It’s been a few weeks since this column visited the Magic Kingdom, so that is where this week’s update comes from. We have photos of the new interactive Pirate game, as well as construction of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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Backtracking to the ride over to the park, here’s the progress of the new DVC wing at the Grand Floridian.

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Entering the park, it is great to see so many Main Street vehicles running early in the morning.

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I know Disney had more television tapings in Town Square recently, but they really need to move the Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse statue back where it belongs, not as an afterthought over by City Hall.

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On Main Street this week, one vehicle was parked and some promotional filming was taking place.

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The Bakery is still closed as it gets ready to reopen this summer as Starbucks.

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Nothing new on this scimmed building on Main Street.

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Heading over to Adventureland.

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This hasn’t changed since the turn of the new year.

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This section used to only have a wall, but now has a picture scrim. I’d love to know if anything is happening there other than typical refreshing.

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I love early morning empty park photos, so here are a few.

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While in Adventureland, the new Pirate Adventure interactive game was play testing this week, and I got to take part in it.

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The landing zone for this is the old Crow’s Nest gift shop, which now has a queue outside of it.

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Once inside, you see some fun details on the walls, and you also receive your talisman (which I believe has an RFID chip in it) and a map for your adventure.

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You then follow the map and go from spot to spot which tells a little story narrated by Jack Sparrow by tapping your talisman on the logos.

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This parrot is an animatronic that takes part in the story.

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This chest opens up after you fire a cannon at it.

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This figure popped out of the water near Jungle Cruise, which was pretty cool.

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Overall, the game was a fun little distraction. It isn’t something I would do every time in the park, but if you are a pirate fan, it would certainly be good bit of fun. There are a total of 5 maps to play through, which makes for the opportunity to do it more than once. I also found that it works much better than the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, as it simply doesn’t stand out quite as much as the other one does. It is more subdued, which I think is a good thing.

Moving on, over by Splash Mountain, we still have a Kodak photo spot sign.

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This black and yellow thing on the ground was pretty ugly.

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Love being here early.

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These handrails are new.

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Scrims still up at Sleepy Hollow.

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Liberty Square is under some serious refurbishment.

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This is a new marquee and entry way for Columbia Harbor House. Note how it shows chicken on the marquee first in front of seafood, yet there is more seafood on the menu, and the only chicken entree is chicken nuggets.

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This pathway is very narrow during this refurbishment.

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Nothing new on the outside of the princess meet and greet area. Some media got a tour of the inside and it looks like a lot of stone work has happened in there.

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I’m a fan of fresh paint in the park for sure.

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Wait times for Enchanted Tales with Belle really haven’t cooled off yet. You have to eat here early to avoid the lines.

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The backside of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is really starting to look good, even though word came out this week to not expect the ride to open until Spring of 2014.

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Heading toward the front, here is some of the work being done.

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It is weird to think that it is taking so long to build this, while Universal down the road is doing Transformers, a Simpsons expansion, and an entirely new Harry Potter area all in a shorter time.

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Mad Tea Party is currently closed for refurbishment.

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On the Peoplemover, the Progress City scene is back now, and looks to have received a little touching up.

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Also during my Peoplemover ride, I got the treat of seeing Space Mountain with the lights on.

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This time of the year is really a beautiful one to be in the parks.

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On the way out, I waited to capture some photos of the newly wrapped Monsters University monorail.

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I’m not a terribly huge fan of the monorail wraps, but this one is done in a more subtle way, which is probably how I would prefer to see them done in the future. From far away, you almost can’t tell the wrap is there, but it is clear once it gets up close and personal. This one definitely looks nicer than the Iron Man 3 wrap, which is also circulating on the Magic Kingdom line.

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s column. What are your thoughts on the Pirate’s Adventure game in Adventureland? How about the fact that the Mine Train won’t be open for close to another whole year? 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

    Love the construction at the moment, and the details are starting to come through. It is looking fantastic. However, Universal is steaming ahead with construction which is just fantastic. When looking back last year, at the beginning of 2012, Universal has done alot compared to WDW, which is a shame. Maybe they will increase the speed when they complete the work in DHS and DAK, if anything evr happens.

    Thanks Again Cory

    Trumpet

  • clewandowski

    Cory,
    Great article! Always great to stay updated when you haven’t had the opportunity to travel for a while. As far as the mine train opening date, I have no problem with it taking longer to open if it turns out to be spectacular. I’d rather wait to have a great ride, then have them rush to beat Universal and have an OK attraction.
    Just my thoughts! Thanks for the great pictures!

    -Chelsy

  • ttintagel

    Gorgeous photos; I can practically smell that early-morning wet pavement!

    The new Pirate game looks like a big improvement on the Sorcerers one. More real stuff, fewer screens, better fitting of the game to its surroundings.

  • tofubeast

    MK is looking pretty fantastic. Can’t wait to be back in a few weeks. There is video posted on the Disney blog right now of inside the Princess Hall and progress on the Mine Train. I’m so excited for the train ride. Your pics show the fantastic detail work being done. Also, glad to hear that Progress City got a little face lift. I really wish it was featured somewhere that people could stand and truly enjoy it (for as long as they want).

  • LoveStallion

    While I can’t really give Disney much slack when comparing the Mine coaster construction time the Universal stuff, I can at least think of a few things to consider:

    1. The Transformers building is just a huge warehouse. Wasn’t that hard to put up. And the ride itself is less complicated than a roller coaster going both inside and outside, as well as wrapped around a princess meet-and-greet facility.

    2. Not tons of excuses against Harry Potter except for maybe this – the mine coaster is a construction island in the middle of a functioning park. HP is on the fringes and construction crews arguably face fewer hurdles taking care of business. Also, the mine train is much further along than HP, regardless.

    • Stomper622

      I totally disagree with #1. The Transformers ride is way more complicated than a simple family coaster. If you ride the one in California, you’ll see that from a technology standpoint, it’s one of the most sophisticated rides ever built.

      • LoveStallion

        I know how it works, but when you start with an easier structure, it makes the overall construction simpler. Perhaps I didn’t phrase it well. The innards are surely something to behold, but Disney spends more time creating an entire show building that blends and works rather than just a warehouse with some decals on it. Transformers is great, don’t get me wrong.

    • MickeysImagination

      On item 1, Transformers in Orlando is the third installation of this specific show and the fifth installation of the motion Stewart Platform (Scoop and Evac) for Universal. I too would have to agree that construction timeline for Transformers should be fairly set based on past projects.

      -Justin

    • martinjbell1986

      Agreed, the transformers building looks like an industrial warehouse with decals slapped on it so that people can identify what attraction is there. They could have done a lot more with the outside of the ride. That quality of building would have never been approved by Disney standards

  • EasyRover

    I really hope they incorporate the witch in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, somehow.

    • fnord

      I bet she’ll be there big time. I just hope the ride time is longer than the ride it replaced, which was a beautiful Disney dark ride. I hope it’s more like a darkride with roller coaster segments, than a roller coaster that whizzes by a few darkride scenes. Like RSR at DCA.
      As much as I love Disney black light darkrides, it blows my mind MK only has two left, and only one of the originals.
      Disneyland has seven! Three were there opening day! And those rides created a lot of the magic in the park that made it so famous so quickly.
      Blacklight darkrides were at plenty of parks and carnivals in those days but they were cheap and tawdry, yet fun. Walt zeroed in on them as the perfect inexpensive way to bring his cartoons to life, and that they did, in spades. Peter Pan was like brilliance stacked on top of brilliance from the magic standpoint.
      All these years later, with all the technical advances, I don’t hear any raves about the
      Little Mermaid attractions, despite their e ticket stats. They could start by painting everything blacklight and turning off the incandescents.

      • yellowrocket

        MK only has two dark rides? No.
        – Peter Pan
        – Winnie the Pooh
        – Haunted Mansion
        – Pirates of the Caribbean
        – Buzz Lightyear
        – it’s a small world

        … all dark rides, maybe not traditional carnival dark rides like Snow White and Mr. Toad, but dark rides – mostly superior dark rides. But, yes, I agree. We need more. Lots more.

  • Carolinadisneydad

    I read somewhere that the ride is 3.5 minutes long and will use Snow White and the Witchfrom the old ride in the new.