Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we’ll be taking a look at the news, construction, and photos from the Magic Kingdom. We’ve got over 60 photos for you this week, I hope you enjoy them.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!


Outside of the park, work has started on creating a new bus loop for the Walt Disney World buses. It will be needed, especially for when Disney finally gets around to introducing the new accordion style buses in the future.





Now into the park!



There was some pavement work happening on Main Street this week.



Artist Larry Dotson was in town selling some of his Disney work.


Hopefully this scrim will come down soon.


The bakery should be opening soon, as Disney said “early summer”. As hot as it has been down here at times the past few weeks, summer is definitely right around the corner.



More pavement work closer to Cinderella Castle and the Hub.




Sleepy Hollow is still under scrims. It should look great once finished.


Into Adventureland, where we find more scrims, even one I hadn’t yet seen on the Swiss Family Treehouse.




Orange Bird is still looking good at Sunshine Tree Terrace.



The Pirate Adventure game has been testing a whole lot, but they still haven’t officially opened or unveiled the signage.





The Liberty Bell is under refurbishment.


This ODV cart is now back in the middle of Liberty Square as opposed to being on the edge of the Rivers of America.


See Haunted Mansion?


Notice anything different?


Yes, part of the canopy is gone! Probably just being replaced.




Right outside Mansion where the old Fastpass kiosks were is a new Visa credit card location. This is, in my eyes, completely unnecessary. It is ugly, clutters up an already busy area, and right near something like Haunted Mansion just isn’t the right spot.




Columbia Harbor House scrims carry over into Fantasyland.



Lots of work continues over at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, with lots of rock being painted and details being installed on the back half. Sadly for the Mine Train, Universal announced that the second phase of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be opening somewhere around the same time as this attraction that has now been announced for several years.







Break in the construction photos to show the outrageously long line for Be Our Guest lunch!




Check out the simulated coaster car in this shot. Pretty cool.








Lots of new mesh for rock work here.



Mad Tea Party is still down for refurb.



Here are some fun Storybook Circus shots.



So much better than what was there before it.




Thanks to the guy who waved from the Peoplemover in this shot.


And to end on a very exciting note, new trees have been installed along the Railroad track, helping block views of parking lots behind Main Street.


That wraps things up for this week’s column. Do you like what you see so far with the Mine Train? Will it be able to hold a candle to Universal’s Diagon Alley from Harry Potter that is opening at roughly the same time? Let us know in the comments!

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  • JiminyCricketFan

    Thanks for the great report! Viewing all the construction due to the dwarfs mine train ride, I’m wondering if now the ride might be too big for small kids and too small to be significant for older children. The theme of the ride really doesn’t appeal to older kids.

    I also agree that they Harry Potter extension at Universal should be quite a substantial draw. I really believe people will make the special trip to see it.

    I think the long line for the Be Our Guest restaurant makes sense. It is one of the better experiences that Disney created with this expansion.

  • clewandowski

    Great Review, I always look forward to this column more then any others! Great way to start off a Friday at work! My answer to your question turned out much longer then I expected! Enjoy!

    There’s a lot of talk about Disney / Universal openings and who will beat out who. The fact of the matter is, Disney is a totally different park then Universal. People go to the Magic Kingdom for exactly this type of ride and these types of themes (seven dwarfs mine train) . Sure, Disney can use another themed land. Avatar land will probably be Disney’s response to Harry Potter- not the one Mine Train ride, heck not even the Fantasy Land expansion a whole. The fantasy land expansion IMO was a much needed plus on the land. I’m not saying Avatar is what myself or anyone would have picked for Animal Kingdom, or any park- but the reality is that Disney knows what they’re doing. They’ve built the most successful theme parks in the world. Avatar land will continue to be critiqued, but I think without a doubt any major project Disney sets out to do will blow quite a few minds when its finished. Yes Universal is setting EXTREMELY fast time goals, and making them all -while still ending up with amazing products. An amazing accomplishment for them and there guests. Just think though, Avatar land is going to take a long time to build, maybe (hopefully) that means there are a lot of big ideas and great details surrounding them. You also have to remember Disney has much much more on their plates. Just in Florida Disney has
    • Four theme parks
    • Two water parks
    • 23 resort hotels, including six Disney Vacation Club properties
    • Championship golf courses
    • Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex
    • Downtown Disney

    That’s a lot to maintain while continuing to build, imagine, and plus. That’s just it though, we all spend millions to keep Disney doing just that, keeping the Magic current, clean, and exciting. Disney does a great job making sure everyone can have a good time- age 1- 100, 1st visit or 100th…people are still left coming back. That is what will keep Disney topping theme park charts for probably as long at theme parks are still around. I love Universal, really its an amazing theme park. I could go on and on about all the great things there, but when it comes down to comparing the parks as wholes over Fantasy Land expansion, Avatar Land and Harry Potter expansion is just not an accurate comparison. Universal and Disney are SO very different in all aspects. Let me finish by saying, I hope this ” feud” of what park is better NEVER ends. Why? because that is exactly what keeps the parks striving to please all of us, theme park fanatics coming back for more!

    • gboiler1

      Very well put…I’ve thought the same things. Too many people are so uptight about WDW vs UO. I’m with you, I enjoy both and will go to both. We all win!

      • tofubeast

        Exactly. I don’t care who actually wins the feud. But by all means, let the folks at Disney at Universal feud away. It just means more experiences for visitors to enjoy. I’m fine with that.

      • clewandowski

        There will always be people who are 100% with one park, and others who will give out 50% 20% 5% all over the theme park world! Whatever way you slice it- I want a piece!

  • Truecoat

    Concerning the long lines to the Be Our Guest restaurant, I went in March (spring break) and the line was across the bridge and going towards Gaston’s. They told me it might be 45 min to get in but it was maybe 20. Don’t be discouraged by this long line. This restaurant chews through people with the way it’s set up. It was a great experience and I will eat there again next time.

  • michael darling

    Great photos, as always.

    The buildlings on the backside of the Mine Train….do you think they are being designed to reflect Ariels attraction, because they face it? Looks that way to me. I may be wrong, but it appears they will get clay tile roofing, which looks more like the area they are in.

    In other words, they don’t seem very ‘Bavarian’, like Snow White’s cottage. I’m guessing this will help keep worlds blending better.

    • villagecreator

      If you take a look at the rockwork, it seems that the front side of the coaster is more of a meadow-like hill, while the backside facing Ariel has more of the wind-swept coastline feel.

    • pumpkinmickey

      Blending themes is what Disney Imagineers do best

  • tofubeast

    Nice update. I’m looking forward to seeing all this constructions and scrims with my own eyes next week.

    And YAY to People Mover man. If I see you with your camera next week, I’ll be sure to wave to you as well.

  • LoveStallion

    Terrific update. Awesome photos.

    Disney must be sweating bullets. I think only now they are realizing how much Universal is going for the jugular.

    That said, I’ll always feel a bit more whimsy and simple joy from being surrounded by Disney aesthetics and characters compared to, say, Beetlejuice.

  • jcruise86

    The Universal press release I’d like to read:

    “Over the past decade, we at Universal Orlando have worked hard to make our theme parks the finest in the world. We are currently building a major addition to the extremely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter that will surpass the dwarf coaster currently being (slowly) built in Disney World’s Fantasyland. We expect to finish and open our new area before Disney opens theirs, but for the convenience of the press, we will have our official opening celebration for the media the day after Disney has its official opening of their dwarf coaster. Who are the true heirs of Walt Disney? Judge for yourself! See ya real soon!”

  • Disneykin Kid

    The 7 Dwarf’s coaster will not be a Potter killer, but it still looks to be an E ticket. The real Potter killer will be a Star Wars land or park.

    • martinjbell1986

      Agreed, did anyone else take that massive Star Wars survey put out by Disney a few months ago?

    • DCAfanatic

      Yeah but Star Wars Land will be Build in California as DLR 3rd theme park ! Rumors say!

  • ChrisNJ

    Very nice update. It’s like a little visit in one nicely written and photo documented article.

    Not sure why but I’m not that interested in the Mine Train and I’m a huge Disney fan. I think part of it is that we’ve been hearing about the New Fantasyland for so long that it just doesn’t seem that magical. And I think I feel a bit put off by Disney having this big opening of the other section while construction was still going on. Wish I had waited for it to all be done but with my luck by that time Little Mermaid would be in rehab or Belle would have scrims covering the cottage.

  • Matthew Curtis

    i love these pics !! keep up the great work!!!!

  • cjwestby

    Has Disney given any indication as to the completion date for the Magic Kingdom Bus area? It’s always kind of disappointing to me to see construction going on anywhere in WDW, just because it takes away from the “different world” feel I to which I so desperately cling when I’m there!

  • QPerth

    Another top update Cory, thankyou!

    It is obvious that comparing what will be a terrific attraction in the Seven Dwarves Coaster won’t be able to compete with Potter Part 2. But what I’d hope is that in the end that the Competition between the two Resorts will drive the quality higher and higher at both resorts and result in some truly ground breaking attractions (NOT clones for other Disney Resorts) being built. That what competition does, once the numbers start rolling in, it makes smart manager sit up and pay attention, and up their game. Let’s hope that WDW management starts realising there IS a threat down the road and has some amazing pan up their sleeve. Yes WDW is a HUGE resort, but Disney ARE making profits and can start something now.

  • danielz6

    Can we stop calling star wars, marvel etc Potter killers? Those not yet built/announced attractions/lands aren’t going to kill Potter. Do you really think people will just stop visiting those amazing and ground breaking attractions that universal is pumping out year after year? Not likely.
    And its also silly comparing the mine train to gringotts. One is a massive eticket the other is a family coaster. I don’t think Disney is at all worried about universal. Sure universal is building far better attractions that WDW hasn’t done since Everest, but until it actually effects WDW attendance numbers, disney has no incentive to compete with universal.

    • jcruise86

      Since WDW attendance has been flat while Universal Orlando’s attendance has been increasing dramatically every year since the WWoHP opened, I don’t think anyone can correctly claim that Universal is not effecting (affecting with an “A”?–I forget & am too tired to Google) WDW. Disney has an incentive to compete against Universal. It’s the American way to try to win. Or are we Vikings fans? 🙂

    • pumpkinmickey

      ” I have been up against tough competition my whole life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it” – Walt Disney