Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! Today, we’ll take a look at the news from the Magic Kingdom, where the Fantasyland Expansion has essentially opened for regular operation (the official opening date is December 6th). We’ll also share some more holiday installations at  the resort hotels. Let’s go.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom.

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The park continues to get more additions for the holiday season, which as of today is really in full swing!

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The windows at the Emporium now have Mickey’s Christmas Carol overlays.

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These Mickey and Minnie topiaries have received Santa hats this week.

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Lots of beautiful color in the park this time of year!

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With it being Thanksgiving week, the crowds have ramped up, but they should die down by next week, and stay that way until the week before Christmas.

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[center][size=5][b]Open for Business[/b][/size]
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This week, New Fantasyland opened up for general public previews. It will be open all day, every day from here on out.

There was some new entertainment at the entrance to the new land.

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As expected, the land being open brought on some heavier crowds than the AP/CM preview days.

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This is the line for the counter service lunch at Be Our Guest!

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And the line just to meet Gaston.

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They have well themed extra queue ready for Mermaid.

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The new park map reflects New Fantasyland on both the cover and the inside.

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Storybook Circus is also fully open for business, although it has been for some time now.

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The marquee for Dumbo went missing for about a week, but it has returned, and unless my eyes are tricking me, it is a little bit taller now.

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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Lots of construction is still happening in the park even with New Fantasyland being open. Let’s start with the new Fantasyland restrooms.

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Bird’s eye view.

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Stroller parking has opened up at this area, and it has done a ton to help traffic flow near small world and Peter Pan’s Flight.

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Nice new railings in the stroller parking area.

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A picture scrim is also finally up near the it’s a small world area.

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Work is still happening on the last big piece of New Fantasyland, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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As you can see, the backside is really coming along.

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Views of the front side.

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Interestingly enough, Disney has also opened the pathway from near Mermaid to Storybook Circus, but it is, of course, still flanked by walls. I had thought that this pathway would not open until the Mine Train construction concluded, but it certainly is nice to have that pathway to walk!

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Temporary gate for work vehicles to come in and out.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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Some reports have popped online that Space Mountain is getting cleaned up finally. Can you see it?

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The pathway from Tomorrowland to Storybook Circus finally has less construction walls, revealing a smoking area and a dog path for seeing eye dogs, the latter of which I think is a really great addition!

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I’ll bet TDO is happy they don’t have to sink any money into this attraction for the next 4 years!

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There are some walls up near the Tomorrowland Speedway.

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It seems some new flowers were planted in the old Rose Garden, which was sorely needed for a while.

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For those curious, the Avengers monorail is still around and “assembling” guests at the Magic Kingdom (sorry, I had to make that joke!).

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At the Contemporary, the main Christmas tree is outside, but the wreath on the side of the building is not. It is still outside holiday services behind the Magic Kingdom on flatbeds.

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At the Grand Floridian, the holiday season is in full force.

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The tree is in place and is a very popular family photo spot.

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The large Gingerbread House is also up and selling $7.50 pieces of gingerbread to guests.

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The wicker deer have also made their arrival at the resort.

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Well, that wraps things up for this week’s holiday edition of Dateline. Did you brave the crazy holiday crowds this week to eat in the Beast’s Castle? Or would you rather resort hop and enjoy the holiday decor? Let us know how you handle the holidays in the comments section below.

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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]

  • Irving

    Great update!!!…and really big crowds at New Fantasyland!

  • ti2gr

    The Contemporary Wreath will be installed on Monday Night (11/26) overnight and will delay the opening of the monorail on Tuesday (11/27) morning until 8:30am. Buses running the monorail route will be available starting at 7:00am

  • Fabulous update Cory. Nice to see the New Fantasyland open to all guests.

    As they begin to frame up the little buildings at the base of the Seven Dwarfs mine ride, I can really start to be excited about this attraction. It’s much taller than I expected and will add a great deal of theme and depth to the area. Looking forward to the rock work taking shape.

    Your photos are always stunning Cory!

  • r1hert2

    Happy Holidays! Great update wonderful pics and great way to spend the holidays if you can’t be there in person.

  • evergreen

    How does a seeing eye dog (or its blind owner) know it’s supposed to walk along the “seeing eye dog path”?

  • theatreman

    Cory – Your comments are cogent and clear. You have a good eye for detail, and your photographs are right on target. I really enjoyed this update. Onward and Upward!!!

  • shevys

    Excellent update, as always. The pictures almost look like you have exclusive park access.

  • tcsnwhite

    Wonderful update! Keep up the good work.

    Love that there is a Dateline DisneyWorld column, just as there is a Dateline Disneyland.
    Always love a good weekly visit to keep up to date on what the two US resorts are up to…

  • mickeyT

    Thanks again Cory. Love Dateline Disney column and ISO5571. I just started getting serious about photography and you and that other Figment guy 🙂 have been a ton of help.