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!!

If you’d like to support Dateline Disney World and you shop regularly at Amazon.com, please CLICK HERE before you do. It won’t cost you any extra, and it’ll help out the column!!

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]

  • ParkerMonroe

    “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.”

    Thank you for saying that, Corey. I’ve grown quite tired of people on the internet comparing the Mine Ride to the Barnstormer.

    Lastly, 70 minute waits for an omnimover ride is ridiculous! Thank you, Fastpass.

  • GhostHostJeff

    I just want to note that on my visit last week that Mermaid was listed at a 45 minute wait and it we only waited 10 minutes. I’m not sure how accurate these wait times are.

    • Eric Davis

      I have seen this a lot of with The Little Mermaid…. the wait time always seems to exaggerate the actual time it takes to get to the front of the queue.

      But I am thrilled the the Little Mermaid is popular!

  • jmuboy

    I agree that the views of the Tangled Tower in FL and L Sq are not ideal, but not terrible.
    At least the Tangled bathrooms somewhat blend with the Yankee Trader buildings. Plus once some additional landscaping is in and the bridges/water elements are open I think the transition (at least at the ground level) will be much better. It’s a theme park; there will always be some awkward transitions. After all, the Sunshine Pavilion is visible in Frontierland as well as you walk from Big Thunder and Splash back toward the “town” of Frontierland.

    My 2 BIGGEST concerns with the Tangled area are:
    1 – planting a few trees to hide the HM from view when inside Fantasyland.
    2 – Planting trees or something else to screen the side of the Small World show building. It’s very visible in all directions now. At the very least the castle wall look should be painted onto the side of that building all the way down the side now.

  • ttintagel

    “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.”

    While this is true, I don’t see how it matters. When I’m paying a premium price for a premium product from a world-renowned company, I don’t expect to have to choose between the lesser of two evils. There’s no excuse for EITHER of these examples of bad show.

    • I absolutely agree with you. At the prices Disney charges, everything should be as perfect as possible. I really feel their reputation is now in jeopardy because of the sorry state of the parks.

      For goodness sakes, Disneyland is nearly 60 years old and blows the Magic Kimgdom and the rest of the WDW parks out of the water on maintenance and adherence to the Disney perfection principle.

      Yes, there are some wonderful new things, but lets not lose sight of the big picture, which is much less rosy these days. Put it this way, if Disney World were run by a licensee (like the Oriental Land Company or The Children’s Place), they’d have grounds to sue and take the property back. Someone at Disney needs to wake up and fix this resort before the Disney name is irreparably damaged.

      Building big fancy new things is only half the solution, fixing what’s broken and keeping EVERYTHING else fresh is the critical part.

      Thank you for the photos Cory. Love reading you every Friday! Merry Christmas.

    • saphron37

      YES!! Well said!

  • Eric Davis

    What about the nets at Splash Mountain, the the crumbling attractions?

  • Claybob

    I totally agree with Dusty Sage and the rest…it should strive for perfection! I always thought it was the Disney way. Guess I was wrong. There is no excuse! Living here on the west coast, I actually prefer going to Disneyland over WDW. True, I’m headed to FL. this May, but I’ll be shaking my head the whole time as I see chipped paint, missing finials on gates and generally poor upkeep of what used to be the “Best of Show!” And I’m paying premium prices for…WHAT?

  • CupcakeTerror

    Great pictures, especially of the track on the new Mine Car attraction. Looking forward to seeing the progress and, of course, the final result!

    Thanks!

  • tofubeast

    I concur with GhostHostJeff that the LM posted wait times appear exaggerated. Much of last week, it was at 20 mins. However, there was no line. You just had to walk to the length of the queue to get on the ride. (Doesn’t take 20 mins to walk it!). I also was impressed with the size of the Mine Train. It will be a nice addition to New Fantasyland.

    I will also add that I actually enjoyed Enchanted Tales w/ Belle. It was a unique experience, and I heard lots of positives about it from other park attendees. It was way more than any ‘meet and greet.’ I might be the only person on MC to actually like it, but that’s fine with me. 🙂

    Nice update! Wish I had all those blue skies while at MK a few days last week.

  • Malin

    I can’t comment much on the issues like Splash or Tree of Life because I haven’t visited since 2008 and these things are not being covered by the main sites and blogs lately including MiceChat. Is the finale scene in Splash still broken?

    What I can comment on is what’s being provided by Cory in his excellent column each week. And I see great improvement in fixing Fantasyland. Obviously areas need to be brought up to the standards so far set by New Fantasyland. But if WDW continue to enhance the area and improve the facilities it’s only a good thing in my view. The Tangled Restrooms continue this trend.

  • Ravjay12

    Great update! The Tangled area isn’t finished yet. I’m sure they’ll have a way to obscure the view from Liberty Square. Let’s let them finish it before we criticize it!! They’ve done a great job so far..

  • SpectroMan

    I knew the Mermaid lines were going to be ridiculous at WDW whereas at DCA they’re always a piece of cake. Same with Soarin’ and Toy Story Mania. Makes me laugh.

  • Trumpet

    Great update Cory

    The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Coaster construction look great, and it seems to be rich in detail. It should compliment the rest of New Fantasyland needs at the present time. However, it needs more attractions that makes the guests to visit again, which the current attractions are not doing, in my opinions.

    Hope you are feeling better Cory. Without these articles, my Fridays feel quite empty when browsing Micechat

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

  • tcsnwhite

    Maybe it’s just me…but since plenty of folks keep talking about the “decline” of WDW…why doesn’t anyone mention the fact that WDW’s live entertainment – parades, shows, and spectaculars – are ALL outdated, old, and stale.

    How has Steven Davison and his WDI-CE team not been able to get their hands on WDW in the past 12+ years (other than a fireworks show here or there)? The company seems to be good at keeping DLR, TDR, HKDL, and even Paris’s entertainment somewhat fresh… but my god…it’s the same lame crap – and even WORSE – since the last time I’ve been in 2003. That’s coming up on 10 years. And in 03, that entertainment was already several years old.
    Why isn’t WDW’s live ent. on a five year rotation like the other resorts?

    Is WDW management that cheap?
    That you can’t even update parades and shows to the quality level that Steven and his team are now known for?

    It’s not just about WDW’s stale services, rides, etc… entertainment is huge part of that. Hell, it’s Disney’s “flagship” resort and park (Magic Kingdom)…it should at the very least have one of the most lavish daytime parades …and yet DLR and the international parks continuously every three to five years outdo them.
    No matter what they build there in terms of the overall attraction offerings, the live ent. just gets older and cheaper…and the overall experience suffers.

    • tcsnwhite

      I think it’s time Kevin Yee or someone at MiceAge/MiceChat writes a good LONG article (with pictures) on the sad, sad state of parades/shows/and spectacles at WDW…with comparisons to recent offerings in the last decade at DLR and the international parks. I get that live entertainment is often seen as not as important as rides and such in the Disney online community…but it is a major aspect of the overall Disney experience…and I think it should be pointed out and taken to task as well.