Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World. This week, we take a look at the ongoing construction at the Magic Kingdom as well as the continued installation of the Flower and Garden Festival over at Epcot. There’s a lot for us to see today.

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I got into the park a little bit before opening this week by going through the “reservations and tours” line.

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Town Square is still bare from the aftermath of Michael and Kelly taping here this week.

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At the front entrance of the park, the walls are down and the entire right hand side is RFID enabled turnstiles.

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The right hand side is now RFID, and the left side is all paper tickets. A Cast Member is currently stationed in the middle all day long directing traffic.

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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To start this week’s construction, let’s take a look at Splash Mountain and its refurbishment.

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As you can see, the scaffolding is all gone from the main flume.

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Work still being done at the bottom of the big drop.

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A large crane has arrived on the Splash site.

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They have also closed the bridge where everyone gets their photos of the big drop.

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The walls have signage directing guests around.

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At the Tangled restrooms, there is more detail popping up, and a lot more lighting fixtures.

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The colors and designs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this work on the wall really pops and looks quite nice in person.

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Heading over to the Seven Dwars MIne Train, there is once again more steel, and this week, there was a lot of work being done covering the wire mesh for the rock work, which is exciting.

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Imagineering was on site this week observing.

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Through the walls.

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Lots of work being done towards the top this week.

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Through the wall on the other side.

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[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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The crane that was in for doing some work on Cinderella Castle is now gone.

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At 9AM rope drop this week, there were people grabbing Fastpasses for the Little Mermaid. I saw this as rather interesting, seeing as it is an omnimover that doesn’t really need Fastpass. Also, if I were at MK on a vacation, I’d be getting Fastpass for things like Space Mountain and Big Thunder.

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The paving project over near Yankee Trader and Haunted Mansion is all done.

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Pavement painting happening by Country Bear Jamboree.

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Construction walls are down at Captain Jack’s stage.

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Also, at 9:20AM, Enchanted Tales with Belle had a 60 minute wait. Kind of crazy seeing how everything else was basically empty.

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Lastly for MK, the Hall of Champions exterior refurb has extended over the sidewalk.

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Welcome to Epcot!

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Mission: Space is still getting repainted, nothing new to report.

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Flower and Garden installation is now happening all over the park. Let’s start in Future World, where playgrounds are being installed, as well as the butterfly house, and large flower beds.

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Heading over into World Showcase, many of the topiaries have been installed, but the big story here is how many Food and Wine booths have made their appearance for this year’s festival. We knew that they would be setting up some booths, but I was surprised to see just how many they have taken out for this. With the money Food and Wine makes Disney, it is pretty clear what their goal is here.

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The troll topiary makes its return!

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Pandas too.

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Snow White and the Dwarfs return to Germany again.

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Also, Lady and the Tramp are again in Italy.

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More food booths.

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The Prince and Princess topiaries are also along the walkway from France to the UK again.

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Hopefully we see some new things for F&G this year, since everything topiary wise that is out already has made an appearance before.

Lastly, this week’s Limited Time Magic was the Voices of Liberty singing outside for President’s Day.

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I didn’t make it to see the show, but folks online said it was quite good, which makes sense since the Voices of Liberty are one of the best performance groups in WDW.

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s Dateline. What are your thoughts on the food and drink booths for Flower and Garden? Are you excited for Splash Mountain to reopen. Let us know in the comments below. Also, there will be no Dateline Disney World next week, as I’ll be visiting Disneyland for a few days, so I’ll see you all in two weeks. Thanks for reading!

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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 don’t get why people need to get a fastpass for the Little Mermaid. the queue is detailed and you will be on the ride very quickly. I wasat DCA in the summer, and it was less than 5 minuntes to get on. Good attraction, butnot the best. Maybe the imagineers shoul have created something new for the opening of New fantasyland, like the flying Dragon. Has any Micechatters got any news about it. Seeing a flying dragon would make me want to visit the East Coast of the USA, but when I do, maybe I will stick to USO and Sea World as they will have new attractions this year that will atract every demographic, not just young girls.

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      I have a feeling we’ll never see the flying dragon again. It was used once for a press event that the general public was not invited to.

  • pumpkinmickey

    Little Mermaid has a FP because My Magic + is going fully online soon. You will see FP showing up at things that never had FP before like parade viewing.

    • ParkerMonroe

      And this is truly a shame.

      I’m currently reading Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. It’s a satire about a very controlling dystopian future. There’s a great paragraph early in the book that I think fits well into the MyMagic+ debates.

      “Your life, career, and social standing decided right then and there, and all worrisome life uncertainties eradicated forever. You knew who you were, what you would do, where you would go and what was expected of you. In return, you simply accepted your position… and assiduously followed the Rulebook. Your life was mapped. And all in the time it takes to bake a tray of scones”.

      The author was referring to a test all citizens, upon reaching a certain age, must take in order to determine their place in society. He’s also very slyly pointing out that with all added securities comes a loss of freedom.

      Are we all preferring to move through our vacations like drones?

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    I heard Mermaid has had wait times of 30 minutes, which is enough to justify getting a Fastpass.

    I wonder if Epcot will eventually just have permanent food & wine booths.

  • a-mad

    When we were at MK 2 weeks ago, we heard the Mermaid long got outrageously long later in the day, so we went there first thing and basically walked on (this was at rope drop). When we exited the ride it was a 20 minute wait. We picked up fastpasses for Space Mtn right after that. About 5 hours later, Mermaid was an 120 minute wait (not kidding…and this was in early February!) Because of fastpass, it has suddenly made the ride such that you either have to pick up a fastpass relatively quickly, or risk waiting in a long standby line. I didn’t want to do either, because I wanted to see the immersive queue, and yet not wait more than 20 minutes (I’ve ridden the one at DCA a few times…) so our strategy worked.

    We also got in “line” for lunch at Be Our Guest at 10am! It was all the way across the bridge. I do have to admit, it was the most delicious steak sandwich I’ve ever eaten at 10:30am in my life… (the wait was worth it).

  • jcruise86

    THANK YOU for another fine churro-scented update, Cory! ! !

  • shevys

    $8.25 for a 20 ounce beer? Not cool.

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      That’s one of the main reasons I don’t buy alcohol at theme parks. Outrageously overpriced. I can get the same thing for much less at my local watering hole. I’d rather have my theme park fun sober for the most part. Who wants to get plastered and then have to yak in a theme park toilet? Not me.

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    The other night, Mermaid had a posted 20 minute wait, but it was literally a walk-on. I was through the queue and on the ride in less than 5 minutes.

  • DragonFX

    While I appreciate the work done, how come this is only Epcot and MK? I’m more interested to hear about the stuff going on at Animal Kingdom, what with there river attraction going threw a quick refurb and Disney’s announcement this week of the new Meet and Greet at Discovery Island.