Hello, and welcome to [B]Dateline Disney World![/B] This week, we have a very large [B]Magic Kingdom[/B] update with lots of things happening around the park, including progress on the major Fantasyland expansion project. Let’s get started!!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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Wait times from around 4PM the day I was at the park this week. Nothing too bad.

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We’ve started to see some of the summer crowds go away since the schools are going back. Look at these relatively empty shots from right after parade time!

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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Starting as we always do, a few things have changed at the Tangled/new restroom area.

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The wire mesh for the rock work has blue ‘tags’ on it now.

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Views from Columbia Harbor House that I got some very interesting looks from guests while shooting!

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These things are new.

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Definitely still a long way to go on this project.

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Over at the Castle Wall, things appear to keep progressing every week, with more and more final touches happening to some parts, and other parts playing catchup.

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These details are new.

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As are these parts at the bottom of the spire.

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Can’t wait to get on the other side and see everything!

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Lots of the right side of the wall has caught up to the left side.

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Looking nice!

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How it fits in with the Pinnochio Haus behind it.

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View from over near Winnie the Pooh.

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Looks like some lighting has been installed in the back of the wall.

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Arches and arches.

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Details!

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It also looks like these parts of the walls will function as drainage, perhaps?

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Over at the Beauty and the Beast area, things look about the same. There has been substantial progress made, but none that we can see on this side of the walls.

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Looks like lots of work is happening between Gaston’s and Bonjour!

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Maurice’s.

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At the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the large structure is starting to expand sideways more and more each week.

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Lots of steel, soon to be hilly and grassy.

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This framing will certainly look nice once the project is done.

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Over at Under the Sea, there was more grass put on the building.

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They aren’t finished with that yet, as there are spots marked to receive more grass.

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In Storybook Circus, the entrance to Big Top Gifts got worked on some more, with the second doorway receiving its framing this week.

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Really nothing new over at the yellow tent.

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I’d imagine they will hide this cement on the back of the tent a little better once things are completed.

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What Pete’s Silly Sideshow currently looks like, seems it is getting the same treatment on the entryways that Big Top Gifts is.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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Lots of things were going on this week at the park. Refurbishment finished up on one of part of the Tomorrowland bridge.

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But not on others.

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The tarp came a little loose on the smoking section that is being refurbished, probably due to some of the nasty storms we’ve been having here lately.

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Underneath that tarp, they have removed all the tables and chairs in that smoking section for the time being.

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The new meet and greet area built next to Winnie the Pooh has proven to be quite popular.

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In Fantasyland, part of Sir Mickey’s has gone under for refurbishment.

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The Country Bear Jamboree closed this week for refurbishment.

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This is the one that is rumored to make some serious changes/cuts to the show.

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Hopefully my theory is true that they’re just installing the holiday overlay!

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Down on Main Street, some repaving was being done.

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Pretty soon these planters will be filled with Halloween decor, as the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is on September 11th!

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This refurb at the left side of the entrance to the park continues. It’s been probably two months that these walls have been up, so I’m very curious what exactly they are doing back there.

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I saw something I had never seen at Disney before this week, a monorail being pulled from the station and then taken off stage to the barn.

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From what I can tell, Monorail Peach is one of the newer and more stable monorails WDW has, so hopefully this was just a small issue and no cause for concern.

From across the lagoon, the DVC wing of the Grand Floridian is rising quickly and changing the skyline of the Magic Kingdom resort area.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld822-IMG_1254.jpg[/img]

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. Are you nervous about the Country Bear refurbishment? Are you like me and in disbelief that it’s already almost Halloween season at WDW? Let us know in the comments!!

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If you enjoyed the column, especially the photos, and you want to check out more photos and tutorials on Disney photography, please check out my photo site, [URL=”http://www.DisneyPhotographyBlog.com”]Disney Photography Blog[/URL]. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, [URL=”http://www.ISO5571.com”]ISO5571[/URL]

  • dsnygrl13

    Nasty storms? We’ll be there all of next week. Should we be nervous?

    • kcnole

      I would be. There is a Hurricane brewing in the gulf that could be sweeping across Central Florida during that time. Most of the models have it pushing out a bit further west, although I’m certain most of Florida will get ancillary rains from it. But you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on Isaac.

      • Cory Disbrow

        Yeah, kcnole nailed it on the head. Monday and Tuesday might be a little rough around the WDW area.

        The storms I was referring to in the column were the typical storms that pop up almost every afternoon in the summertime here in Florida. They’ve been pretty crazy the last week or so, with heavy rains and thunder and lightning, but nothing that has never happened before!

  • mratigan

    Thanks
    ^Have fun

  • Johnny

    Great update, Cory. In one of the Tangled area photos there appears to be a triangular structure (perhaps a roof?) under a white tarp labeled “SKYW.” Does anyone know if this is a remnant of the Skyway that is being saved?

  • Reddog

    I’ve loved CBJ since I was a kid and will be greatly disappointed if they shorten it. Especially if they remove the “Little Buford” number as rumored. I too secretly suspected (hoped) they might be reinstating the Holiday show.

  • The Mermaid building looks AMAZING with the grass on top. Do we know if it’s real or fake grass?

    • KingEric

      It is really a shame that DCA didn’t get this show building.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I’m pretty sure that it’s fake grass. But it still looks really good, and should for a long time.

  • a-mad

    I know we have designated opening dates for each phase of New Fantasyland, but is there a projected finish date for the new restrooms/Tangled meet-and-greet? I’m guessing not… and I’m guessing probably 2013 – is that a safe bet given its current state?

    Great update by the way, Cory! We’re headed to WDW for the first time in 8 years in February, and each update is getting us more and more excited.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Yes, 2013 is a solid bet for what is happening over there. They’ve made no real announcement about it yet, so I think it would be safe to say it won’t be done by the time 2012 comes to a close.

  • SpectroMan

    Fake grass on top of Mermaid doesn’t bother me at all; however, I really hope the cover for the Mine Train ride is all real.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Not a bad idea, seeing as the Mine Train will be significantly closer to the guests and closer to the center of the park. Although the price of maintaining real grass on an attraction like that might be high, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they went with the artificial stuff.

  • Aotphks

    And speaking of the price of maintenance… seems to me all of the refurbishments shown on the pictures above are a desperate attempt to catch up with the much higher standards of show and atmospheres found at the other Disneyland parks in California and abroad. There is something about the Magic Kingdom park that lacks in charm and ambiance. The improvements being made with the new fantasyland expansion are welcomed upgrades in theme and show, but the rest of the Magic Kingdom park looks dated. Some of the other photos above illustrate an alarming lack of beauty and greenery. I can see the new fantasyland is getting trees and foliage but I wish this was also being done to the older sections of fantasyland. I jokingly referred to it as “Concreteland” during my last visit. Town Square in particular looks bare and so does the castle hub. The photo showing a small area of Main Street being repaved is laughable. Main Street in particular needs major work and cosmetic changes, like bricks, similar to the walkways founds at Disneyland CA, Paris and Hong Kong’s Main Streets.
    On the flip side, I do commend the management at Disney World for making improvements to some of the old buildings in the park but I also want to see the park getting more planters, trees and flower beds in areas where they are needed as it would add lots of ambiance to an otherwise stale park. Just like the faux grass on top of the new Mermaid ride building, adding more greenery around the MK, and especially in the old fantasyland area, would be the icing on the cake. Walt Disney even made statements in regards to foliage at Disneyland…”trees will grow bigger and the park will look prettier”, and it did. The Magic Kingdom deserves that treatment too.
    Thanks.

  • ralzap

    WDW has all the disnelyland stuff, but in 4 parks. Hmmm. All Disneyland needs is a new Tomorrow land and a expanded Frontierland.

  • Spongeocto4

    Thanks for the update!

  • DisneylandManFan

    I haven’t been to WDW since 1998. But, I LOVE the improvements and the comments from those that are regulars to the Parks as well as the vacationers who give their opinions about what they experience. My plans are to go there after the New Year. I just came back from a trip to SoCal. It was wonderful to visit my “home Park”. I just look forward to seeing my Florida Home Park as well after so long. 🙂

  • mattthemickeyman

    Behind the walls at the left side of the entrance is a new computer system for the new turnstiles going in. The biometric system is going away and the new system will feature wristbands instead of paper tickets! There are also a number of turnstiles roped off as they are to be removed soon and the new system is going to be tested!

  • ttintagel

    While I’m not a big fan of holidey versions of attractions, especially in a park where most of the guests only come once a year, the CBJ holiday show would be prefereable to a gutted regular show.

  • DisneyFreakEst1994

    Do we know when the Fantasyland Previews are starting? I know it’s in November, but do we have a date yet?

  • bigeternity

    This looks like last week’s WDW update.