Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World!! This week, we’ll take a look at the Holiday season arriving at the resort, as well as the ongoing construction and refurbishment projects at the Magic Kingdom.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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[center][size=5][b]Tis the Season[/b][/size]
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The Holiday season has arrived at Walt Disney World, with the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party happening tonight! The Magic Kingdom is decked out for the holiday, and it’s a great time to be in the park.

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Earlier in the week, the Hub was still in Halloween mode, while Main Street was ready for Christmas. Now they both match!

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It is incredible how it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but just walking through the park hearing the music and seeing the decorations makes you feel like Christmas is only days away.

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Decorations are everywhere on Main Street.

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Photopass location setup until the big tree comes in.

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The Candy Cane Garden is back again.

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Make that 46 now!

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Inside the Emporium, there are tons of holiday souvenirs for purchase, and the theme of the store is now heavy towards the holiday.

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Fancy ornaments!

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Window displays are also starting to switch over, but they aren’t all done yet.

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The Train Station is also dressed up, although I really wish they could find a way to remove that awful memories decor.

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Advertising for the parties right when you arrive at the park.

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The Halloween colored flowers have been yanked and the new Christmas colors have arrived.

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Heading into Frontierland, there is some slight theme for the holiday.

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The meet and greet at the Rivers of America has some stuff up too.

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Liberty Square has the exact same style of decorations as Frontierland.

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I’d really love to see the rest of the park get more of a holiday treatment. Maybe not even so much ride overlays, but just festive decor would be awesome. Seeing a tiny bit in Liberty Square and Frontierland is encouraging, but I’d like to see more!!

[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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Aside from the holiday excitement, construction keeps happening at the park as well.

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The new restroom area is progressing at a very fast rate.

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Over in New Fantasyland, the only holiday-like thing I think you’ll see is these snow capped trees at the Beast’s Castle!

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At the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, lots of things are happening. These stairs went up, but they look only temporary to me.

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On the other side of the mountain, we are definitely starting to see some curves, and the beginning of the rock work, which is very exciting!

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It is also clear that some sort of building will be on this side, the side that faces Mermaid.

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Note the three windows already cut out.

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Heading into Belle’s Village, Gaston kept making his way into my photos.

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They’ve added umbrellas here for some much needed shade outside of Gaston’s Tavern.

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Heading into the Be Our Guest restaurant for a quick minute.

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I was lucky enough to have a lunch at the restaurant this week. It was an interesting experience to say the least, with both good and bad things to report. I’ll start with the bad. It takes quite a while to eat here. With the new touch screens that they are using at lunchtime, many guests were confused, and the line to wait for food got quite lengthy, and didn’t move very fast. They also seemed a little understaffed at the screens, so there weren’t a ton of Cast there to help people who were confused. Have in mind that this is during what they call a dress rehearsal, and then imagine what this could be like once it is fully open to the public. Yikes.

On to the good now. As most of you know, the theme and detail of this place is superb. As I was eating, it was hard to remember that I was having a counter service meal here! The idea of doing the hybrid style dining was really a great one. The service was top notch, as well. Although this is counter service, when your food is brought to you, you are treated like you are dining at a table service restaurant. Very nice. Eating on china with real silverware is a big plus as well. Now let’s talk about what I ate. I had the grilled steak sandwich.

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I had thought this would be similar to a cheesesteak. To my happiness, I was dead wrong. It was a full strip steak on a roll! It was very tasty, with a nice seasoning. The bread was crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. And the fries were, well, Disney fries. Overall though, much better quality than all of the Magic Kingdom counter services places, with possibly the exception of Columbia Harbor House. That said, combining the theme, hybrid dining style, and different menu, I have to say this is the best counter service in MK, and should prove to be a smash hit when it opens.

[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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The wall came down outside Magic Carpets of Aladdin this week. I couldn’t notice any differences.

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Near the Jungle Cruise, something is going on where the junior jungle boats used to be.

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There have been rumors of making this a place for handicapped accessible boats for the JC, so this could be it.

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I saw this sign outside Haunted Mansion this week. Has anyone ever seen it before?

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Refurb is done at Pinnochio Village Haus.

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Also, signage went up for the Princess Fairytale Hall at the old Snow White location, and it is claiming to open in 2013.

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It still pains me to know that this won’t be Snow White anymore, but just another meet and greet. Sigh.

Well, that does it for this week’s Dateline. Are you going to brave the lines for the Be Our Guest restaurant? Coming down to enjoy the holidays 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]