Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! Thank you for the super positive reaction to last week’s article. This week, we return to the Magic Kingdom, where we’ll take a look at some changes, news, construction, and pretty photos. Speaking of those, we have over 80 of them for you this week, so let’s get started!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

I got to the park nice and early this week since they’ve been opening at 8AM to cover the spring break crowds. This means beautiful warm light bathing the park, creating great photos.

Also early in the morning, the stage isn’t fully set up for the Castle show, so you can get this photo with a telephoto lens.

Sleepy Hollow Refreshments is still under refurbishment.
The Dapper Dans doing their morning rounds.

More early morning shots.

Refurbs are still going on in Adventureland. I’m really curious as to what they are doing behind the walls in the second photo. It’s been a long time for walls to be up in just a seating area.

Notice anything different here?
These guys have been installed for the new Jack Sparrow interactive game.

It was a little weird to see them there, right next to the Tiki Gods. But I don’t think they look all that bad. They definitely fit in much better than the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom set pieces.

Pirates in the beautiful morning light.

We’ve been wondering what this building might be for a while now. It used to be the old Crow’s Nest gift shop.
Now I’m starting to think it will be your home base for the Jack Sparrow game, with the signs currently covered up until the game is ready to launch.

Splash Mountain is entertaining guests after its excellent refurbishment.
Splash Mountain is entertaining guests after its excellent refurbishment.

 

Big Thunder Mountain is looking good.
Big Thunder Mountain is looking good.
It's nice to see the geyser working, and the great details looking fresh.
It’s nice to see the geyser working, and the great details looking fresh.

On the bridge over to Frontierland, I saw this, which is a little discouraging.
On the bridge over to Frontierland, I saw this, which is a little discouraging.

Do we really need stroller parking on this bridge? I feel like there has to be a better way.

Anyone remember when Br’er Rabbit used to be on top of this sign? I’d love to see him return.

Over at Big Al’s, there is no sign of Big Al or any other Country Bear merchandise, which is a big missed opportunity, especially with a growing fan community that loves the Bears.

Liberty Square is still scrim-town.
I’m also still waiting for the big rocking chairs to return to Yankee Trader.
The stream to Tangled toilets.

Disney set up a makeshift extension to the seating area at Pinnochio Village Haus for the spring break crowds.

Temporary terrace.
I’ve not seen or heard anything new about the princess meet and greet that is replacing Snow White lately.
Lots of roller coaster track and rock work happening through the walls at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Thankfully, no one was in line for Be Our Guest lunch at 8:45 am.

Disney is now selling a souvenir popcorn bucket featuring Dumbo. It is pretty neat!

Back side of the Mine Train is really coming along now. Some of the rock work is getting new color and the buildings in the back keep getting more window and roof work.

Imagineers were using iPads to review the plans while walking the scaffolding.

Notice the new colors.
This window looks new to me.

I love these guys that lead to Be Our Guest.

The shrubbery is growing in nicely at the new Castle walls.

Hey Californians, we had Fantasy Faire first. It might just be a post-attraction gift shop, but we still had it first!

There was a LOT of steel added to the front of the Mine Train since my last update.

At the entrance to Storybook Circus, this has bothered me for a while now:

Why welcome us to the entrance instead of the land itself? Weird.
Why welcome us to the entrance instead of the land itself? Weird.
The trees and foliage are growing into Storybook nicely.

At the little cart near the Casey Jr. area, they sell lots of great Magic Kingdom and Storybook centric merchandise. This week, this happened as well.

I know Phineas and Ferb are popular, but it just doesn't fit in the Circus in my opinion.
I know Phineas and Ferb are popular, but it just doesn’t fit in the Circus in my opinion.

Looking through the walls at the Mine Train one more time.

After all these years, the Speedway is still popular. But can’t you just imagine some sort of improvement or re-theme of this attraction?

Over in Tomorrowland, they had the “we’re going to be really busy this week” ODV carts out.

They were also doing dance parties basically all day long, much to my discontent.

On the Peoplemover, the Progress City display was dark with no audio. Hopefully they are just touching it up and making it look pretty.

This week, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor celebrated 6 years being in the park. I actually like this attraction more than many in the community, as I feel it features some solid performers and cool technology, but I do still miss Robin Williams and the Timekeeper.

Heading back down Main Street on the way out, Hall of Champions is still partially under a scrim.

And the Bakery is still closed for Starbucks-ification.

I love how you can still play checkers outside on Main Street. Even amongst all the hustle and bustle.

And lastly, Disney’s Limited Time Magic for this week was these strawberry ear hats.

They are marketing it as though you can only get them at Epcot as part of Flower and Garden, but they were in the Chapeau on Main Street as well. I’m waiting for a Limited Time Magic event that really wows me. What about you?

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s column. How do you feel about the current state of the Magic Kingdom? Enjoy seeing all the refurbishments and construction? Let us know in the comments below!!

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  • renderman7

    great report.

    Interesting to see them adding more games to the parks.

    I wonder if they would do that at the lower cost resorts, make people feel like there are things to do there?

  • DisneyNuts

    I love all of the photos in the early morning light. It makes a very idyllic scene … nice job on those.

    I see what you are saying about the entrance to Storybook Circus, but maybe they wanted to keep it true to a circus theme using a traditional circus sign for style and content. I wonder whether the new maps refer to it as a Storybook Circus Land or just as the Storybook Circus? As for the Perry towels, maybe they are trying to unload a surplus (while simultaneously cultivating new fans)? Either that or someone dropped the ball and just didn’t order any Circus-themed towels.

    As always, I loved the update!

  • Eric Davis

    Great job Cory! Keep up the good work!

  • BEAUTIFUL photos Cory!

  • wdwprince

    I don’t think the rocking chairs can ever come back to the porch of Yankee Trader since now it is essentially a wheel chair ramp. Shame.

    I for one love the Speedway the way it is. Classic Disney. Can the cars go a little faster though?

    And I think the sign in Circusland is meant to be read like this-

    Welcome to the Storybook Circus. (Pause)

    Entrance.

    Yes it’s redundant to welcome you as well as to point out that this is the entrance, but Disney is full of mistakes and blunders lately.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update! The Magic Kingdom was having a good hair day.

  • xboxtravis7992

    Wow, Monsters Inc has been open for 6 years already; it sure has been sometime since I was last in WDW.

    While I am mostly a Disneyland fan, the additions of New Fantasyland might be enough to warrant a future trip to WDW.

  • red014

    I’m by no means an arborist, nor do I live down south, but is it normal for whatever kind of evergreen trees those are near the bridge to BoG to be so bare in April? Are they still just recovering from their transplant? Are they even real? 🙂

  • Mondo Mouse

    Gorgeous photos… can’t wait to get back to the Magic Kingdom!

  • dsnygrl13

    From your pictures, it looks like the Dole Pineapple Whip location is closed off. Say it isn’t so, we’ll be there next week and it the first thing on our list.

    • red014

      Don’t fret! Dole whip stand is still open–it’s the spot next to that stand where you could sit on the way to Liberty Square that is closed. I hope what they’re doing is moving the DW stand over there to keep the lines from blocking the main walkway when it’s busy.

      BTW–as long as we’re talking about Dole Whips, they sell them with rum now in Epcot during the Flower & Garden festival.

      • dsnygrl13

        Thank you, thank you. Thank goodness it’s still open. And I heard about the Rum ones, and I’m looking forward to trying them, yummmmm

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    The Progress City model on the Peoplemover route has been behind those black curtains for at least a couple weeks now (I saw them when I was there March 27). Hopefully they’re giving the model a proper refurb because it was looking quite shoddy.

    Funny you showed the checkers board… I played checker with a total random guest there my last visit. It was fun. The guy beat my butt, but it was still fun and a great way to engage guests.

  • QPerth

    Thanks Corey, a beautiful update, those morning photos are really breathtaking!

    And Platapus can be in circuzz to yoiu guyzz! Don’t be racist against them! -Nah I’m joking. That’s so dumb those towels are there, it’s Story Book Circus, not Shoehorn Circus. Merch really dropped the ball there.

    I hope the Progress City model gets a HUUGE reconstruction refurb. It’s an absolute crime that is just a tiny portion of what used to be an expansive and inspiring miniature with moving parts. After destroying it and cutting it down, they LEAST Disney can do is look after this small remaining portion, and have it animated and top condition.

    Thanks for all your efforts in bringing these updates to us, I adore them, and know a lot of people like me look forward to them. -Q

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Just wonderful photos. I agree with what you said about Big Al. I think that the bears and particularly Big Al, is a great opportunity to sell some fun merchandise.

    • DisneyNuts

      In 2010 my son picked up a plastic resin figurine set that included Big Al, along with Brer Rabbit, a Ghost from the Haunted Mansion, a Skeleton from Pirates, and a couple more that I cannot recall at the moment. I think we picked those up in Downtown Disney, but offering something like that in the gift stores for Country Bear Jamboree and Splash Mountain would make a whole lot of sense!

  • thebear

    Thanks for the great update and all of the awesome pictures! I would’ve been running around to get on rides. You’re a better man than me!
    I would take the Laugh Floor over Time Keep just because I like the opportunity to have a seat.

  • Mickey777

    “They were also doing dance parties basically all day long, much to my discontent.”

    That was funny. Great photos. I can’t wait to take my own in a few weeks. It’s funny how I’ve never noticed the checkers on main street. Cool.

  • bryanintowson

    Love to see a corporate sponsor for the speedway. Why not have a car or energy company put in fuel cell powered cars? The major auto makers are putting tons of money into fuel cell powered cars and it’d be something to show off that technology and a classic example of Disney futurism.

    How cool would that be?!

    • ParkerMonroe

      I’m all for this. It’s a MUCH better idea than the oft-mentioned Cars overlay. #shudder

      • bryanintowson

        Agree. Going with movie characters is a really easy lay-up for Disney. It’s much harder to do something special without the crutch of well established characters. I was lucky to have visited EPCOT when there were no characters and I fell in love with the concept of it being Disney without Mickey. Think big, Disney and think about the future of transportation and get a corporate sponsor for the Speedway!