Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we’ll look back on Epcot’s 30th Anniversary, which was Monday. We’ll also take a gander at the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, where more areas have been uncovered! Let’s dive right in!!

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Welcome to Epcot!

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[center][size=5][b]Celebrating 30 Years[/b][/size]
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This Monday was Epcot’s 30th Anniversary. The day started with the buttons and maps that you see above. It continued with very long lines for limited edition merchandise, much of which can actually still be found in the park today.

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The line started at MouseGear and went all the way into World Showcase.

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There were also presentations throughout the day and Disney used these to let everyone know.

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My group decided to do some classic Epcot attractions, and while in the Seas, we saw the divers doing their show. I haven’t seen them in a long time, which was pretty special considering the day we saw it.

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At 3PM at the American Gardens Theater, there was a “Nostalgia Moment” for the park. It featured Erin Youngs, Jim MacPhee, Meg Crofton, the Mariachi Cobre, and the Voices of Liberty.

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This guy has been in the Mariachi band since day 1, October 1, 1982.

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Same thing with this lady from the Voices of Liberty. Quite the accomplishment!!

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The “moment” was slightly lackluster given the presentations that happened in World Showplace, as there really wasn’t all that much to them. It was more or less a way of everyone saying they love Epcot. They then brought out lots of Cast Members and shot out some confetti.

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The night ended with a special tag of Illuminations. I did not photograph the show, but it was a very impressive tag, tons of fireworks, and a great way to end the weekend.

The EPCOT30 weekend was a ton of fun, with wonderful events set up by both Disney and non-Disney entities. Some website called MiceChat recorded some show with Communicore in the title in the Norway pavilion, and it was an absolute blast. Anyone ever hear of them?

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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Over at the Tangled/new restroom area, the rock work keeps on moving right along.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4604.jpg[/img]

On the other side, lots of things are new.

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You can start to actually get a feel for what this will look like, and as of right now, I’m optimistic. If anything, it will be better than the bathrooms near Peter Pan that are small and dingy.

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At the Castle Wall, there is really nothing new on the left side since it is all finished.

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I did notice this though, which seems like it could have been hidden in the theming a little bit better.

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On the other side of the wall, there are lights under the arches.

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Apparently this crest can move.

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Also looks like some infared stuff on the spires.

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At the Beauty and the Beast area, things are looking nice with the new forced perspective trees.

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Not too much to see at Gaston’s.

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Although, at Bonjour! there are some flowers in the planters, which are a nice touch, and give a nice village feel.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4620.jpg[/img]

At the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, things continue to grow outward.

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Lots and lots of steel.

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I don’t know what these new things are called, so I’ll use the very industry savvy “tall and spiky things”.

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Some stuff with probably be attached to these spiky things.

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Heading over to Storybook Circus, a lot of stuff has opened this week. Big Top Souvenirs is the first we’ll cover.

VIP parking.

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Going into the shop, it is pretty well done. Lots of Dumbo merchandise right when you walk in. It is really nice to see non-generic stuff here front and center.

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The cash wraps are very neatly done as cars for the animals.

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There is a station inside for eat hat stitching.

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The patterns in the carpeting are pretty cool, too.

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There are lots of ladder themed things in the shop, which makes sense given how tall the tent is.

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The popcorn lights lining the tent make for some great photo ops too.

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In the center of the shop, there is a large and round sweet shop.

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It’s great to see the Cast Members making things on site.

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One of the Cast Members was kind enough to pose for a picture so I could show you all the new costumes. Thanks to her!!

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4663.jpg[/img]

Here is a little video walking tour of the shop I made while visiting.

Overall, I really like the shop. I would like to see a little less of the generic merch, which takes up a large chunk of the back, but I am glad that there is area specific stuff to buy, and that it is right up front. The treats look nice as well, and the CMs there have been great so far.

The other area that opened was the courtyard/snack area/fastpass distribution/Pete’s Silly Sideshow area.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4645.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4646.jpg[/img]

This will be a great place to sit and hang out!

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[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4648.jpg[/img]

New food carts.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4649.jpg[/img]

More seating.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4650.jpg[/img]

Under the yellow tent, there is more seating, Fastpass distribution for Barnstormer and Dumbo, and a nice mural.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4651.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4652.jpg[/img]

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There are more great references to Disney history on the carts, 55 for Disneyland.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4657.jpg[/img]

34 for when Donald Duck was created.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4658.jpg[/img]

And at this new cart, 13 could possibly be for the year Marc Davis was born.

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Here’s a walking video of the new area.

[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
[img]http://datelinedisneyland.smugmug.com/Other/DDW/i-M7dg4fZ/0/O/inside-magickingdom-02.png[/img][/center]

The refurbishment at Sir Mickey’s is all done, and the crane is gone, so I’m assuming the Castle Lights are also fully installed.

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[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4667.jpg[/img]

The scrims came down on the old Swan Boat landing.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4668.jpg[/img]

Some refurb work happening on the bridge from the Hub to Cosmic Ray’s.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4669.jpg[/img]

Some of the turnstiles are under walls. I’m assuming this is for RFID and NextGen installation.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4671.jpg[/img]

Also, some work is being done at the Pinnochio Village Haus.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4610.jpg[/img]

And lastly, the new park maps feature Splash Mountain.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld1003-IMG_4621.jpg[/img]

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. How do you feel about how Disney celebrated Epcot’s birthday? Are you signing up for a Cast Member or Annual Passholder preview of New Fantasyland? 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]