Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World. There was big news in the Disney universe this week as we learned that Meg Crofton would finally be leaving as head of the Walt Disney World Resort (She’s not leaving the company, just focusing on her job as head of all the parks and resorts, including Disneyland). In her place is the current, and well loved, Disneyland President, George Kalogridis. He officially starts on February 1st, though he’s already been spending time in the resort. I feel bad for the the California fans, but we need him more than you do!  Today, we’ll take a look at the post New Year feel in the Magic Kingdom, as well as the construction and news around the park. Lots of stuff to discuss, so let’s go!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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[center][size=5][b]Wall Disney World[/b][/size]
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Now that the post New Year season is upon us, a bunch of scrims and construction walls have gone up in the park. They start right at the front where a good chunk of the turnstiles are behind walls, presumably for MyMagic+ installation.

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There is a scrim up on Main Street, which is interesting, as I thought they had completely finished Main Street by around 4th of July in 2012.

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Over by the old Adventureland Verandah, there were tarps in the back a few weeks ago, but now they extend all the way out to the front.

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This seating area next to Aloha Isle is also behind walls.

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The old Crow’s Nest gift shop is still behind walls, which it has been for months now.

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This box of walls is up near Splash Mountain. Anyone know what it normally covers?

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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There was lots of movement this past week at the Tangled restrooms, which much of the scaffolding removed, and what looks to be close to a finished product.

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I’m a little concerned about the color of this roofing, but we’ll see how it looks when it’s all done.

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Heading over to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, where we saw lots of new things!

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First of all, there is new track! It looks like a double dip coming out of the large portion of the hill.

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There was also lots of progress with the setting for the rock work.

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Also notice the tar paper going up on the roofing of the cottage buildings.

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We went around the back, and found even more new track.

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To my eyes, the track looks very similar to that of Expedition Everest, although obviously not as big in scale.

These are the views through the peek a boo walls from this week.

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And lastly, a view from the front.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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Splash Mountain’s refurbishment is well under way.

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Lots of scaffolding up on the mountain, and even some rock work removed from the final drop to be replaced.

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I’m very much trying to be optimistic for this refurb, as Splash is a favorite and I really hope it gets the proper treatment it deserves. It would also be cool if along with George Kalogridis coming here from Disneyland, some of their maintenance did too, as Disneyland tends to sparkle, and WDW needs some of that right now. Some feel that George K. isn’t responsible for much of that, but I’m hopeful that his replacing Meg Crofton will be good for the resort.

Over in Storybook Circus, there are new signs along the construction walls helping guests find the Fastpass distribution areas for Dumbo and the Barnstormer.

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And finally for this week, here are some views of the Grand Villa construction at the Grand Floridian from the monorail.

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Well, that wraps it up for this week’s Dateline. What are your thoughts on some of the color choices for the Tangled restrooms? How do you feel about George K. coming to WDW from Disneyland? Let us know in the comments!!

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  • Trumpet

    Great Update Cory

    I think the Tangled Restrooms looks great and is theming of them is really detailed

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

  • ttintagel

    I think the colored bits of the Tangled roof will serve as a bridge between the candy-colored tents of Old Fantasyland and the more natural hues of the new Belle and Mermaid areas.

  • MrTour

    I believe the Magic Kingdom version of Splash Mountain to be the best ride in the park. I hope they give it ALL the attention it deserves!

    • MrTour

      I meant, “attraction”.

  • I’ve got some news for you, Disneyland’s Splash Mountain has some problems too. But for the most part you are correct, George Kalogridis has been GREAT for Disneyland and he’s wonderful news for WDW. He has the authority, track record and support of Bob Iger and Tom Staggs to get almost whatever he wants done maintenance wise.

    It’s going to take some time and planning, but I have no doubt that George was sent to WDW to shake things up and fix everything that’s broken. Plus, he’s got one of Disney’s top Imagineers out there to assist him, Kathy Magnum (who was responsible for Cars Land).

    I finally see blue sky in the future for Disney World and much cause for hope.

    • jcruise86

      Good!

    • danielz6

      Funny you say that I remember for years the brer rabbit AA that’s on the train track above you in the dark section wasn’t moving for years. Originally he moved along the train track as you passed under him. And just last year when I visited I saw that he’s finally working again. It was nice to see that again.

  • Malin

    No problem with the Tangled facade. The colour scheme has been used at other parks before and it always blends in well enough. I guess you guys out in Florida are not use to this type of theming 😉

    George might already be calling the shots. It’s interesting to see that the Tea Cups have seen its refurbishment pulled from the WDW website. Perhaps funding to go else where. What’s interesting about the walls going up is that these are not the usual themed walls that Disney have been using lately. These are normal looking walls which makes me think work on buildings like the Main Street one were not planned that far in advance.

  • ParkerMonroe

    “This box of walls is up near Splash Mountain. Anyone know what it normally covers?”

    If it’s on the western-most walkway between Splash Mountain and Adventurland… I believe that used to be the place that sold McDonalds frech fries.

    • ParkerMonroe

      Nevermind… I was looking at the wrong photo (I was reading the caption as if it pertained to the photo above it). I think there’s just grass in that spot, so I suppose it could be basic lawn maintenence.

  • Claybob

    First off Cory…great article as always! Your love of the parks really shows! My wife and I are headed your way in late April and can hardly wait! We go to Orlando about every two years to “get our mouse fix.” It will be interesting this time to see how much the parks have improved both attraction wise and general upkeep wise. We’ve been seeing it slowly slide down hill over the past years. When I first went to the parks in the ’70’s, I was amazed at the total sparkle of the park. There was not even one kernel of popcorn on the ground around the vender stands. Man, I was sooooo impressed! But it seems that is not a priority now. It’s the trash on the ground and chipped paint that take away from the magic of being in one of the best places on earth. Also, did I really need to see the rat trap displayed so prominently in the landscaping beside the ques for the Jungle Cruise? I understand the need for it, however, come on guys at least make an attempt to conceal it from view. But, hopefully, things will start turning around now with the change in management. However…the parks are still the best place to go! It is still our favorite destination and we can’t wait to get there! My bags are already packed!

    • jcruise86

      I too remember WDW in the 70s. I got part of that feeling back when I visited Tokyo Disneyland and our Anaheim since the 50th in 2005, but the WDW employees in the 70s were tops! So many sweepers competing for any piece of garbage.

    • Me too. First visit in late 70’s and was blown away. Instant love. The entire resort seemed so huge and perfect.

      Things began to slide in the late 90’s. they continued to build new stuff, but there were so many cuts to everything (from smaller attractions, entertainment and maintenance) that the magic started to fade.

      I can’t wait to watch the transformation. While I know there will be lots of big new stuff, it’s the little things I hope they focus on. They need to restore the magic. . . Which for me is in the details.

    • Edward Allen

      Claybob, I share a lot of your sentiments. My first trip to Disneyland was 1963, first trip to WDW was 1976. And yeah, a lot of things have deteriorated. A big factor in the decline by degrees, however, can’t be blamed completely on the parks; look instead to some of the guests for some of the blame. There is a definite decline in the manners and behavior of people now and how they contribute to the park’s general messiness compared to years earlier. Don’t get me wrong, both DL and WDW are cleaner and better maintained than any other places where the public pays a buck to get in. But look at us in general: our kids and grand kids are not as well mannered, we throw waste around, we’re loud, crude and demanding, certainly more so than we were 40 years ago. Going to DL and WDW used to be seen as a privilege and we were delighted to be there; now people act mad, rude and inconsiderate, especially when the parks charge what they do and especially when they are soooooo crowded. Nothing can be done to make us a more “genteel” society I suppose, so this is just one man’s two cents..

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I hope that Disney is going to them that track better which is sticking out on the Dwarfs ride. I don’t want to be reminded that it is a roller coaster, but a mine track. I think that Disney could have had a real successful ride if they would have remembered the mine train ride in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I think this ride could be so tame that it just pleases the littlest of people and really does not drive attendance as it is supposed to be. I feel that the old Snow White attraction probably would have thrilled those little ones just as much without the investment.

  • drnigelc

    I’ve noticed that the last several “Dateline Disney World” posts have been focused on Magic Kingdom – I know that New Fantasyland construction has everyone in a tizzy, but there are other theme parks at WDW.

    Really tired of seeing pictures of construction walls….

    Keep up the good work, tho!

  • tofubeast

    Great update. Just want to say, that during my week long visit last month, I found the parks to be very clean. I was looking, just to see if I agreed with some of the sentiment expressed here. I didn’t see trash. However, I will certainly agree that Splash needed a lot of TLC. Hoping this refurb puts it back in great shape.

  • Aotphks

    The new restrooms in Fantasyland look great so far. I love the details. I don’t mind the colors being used for it. It’s my understanding that due to Florida’s sunshine, pale colors were used at the Magic Kingdom.. but any splash of color they use is a welcomed improvement. the only concern I have is how bad the rest of the tent-like buildings nearby will look once this corner of the park is completed. They need to improve the Peter Pan and Small World facades to something more inspiring than just circus tents to match the look.