my hands, and, being A.D.D., that’s never a good thing.  As I pondered a trip to a warmer climate last winter during Central Illinois’s deep freeze, I again was reminded of the somewhat dismal flight options at our area's disposal.  BMI (Central Illinois Regional Airport) is just what its name tells us…a regional airport.  It was likely set up primarily as a spoke in the hub-and-spoke systems for most major airlines.  When AirTran (AirTran was the carrier, but Southwest had purchased AirTran was was beginning the merger changes) pulled out of BMI in 2012, however, the competition took a major hit.  Being an economist, I fully understand the decision to do this.


That doesn’t imply that I like it, though.

From what I have gathered, one of the primary reasons for Southwest not continuing service at BMI was that the demand likely would not be strong enough to sustain viability.  Initially, I agreed.  Then the A.D.D. got to me, and I started thinking a bit more on this.  Bloomington is just about equidistant to St. Louis (170 miles) and Indianapolis (173 miles).  Chicago’s Midway airport is a bit closer at 127 miles away.  The argument could be made that one in Central Illinois could simply drive to one of these three airports to fly Southwest; however, when you look at the metropolitan(ish) areas in central Illinois, the population base gives a more compelling factor for flights to/from BMI.  For example:

Bloomington/Normal:                                     131,000
Peoria (around 45 miles away):                      115,000
Decatur (46 miles away):                               75,000
Rantoul (50 miles away):                                 13,000
Champaign/Urbana (51 miles away):               124,000
LaSalle/Peru/Oglesby (63 miles away):               23,000
Springfield (66 miles away):                            117,000
Danville (81 miles away):                                  81,000
Galesburg (85 miles away):                               32,000
Charleston/Mattoon (97 miles away)                 40,000


All of these metro areas are closer to BMI than to MDW, STL, or IND.  That’s around 750,000 potential customers.  Throw in a conservative estimate of an additional 80,000 people living in smaller towns within that radius, and there are easily over three quarters of a million people closer to BMI than to any other airport that Southwest serves.  I could expand the radius to include the 380,000 plus people in the Quad Cities, (yes, at 142 miles, Bloomington is closer to the Quad Cities than Des Moines, Chicago, and St. Louis), and the population soars to well over 1 million potential customers.   My estimates apparently are very conservative – a 2011 article in the Decatur Herald-Review stated that around 1.8 million residents lived within 90 miles of BMI.

Compare that to places such as Manchester, NH (56 miles away from Boston’s Logan International Airport and with a population of 110,000…even with surrounding areas, it does not come close to BMIs potential).  Albany, NY is 107 miles to BDL (Hartford/Springfield…serviced by Southwest).  Some may say that Syracuse is close to Albany, but the Orangemen fans can take Southwest flights out of the closer Rochester airport.


The argument could still be made that they wouldn’t be able to fill the seat on the planes.  Let’s assume that the equipment arriving into BMI would be the 737-700, with a capacity of around 137.  If all flights originated at BMI (as the hub-spoke flights do), then filling multiple departures with that many passengers would be a very daunting task.  Southwest doesn’t follow the typical hub-spoke system, however.  They are more point-to-point oriented, and, if BMI is an intermediate stop rather than an originating flight, then many of the seats are already accounted for with passengers remaining on the plane to continue on to a subsequent destination.

Here are some numbers from when AirTran flew out of BMI.  BMI passenger counts were in the 550,000 range.  AirTran accounted for around 40% of that, which gives us around 220,000.  That includes both inbound and outbound passengers, so divide that total by 2, and we’re at 110,000.  Divide that by 365 days, and the daily departure number appears to be around 301.  This number may seem a bit small, but, when I worked at the old BMI terminal for Frontier and AirTran, the vast majority of those passengers were heading to MCO with the rest connecting through ATL to another city.  Back then, AirTran did not in any way cover the destination cities that Southwest currently reaches…the increase in destinations would undoubtedly increase ridership by a significant amount.  Throw in the notion that the departing flights will already have a portion of seats already filled, and I think a case could be made that they could have nearly 100% of the seats filled for several BMI departures/arrivals.


I am going to make some assumptions that may or may not be accurate at all here…they are simply numbers that I am guessing at.  I'm going to be very conservative here and assume that 75% of the seats of a 737-700 are open for a departing aircraft. That comes to around 105 seats available for BMI outbound traffic.  Southwest’s load factor (percent of available seats occupied) seems to hover somewhere around 80%.  80% of 105 seats gives us 84 seats expected to be filled for each departure.  If the percentage of seats available is lower (i.e., if more people stay on the plane at BMI to continue to the next destinations), then this makes it even more attractive for Southwest.  With AirTran’s numbers from the previous paragraph, that means that Southwest could likely have the demand for 3-4 flights and maintain their system-wide load factor. This is assuming ridership numbers from AirTran in 2011.  With Southwest’s coverage, I think it’s a decent assumption that total passengers could very well increase.


How much that number will increase, however, is anyone’s guess.  If SWA started service in Bloomington, the increase could come from several sources.  First, it will without a doubt take passengers from existing BMI service.  Delta, American, Frontier (which just announced that it is pulling out of BMI), and Allegiant will all have to cut fares to maintain competitiveness or have their load factors drop.  If Southwest offers daily service, then it may potentially deal a fatal blow to Allegiant’s twice-a-week service to Orlando/Sanford.  Delta will likely find itself back in the situation where it had to compete for passengers when AirTran had service to BMI – this is a win-win for BMI passengers.  The second source of increased ridership will come from the decreased overall cost of flying, from the passengers' perspective.  Some people in central Illinois simply choose not to fly because of the limited options and/or they do not want to drive to IND, MDW, or STL.  BMI will be a shorter and less-congested commute than MDW, IND, and STL for a lot of people (see above).  BMI is a smaller airport that doesn’t have many of the headaches that are inherent with larger airports.  BMI also has free parking.  Southwest’s fares are typically on-par or lower than other airlines, and they have the free checked bags offer, which keeps the overall cost lower relative to other airlines’ final costs.  I teach my Principles of Economics students that “people respond to incentives” early on; if SWA began service to central Illinois, the incentive to fly out of BMI will attract a number of people who would otherwise simply choose not to fly.

Some may argue that starting service would, in effect, cannibalize the population base for IND, MDW, and STL.  The economist in me thinks the demand would still be there for the larger cities Yes, I think some who would normally fly out of Chicago, Indianapolis, or St. Louis would instead choose to fly out of BMI.  I don’t think this would be significant number, though.  Even if it were, each of these metro areas have well over 1.5 million people to draw from, and the loss of passengers due to the impact from service starting at BMI would likely not be that much at all, assuming an even distribution of passengers flying from BMI instead of IND, MDW, or STL.  SWA alone has around 250 daily departures from MDW…spreading out a small number of lost passengers over that many flights will probably make any impact negligible.


The next question that I think logically follows would be the destinations that you could directly fly to from BMI.  The point-to-point system creates an interesting dilemma here. Even though it is point-to-point, there are still “gateways” that I noticed when studying the SWA route map.

  •      To get to many destinations along the east coast, a flight to BWI (Baltimore/Washington) would seem be the best fit.  The powers-that-be at BMI have always been looking for an eastern flight, and this could serve that role.
  •      The demand for flights to Florida has always been high (that was AirTran’s bread and butter when it flew out of BMI).  I think there might actually be enough demand for an originating flight from BMI to MCO (have a flight arrive from somewhere and RON (Remain Overnight) at BMI).  That flight could probably be pretty full most every morning.  With that many passengers departing for MCO, you’ll need as many seats arriving from MCO, so the RON could arrive late night from MCO.  Those visiting Florida (myself included…I’m a huge Disney freak) often want to leave for vacation as soon as possible and return later (gotta get those last few hours with Mickey).
  •       A west-coast gateway (or two) is definitely desirable, especially with Frontier pulling out of BMI.  The apparent gateways to the west via SWA are Phoenix (PHX), Denver (DEN), Houston-Hobby (HOU), and Las Vegas (LAS).  I think there would be enough demand for at least two westbound flights.  PHX would probably be the first choice for several reasons:
    •       PHX-BMI-BWI falls in line pretty well with little deviation from the most direct route.
    •       Arriving in PHX provides several short connections to the southwestern U.S. (e.g., California, Las Vegas, etc.).
    •       There currently is no direct service from BMI to anywhere near PHX (American currently has a nonstop to DFW and Frontier has/had nonstop to DEN four days week at one point).  Allegiant does offer service from Peoria to LAS two days a week as well as from Peoria to Phoenix/Mesa twice a week.  
  •      As for the other flight to the west coast…Denver might be the best pick.  The city itself is likely a destination for many, and, along with an additional option to get to California destinations, it can provide shorter flights to the northwest part of the U.S.  This could provide for additional service to MCO (DEN-BMI-MCO) if the demand for MCO is high enough.
      
  •      Houston, or any Texas destination for that matter, is interesting.  Some may say that DAL might be a good fit since it connects to so many cities; The repealing of the Wright Amendment (just Google it) leaves everything up in the air regarding a Texas destination, though.  Regardless, I think trying to fit a Texas arrival/departure and keeping it in line with using BMI as an intermediate stop for another destination is daunting.  BWI might work, but I don’t know if there would be enough demand for a second BMI-BWI segment (then again, Portland, ME…only 99 miles from Manchester, NH, can support 3 daily flights to BWI).  Texas-BMI-MDW…while it may line up, I can’t see any way that the airline could make a profit for such a short flight with the cost per mile and the suppressed demand due to the short distance.  Right now, the only nonstop option between Texas and BMI that I can (kind of) see working might be HOU-BMI-BWI.
  •      Some may say that ATL would be another good one…why not, since Delta and AirTran both had nonstops before?  Well, Southwest was nothing short of jubilant when it gained access to ATL; however, it’s currently transitioning AirTran’s ATL hub into its point-to-point system.  SWA would still be competing with Delta for Atlanta passengers, which would likely decrease revenue passenger miles and load factors.  As I see Atlanta as more of a connecting city rather than a destination city for many, SWA could channel BMI passengers to MCO, BWI, or somewhere else if they wanted to end in ATL.


Summing up the flights...I see the following as potentially viable flights:
     
  •       MCO X 2
  •              BWI X2
  •       PHX 
  •       DEN
  •       HOU

This gives 2 southeast flights to a high-demand destination, 2 east/northeast coast flights, a southern destination, and 2 western flights.  I know that I’m missing the northern part of the country…Delta has the control there with the old Northwest Airlines hubs at Detroit and Minneapolis.  I consider those as more hubs than final destinations, and SWA can probably route passengers to the final destination in other ways (similar to my earlier thoughts on ATL).

7 daily flights...80% load...75% of seats available...that comes to around 580 passengers per day.  More realistically, from my point of view, with only 50% of seats available (i.e., if more passengers do not disembark at BMI and remain on the plane), that number becomes around 385.  Why is this more realistic?  I think it is reasonable to assume that most of those departing BMI will ultimately return, so you'll need a comparable number of seats inbound as you have outbound.  While 75% is possible, I think the actual ratio is closer to 50/50 in terms of disembarking/remaining on the flight.  Compare that 385 number to AirTran's 301 passenger count with only 3 flights. 


Now, I’m not so naïve to think this is an easy thing to do.  There needs to be equipment, and not just aircraft.  The aircraft issue alone requires the logistical nightmare of pulling equipment off of existing routes and/or modifying routes to incorporate BMI.  Some of you might mention that Southwest ended service to Branson, Jackson, and Key West over the summer.  Branson and Key West were left-over markets from the AirTran merger; however, being that they were likely 717s or older 737s, they may already have those aircraft slated for sale/scrap.  There will also need to be TUGs, luggage carts, terminals at check-in and the gates, de-icing equipment, etc.  Add in a station manager and likely 6-8 customer service agents and 6-8 additional ramp agents most of the time (depending on the flight schedules), and it will definitely cost some money.  There’s also the issue of personnel in the form of the flight crew.  With only 1 overnight possibility, that should help the issue a bit, though there will always be a cost with a new airport.  SWA is probably still shuffling around as they reduce operations in ATL, so the cost might not be as significant as anticipated.  Put another way, there might be some equipment in ATL that is no longer needed and can be shipped to BMI.

Sooooo…what might a schedule look like?  Again, there are multiple options here.  One option would be to spread the flights out over 12 hours or so, like this:

Arrival
Time

Time
Departure
MCO
22:45(RON)
BMI
6:45
MCO
BWI
8:05
BMI
8:35
PHX
HOU
9:45
BMI
10:15
BWI
DEN
11:30
BMI
12:00
MCO
MCO
13:05
BMI
13:35
DEN
PHX
14:50
BMI
15:20
BWI
BWI
16:25
BMI
16:55
HOU

This would have about 12 hours of activity, and you could contract out the cleaning of the R.O.N. to another airline’s staff.

Alternatively, another option would be to stack arrivals and departures together.  The morning MCO flight still heads out early, but the arrivals from BWI, HOU, and DEN all come in around the same time and then all depart for PHX, BWI, and MCO around the same time, with the same thing occurring in the afternoon flights.  This will allow for (GASP) BMI to serve as a connecting point for SWA (e.g., a passenger could arrive from MCO in the afternoon and connect to the BWI flight).  I don’t think BMI is currently set up to handle this format, though.  There simply is not enough in the terminal to pacify layover passengers (though that might create the incentive to finally get more vendors in the terminal).  Also, more workers would probably be needed over a shorter time frame to cover the logistics of the gate/ramp areas.

I know…this is more pipe-dream than anything else on my part.   I am fully confident that the gurus at Southwest have looked at these numbers a lot over the past several years when they decided to pull out of BMI with the AirTran merger.   I’m sure that there are several costs and other factors that have not been mentioned here.  Still, it seems that there would be a strong demand for its service, and, with its comparable final bottom-line price relative to other air carriers, I bet SWA would be welcomed with open arms by a lot of people if they choose to start service in central Illinois.  Hopefully, BMI is still on their radar as a possibility, especially with the combination of Frontier’s ending of service and a location that weathers economic fluctuations rather well.

…besides, I want another good option to get to Florida as winter is again descending on us.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Soooooo....Just How Many Attractions CAN you Do in the Magic Kingdom in One Day?


Okay…this may have been one of the craziest ideas that I have EVER come up with regarding a Disney park.  While planning for our September 2012 trip to WDW, I noticed that, on the day we were doing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the Magic Kingdom was scheduled to have VERY low crowds; so low, in fact (according to Touringplans.com), that this was in the bottom 10% of days in the year for crowds.  

That got my imaginative juices flowing…I wonder just how many attractions we could do in one day.  Now, I have to take a moment to discuss who “we” actually would be for this trip.  It’s not just “me”…I have the bladder the size of Texas, and, depending on the circumstance, I might be willing to wear Depends.  “We” also includes my wife and two boys (both under the age of 10).  In order to get them to come on board with the idea, I knew I had to incorporate a few rules/caveats/quid-pro-quos.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to walk at the pace I wanted to – dragging your kids through any WDW park is distinctly unpatriotic (with apologies to Sam Eagle).  I also knew that, with the Halloween party going until Midnight, I’d probably have to schedule in a break out of the park for a little while.  I also wanted us to have a meal in the park, to regenerate and to give our legs a rest.

Without telling anyone else, I started looking around at the TouringPlans “Ultimate” Magic Kingdom touring plan, which includes pretty much EVERY attraction in the park.  I took that plan and went into editing-monster mode.  I added the break…I added the lunch…I added the Halloween Party items.  The application that determines wait times and orders completely blew up – I was actually nervous that I broke touringplans.com (and wondered if this was how Fred Hazelton felt when he took down much of the eastern Canadian networking capabilities when he tested something for TP).

After a message to the gurus at the site, it was determined that (WOW…BIG SURPRISE HERE) I had too many things going on, with the break in the middle of the day, for the site’s optimizer/evaluator application to run.  I did a workaround (basically had around two hours of free time between my last attraction before the 3:00 parade and the actual parade), and, after not including a couple of items, I had the evaluator spit out a plan that had me hitting a TON of attractions before midnight…there were 40 steps that estimated us to be done around 11:45 pm…38 attractions!  I had a feeling that, based on the times it estimated, we’d be ahead in a couple of places to sneak in several more “bonus” attractions that took around 5 minutes.  I had my goal….50 (FIFTY!!!!) attractions in one day.



Yes…50.



With kids..



With an afternoon break…



With (hopefully) an intact marriage afterward.



I strategically told the boys first to get them excited about the idea…that way it would be harder for Sheri to say, “NO”.  


Oh, don’t judge me…most of you would have done the EXACT same thing!


Luckily, everyone agreed, though I think Sheri was doubtful about my promise to not drag everyone around at warp speed.  The boys were genuinely excited about A) staying up until around midnight; and B) trying a whole bunch of new attractions at MK.

To improve our chances, we set up ADRs for Kona Café at 7:30.  This allowed us to be carbo-loaded (me with Tonga Toast and Sheri with Pineapple Macadamia Nut Pancakes) before the endeavor, and it also gave us a chance to have a decent parking spot at MK so we could save time by avoiding the trams when we left the park.


The day of reckoning arrived, and we were out the door of our unit at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek at 7:05.  Being that this was the first time we’ve EVER driven on WDW property, I spent countless hours figuring out how to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ on Google, and it was time well spent…not a single wrong turn the entire trip!  This was an easy route…left on Buena Vista and take the ramp to World Drive…simple as that.  We stopped at the MK toll plaza, and I took great pleasure showing our new APs that allowed us to not have to pay the parking fee.  We followed the cones and signs and ultimately found our way to our parking spot…front row…third spot from the walkway to the TTC.

Holy cow!

We parked, collected everything (including the ever-important clipboard with my sheet/plan), and started walking to the Polynesian.  As we walked, we realized just how spread out the Poly was, and, after a short jaunt to Georgia, we made it to the Longhouse for breakfast. 

We ate and were on the monorail to MK by 8:20.  By 8:30, we’re at the turnstiles and positioned to the left of center, so we could be close to the tunnel but still able to see the welcome show.  Sheri got the requisite train station/floral pics, and we waited about 15 minutes for the show to start.

Now, for an ultimate touring plan to be counted in the Hall of Fame, the participant must get pictures at every attraction.  Even though we knew that it wouldn't count, we decided to have a little fun and treat it as though we were going for it.  Be prepared...there are a lot of pics in here!





The boys were primed for the day...




The show started, and the game…was…ON!





  1.  8:50 – Welcome Show
    • We were on Main Street by 8:55...and, of course, we have to pause to get pics of the park all dolled up for Halloween.
    •  
    •   I knew Sheri wanted a Photopass pic on Main Street early to minimize the chances of the boys spilling stuff all over themselves before the pic.  I initially suggested that we wait a bit since Photopass was all busy (and I wanted to keep ahead of everyone); however, as we neared the hub, there was a free Photopass photographer, so we jumped in for pics…and, of course, about 40 pics were taken.  No problem…through the castle.
    •  
    • Of course...we stopped for even more pics (argh):
  2.  Cinderella Castle – 9:00 on the nose!
    • We stopped and grabbed pics by one of the mosaics before continuing through.
  3.    Peter Pan – 9:04
    • The folks from Crystal Palace and Cindy’s breakfast were ahead (curse them for doing the same thing we do when we book 8:05 ADRs inside the park).  Peter Pan was a 4 minute wait, and we were out at 9:12

    • Quick walk to the Winnie the Pooh FP Distribution – Return time 9:50.
    • As I got the FPs, we received bonus FPs for Dumbo, and I had to convince the rest of the Mushfam that we’ll try to catch it at night…it’s supposed to be much cooler at night.  I put them in my pocket and started looking for someone who might want them.
  4.   Tomorrowland Speedway queue line at 9:18
    •  
    • This one was just about a walk-on, and I was feeling confident that we were doing fine…4 minutes behind schedule, but we had Cinderella Castle done, which was scheduled a bit later on.  We rode around…I nearly got whiplash from Aaron’s driving.  We finally got to the exit portion, and, as luck would have it, we get stopped so that the CMs can add 8 more cars into the attraction…ARGH…that cost us a good 3 additional minutes.  This probably also meant that the line at Space Mountain was going to be a bit longer, too.  We were out at 9:28.
  5.  Space Mountain queue line at 9:30
    • The posted wait was 10 minutes, and I was hoping that it was an over-estimation.  It wasn’t.  We got on the ride at 9:41 and off at 9:46.
    •  
  6.  Tomorrowland Arcade at 9:48
    • This was a REALLY quick one…the boys did the basketball hoops, and we flew out at 9:50.  Time for our first new attraction for us at WDW…
  7.  Astro Orbiter – in line at 9:51
    • Elevator up and flying by 10:01.  Done at 10:05.  Elevator Down.  Boo-ya.
    •  
  8.   Decision-time…Philharmagic was up next on the Touring Plan, so we entered the queue only to find that we JUST missed the next show.  I made an executive decision to come back to this one later.  We headed out and hopped in line for the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
    • In line at 10:14, on at 10:17, and off at 10:22.
  9.  Winnie the Pooh
    • We flew from the carrousel over to Pooh and, using the FPs that we had, we were in line at 10:24, on the attraction at 10:26, and off at 10:29.
    •  
  10.  Dream Along with Mickey
    • Knowing the castle would be closed for the forecourt show, we headed around the Tea Cups and hit the bathroom.  I had a particular place in mind to view this, and it was about as close as I could be from where we were (about 1 o’clock from the Partner’s Statue).  We got there at 10:33…just before Dream Along with Mickey started.  This gave us a chance to sit down a bit, too. 

  11.   Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It
    • After Dream Along, I grabbed a couple of drinks for us to enjoy while we waited for the floats to make it up Main Street.  There was a lot of energy with this short parade!  The number of guests was pretty low, though…I could see the hub really rocking when the park is full!  We were done with this at 11:19.
  12.  Dapper Dans
    • I had a little cushion with what to do here.  I knew I was running out of time to grab a ride in one of the Main St. vehicles, so we made our way to Town Square. I grabbed FPs to meet Mickey, and the return time was 12:10…EXCELLENT!  Oh, and, yes, we got another free set of Dumbo FPs, too.
    • After that, I initially jumped in line to get signed up for Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, but the line was slow-moving, and I was watching the stable for any sign of them hooking up the trolley. At 11:40, we make our way to the little-known location for the trolley loading.  While we waited, the Dapper Dans popped out near the stables and serenaded us.  I moved to the other side of the Square to listen.  Yep…that’s what I want to do when I retire!
  13.  Main Street Vehicles
    • We got on the trolley at 11:53 and enjoyed a leisurely ride up Main Street around the hub.  Off the trolley at 12:02.
    •  
  14. Casey’s Piano Player
  15. Casey’s Piano Player
    • Waaaaaiiiiit a minute!  How/Why am I counting this for 2?  Well, we hopped off the trolley and immediately went to the baby care center to see if our friend Judy was in there.  We took a quick bathroom break, and we were at Casey’s Corner at 12:09. The piano player had already started when we walked by, so we listened for the required 5 minutes.  While we were there, the Fire Marshall (Main Street Character) came in and sang a song with him.  Hey…my plan…my rules!
  16.  Main Street Show
    • The trolley that we got off was soon loaded with the CMs for the Main Street singing show.  As luck would have it, it was going on as we left Casey’s and walked through the Emporium in search of Judy.  I stopped at one of the exits and watched them.  Yes, the pic is from just before they started, but hey, it's proof!  Start 12:15.  End 12:20.
  17.  Town Square Meet-and-Greet with Mickey
    • Arrived at 12:23…in line at 12:25, and done at 12:31 (see ya real quick!).
    • BREAK TIME!!! We were already by the entrance (yeah, it was planned this way…I’m an economist, so I want efficiency!).  We headed out, hopped on the express monorail, and were back at the car and at the resort by a little after 1.
    • This may have been a mistake, because, while we did rest for a bit and grabbed a bite to eat, we didn’t sleep at all, and we were all really antsy to get back to the park!  SOOOOOOOOO…
    • At just after 2:00, we were back in the car and back into MK.  We ended up quite a bit further away from our earlier spot this morning and had to take the tram.  Off the tram and onto the resort monorail (the express monorail just left as we approached the station, and a resort monorail was leaving the Contemp for the TTC).   We were back in the park at 2:50…just in time for: 
  18. Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade
  19. Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade
    •  




    • Yeah, I’m double-dipping again…sue me!  By some freakish twist of fate, there were spots available to view the parade in Town Square, so we grabbed some pavement and waited just a couple of minutes. It was then that I recognized one of the CMs directing foot-traffic around the square before the parade.  It was the well-known Barbara, who is famous for dancing during the parades and, in the process, lost a lot of weight.  I’m counting her as an attraction, and, yes, she was dancing with the parade!  3:18 was when the last float passed, and we then started our way up Main Street (next to the last float for most of the way).
  20. Carousel of Progress
    • We looked in the Emporium one final time to see if Judy was there, but it just wasn’t meant to be this trip.  We crossed back over and headed into Tomorrowland, where we caught up with the next attraction on the Touring Plan list…CoP.  Entered at 3:35 and was sitting down at 3:36.  Out at 3:58.  Across the hub and finally into Adventureland.  We grabbed a FP for the Jungle Cruise, with a return time exactly where I was hoping it would be…4:45.
    •  
  21.  Magic Carpets of Aladdin
    • In line at 4:10, and we had a slight delay here…on at 4:17 and off at 4:20.  I was getting a bit nervous because the next attraction was a show that was going to start at 4:25.  At least you can tell that we went back to the resort and changed clothes with this pic.
    •  
  22.  Pirate Tutorial
    • We high-tailed it out of Aladdin and flew to the Pirate Tutorial with a couple of minutes to spare.  4:22 arrival, and it started right at 4:25.  Over at 4:45.  I contemplated running over to the Frontierland train station to knock off the train as well as the Flag retreat, but there was no guarantee that we would be able to make it to Town Square in time, so I grudgingly axed it from the list.


  23.  Jungle Cruise
    • I told you I was hoping for a 4:45 return time…now you know why.  At 4:48, we entered the queue with our FPs, and we sailed away for our two-week trip at 4:51.  It was a quick two-weeks, because we were back at 5:00.
    •  
  24.  Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
    • We JUST missed the start of a show, so we had a 12 minute wait here…in the pre-show area at 5:02…in the room at 5:14…and out at 5:27.  
    • By now, the clouds were really starting to look ominous, so I decided to skip the Liberty Square Riverboat, which appeared to have called it a day.  We headed over to the Hall of Presidents and just missed the start of the show.  Knowing how close the Frontierland Shooting Arcade was, we headed over there next.
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  25.  Frontierland Shooting Arcade
    • In at 5:32, out at 5:35.  I was a cheapskate and didn't grab a gun for myself.
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  26.  Hall of Presidents
    • We were back the HoP at 5:40.  At 5:46, we’re in the theatre and watching our history.  Out just after 6:00 (I forgot to write down the exit time).  It was about time to start prepping for the party.  Before that, though, we were near Fantasyland, so we made a beeline past the Columbia Harbor House and hopped in the queue for Philharmagic.
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  27.  Mickey’s Philharmagic
    •  This attraction was mocking me today…we juuuuuuust missed another show.  In line at 6:13 and not into the theater until 6:25.  Out.
    • By now, the rain has commenced, and it was coming down in buckets!!  We contemplated the Tea Cups, but there was somewhat of a line, and it was already later on in the plan, so we kept on going around into Fantasyland.  They were doing wristbands for MNSSHP near Stitch, so we got in line to dry out a bit as well as get legal for the party.  Since the rain was coming down in buckets, we ran across and get in the queue for…
  28.  Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
    • In line at 6:49, and our timing was perfect…in the room at 6:52.  Out at 7:09.
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  29.  Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café (Sonny Eclipse)
    • The rain was really wreaking havoc on everyone’s plans now, so we continued working for the indoor stuff. We were getting hungry anyway, and Cosmic Ray’s was right there, so we went in and ate…and saw Sonny.  Out at 7:39.
    •  You know...as I am creating this blog post, I realized that I need more Instagram friends...0 likes and 0 comments in many of these pics.
  30.  it’s a small world 
    • This was the longest line I’ve seen here.  In at 7:43 and on at 7:47.  That may seem like a short wait, but seasoned veterans know that anything more than a 2-minute wait in slow times is big.  Everyone was on it to stay out of the rain.  Off at 7:59.  We went through a Trick or Treat line and got some candy to keep the energy level up.
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  31.  Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
    • The line was just out the door as we walked by, so we thought it wouldn’t be too long…in line at 8:09...
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    • ...aaaaannnnnd on the attraction at 8:24.  Yeah…it broke down when we were by Buzz.  This one killed the plan completely.  Off (finally) at 8:29.  It was a complete disaster because Aaron also lost his bag of candy on Buzz.
  32.  TTA Peoplemover
    • We skipped over to the TTA (yes...we actually skipped)…there at 8:30, on at 8:32, and off at 8:42.  As we got off of the TTA, there were rumors swirling around like crazy regarding the Boo To You parade being canceled and HalloWishes either being canceled or delayed.  We were completely playing it by ear at this point.
  33.   Pirates of the Caribbean
    • We headed to the hub to try getting some more reliable information on what was going on.  Eventually, we heard that there was only going to be one Boo To You parade at 10:15 and HalloWishes at 9:30.  It was around 8:50, so we had a bit of time to hit something before fighting for a spot for the fireworks.  I made an executive decision and headed towards POTC, which can move crowds quickly.  We arrived at 9:02 and were on at 9:07.  Yo Ho’ed out at 9:16. (no pic...sorry...it was starting to get a little late)
  34.  HalloWishes
    • We hustled towards the hub, made it over the Adventureland bridge, and veered to the right…in front of the Crystal Palace.  We were able to get to a place where we were allowed to stand at 9:22.  9:30 was the start, and I was too amazed at the show to write down the time it ended.  WOW!
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  35.  Boo To You Halloween Parade
    • The instant HalloWishes was over, we made a beeline back to Adventureland and snuck through the bathrooms to search for a spot to watch the parade.  Knowing that the parade started in Frontierland, we could be one of the first ones done with the parade.  We found a spot around 9:50 where all four of us could fit without cutting in front of someone.  There was a young couple next to us that gave the boys their candy haul from the trick-or-treating.  Yeah, Aaron was happy.  We waited for the Headless Horseman, but the rain did not permit him to ride down the road (that just means we’ll have to head back to see it again).
    • Around 10:17 the first float comes into view…the last float passed at 10:35.
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    •  Yeah, we had a better pic of the last float, but I actually had a couple likes on Instagram, so I had to show proof.
  36.  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    • They weren’t even queuing the guests up…in at 10:48, on at 10:52, and off at 10:58.  It went so fast that I didn't have time to get a pic!
  37.  Splash Mountain
    • Yeah, we were already drenched, so did it really matter if we got wet on this?  In line at 11:02, on at 11:04, and out at 11:22.
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  38.  Cadaver Dans
    • Many of you are going, “Who????!!!”  During MNSSHP, the Dapper Dans don different digs and become the Cadaver Dans.  We were able to catch them for a few minutes while walking back from Splash towards the Haunted Mansion.  We started watching them around 11:27, and we moved on around 11:32.
  39.  Haunted Mansion
    • I figured that this would be getting quiet as late as it was getting; however, this attraction proved me wrong.  Entered the queue at 11:33 and in the stretch room around 11:41.  A cast member dressed as a ghost rode with someone a couple of buggies behind us.  I don’t have a time where we exited, but I'm guessing it was around 11:50.
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I thought about one final attempt at doing Dumbo but decided against it and threw in the towel.  We started heading down Main Street towards the exit...



 ...along with several thousand of our best friends (we found Waldo, too!)  As we hit Town Square, Sheri looked to her right and snapped this:

\

Midnight.

We all paused for a minute to reflect on the day...39 attractions in 1 day...with a break?

Yeah...we'll consider it a success.

This was a really fun day, and we hopped on the ferry tired, but with 4 large smiles on our faces.  Both of the boys crashed on the ferry, and we had to struggle a bit to wake them up long enough to make it to the car.  We all slept really well that night, and we even slept in long enough to make it to Epcot only 25 minutes after park opening...one of the first times we have ever missed a rope drop.

Soooooo....which ones did we miss?

NOT Country Bear Jamboree...it was down for a major refurb.
Dumbo
Flag Retreat
Liberty Square Riverboat
Tinker Belle Meetup
Merida Meetup
The Great Goofini/Barnstormer
Casey Jr. Splash and Soak (though we got soaked walking across the hub)
Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom
Stitch's Great Escape
Swiss Family Treehouse (in the rain???  Not a good idea)
Tom Sawyer Island
WDW Railroad (oh, the horror!)
Tea Cups

Had we not taken the break, we probably could have taken care of most of them (though I doubt all of them).



See Ya Real Soon