Hello, and welcome to the first Dateline Disney World of 2013! This week, we’re covering news and construction updates from both Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

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[center][size=5][b]Crowds![/b][/size]
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Boy, was it crowded this week in the park. There were several days this past week where Magic Kingdom hit some form of capacity, which had some guests a little frustrated.

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The queue for Haunted Mansion went down to the old boat dock.

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And started near the entrance to the Liberty Belle.

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This line for the Dole Whips extended down almost to the Adventureland bridge.

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And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present many photos of the wait time signs in the park!

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Not the most fun time to be in the park, but it is pretty well known about this time of year.

[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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Starting with the Tangled restrooms, here’s the view from the Rivers of America.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld122013-IMG_8901.jpg[/img]

And now some shots from close up, where you can see workers adding some interesting colors to the building.

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I find it incredibly interesting that Disney has yet to really acknowledge the fact that they are building these restrooms. With the Parks Blog hyping up almost everything, it’s weird that they haven’t said a word about it.

On to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld122013-IMG_8911.jpg[/img]

Another week, more steel!

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Through the peek a boo walls near Old Fantasyland.

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It seems as though they have made significant strides outlining the mesh for the rock work here.

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Workers were also doing their thing with the cottages on the back half of the attraction.

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Some new posts have been added by where the newest piece of track is.

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Through the Storybook Circus peek a boo wall.

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This is pretty obviously going to be a load/unload area.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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While the Christmas decorations are still up on Main Street, the Rose Garden has changed from red and white back to it’s typical colors.

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Lastly, for Magic Kingdom, Splash Mountain has closed for a lengthy refurbishment.

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Hopefully they will fix the many problems that exist with this attraction.

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Hopefully there will be no more tarps in the load area, broken AA’s, and everything will get a fresh coat of paint.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld122013-IMG_8898.jpg[/img]

On to Epcot!

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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Lots of little odds and ends at the park for this week.

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This new food cart opened, then went back under walls, then came back again.

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While I’m a fan of Spaceship Earth logos on things, I’m not so much a fan of clutter in Innoventions Plaza, in which there was plenty without throwing this cart in there. Perhaps it would be better served somewhere else in Future World.

Christmas is still at Epcot, and kind of not. Topiaries are still there.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld122013-IMG_8802.jpg[/img]

But at the same time, the stage for Joyful!, the gospel group is gone from the Fountain of Nations, and the Christmas tree in the World Showcase plaza is also gone.

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The area in Germany for the holidays is also behind bushes.

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And the Candlelight Processional is all done for the year.

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There was some work behind scrims happening along the walkway from Imagination to World Showcase.

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Seems too early to be Flower and Garden prep, but I’m drawing a blank on what it could be. Anyone have a guess?

Monsieur Paul has opened up in the France pavilion, and has opened to some mixed reviews. I tried to get in to take pictures, but they said they opened later in the day and that I needed a reservation to step inside.

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The name outside the old gift shop has changed to reflect the bakery moving in there.

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And it seems they are close to being finished inside.

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You can even see the signage for the bakery on the right hand side of the frame.

And lastly, the Cool Wash was open over by Test Track. I hadn’t seen that open in a while, which I guess is a good thing. The whole thing is ugly as sin, but at least if it is going to be there, let it be operational.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld122013-IMG_8880.jpg[/img]

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. Would you ever brave the crowds I saw at Magic Kingdom this week? Excited for the new bakery/ice cream parlor to open in France? 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]

  • Malin

    The waits look insane and on a level I’ve only previously seen at Tokyo Disneyland. Thanks for braving the crowds. These waits could be a sign of things to come once FastPass + kicks in full time.

    While its only Rest Rooms, I love the amount of detail going into this new project. But please don’t leave the rest of Fantasyland out. Other areas could look amazing with new facades. And you might be suprised the Parks Blog hasn’t mention anything yet. I’m more shocked that Communicore Weekly hasn’t spoken about it yet. Surely Jeff and George must be dying to use it as a Bathroom Break feature. Perhaps a invite to the grand opening along with all the Mommy Bloggers.

    I am really hoping all the issues with Splash Mountain can be addressed. How long is it scheduled to be down for this time?

    Disney is working on a new kids area themed from the Movie OZ for Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. So maybe this is the early prep work? But that just speculation on my part and I have no idea where its meant to be going at the Park.

    • George Taylor

      I tried to get some photos in November…and a nice janitorial castmember asked me if I was trying to get some photos of the bathroom.

      I was wearing a Communicore Weekly shirt (the red one), so maybe he knew what I was after.

      Jeff and I are still waiting for our invitations to the Tangled Bathroom Mommy Blogger Dragon Flying Event!

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Cory

    It is grea to see you braved the crowds just to give us a update. Looking at the mountain range for Cars Land, the more steel that goes up the better.

    I hope the Splash Mounttain refurbishment is going to freshen up the ride and return it to its former glory. If they do, maybe a sign of the future for the management? I guess time will tell and we will have to wait to see what will happen.

    Thank Again Cory

    Trumpet

    • Malin

      Cars Land?

  • ttintagel

    I can’t understand the mentality of buildings sitting empty and unused while food and merchandise carts are piled up in the walkways blocking traffic and making everything look cluttered and ugly.

    • ParkerMonroe

      The Odyssey Restaurant is one particular sore spot, for me. I can’t understand the sense in allowing that one building to sit empty 90% of the year while TDO approves adding two brand new restaurants in World Showcase (to countrys that already had restaurants). If you ask me, Future World is more in desperate need of decent eateries than World Showcase.

  • The new Tangled bathrooms sure are going to be pretty, but does anyone else think they are just going to make old Fantasyland look even more dated. With New Fantasyland on one side and Tangled restrooms on the other, Fantasyland is book ended by examples of what it really should be.

    Great update Cory!

    • lionheartkc

      It’s an old designer trick, Dusty. You make it so blatantly obvious that something needs an upgrade that the pencil pushers can no longer deny it. Universal did it with Potter. They made that land so far superior to the rest of the park that people like me publicly noted that it made the old area look bad. Next thing you know, the creatives are given the necessary funding to plus everything else to keep up :).

    • Ravjay12

      I totally agree with you! I’m sure they have a plan to change the rest of the facades in the future.

  • a-mad

    Cory, great update! I’m curious to match up the wait-times with the attraction…as I’m not as familiar with the Magic Kingdom to do so sight-unseen. Some are obvious because the attraction sign is listed with the wait time… but others are tougher. Can someone fill in the blanks?

    1) PotC?
    2) BTMRR
    3) Haunted Mansion
    4) Small World?
    5) Peter Pan?
    6) Enchanted Tales with Belle?
    7) Little Mermaid?