Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we’ll take a look at the Magic Kingdom as it celebrates the Halloween season as New Fantasyland construction continues. We’ll also hop over to Epcot to check out the preparations for the 2012 Food and Wine Festival. There’s lots to look at, so let’s get started!

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

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Here are some wait times from around noon one day at the park this week.

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Since the Halloween Party is in full effect here, these large statues are now in the Hub.

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Construction Kingdom

Over in Fantasyland, we’ll start this week’s update at the Tangled/new restroom area. Some of the walls have been cut away to reveal the beginnings of the new pathway on the left of the Yankee Trader.

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Some of the rock work for the area has started to go up as well.

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Nothing new on the other side of this project.

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Over at the Castle Wall, we keep getting glimpses of what the finished product will look like.

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Most of the turrets are finished.

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Crests!

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Some changes have been made over the past few weeks, like this.

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Surely another crest will go here.

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As seems to be the way things go sometimes, the day after I went in to take photos, these walls came down, and now this whole part of wall, with planters, railings, and other things are now visible.

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Over at the Beauty and the Beast area, we have some very interesting news.

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It was announced this week that the Be Our Guest restaurant will be the first venue in the Magic Kingdom to sell beer and wine. It will be contained to the restaurant, as in you won’t be able to walk out with it, and there will surely be limits on how much can be ordered, but this is a big change and is surely one to stir up lots of conversation in the fan community!

Here are Gaston’s and Bonjour! Village Gifts. Not many changes, but more details keep showing up as the weeks go by. A little more foliage as well.

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Over at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, these interesting pieces of steel rose.

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No idea what they will make up, but they certainly went up quickly.

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Here is what it looks like from the right side of the park.

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At Under the Sea, there was some touch up work being done on Prince Eric’s castle.

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The grassing project is also almost completed, and looks great.

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In Storybook Circus, there were some new trees planted around Big Top Souvenirs!

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I’m a big fan of trees, so this was very welcome. It will also serve as a nice boundary between that and the Mermaid stuff.

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The marquee for Storybook Circus gets more and more complete every week.

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These are the footers.

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Flags were put up this week, and they aren’t fake! This is very cool in my book.

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I don’t think that marquee is completed yet, so hopefully we’ll see more things popping up soon.

Both Big Top Souvenirs and Pete’s Silly Sideshow received their pins and flags at the top of the their respective tents this week.

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Looking over the wall, there seem to be some food/merchandise carts set up in front of Pete’s.

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You can also get a peek at the back side signage for Big Top.

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Welcome to Epcot!!

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Wait times from the park.

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Hungry Yet?

With the Food and Wine Festival only two weeks away, booths keep popping up more and more. Here are all the ones I spotted this week.

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This and That

In sad news, Mission: Space is looking really, really bad. I usually don’t like to harp on things, and I try to stay generally positive, but this is looking pretty awful, and something should be done about it.

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Over at Test Track, there is lots going on, but it is hard to tell how far along they are with the inside of the attraction, as Disney says it will reopen “late fall”.

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Work is progressing quickly on the new DVC kiosk in Canada. It looks quite nice as well.

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This spot in France was discovered to be a future meet and greet area along the water.

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The months long refurbishment at Maelstrom has finished up, and the rock work looks fantastic. Top notch stuff.

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And lastly, to end on a great note, there was some foliage removed from in front of the Land pavilion, and it looks great!

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It is really nice to see the actual pavilion again, and I wouldn’t mind a little more trimming here. I normally want as much foliage as possible, but I think the architecture is so neat here that the foliage blocking it is a little too much.

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Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. How do you all feel about alcohol being served in the Magic Kingdom? Any of you ready to go complain to Epcot Guest Services about how bad Mission: Space looks, but then compliment them on how great The Land looks now? 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]

  • mratigan

    Mission Space looks like a mess
    Close it for 6 months like test track

  • George Taylor

    Fantastic photos!

    Thanks, Cory!

  • Claybob

    Beer and wine? I’m not sure. I understand it is most likely needed as the “Be Our Guest” venue is billed as “top notch” but it was always nice to know that part of Walt’s vision was always alive. Got a feeling this may be a “test” and if all goes well, an expansion to the other eating establishments. Oh well, progress I guess. Now on a side note…looking forward to the trip down to see all the new stuff come this April/May. Can’t wait! Oh yeah, and we do plan on snagging a table for a nice dinner at “Be Our Guest!:

  • SueinSac

    Beer & wine at the B&B Restaurant for dinner – sure, go for it. Hard liquor would be different, with so many children around. Beer and wine seem very appropriate for a higher-end restaurant in a European setting. If they wanted to add it at Cindy’s, I’d be fine with that, too. I expect that won’t be far behind.

    Re: Mission Space…is Hewlett-Packard still the sponsor? Are they supposed to bear any of the cost of maintenance? Because they’re getting ready for a signficant number of employee layoffs. I’d sure rather see them forget the roof on an Epcot pavilion or drop their sponsorship altogether (which they inherited when they aquired Compaq Computers) than lay off more American workers.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Exactly my thoughts, as well. If the beer and wine are contained in the restaurant and people aren’t getting stupid drunk in there, it doesn’t bother me at all.

      As far as I know, the sponsorship from HP should be expiring soon. This probably has something to do with the overall state of the pavilion.

  • Mickey777

    Great Update! Personally, I don’t think it’s such a big deal for alcohol to be served at Be Our Guest. As they said, if it’s confined to the actual restaurant, it should be fine. I don’t drink myself but I eat out a lot and all those place serve alcohol so no biggie IMO. As for the Tangles area, it’s progressing much better than I anticipated. It’ll be a very nice little corner of MK for sure.

    I wouldn’t be suprised if MS is the next to go down for refurb once Test Track reopens. And I love how they take the time to really theme the food booths for F&W. They look really sharp and inviting. It’s also great to see how that foliage was removed to reveal the beatiful The Land structure again. That means WDW is sweating the details and that’s always a good thing.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I agree about the Tangled area. Wasn’t thrilled about the Skyway building being removed at first, but from the skeleton, it seems like the new area will be very nice!

      I would love to see MS go down for a refurb. Either that, or just let it runs its course until it is deemed a “worthwhile investment” by the people who handle the money and then just replace it.

  • pumpkinmickey

    Hard to have a French inspired restaurant with offering a wine list.

  • SpectroMan

    I agree, removing SOME of The Land’s foliage really does look better. If you look back at 80’s pictures the vision approaching the Pavilion was much clearer.

    Mission Space – just close it and put in a real ride like you used to have instead of a simulator that makes most people over 40 sick for the rest of the day.

    Thanks for the great update.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I wish I could have had the camera I have today (and been an adult!) in the 80’s when that area was clear. One of my favorite old school EPCOT Center shots is one from sunset with the Land reflecting in the pond. So beautiful!

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update!

    I hope Disney takes care of Mission Space soon.

    I also hope China becomes more democratic & that moderates in Arab spring nations prevail and discourage attacks against American embassies. (Sorry, I just felt so Prufrockian after expressing concern about the appearance of the exterior a Walt Disney World attraction that I felt I had to give my post some gravitas.)

  • michael darling

    So what is that metal structure at the Mine Train? Is it framework for the cottage, or is it too large for that? Trying to spot it in the concept art.
    Great photos! The beast’s castle is looking better, now that foliage and stuff is cropping up around it. didn’t care for it at first, and honestly, still don’t think it matches the beauty or shape of the one in the opening scene of the film. Looking better though!

    THANKS

    • Cory Disbrow

      Part of me feels like it will be the cottage, but it’s really hard to tell when you can’t get around the walls to see. It could very well be the structure for another hill that the track will go around.

  • partyhare

    On the New Fantasyland postcard they gave out at the last D23 Expo, the Storybook Circus marquee entrance is decked out in the circus tent style. I wonder if that is what will cover the frame set up at the entrance gate.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I very much hope this is the case, as it looks a little bare with just the steel poles up right now. Something vibrant and classy would be awesome.

  • Spongeocto4

    Thanks for the update

  • Timekeeper

    Nice Update!

    Timekeeper