Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we have a ton of photos and items to show you from the Magic Kingdom, including the reopening of the world famous Jungle Cruise after its lengthy refurbishment. We have almost 70 photos this week, so sit back and enjoy.

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom

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The RFID turnstiles are almost complete.

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The same work that happened at the Emporium to remove the curb is now happening at the Confectionery.

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The castle may look normal from afar, but the Dream Lights have all been put in place. Yes folks, Christmas is just around the corner!

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This area in Adventureland finally came out from behind the walls and it is looking nice and clean. No changes either, still a seating area.

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At the Haunted Mansion, my favorite attraction signs still have yet to return. Starting to lose hope on that one.

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Columbia Harbor House’s exterior refurbishment is finally fully complete, both on the Liberty Square and Fantasyland sides.

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Near where the old restrooms by Peter Pan were is now this really nice mural where Pan meets guests.

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I heard some rumblings of adding Disney characters to WDW’s it’s a small world this week. Stay tuned to see if this one comes true. Would you like to see familiar characters added to this attraction as they have been at Disneyland and Hong Kong?

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Peter Pan’s Flight and Pinocchio Village Haus both have refurbishments going on.

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Long lines at the Princess Hug Zone.

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Time for Mine Train photos for the week. As you can see here, the mountain is actually seeing lots of progress every week now. That leads me to believe the last few months were heavy on the interior work.

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I know Disney is catching a lot of snark about this project, but I am still looking forward to its completion. It’ll be great to get rid of those walls, and I think the scenery will be beautiful and make for great photos.

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Wouldn’t it be nice if the Diamond Horseshoe was open more than just a few times a year?

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Lastly, this week the Jungle Cruise reopened after a lengthy refurbishment. I’ll let the photos do the majority of the talking, but it reminded me a whole lot of the recent Splash Mountain refurb. There were effects working that I either didn’t know existed or forgot about because it had been so long. Everything got a nice fresh coat of paint, and I was pretty happy with it.

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It appears that some of the foliage was cut back, and there was a lot of mist in the opening scene. Fantastic.

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Lots of fresh paint here.

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The tires were actually spinning on the Jeep, which I didn’t know was supposed to be a working effect.

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In a time where there are lots of questionable things done at Disney, it really brings me great joy to report on great things like this. The classic WDW attractions are just as important, if not more so, than the new things and changes, so it is really nice to see Disney respect them and give them the love they deserve. It may be a long time coming, but I’d much rather have the attraction be in tip top shape now than it still be in a bad state. Kudos, Disney.

I think we’ll wrap up on that positive note this week. How do you feel about the Mine Train progress? Happy about the Jungle Cruise being restored to its former glory? Let us know in the comments!!

I’d also like to introduce you to the MicePod’s Windows to the Magic Podcast, which broadcasts amazing stereo from the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World on alternating weeks. This week is a Magic Kingdom show that we’d like to share. For the best experience, put on a headset, you’ll be glad you did:

WINDOW TO THE MAGIC PODCAST AT WALT DISNEY WORLD!
Jeremiah takes you along as he enters The Magic Kingdom for the very first time as a Florida resident and shares his thoughts and feelings as he surveys his new domain!


Direct Link | iTunes

If you’d like to support Dateline Disney World and you shop regularly at Amazon.com, please CLICK HERE before you do. It won’t cost you any extra, and it’ll help out the column!!

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]

  • billyjobobb

    That mine train had better be the best damn ride ever.

    When we were there last our boat stalled out and they had to come pull us in and we missed the last part of it. It would have been nice had they allowed us to board a new boat and go back through the way it was supposed to be. Sometimes it is easy to forget how important maintenance can be. Really glad to see Disney finally keep up on the place.

  • JCSkipr79

    the Pan meet n greet mural totally looks like the original ’55-’82 Pan loading mural by Ken Anderson. I approve………..

  • clewandowski

    I start every morning at work reading the new articles on MiceChat. I have only ever been to the Florida parks, but still love reading about all the parks. So I enjoy all the articles. I do love the Walt Disney World posts the best, ( sometimes I wish there were more about the other three parks – AK,EP, HS ) Anyways – this morning on the drive in while listing to Four Parks One World, I literally thought to myself ” I hope there is a dateline Disney World….well sure enough here it is, and you never disappoint me! I may be a little bit of a Disney geek, but hey if you’re on this site chances are you may just be one too! Thanks again for the post. !!!

  • mark

    Thanks for the GREAT photos! Love the Jungle Cruise.

  • bamato

    I’ve never noticed before, but is the river in the Jungle Cruise died brown/red versus the green seen on the DLR Jungle Cruise?

  • ScottG

    Seeing refurbs like this on older attractions revives my faith in the Disney corp. and suggests somebody there cares.
    Thanks for the great report.

    • PecosBill

      If they really cared they would provide ongoing maintenance and not let it get to the state of requiring a major rehab.

      • Erik Olson

        A 12 month park is going to have a tough time doing significant upkeep without shuttering the attraction. Scheduling this type of work, which always takes longer than you plan for, is even harder when you try and keep a ride open twelve to fourteen hours per day.

  • red014

    So now that Pan has a more secluded meet and greet area than the bridge to Adventureland, will he be meeting more often and consistently? I understand they couldn’t have 2 visible Pans at the same time, but the “maybe at 2:30, but I don’t know because he’s in the stage show” times were a bit difficult to plan around.

  • Malin

    Great update, that two of us excited about the new Coaster. I’m currently at WDW and did visit Universal for the day. I’m not surprised why its investing millions into new attractions while Disney is not at the moment. Universal is overhyped while Disney is not appreciated enough by the fans. I was on the Backstage Magic Tour on Monday and saw a lot of the AA’s being worked on at the time!

    • I think a lot of folks are excited about the new coaster (me included), they are just expressing their concern that it is taking so long to build.

      • a-mad

        I agree that it seems like its taking long to build… but is it any slower than any other project this size at WDW? I’m not saying this to defend WDW, because I actually think it seems to take them much longer to build things than you would expect.

        Two things are contributing to this particular project feeling slower, in my opinion:

        1) Disney executives making a switch mid-course in the plans for New Fantasyland to change up the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty meet-and-greets, and replace them with the 7 Dwarves Coaster. While the rest of the project was going full steam ahead, the additional work required from this about-face made it impossible for the mine coaster to finish anywhere near the rest of the project. I have no idea how much behind-the-scenes work took place to make this happen, but I’m sure it was extensive, with all the infrastructure needing to be re-thought out, etc.

        2) The extreme speed of the new projects being completed at Universal. I am quite impressed at how quickly these projects are being completed – and at high quality to boot.

        If neither of these factors were involved, perhaps the speed of this project wouldn’t be analyzed as much as it has. I’m not commenting to defend WDW, as I feel they could complete projects quicker – I just don’t think there’s a big difference in the length of time this project will be completed, when you compare it to projects of similar size and scope in the past at WDW. They’re all slow!

  • Tielo

    I was hoping the old skipper ride would get the upgrade like the Tokyo one does get with the enhanced music and effects at night.

  • a-mad

    Thanks Cory – excellent update and great commentary.

    I think we lose sight of the great things that are happening at WDW on a daily basis like this update illustrates. Yes, things could be better – but hopefully some of the enhancements made recently – and the addition of George Kalogridis – will contribute to some exciting things in the years ahead – not only with new attractions, but older attractions being treated with the TLC they deserve.

    Would the 7 Dwarves Mine Train get as much flak as it does if there was no Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley up the street? Probably not. But it does, for comparison purposes alone. If treated as a standalone project – many more would be singing its praises.

    We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to WDW a few months ago. It had been 10 years since our last visit, so we are not frequent visitors that perhaps know the details as much as the locals or frequent visitors (and how I treat DLR…) – but our trip was pure bliss, and our overall experience at WDW far outshone the days we spent at Universal.

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update!

  • scarymouse

    Its good to see the park rehabs, The Jungle Cruise looks great, always a favorite.New rides always take forever to complete at Disney, although I haven’t been to Universal Orlando they do get the job done a a much quicker pace. Disney loves to tempt guests with little releases now and then showing the progress, were Universal has a initial release and then builds to completion and opens to the masses usually before Disney. Its a ploy that is working for them. Although Universal end product does look very good , Disney is Disney and they know what little details we fans are looking for , and the quality we expect. Most of the time they get it right it just takes them longer.

  • michael darling

    The jeep tires used to spin, as if it was just flipped. Didn’t know they ever stopped. The mist is a great addition. I don’t recall that effect. Would like to see the piranha effect added.

    Now that the restrooms at Pan moved, will they be doing an extended and re-themed queue?

    I sometimes wonder, if they had never BUILT a Peter Pan’s Flight years ago, and were JUST NOW creating one, if it would be more heavily themed, like the Mermaid ride. Can u imagine?!

  • CaptainAction

    WDW is has almost transitioned to the museum business. Nice to see the upkeep but all the excuses in the world are made by the fans as to why WDW can’t keep up with new.
    Mermaid is a pretty lame dark ride. Winnie was a nice creative addition years ago. Often is a 45 minute wait. Mermaid is a walk on almost all the time.
    It took less time to build All of MK, AND the resorts on the monorail, AND the monorail than WDW has ALREADY taken to build this kiddie coaster, and it isn’t open yet!
    Do you have any concept of being neglected and taken for granted? You are being taken for granted.
    Jungle Cruise needed the love but shouldn’t have taken MONTHS to fix. WDW doesn’t want to put enough castmembers on the crew to repair and knows you will just be happy whenever it opens. So, months it is.
    Universal is appreciative of their fans and striving to better serve them and it’s working.
    WDW is losing many fans to Universal each day.
    WDW is becoming the museum or nursing home of theme parks.
    Universal isn’t losing any fans to WDW.

  • Mousecat

    I am glad to see that the trapped safari scene in the Jungle Cruise has the correct railings, thereby avoiding being shutdown like it would have been in California.

    Sam
    http://www.facebook.com/thedisneylandstory
    http://www.samlanddisney.blogspot.com

  • Shark Bait

    Comic Sans on that sign. Ugh.

    • gusghost

      What’s wrong with Comic Sans? It screams “Adventure!” 😉

      • Shark Bait

        You’d think that a multi-billion dollar company could shell out a few bucks to buy a nicer handwriting font, or even have someone write it out, but noooo they use the most recognizably despised font in history. I mean, at least it wasn’t Papyrus, but still…

  • QPerth

    Stunning shots this week Cory, and a great update, thanks so very much for bringing it to us. Always a highlight of my week.
    The photos from Jungle Cruise are all terrific, you really captured the feel of the scenes.

    My favourite shot this week is the picture looking over the water and towards Tomorrowland, with Space Mountain looming in the distance like a beautiful Utopia. Well done.
    See you next week, and thanks again! -Q

  • Orlando71

    Great update, cant wait till next week. The one thing i don’t understand, is all the complaining about how long it takes to build the mine train. Sure it would be nice to have it been completed by now, but its not, and Disney chose this route because they felt its the best way to make money. I mean, i don’t remember people complaining it taking 3 years to build Expedition Everest. I mean the mine train has to have more rockwork than everest total because everest doesnt have a backside, plus the mine train is in the middle of the park, furthur complicating things. You can argue the point, oh Universal is opening Diagon Alley; sure thats great but why does disney automatically have to open something just as grand in their own time. I’d rather large expansions open up on their own time seperate from other parks, so they can have their own glory for a while. I just don’t understand the mindset, where Universal builds something, Disney has to build something of equal rivalry in the same amount of time. Also, I think Disney was Smart, yes smart to open the mine train in 2014, for this reason. How many countless people (around what 34 million people) went to Disney World in 2012 and 2013? And how many looked at that giant mess of steel and concrete and said, wow that looks like when that opens it will be a great attraction? So, how many people will come back to go to Disney World in 2014,2015, etc, who would not have come back if it had opened in 2012, because now there is something new. Now, i want the mine train to open in 2012 or 2013 as much as anyone else, and i do look enviously at Universal building all these attractions, but guess what. Sooner or later little Uni will have to stop. Investors wont invest if comcast continuously chucks hundreds of millions of dollars constantly, and soon their gonna run out. And Disney will be there to respond with Avatar and Star Wars.
    I am not excusing Disney for taking forever. If they pinpointed 2014, for a reason, (perhaps DA), good for them. If it was because they didnt feel like paying for workers than shame on them.

  • The Lost Boy

    They must be doing something correct at Disneyworld because the rabid detractors’ ad nauseum lists never have more than the same handful of perceived grievances,

    • CaptainAction

      Having trouble defending WDW? It’s simple. When you can’t get over all that Universal has and is giving theme park lovers and admit WDW has been so lazy the last 10 years that they don’t even look like Disney anymore.
      If one can’t admit this, then it’s because one is too jealous to be rational.
      Then all the defense becomes attacks on people who point these facts out.
      Jealousy makes folks irrational and then lash out at people who point out flaws in the Fantasyland they are trying to defend.
      WDW is losing a lot of fans to Universal.
      Universal isn’t losing ANY fans to WDW.

    • The Lost Boy

      Pop goes the weasel.

  • horizonsfan

    It seems like every post that mentions the Mine Train gets people in the same conflicts in the comments. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m frustrated that Disney is taking so long to build the attraction, yet I’m excited to see what they’ll do. I’m also concerned that Universal keeps doing new attractions while Disney spends money on Fastpass+ and interactive games I won’t play. I’m trying to stay optimistic, though.

  • KCmike

    It’s wonderful to see them put love back into the Jungle Cruise. The Magic Kingdom is need of another main attraction. I hope they put forth their A game with the Mine Coaster like Team Anaheim did with RSR in California Adventure. So far the new fantasyland is a dud. I would take Disneyland’s Fantasyland over what WDW has now. (Side note: I think Disneyland is superior to WDW with the exception of Epcot.) After visiting DL for many years in a row, we finally made our way back to WDW the last couple of years. Man do we love the resorts at WDW and man is the MK really lack the magic that DL has. It feels big and empty at times. We did visit Universal this time around and didn’t care for it at all. What does everyone see here? Harry Potter is Soarin’ on steroids but everything else was lacking in my opinion.

    Enjoy your reports Cory and think your a wonderful photographer. Can’t wait to see the Mine Coaster.

  • Haven

    Heard a rumor the Federal Government is actually funding the construction of The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. That explains why it is taking soooo long……..Just sayin..

  • tofubeast

    Jungle Cruise looks fantastic!! So happy it has re-opened just in time for our visit in a couple of weeks. I’ve been to WDW a few times this past year, and the parks have appeared in fantastic shape each visit. It’s so nice to see the attention to detail. A coat of paint can do wonders. ehhe.

    I didn’t look too closely last visit, but was Space Mtn repainted? It looked pretty good from the monorail last month. I didn’t get on People Mover to give it a true inspection. 😉

    Thanks for your update. Fantastic photos!

  • clewandowski

    So much negativity !