This week on Dateline Disney World, we’ll be covering the opening of the new Tangled area at the Magic Kingdom, as well as look at some general park photos and updates over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!
As soon as you enter the park, you can see that guests can now meet the Easter Bunny over by City Hall.
Also, for some strange reason, Disney has yet to return the Roy Disney and Minnie statue to its proper place in the park. I don’t like to complain much, but this is unacceptable in my mind. For one, it looks bare there, and secondly, Walt Disney World would likely have become a reality without Roy pushing for the continuation of Walt’s dream. Unfortunately, right now he is shuffled over to the side of Town Square where no one really notices or pays attention to him. Can you imagine them pulling something like this with the Walt and Mickey “Partners” statue?
This past week, the Tangled restroom area finally opened, replacing the old Fantasyland Skyway Station.
The area now has a pathway that leads directly to the Haunted Mansion entrance.
Lots of details in here as well.
New and nicely themed water fountains.
There is also a new seating area with lots of tables and chairs. At every table, there is a “tree stump” with a flap on it containing 4 electrical sockets for charging smartphones, tablets, and cameras.
With the new area open, the old Peter Pan restrooms are now closed, which means they will probably make room for the long rumored interactive next gen queue at that attraction.
I really, really like the new area. Unfortunately, there are a few things that aren’t perfect, but overall, I think it is a solid addition. The restrooms are much nicer than the old ones by Peter Pan. It is very well themed, with lots of great detail, even if it is just a restroom area. There are nice and big trees, as well as a new waterfall, things which greatly help the Magic Kingdom atmosphere quite a bit. There is also great new background music. And of course, more seating (along with the charging stations) is welcome in this very congested and crowded part of the park.
On the negative side, yes, the transition from Tangled to the Haunted Mansion is very abrupt. It gives the Mansion a little bit less of that creepy mystique and of it being far isolated from everything else. You can also see the tower from inside the Mansion queue, which is a big clash. And yes, it was clear that a significant amount of money went into this when it could have very easily gone towards new rides or something in a different park. But, this is the route they went with, it isn’t going to be going away anytime soon, and it really does look nice, so I’m a fan. Does anyone else think it is strange that it almost took Disney as long to build these bathrooms as it did Universal to build the new Transformers ride?
Over at Splash Mountain, the flume is still dry and the pathway is blocked off. The exterior of the ride, however, is looking absolutely fantastic.
Over at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, construction keeps on rolling.
On the back of the ride, more detail keeps popping up, even some new color on the shutters of the building.
And finally, more track seems to be in place along the front.
Welcome to Animal Kingdom!
At the entrance, work is going on to install the RFID turnstiles in the center.
I enjoy the reader feedback, and it seems that you’ve all wanted to see more coverage of the other parks from me, so I went to Animal Kingdom this week in search of interesting things, and kind of came up short. I know there were some storyline changes to Kali River Rapids, but it was only 53 degrees when I went, and I wasn’t about to get soaked for that! I did step into Camp Minnie Mickey though to see if there was anything changed in preparation for Avatar, and I couldn’t find anything.
Kind of just business as usual over there. Big crowds for every show of Festival of the Lion King. Should be interesting when that is forced to go down to move to its new location in Africa to make way for Avatar, which Tom Staggs insists is still on track.
Over at the Tree of Life, the “temporary” netting seems more and more permanent by the day. These shots were all taken at different places, and there were even spots of the walkways that had Do Not Enter signs or were just walled off. Really, really sad.
I encourage you all to stop by guest relations or write to Disney about how this is a true shame, and how these nets and path closures have taken away some of the most charming and adventurous areas of this park.
The gift shop that closed to make way for character meets that were being moved from Camp Minnie Mickey is still closed, several months later. You can’t see in, so hopefully there is something going on in there.
Even if the Yeti isn’t working, Everest still looks great from over at Flame Tree BBQ.
While it has its shortcomings and problems, Animal Kingdom is still super detailed. Where it does well, it does very well.
Joe Rhode’s vision is a really great one, and I love his eye for detail. It was just a little sad visiting that park this week and seeing so many things either not working, or closed completely. While Magic Kingdom gets a ton of attention, and Epcot and Studios get festivals, it seems like Animal Kingdom gets the short end of the stick, and I’d like to see that change. I’m not fully against Avatar, especially after seeing Cars Land a few weeks ago. I’m not a huge fan of Cars as a franchise, but the land and its execution is really great. I think Avatar could be the same way. It’s just still so very far away (or not even happening, depending on who you believe), while Universal just down the road has Transformers, Springfield, a new hotel, and a mega million dollar Boy Wizard expansion all happening at once. Kind of puts things in perspective for you.
Well, that wraps things up for this week’s column. What do you think of the new Tangled area? How about the state of Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments!! Toilets
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, Disney Photography Blog. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, ISO5571