One year ago today, Walt Disney World started a three day standby line test on its most popular attraction: the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet inside the Princess Fairy Tale Hall in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. The Anna and Elsa standyby line test was the first of three attractions to undergo this test: the other two being Soarin at Epcot and Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios. However, the standyby lines at these attractions were tested at a later day.
As we broke the story last year when the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet standby line was being tested, the wait times for the Frozen princesses were incredibly long. Guests regularly reported wait times of up to 300 minutes long during the summer months of 2014. Proving to be more popular than anticipated, Disney set to test a different way of allowing guests to visit Anna and Elsa in an effort to cut down the wait times in the standby line.
What was the test?
Here’s what we wrote about how the test would be coordinated:
Starting at the park opening at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, July 23rd, Cast Members will allow guests to fill the standby line to its capacity, which is the shield just on the outside of the Hall. Once full, the line to Anna and Elsa will be considered closed. Guests who arrive after the line has been filled will be directed to Magic Kingdom Park Support, who will be located on the other side of the Courtyard Carrousel. Each guest will receive a pass with a comeback time on a “first come first serve” basis. The comeback time printed on each ticket will have a 30 minute window in which to return and enter the standby line to see Anna and Elsa. Once a guest has come back to Princess Fairy Tall Hall and enters the line, Disney expects the maximum wait to approximately 30 minutes.
How did the test affect FastPasses (FP) at the time?
FastPasses worked the same at the time of last year’s test:
Fast Passes will still work as usual. Guests who have a reserved Fast Pass during the testing phase will still be able to access the Fast Pass line to see Anna and Elsa. Guests can still log into My Disney Experience and attempt to reserve a Fast Pass during the testing phase, as well.
Did last year’s test affect the DAS (Disability Access Service)?
Yes, DAS users at the time were affected:
DAS users will also need to visit the Magic Kingdom Park Support group to get a ticket. Comeback times will not be written on the DAS cards for Anna and Elsa during this testing phase. DAS users, however, will be given a ticket similar to other guests, but DAS users will enter the FP line rather than the standby line. Of note – No change to the Make-a-Wish system in place, those guests will still receive immediate access.
How did the test go?
Guests at the time seemed willing to go through this test and open to try new things with regards to the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet. Frustrations were generally high with the incredibly long posted wait times prior to the test.
Reports of the comeback times being completely given out during the tests varied. The first day of the test all comeback times were gone prior to 12:00 PM noon. The second and third days saw comeback times lasting until mid afternoon.
What changes have happened in the year since the test was completed?
After a year since the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet standby line test was completed, the standby line and FP line setups still run as they always have. No changes to the standby line have been implemented and the line is still fully open to any guests who wish to visit the princesses. FP’s still remain elusive for many guests and it remains the most difficult one to acquire for all attractions throughout the four Disney parks.
One noticeable change that occurred after the test was completed was to separate Anna and Elsa inside of the Princess Fairy Tale Hall. Prior to the test, Anna and Elsa stood together in a single space so guests could interact with both princesses and have their picture taken with them at the same time. Guests then could visit a third princess (usually Rapunzel) at another meeting spot. After the test was completed, Anna and Elsa were each given their own meeting space and the third princess was eliminated.
How are the wait times for the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet standby line since the test?
While not incorporating any major changes to the standby or FP lines, wait times seem to have been reduced since the test was implemented. Rare are the 200 to 300 minute wait times seen since Anna and Elsa moved into the Princess Fairy Tale Hall since the testing was completed on July 25th, 2014. Typical wait times to see Anna and Elsa seem to be inline with other popular attractions in Magic Kingdom ranging from 80 to 120 minutes during peak days and hours (not unusual times when the park is busy).
While no major changes happened to the standby line itself to see the reduction in wait times, one can assume procedural changes have occurred during guest interaction with Anna and Elsa inside Princess Fairy Tale Hall. Interaction time with guests looks to have been reduced, and separating Anna and Elsa seems to fall inline with that theory. Guests who’ve visited Anna and Elsa when they were together with a third princess as well as visiting them afterwards when they’ve been separated may not be able to tell if the interaction time spent would have been reduced by a few minutes, but I’m sure Disney has internal metrics to measure and make changes. A reduction in interaction time with guests may seem like a bad idea, but it appears to have made a significant contribution to the overall reduction in the standby wait time and guests don’t seem to have noticed at all.
It’s doubtful any further changes will be implemented for Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet going forward. With the updated Norway pavilion set to open in May of 2016, Anna and Elsa will move from the Princess Fairy Tale Hall and return to Epcot.
Let us know what you think!