Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! In this week’s column, we’ll take a look at some Limited Time Magic (or is that Limited Magic Time?), some projects at the Magic Kingdom, and also some things that are going on over at Hollywood Studios! Let’s get started!!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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As you can see, the theme for this week’s Limited Time Magic was Long Lost Friends, a meet and greet with many characters who never roam the Magic Kingdom anymore. Here are a bunch of photos from the event.

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This week’s event was much cooler than the lame Winter Wonderland thing they did in Canada at Epcot last week. It also seemed much better received by fans and guests alike. But at the same time, it was still just a set of meet and greets, and they weren’t meet and greets that were added to the normal offerings, they just simply took the place of the Plutos and Daisys that would inhabit Town Square in the mornings.

[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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The Tangled restroom area keeps pushing towards a future opening.

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I spoke before about how I didn’t feel the roof colors fit, but the more the get done, the more sense it makes. It also fits in with the Village Haus down the road as well.

Over at the Mine Train, we keep seeing more track installed, more mesh going up, and the project continually getting bigger and bigger.

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I’m really excited to see how this project interacts with the ground and rock work around it.

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The chimneys that were installed last week are now wrapped in protective materials.

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Some views from the other side of the hill.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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While over near Storybook Circus, there was another set of signs directing guests to the new Fastpass location installed.

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Work was being done this week to remove the Dream Lights from Cinderella Castle.

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This causes part of the area behind the castle to be closed, as well as the walkway to Tomorrowland, which sends guests in line for the Merida meet and greet basically out into the walkways.

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But, it is necessary, and the castle looks so clean without the netting on it.

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Paving work has moved a little bit closer to Winnie the Pooh now.

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Speaking of Winnie the Pooh, the ride is down for refurbishment now, and with it comes construction walls that make for a nice and narrow passageway from Storybook Circus to the rest of Fantasyland.

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Over at the Yankee Trader, the building looks great, but I’m a little sad that the rocking chairs have yet to return.

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Splash Mountain continues its long refurbishment, with scaffolding still everywhere and paint being done on the briar patch.

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In Liberty Square, picture scrims are now up at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments for an exterior refurbishment.

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And in Adventureland, Disney announced this week that a Pirate/Captain Jack Sparrow themed interactive game is going to be installed. These are some of the rumored pieces for this game.

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There were some small walls up as well, probably for props that have yet to be installed.

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I cannot say I’m a fan of this. There are enough interactive games in the parks now where they are starting to clutter the theme and ruin the ambience of the lands. And I think we also have enough Pirates at WDW too. We have PotC, Pirates League, Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial, and the Captain Jack experience at DHS. One would think they’ve milked it enough. Speaking of DHS…

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Welcome to the Studios!

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Now that the Christmas tree is gone, Sorcerer Mickey and the Broom topiaries are back in the front of the park.

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One set of RFID turnstiles is installed at the park, while another is currently being installed.

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Disney Junior is currently under refurb.

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The last time I was at DHS (very long ago), Celebrity 5&10 was under scrims, but it is out now and looks quite nice.

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There were also lots of fresh flowers planted in the park this week. They really help with the look, feel and mood of the park. Don’t you think?

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The Star Wars photo op was missing its bike.

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Some Muppet shots.

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Streets of America is still recovering from the Osborne Lights.

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The famous toilet paper tree still stands tall though!

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Even when the park is relatively dead, Toy Story Mania still gets crazy waits.

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Mr. Spell in Pixar Place has been working though, which is awesome.

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I don’t quite understand why this Captain Jack show gets 60 minute waits, but it does. 60 minutes is a little past my threshold. Especially for a minor attraction such as this one.

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Ads are up for Oz and Monsters University.

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Animation Archway looks clean and good.

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The Sorcerer Hat also doesn’t have a stage in front of it anymore, and hopefully won’t until Star Wars Weekends.

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It’s nice when there is no stage, since there are no makeshift control rooms in the courtyard anymore either.

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All things considered, on an upkeep and maintenance level, DHS seemed very clean and nice this week. Hopefully, soon, if the rumors are true, there will be some definite substance added to the park and reason to stay there a while as well.

American Idol added some new songs you can sing, and it seems they’ve cut back on the amount of shows during the off season as well.

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And for some sarcasm to finish today, American Idol is clearly an attraction that warrants and direly needs Fastpass.

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Well, that wraps things up for this week. What are your thoughts on another meet and greet for Limited Time Magic? Looking forward for the future of DHS? Let us know in the comments below!!

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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

    This weeks Limited Time Magic looks better than last weeks. Maybe they should be out all year round, as some of them have not been seen for years.

    Construction looks like it is in full flow, and I can’t wait to see how it blends in with the rest of th Park.

    I agree with you that there is too much Jack Sparrow in the parks. He is now very boring, as Disny have milked him dry.

    Finally, DHS should have some proper PCC cars, full scale due to the large streets in the park. Recently, I went to San Francisco to travel on the F Line. When they travel down the street just of the Embarcadero, they create so much atmosphere. they could travel from the entrance to the Tower of Terror. I know it sounds similar to the Red Car Trolley in DCA, but that creates atmosphere on Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land.

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

  • ParkerMonroe

    Looks like you got photobombed by some park management. =)

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  • Eric Davis

    Great post Cory! Keep up the good work!

  • Fantastic update. I can understand why you rarely visit the Studios park. We only go when we’re meeting friends. The park depresses me.

    So far, WDW has spent little time or money on Limited Time Magic. They are just rolling out characters, which is very quick and cheap for them to do. Unfortunately, because this is all part of a major marketing campaign, it comes across as not being enough.

    Normally, having a few classic characters out would be a great thing. But that shouldn’t be reserved for a one week marketing gimmick.

    I have an idea for WDW. Steal from Disneyland. When the Tribute to the Golden Horseshoe run ends at Disneyland, being the whole cast to the Magic Kingdom for a month.

    If the Didneyland folks are putting together thoughtful and impressive offerings, WDW could easily copy their ideas or borrow them. It’s OK and the fans will be delighted. Of course, they could also try doing something interesting on their own (which would be even better).

    Final tip to Disney. Instead of announcing these limited time magic events just 3 days before they launch. Publish the whole schedule as far in advance as possible. You might be surprised what prompts some folks to book a vacation. Someone who likes the Three Little Pigs might very well book a whole vacation just for the chance to see them again. But not on three days notice. You are missing out on potential bookings!!!

    • martinjbell1986

      Agreed, if the goal is to get more people in the parks you have to let them have a chance to book their trip with more notice. I’m going next month and I still don’t know what promotion is going to be running

  • gboiler1

    Oh how I’d love to see some new life in DHS. I’m sure everyone has a long list of updates and additions they feel are needed and necessary. Universal is sure putting the pressure on which will probably be a very good thing for us.

  • lionheartkc

    My biggest beef, so far, with Limited Time Magic is that, when they announce what it is going to be, you get this big picture in your head, and then when it actually happens, what they offer is always at least a little, if not a lot less than what it could have been. Take the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland. They could have actually brought back the show, but instead they did a shorter “tribute” so they could push people through and sell more food. Or this character event. They could have flooded the park with random, little seen characters, having them pop up all over, but instead all I’ve seen in anyone’s pictures are this same small group, only one of which I haven’t seen before. If they are going to make this a big deal, each thing needs to be over the top. It needs to be an event, not an aside. After all, Disney sells magic… so that’s why expect to get.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  • disneytom

    Call me a “doubting Thomas” but you can’t seriously tell me that these Limited Time experiences are making any significant impacts to the bottom-line at either U.S. park.

    If Disney really counted the nickel and dimes that it takes to market and execute this Limited Time crap and, instead, directed that investment toward material capital improvements they’d get more bang for their buck.

    Even minor attraction improvements such as if WDW added the Piranha effect to their version of the Jungle Cruise and if DL incorporated the incredible hitch-hiking ghost effect to the end of their attraction – this would actually drive more people into the parks than this lack-luster marketing promotion will. Honestly, is this the best they could come up with? A complicated, confusing, ever-changing array of “offerings” (and I use the term loosely). They are probably ticking quests off more in the end. What happens next week when someone goes to City Hall and asks the question: “Where can I find Prince John?” – Answer: “Oh honey, he was here last week.”

    All of the Disney characters should get their “15 minutes of fame” meeting and greeting guests – they do so at Tokyo Disneyland – obscure characters are just as plentiful as main-stream ones like Pluto and Goofy.

    And while the return of Golden Horseshoe is interesting the show plays to a finite capacity per day anyway. If you’re coming just to see the show you’re either part of the “comped media” or an AP and would come to the park anyway.

    I think Walt would throw up if he learned that normal entertainment offerings were being promoted as “special Magic”. The only Magic at work here is that Disney has unbundled entertainment offerings in the park and now created the impression that they are offered sporadically and if you snooze you loose.

  • dolewhipdude

    I feel so bad for folks visiting WDW right now. From the pics of the Magic Kingdom, they’re dealing with tons of walls, scrims, and closed attractions. And for what? Maintenance, one new attraction and installation of another game? Uni is a least build multiple e-ticket attractions. I get the need for maintenance, but their timing is just so wrong. Oh do we ever need to turn this ship around!!!

    Is the portrait of MK’s VP still up in Belle’s shop? If yes, I think we should all go and set up a shrine in front – maybe light a candle, leave a flower, perhaps a little note card, and then say a prayer!

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I think that DHS had great potential to be a great park, but was really mishandled from the very beginning. They really need a major redo, with some buildings moved and theming reconsidered. The idea of visiting a working studio has to be flushed and more experiences of being in the movies themselves. Even having Tower of Terror and Rockin Rollercoast to close to each other really kills the potential theming each could have had. I really hope that some major money is poured into this half day park.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    This was a great update, BTW. I too wish that there was some theme to the new characters. It really seems like they just pulled whatever costumes were laying around and pushed the cast members out. I would have loved characters from the 1960’s or 1970’s as a theme. And if Jiminy Cricket were to be there, I would be making plans to visit. ;0)

  • Disneylandfan85

    I thought Pinocchio (Pinocchio himself at least, if not all “Pinocchio” characters) appeared more often than that.

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    Is Sleepy Hollow Refreshments still open while the facade is being rehabbed? I’ll be there tomorrow and would be disappointed if I can’t get my waffle sandwich fix.

    • Kandace Sparkles

      Yes Amy, Sleepy Hollow is still open during their exterior refurbishment. This week they got the detailed and expanded walls compared to what they had the previous week. I found the lines were a bit shorter that way, too!