Dateline Disney World: Tangled Toilets and Animal Kingdom

Written by Cory Disbrow. Posted in Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

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Published on March 15, 2013 at 3:02 am with 16 Comments

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?

Tangled Toilet Time

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?

Construction Kingdom

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

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About Cory Disbrow

Cory likes Walt Disney World so much, he recently packed his bags and moved to Orlando. Cory is a photographer and writes MiceChat's Dateline Disney World columns every Friday.

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16 Comments

Comments for Dateline Disney World: Tangled Toilets and Animal Kingdom are now closed.

  1. Great Update Cory

    Love the new Restrooms, but I do agree. univerasal have built a new attraction in the same time space that disney have buillt restrooms.

    DAK needs alot of work to bring it up to the standard that Disney is all about.

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

  2. It took Disney TWO YEARS to make bathrooms and only ELEVEN MONTHS for Uni to build Transformers because…..well…..it’s Imagineering and WDW hates paying third shift.

    • It’s Imagineering – and there’s more red tape and politics than congress.

    • I’m not sure anyone realizes how difficult plumbing jobs can really be. Changing existing plumbing lines is not easy and given that there never seemed to be much ground dug out during this process Disney must have been working in the ultilidors a lot. Also Universal already had an existing blueprint for Transformers from the previous installation. Two years was quite a while to build out this area. I’m just glad that it is finished and really looks great!

    • On the plumbing side, I agree this can and probably was a significant reason to the time table being two years. A lot of that type of infrastructure typically has followed along the foot print of the Utilidor and this site is outside that envelope. I recall a story told to me by an Imagineer regarding what was supposed to be a simple fountain in front of the entrance to The Haunted Mansion, that turned into a plumbing nightmare; it now holds flowers instead.

      My second point is one of personal opinion. As big a strides that Universal has made, mostly thanks to former Imagineers, it is still Universal. I have had enjoyed my time there, but it is no Disney. When WDI is allowed to do their job (no flaming please), no one beats them at their game (my opinion…thank you).

      -Justin

  3. Great update Cory. Those new princess potties in Fantasyland look really well done. Lots of detail. Though, the bookends of New Fantasyland and Tangled Toilets really does make the old part of Fantasyland pale in comparison. They should start working on the remaining facades in Fantasyland next.

    It breaks my heart to see that beautiful Tree of Life obstructed and blocked by those TERRIBLE nets.

    Disney should have closed the area, erected scaffolds, inspected the entire tree and then fixed anything that needed fixing. It’s a safety and theme issue involving the park’s icon for goodness sake.

    Slapping an ugly bandage on a problem that requires surgery is no way to run a park. And you’ve got to question Disney’s commitment to safety. If a concrete limb were to fall, does anyone really think those nets would really protect anyone? They’ve had more than enough time to get this embarrassing problem fixed.

    • Dusty Sage, I could not agree with you more about the Tree of Life! It is THE park icon, and to see the poor attempt of a fix is beyond belief. The problem should have been addressed and fixed right from the beginnin…not “band-aided” over. I spent many an hour just exploring all the carvings and details as I grew to love that little under rated park. In my opinion, what they have done to the park icon is what they did to the MK icon a few years back when they transformed a beautiful castle into a huge ugly birthday cake! When I saw that…I just cried! I won’t even comment or get started on the missing Roy and Minnie statue! What are the suits thinking down there? Oh yeah, where they misplaced their brains!

  4. Thanks for the update, Cory!

    I liked your closing:
    “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.”

    I’d like to read your opinions on WDW restaurants. Maybe Micechat/Miceage could treat you and a fellow food critic to meals at all of the restaurants at the Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, the Animal Kingdom & the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and you could report back to us! :)

  5. I am also sad to see that the tree has not gotten taken care of. If it is dangerous tear it down and rebuild it. If it can be fixed fix it. A lot of hard work and genious went into creating the tree and all of the animals on it. It is a shame to have it cut off in some areas and netted. Let’s face it those nets are not going to stop anything from falling on someone. Are they going to wait until someone dies or is seriously injured before they do something.

    The Tangled bathrooms look great in the pictures. Very well themed. I agree they do need to spruce up the other Fantasyland facades to go with the new portions. IASM especially needs some serious facade work. I am always shocked to see what it looks like on the outside compared to its sister in DL. I know there is no room out front but there has to be something that can be done.

  6. While the Roy statue being moved is something I agree should have been moved back a while ago, when we were there in December a few years ago, they had a blue waterproof tarp covering the Partners statue. While it was, if I remember correctly, for the parade filming or something similar, we were there at dusk for the castle lighting and the tarp was still up (or already put on). It was one of the saddest and most depressing sights I’ve seen in WDW – I’ll have to post a picture later when I get home. Truly outrageous.

  7. The nets are an interesting choice when you think about it. They’ll really only stop medium-sized debris from hitting someone. A piece that fits through those gaps could still do significant damage to someone’s cranium and if a large piece falls, the nets won’t stop it unless they’re made of solid steel, but even then… but I guess that’s why it’s closed off. It is a shame. I’d just like to make my pitch to say that if they do a major overhaul of the tree, make it something people can climb! Is there any better place you can imagine to have Tarzan’s treehouse? I’m not suggesting to get rid of the “hidden” animals in it, or otherwise change the exterior and what makes it special, just do something more interesting with the space, even if it just gives guests another interesting perspective from which to view the park.

    It’s just a shame that the park is such a masterwork of theming and detail (but apparently lacking a bit in construction) in everything except enough big draws to keep anyone’s attention. I even think that the Hester and Chester’s area could work as a theme if it was a bit clearer why it’s there AND if they took out the attractions there now and put in a more kid-friendly (ie non- or very low scare) dark ride. The boneyard just isn’t enough and, well, you probably have a good idea why Hester and Chester’s isn’t tons-o-fun right now. It just seems like a prime spot to have a non-film-based attraction that parents and kids have equal interest in, you know? Make it surprising because it seems like H&C put up their place to capitalize on the institute and are drawing people in to see their “real” dino egg (which is really just an egg-shaped rock), but actually…then fill in the blanks, make it an adventure and a counter offering to the institute’s Dino ride (which could use some sprucing up, from what I understand).

    Or just sit tight and hope Avatar is all they say. ;-)

  8. I know they’re just bathrooms, but the Tangled area looks great. A welcome addition to the ambience of Fantasyland. QUESTION: Now that there is a new pathway into Liberty Square, has the old walkway (next to Columbia Harbor House) been blocked and if so, by what?

    • Both paths are open to create better traffic flow.

      • Yeah, but the Columbia Harbor House entrance might close soon anyway for the construction of Peter Pan’s upcoming Interactive queue (or so has the Internet has heard.)

        Timekeeper

  9. Another thing, I agree with you Cory, the transition from land to land is awkward, but as what everyone else has said, it took a long time due to plumbing. The results look wonderful, I hope they can fix awkward sometime in the future (probably right after they remodel the old Fantasyland exteriors.)

    Timekeeper

  10. Has it not occurred to anyone that the netting in DAK might have been put in place in preparation for some sort of major refurbishment of the Tree of Life? Everyone here is complaining about how horrible the netting is, and how Disney has ruined the “icon” of the park, but no one seems to have any concept of what has to be done in order to being a major construction project.

    Just as the “Tangled Bathrooms” took nearly two years to complete, a major refurbishment of the Tree of Life wouldn’t happen overnight. The State of Florida has ridiculous hoops that have to be jumped through in order to get the proper permits necessary to even begin to plan such a refurbishment.

    So instead of the constant whining and complaining about how Disney is doing nothing, perhaps we should wait to see what is happening. If there’s a snag in the red tape surrounding the permit process, things could appear to be at a standstill for a while. It happens sometimes. I suppose everyone commenting here would rather see Disney keep a potentially unsafe area open to the public, so as not to “ruin” anyone’s views.