By Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel
7:26 PM EST, December 17, 2012
I braved the crowds at New Fantasyland this weekend at Disney World's Magic Kingdom to take another spin on the new Under the Sea — Journey of The Little Mermaid ride.
Disney World has prepared for the crowds gawking at Beast's Castle or trying to get a drink in Gaston's Tavern by stationing cast members along the area's walkway, mostly shouting "Stay to the right!"
But what would help eliminate the traffic jams would be making it more clear that the all-important FastPasses to the Little Mermaid ride are not even located in New Fantasyland. They can be obtained in old Fantasyland — in front of Mickey's PhilharMagic.
My friend and I followed the hordes back to the entrance to Under the Sea, looked confusedly around and then had to be directed by an exasperated cast member back out of New Fantasyland. While waiting at the FastPass machines, we noticed that the dozen or so folks in front of us had also been traipsing in front of us to the attraction and then back again.
I realized later there is a small-type explanation — "FASTPASS kiosk located at Mickey's PhilharMagic" — if you read the park guide map. But wouldn't it make more sense to have a signboard at the entrance to New Fantasyland that states "Journey of the Little Mermaid FASTPASS kiosk is behind you, at Mickey's PhilharMagic."
Or maybe the cast members could shout it out, along with their traffic directions.
And in case you wonder why the FastPass is so important: The standby line wait time at the attraction was 100 minutes.
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