Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! Since I took off last week due to a nasty case of the flu, we’ve got lots to cover at the Magic Kingdom this week, so let’s get started!!

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Welcome to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom!!

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RFID entry is still being tested/used at the front of the park.

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The entry machines are quite nice looking, and I think in the long run will make for a more pleasant experience at the gate. The 6 months ahead Fastpass, probably not so much. But I think there are some places where NextGen will shine, and others where it will flop.

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Flags were at half staff in honor of the Newtown, CT tragedy.

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Christmas is almost here, so we’ll only be seeing the decorations for a few more weeks.

I arrived at the park around noon this week, and to my surprise, Main St. Vehicles were still running, and the trolley show was also being performed!

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Now it’s off to Frontierland for some construction!

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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I say Frontierland because you can see a whole lot of the Yankee Trader area and the new Tangled restrooms from there.

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I really like the color and paint they went with on the Yankee Trader. It is very pleasing to the eyes, and just fits, at least in my opinion. Looks fresh, but also worn in all at the same time.

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The Tangled stuff being visible from Frontierland is a sour point for a lot of fans. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it, but it also isn’t the end of the world (as that is today, duh!). Things like Splash Mountain and the Tree of Life literally falling apart are much more pressing matters to this blogger than some jarring of theme.

Here are some more views of the Tangled construction:

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I very much like the rock work that is going on at the ground level. Has a Disneyland Fantasyland feel to it, which I believe to be a step in the right direction. Although, this and the New Fantasyland are making the Peter Pan and small world areas look bad by comparison.

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As you can see, there is lots of work being done on this, and it is moving along nicely.

Heading over to New Fantasyland, tons and tons of work is being done at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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I’m really curious and excited to see what this looks like after all this steel gets covered up.

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The new peek a boo signs along the construction walls are really helping this column out!

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So much steel.

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The houses along the back of the project continue to move quickly, with more roof lines taking shape, and more windows being framed.

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There aren’t too many differences along the front of the project, just some more spikes sticking out that will eventually be covered in rock work.

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In exciting news, there is new track installed!

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As you can see, there are teeth on this track, signifying that it will be a small lift hill.

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Again, the peek a boo signs get an assist this week.

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One thing that I think is hard to convey with photos on the internet is the scope and scale of this project, especially with it changing every week. This project takes up a large plot of land, and it is going to be rather large once it is all completed. Am I saying this will be a huge E-Ticket attraction that New Fantasyland sorely needs? No, but I do think it will be substantial, and VERY popular. I’m the wait and see type, and I am waiting rather patiently to see how this one turns out.

While in New Fantasyland, the area is still very popular, with hour plus long waits at both Mermaid and Enchanted Tales.

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While these are both good attractions, waiting over an hour is something I won’t be doing. What is interesting was that while these two had huge waits, Dumbo was posted at 30 minutes, Barnstormer at 25 minutes, and Pooh at 40 minutes. I would rather do any of those three above Enchanted Tales for sure. Interesting how low capacity attractions work, and it makes me curious as to how that show could be tinkered with in the future to keep wait times down, especially during the busy seasons of the year.

In Storybook Circus, Dumbo now has dedicated signage for Standby and Fastpass.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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There is a new cart over near where Tomorrowland and the Hub meet.

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Construction is happening at the old Adventureland Verandah building.

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With the busy holiday season started, both Tortuga Tavern and the Golden Oak chicken quick service were both open. I had never seen them both open at the same time before, so I took some photos!

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Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. We want to wish you all a great Christmas next week! Are you excited about the Mine Train, or do you think it simply won’t deliver for the new area of the park? 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]