Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we’re taking a look at the movement of lots of projects going in at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World! Let’s go!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

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Last week, I was able to attend the park for the first hour of the 24 hour day, with my main goal being that of capturing sunrise photos, so I figured before we got into the news for the week, I would share some of the photos I was able to take.

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It was pretty amazing to see that park in that light, and I was glad to take home a few keepers from it. Now into the park!

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It was rainy this week, so characters were meeting under cover, creating some chaos.

Down towards the end of Main Street, lots of signage has changed for the inclusion of Starbucks to the Main Street Bakery.

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Some folks have complained about Starbucks going in, and the change in signs and theme, but I really don’t see it. The work already visible is done in a very classy manner, and the coffee that is coming is better than the park has ever had. On to Adventureland.

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Nothing new to see with these refurbishments.

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The new Pirate Adventure game has its signage revealed and guests have been playing pretty much all day now.

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Interesting that there is a standby entrance sign. Would something like this ever have Fastpass+? Would it be necessary?

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I love seeing the live park entertainment out and about.

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The Liberty Bell is back out from refreshing and looks nice and clean.

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These walls are new.

Over at Columbia Harbor House, some of the scrims have come down, but not all of them.

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The new, all green overhang is now completed at the Haunted Mansion.

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This is what the exterior of the new Princess meet and greet in Fantasyland looks like. From speaking with some friends who have been inside, expect this to be highly detailed, which may be why it is taking so long to get done. Either way, it doesn’t terribly excite me, seeing as we lost a dark ride for a meet and greet.

Lots of movement has also happened at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

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Along the backside, I made a large mistake in my assumptions, and it is now clear that the back half of the mountain will not be Snow White themed, only the front. The back half will be Prince Eric’s village, and I’ve been told it will have a fruit stand, which should be nice.

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New tree!

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Same lighting fixtures as outside of the Mermaid attraction.

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Skeleton for the likely fruit stand.

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Same roofing type as the Mermaid ride as well.

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I didn’t think it was possible for more steel to be added to this exterior, but it is happening.

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The Mad Tea Party is open once again.

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This little circle was roped off. I had heard rumors of a tea cup going there as a photo op, so stay tuned to see what happens with it.

This was captured earlier in the week, but these kids were climbing all the way to the top of the Casey Jr. train that has a gate on it for some reason.

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Parents were there, paying attention and egging their kids up there and taking photos of them. This tells me a few things. First, it means the gate that they put up to stop this type of behavior and prevent injuries is useless. Secondly, this shows that the Cast Members in the area are not actively paying attention to the situation, as something like this could become an instant liability for the company if any child were to fall and get hurt. And lastly, it makes me sad to know that even if that ugly gate has to be there, that some guests simply act like the rules don’t apply to them and completely disregard what is right in front of their faces.

On a more happy note though, the Main Street Philharmonic was performing in Storybook Circus this week, which I found to be fun and appropriate!

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Well, that’s going to wrap things up for this week’s column. Do you like the new signs for the Main Street Bakery featuring Starbucks? Let us know in the comments!!

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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]

  • gKaR

    thx for the sunrise photos 🙂 are the pictures available in full size? if not any chance of posting them?

    love the site and looking forward to going in september this year

  • gKaR

    btw i agree with you about the new signs, and the im sure once ive tried it the quality of the coffee

  • ufmaule

    Love the sunrise photos. Some of the best I’ve seen! I was at the park with my daughter this week and the same thing happened in the circus water area with kids climbing in it. Even saw a few parents trying to get on the train. I don’t remember seeing any cast members anywhere near it. Sure they are selling towels by the merchandise cart, but I didn’t notice anyone that was actively monitoring the area from either side.

  • Fantastic update!

    The kids playing in that roped off area really bothers me. They and their irresponsible parents should be thrown out of the park for creating a dangerous situation. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

    Beautiful photos sir!

  • lionheartkc

    I get so frustrated with parents who think the rules don’t apply to their kids. Let’s face it, barriers, to kids of a certain age, especially boys, are just a challenge that they feel they need to conquer. I went to Disneyland with a friend and his 3 kids a few years back and spent the majority of my day removing his middle son from the wrong side of barriers, so I know the challenge, but when parents do nothing or encourage this sort of thing, I honestly believe they should be asked to leave. They are both a liability and a big reason why things need to be repaired so often.

    I’ve only had one verbal confrontation with a stranger at a Disney park, and it was when a stupid man lifted his kid over a barrier in the middle of the hub, and planted him in a flower bed so he could “see the fireworks better”. Fortunately he saw the error of his ways when it was pointed out to him… all be it begrudgingly.

    Ok… rant over… the sunrise photos are amazing.

  • MrTour

    Beautiful sunrise pics! Great eye!

  • KENfromOC

    Once again I marvel at your photos and your (what appears to be) Photoshop techniques – beautiful!

    Secondly, while I certainly agree with lionheartkc about the lack of parents watching their kids and allowing them to get into areas they shouldn’t, Disney basically has set out “climbing bait” for kids with the Casey engine area (at least judging by the many photos I’ve seen). This seems to be a miscue by the design team – Either make it a full climbing play area, or put it in area that not accessible (such as up on a small hill or heavily landscaped area).

  • DisneyNuts

    LOVED the sunrise photos!! Simply beautiful. I have no complaints with Starbucks. I don’t drink the stuff, but I agree that the signage is very tasteful, and I think it blends in nicely with Main Street’s style.

    As for Casey Jr., I am not surprised. Fence or no fence, it is essentially an “attractive nuisance.” Kids (and apparently their parents) will not be able to help themselves to climbing aboard. In fact, the fence itself does not really look prohibitive as it appears in the photos that it is just an extension of the “Casey Jr. climbing apparatus.” Not sure how Disney can address this problem except to maximize any signage prohibiting climbing and assigning a cast member to stand watch. It’s very clear that Disney cannot rely on all parents to follow the rules.

    As always, great update!

  • PatMcDuck

    I actually gasped at those sunrise photos, wow, stunning.

    I took photos last year, of a kid at Disneyland’s Toon Town, SWIMMING in the fountain, in his underwear. While Mom sat on the wall, snapping her own photos. I sought out a CM, and I had to explain what was happening 3X, I do not think he even believed me. PS it was not super hot outside either.

  • Big D

    Wow, those sunrise photos look absolutely incredible. If you have more I could look at them all day.

    Anyone who complains about the Starbucks signs must not be a coffee drinker. They could plop a giant 10-ft tall Starbucks mermaid girl on the roof of the building and if it meant that I could actually get a decent cup of coffee at WDW for once I’d be perfectly okay with it.

    Kids climbing on things is an endless battle that CM’s fight. I always had to deal with that on the rocks at the front of Tomorrowland at Disneyland. The real problem is that the parents get super upset when you tell the kids to get down, and they really give you a hard time about it, and so a lot of CM’s just don’t want to deal with that and they will turn a blind eye. CM’s don’t have the authority to do anything if the parents say no, and we really don’t have a way to call security if there doesn’t happen to be one around. Even on the days when I had a walkie talkie, I never knew what the security channel was or how to contact them.

    • ChrisNJ

      I actually research where to get a decent iced coffee before all of my trips. WDW was always a problem so I’d buy Starbucks bottles and down one on the way in. Glad to be able to get something decent to drink at the park soon.

    • tofubeast

      I so agree with you about the SB sign!! Nescafe is swill!! So happy I don’t need to rely on SB Via to get me through a morning. haha. Now I haven’t had Joffrey’s, and I imagine that is better than NC (anything has to be better), but I am happy to have a SB within a short walk at MK and EPCOT.

      ———

      Cory— your sunrise photos are nothing short of stunning. Print, matte and frame. LOVE THEM. Thanks so much for sharing, and thanks for the weekly updates (as always).

      I’m so glad to see that the Mine Ride will be themed to LM on the appropriate side. It will help the area seem more themed and less jarring. Disney is usually good with transitions.

  • WookieCookie

    I think the best solution (besides giving those parents a good talking to) is to simply close off the cab and remove the step ladder. Children wouldn’t be tempted to climb it because there would be nothing to climb into. With that, the fence could also be removed.

  • Disneylandfan85

    That new signage looks nice. It certainly fits in. And it’s nice to know that the Mine Train is coming along nicely.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    Great report and great photos!! I would say that the whole train and water interaction area is just poorly thought through. Even with the ugly railings, the temptation to climb on top of the train is just too great. Add in the irresponsible parents who should be supervising their kids, and this is a real potential problem for Disney. I just feel it was a poorly thought through concept. They wanted to add a cheap element to the new area, and it will end up costing them much more in liability than if they had put in a ride.

  • Indy Hat Guy

    That’s the one problem with the Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak from the beginning. He’s SO inviting! I know the moment it was revealed on this site that there was a fence, I was devastated As a train fan, Casey Jr. is one of my top three favorite Disney characters and with this one, based on the Disneyland Caseys (IMO the best Casey design), I really wanted to get in his cab! Even with no play features in the cab, the cab is extremely detailed for a play area and could have been left blank. With all the details, the steps, and the large side entrances, he’s BEGGING to be played in! It seems that that was the original intention as even the fence seems like an afterthought being so low to the turntable and not connecting to the train at the ends creating a small gap that seems to say, “jump me.” A nice “No Climbing” themed sign on the tender would have probably stopped any of that nonsense or at least lessened the chance of it. It just always seemed to be a contradiction of “play with me but don’t.”

  • Haven

    I’m afraid the choice of Casey Jr. train as a water feature element was not the best one. Of course children will want to “ride the train” and naturally a gate around it won’t help. Perhaps the water play area should have been located near the Little Mermaid area and themed accordingly beachy to eliminate this odd water based choice? I also would have liked to see the second set of Dumbo’s themed to the “Pink Elephants on Parade” of polka dots and plaid to set it apart from the other traditional Dumbo. Odd choices all around in the Dumbo Circus area IMO. On the up side, the Mine Train is still looking fun and I am excited for it’s completion.

  • ufmaule

    Visited the Magic Kingdom today and the entire Casey Jr. area was roped off. While they could say it weather related as the skies were constantly dark, they typically close all water related rides in inclement weather. Both Aladdin’s Magic Carpet and Dumbo remained open all day, but Casey Jr. was not running and ropes were up keeping people out of the area. Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone who could help fix the issue were reading these comments? Maybe? Possibly? Probably wishful thinking though.

  • cammysan

    theres not actually a cast member stationed at the splash zone…

  • QPerth

    Love the signs being installed for the Starbucks. Understated, well themed and unobtrusive.

    And wow Cory, thankyou for the AMAZING photos. Stirling job Sir.

  • DG2

    Glad they didn’t put a big Starbucks sign out front. I like the ” Fresh Roasted Coffee” sign. I do hope the use Disney themed cups vs the traditional Starbucks cups we get everywhere.