This week, we’ll take a look at the new bakery in the France pavilion at Epcot, as well as news and construction at the Magic Kingdom. We have almost 80 photos for you this week, so let’s get started!

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Welcome to Epcot!!

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[center][size=5][b]New Bakery in France[/b][/size]
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Last week, the new bakery opened up in the France pavilion in Epcot, leaving the old one closed for its conversion to an ice cream parlor.

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The new one is inside half of the old gift shop area.

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The new bakery is a HUGE improvement over the old one. It is much bigger, has what seems to be a slightly expanded menu, and is just better from an operational standpoint.

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Food!!

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They have these new trays which are really nice and have a very classy feel to them since they don’t feel like plastic.

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More photos of the area.

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I brought a fisheye lens along with me to get some wide shots to help everyone see what it feels like to be in the new bakery.

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In my eyes, the new bakery is a home run. They’ll have better capacity, make more money, and it is a better offering for the guests. Meanwhile, the old bakery is being reworked as an ice cream shop. So, this will be a net gain for guests.

While still in Epcot, Disney had its Limited Time Magic in the Canada pavilion, making it snow and having characters out for a ‘special’ meet and greet.

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It generated a small line.

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Unfortunately, this was pretty lame. It was a very small setup for a tiny meet and greet with one machine blowing fake snow. Disneyland gets a revival of the Golden Horseshoe, and we get this? I think it’s time for Disney to give the WDW guests something nice for this promotion.

Construction is also happening for the Oz themed playground for the upcoming Flower and Garden Festival.

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Rumors flew this past week of Pin Central closing down, but it didn’t.

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And lastly, walls were up at the entrance to install RFID turnstiles, while one of the turnstile areas has already been converted.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

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As you can see, the Christmas decorations are gone, and the Train Station has returned to its normal colors. Shame they won’t just rip out the ‘Let the Memories Begin’ sign though.

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Also, you can see the holiday decor is gone from Main Street as well.

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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At the Tangled restroom area, work has quickly moved, and we’re seeing lots more detail and color.

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Looking good, and also looking like it isn’t far from being opened.

Lots of progress also happening at the Mine Train.

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Chimneys were added to the cottages in the back.

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More steel was added to the Storybook Circus side of the mountain.

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Peek a boo views.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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Some new props have been added to the Big Thunder Mountain queue for its new interactive elements and story, including some cool shout outs to Tony Baxter and his Western River Expedition attraction that was never built.

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Splash Mountain’s refurb is also continuing.

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At the entrance to the park, work continues installing the RFID turnstiles.

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The Main Street Bakery is now closed for its transformation into the first Starbucks location on WDW property.

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The scrim on Main Street that went up last week now has one of the nice murals on it.

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Same thing in Adventureland.

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These ODV carts were in the Liberty Square seating area during the holidays, but are back in their normal place now.

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And finally, there has been a lot of small upkeep happening in the park, which in my eyes is a great sign and I love seeing it.

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Well, that does it for this week’s column! Do you enjoy seeing little refurbs and paint jobs around the park? Are you excited about the new bakery in France? Think WDW’s Limited Time Magic has been a disappointment thus far? 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]

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Cory

    I have to say the Limited Time Magic in EPCOT is LAME!!! WDW management need to treat their guests, especially when DL gets a revival of a much loved show.

    The final stages of New Fantsayland are looking good, and I can’t wait to see it in person when it is finished.

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

  • Lee Mallaby

    Great update.
    we’ve never been in the French patisserie, but will definitely be trying it in August.
    The seven dwarves mine train looks pretty cool.
    I’m still not sure how I feel about Starbucks being intergrated in to the Main Street Bakery but time will tell.
    I must also admit that I’m a little concerned about my magic +, especially as we do nit stay in site, I wonder how much impact it will have on families like ours.

    Excellent update though, thanks.

  • SueinSac

    The new bakery is wonderful! Had lunch there last week – it’s not so overcrowded/overwhelming to people who come in for the first time, and my quiche and Napoleon were excellent. Enjoyed seeing the hustle and bustle behind the bakery counters; like an on-stage kitchen for bakery activity. Even got a kick out of the M/F bathroooms – it’s gonna take people a while to get used to that one! Made a nice memory for the trip, and I look forward to going back again. Now if I could just eat a Napoleon without looking ridiculous!

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    Great update Cory. Thanks for letting us know that small parts of the Park are getting some repairs done!

    Also, small side note, but it was Marc Davis who developed the Western River Expedition that was never built! 🙂

    • Marc did the concept scenes for the inside of the attraction, but Tony Baxter did the Big Thunder like exterior which would have featured a runaway mine train. Tony’s part was the only bit that got built. Though, I think that most of the retheming is to add elements from the upcoming Big Thunder TV show.

    • ParkerMonroe

      Yup. I was just going to say the same thing.

      Marc left Disney a very bitter person – claiming Walt (and Ron Miller) promised him that attraction. He blamed Tony Baxter for stealing the property out from under him. In an effort to pay homage to Marc (and to save money) Tony decided to use Marc’s “America Sings” animatronics in Splash Mountain. It didn’t go over well with Marc.

      To this day, there are a number of Imagineers that claim Marc’s design for the Western River was superior to anything before and since its conception. It should be known that Marc’s Western River concept made it far enough in production that a few animatronics were made. These would be recycled in Epcot (mostly in the Land pavillion, but also in the World of Motion).

      • OriginalMousekteer

        There’s a lot of back and forth on this subject. Personally, I don’t believe that Tony meant to undercut Marc–WRE and Thunder Mesa had a number of problems. Most notably, Card Walker’s knee-jerk decision to put Pirates into WDW at any cost (including gutting the storyline and overall length) and the fact that the original Thunder Mesa concept with WRE, Mine Train, walk-through, and WDWRR would have been a bigger engineering accomplishement than NO Square at Disneyland (which, other than the tunnels at the Magic Kingdom, will never be topped).

        Marc’s contributions need no defending–he was one of the greats. I’m willing to cut Tony some slack–he was fairly young then and I haven’t heard anyone say with any conviction that he intended to disrespect Marc.

  • What on earth was that horrible Limited Time Magic event in Canada? Christmas is over. Were they so cheap that they weren’t even willing to put the characters in appropriate winter clothes? What an embarrassment for Disney and I hope that they step things up for this campaign like Disneyland has, or they give up on it at Disney World completely. Totally lame.

    Great update Cory.

  • tofubeast

    The new bakery in France looks amazing. Glad to hear it is also opening earlier so people can have breakfast there. That will be a great treat, especially for the EPCOT resort guests.

    I agree that the Limited Time Magic in Canada is disappointing when compared to the GH, but it’s *only* mid January. There may be times DL has a less stellar event, while WDW has a great one. Just keeping a ‘glass is half full’ hopeful attitude for now that there are neat opportunities ahead for WDW.

    Nice update, as per usual!

  • Mickey777

    Great update. I can’t wait to check out the new and improved bakery in france. The old one was a favorite of ours. It’s also great to see small pieces of concrete roped off like that for maintenance. The M&G for this week at Epcot may have been lame compared to DL but they have to fill in 52 weeks right? There’s bound to be a few weeks in there where DL gets someting sub-par and WDW gets something better and vice versa. Anyway, I like the direction WDW seems to be going right now. Good stuff.

  • mainejeff

    Disney will hit a home run with the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. Whoever decided to ditch the meet & greets and add this should get a bonus.

  • tofubeast

    At least this coming week’s event at WDW is a bit more fun. Per the DP Blog– Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar, Robin Hood, 3 Little Pigs, Friar Tuck (and more) doing meet and greets at MK. Nice opportunity to take pics with some long lost friends.

    • But, again, it’s just a meet and greet. They already have those characters lying around. They just need to stuff a body in the suit. WDW isn’t showing any creativity with this campaign so far. Disappointing.

      • tofubeast

        I see what you are saying, but I am hoping that there is more excitement ahead. Time will tell!

  • MonteJ

    If the Starbucks Main Street is anything like the one in California Adventure – it wil be a huge WIN for the Magic Kingdom. They’ve done a great job making it fit into the look and theme of Buena Vista St. while still giving their guests the consistent quality and familiarity of their local Starbucks. Honestly, it’s been a great addition.

    • Completely agree. And if they keep the bakery items we all love and add the additional Starbucks sandwiches and treats (as they’ve done on Buena Vista Street), this location is going to be a huge win for guests.

      • Cory Disbrow

        Agreed entirely. The coffee at WDW is for the most part terrible, so I see Starbucks being in there as a great addition, as long as the current theme remains as Disney is claiming it will.

  • HeeHee

    Thinking that the Limited Time Magic promotion is geared toward locals, and to be specific, for Disneyland locals-let’s see, they are vocal, have high expectations, and did I mention-are vocal. It is my opinion that one of the very reasons this promotion came to fruition was to appease Disneyland locals who were hit with huge new price tags for their AP’s-this helped calm that uproar (people love exclusivity right? Offering it to locals as right now as its the low season for tourists was smart, capital S! And hey, no one is complaining-at Disneyland anyway…though I love the up charges for the LTM, $35 lunch at the GH, new menus items for the Bayou Bash-so is LTM for me? Or their bottom line-I’m confused lol). I highly doubt WDW will ever get as much out of this promotion as Disneyland. That’s just my guess though! Please note, I’m not saying its right!

  • Malin

    The new bakery looks great, so impressed with the look and the food items look delicious too and very well presented. It’s such a shame Disney can spend this kind of money on the Bakery but neglect so much else.

    I think a lot of Guests are going to be disappointed when they find out its only Rest Rooms being built but the level of detail and theming again put so much of the rest of the park to shame.

  • ttintagel

    Don’t people enjoy making up ride backstories in their imaginations anymore? What would Figment say to that?

  • thebear

    I probably should know this… why is called the Tangled restroom?
    Also, in regards to the post from ParkerMonroe. I just finished reading “It’s kind of a cute story” (great book, hard cover issue is very nice) and there was a story about when they went to make New Fantasyland. It basically said that Tony Baxter jumped in and kind of stole that job from another imagineer. After just reading that, I found the comments about Western River Expedition and Marc Davis very interesting.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I refer to it as the Tangled restroom as the area where they are building these restrooms is themed to Tangled, with the Tower being in the backdrop. The rumors back in the day called for the Rapunzel meet and greet to land there, but Disney squashed that rumor some time ago. So, as it stands now, they’ll just be restrooms with a Tangled theme.

      • ttintagel

        The Princess and the Pee!

  • stamphead

    MK looked dead.

    Will it really take until 2014 to finish the Mine Train? Seems like they make significant progress every week.

    • Cory Disbrow

      If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that the Mine Train opens in late October or early November of this year, about the same time of year Be Our Guest and Mermaid opened this past year, just in time for the holiday crowds.

  • LongtimeReader

    Besides the obvious difference in the quality of the offerings of Limited Time Magic, it appears that WDW is doing a different event every week (or in the case of the Villain event, a single day), wheras DL is doing one per month, sometimes only on weekends. I prefer DL’s approach, not only for the obvious (quality), but in that it allows more people to SEE their efforts. 50-52 events will be a lot harder to organize than 11-12, and it’s clearly showing.

  • WorldLover71

    I’m very glad they are doing small but necessary maintenance jobs but I also remember when that sort of thing was done overnight. I’d rather not look at wet paint signs.

  • DisneyNuts

    I love your updates! They keep the anticipation building for our trip back to WDW in August. I had hoped that the Dwarfs Mine Train would have been completed by August, but you can’t have everything, and it’s always good to have an excuse to go back. The new Bakery in France looks like it could actually be a decent lunch stop — how are the prices? Also, is the demand for the new Fantasyland attractions still high, or has that waned after the holidays?

  • KCmike

    When is the Tangled portion of the new Fantasyland suppose to be completed?