Welcome to [B]Dateline Disney World![/B] In this column, we will be showing you the latest from the [B]New Fantasyland[/B] at the [B]Magic Kingdom![/B] This week, we saw the [B]Casey Jr.[/B] water play area open, walls come down at [B]Dumbo[/B], and lots of progression in the rest of the expansion. Lots to cover, so let’s go!

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Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

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[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]
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There was tons to report on this week at the New Fantasyland. Let’s start with the Castle Wall all the way on the left.

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The wall is coming along, with another layer of protective stuff going on. This layer looks like a mesh that will help the plaster join to the frame, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing some final details soon!

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We actually have seen a tiny bit of final detail on one pillar.

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This turret has yet to go up.

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Here’s a couple of shots from the 2nd floor of the Pinnochio Village Haus:

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If you look at these next two closely, you can see some similarities.

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It’s great to see some details going up that we will see in the finished product!

This shot I couldn’t resist since I was getting the stink eye from the construction worker!

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At the Beauty and the Beast area, work continues.

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This box will surely leave Beast’s Castle soon.

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Roofing was being done on Maurice’s Cottage:

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Bonjour! Village Gifts is looking close to completion on the outside.

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It seems as though they’ve gone with a new color on the front of Gaston’s Tavern, which makes the building look a little odd. Perhaps they will be changing the whole thing soon to make it cohesive.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_2664.jpg[/img]

I still have no clue what these things are in front of the Be Our Guest entrance, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon!

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_2665.jpg[/img]

And more roofing happening near Gaston’s Tavern:

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_2666.jpg[/img]

Moving right along to the Little Mermaid dark ride, we have work still going on with the rock work in the front, as well as the addition of more palm trees.

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They were also adding some new mesh/rebar over on the far right of the building near Storybook Circus.

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Here’s a close up:

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Over at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we can see more supports to the side of the large lift hill structure.

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The Winnie the Pooh meet and greet is now finished and seeing guests. It is quite nice, and is a huge upgrade from the makeshift places Disney had for them in the past. I believe when the expansion first started, they had them up against the walls, which was unattractive.

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The new location fits right into the story of the ride, with the oversized pages. It also has some nice details around it.

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Over in Storybook Circus, the walls have come down in front of the second Dumbo spinner.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_9106.jpg[/img]

It makes the area seem significantly bigger.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_9107.jpg[/img]

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They have relocated stroller parking in front of the second spinner, to an area that has beautiful rock details.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_2605.jpg[/img]

They’ve also started using the new Standby wait time sign.

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They have also started using the indoor queue, but have only been using the interactive play area for certain days of testing. Here’s what I captured from what I was able to see inside the tent. It’s really just several banners conveniently explaining how the new pager system will work.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_9076.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_9083.jpg[/img]

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Here’s the entrance area to the interactive play area:

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_9084.jpg[/img]

Overall, the improvements seem nice. It’s great to have an indoor queue for the summer, and the details are a nice touch. Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to get inside the interactive area to photograph it and share my thoughts.

Also in Storybook Circus, the Casey Jr. Soak ‘n’ Splash water play area opened this week.

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This area is, in one word, wet.

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There are tons of way to get completely drenched here, and it looks pretty cool as well.

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A really neat detail is that all of the circus cars have been numbered to go along with the opening years of the four Walt Disney World theme parks.

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A gift cart opened there as well, selling generic Disney beach style merchandise.

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The actual Casey Jr. train is something of controversy at this point. Disney has put up a fence around Casey so that kids would not be able to climb on him. It seems to have failed because kids were climbing on him when I was there, and there are reports online of parents helping their kids get on the other side of this fence.

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I understand the legal problem that this causes, and the fact that that is the reason why the fence went up. But they probably could have seen this coming and figured out a different replacement, like possibly ways to keep kids from getting inside the doors, it would look better and make more sense. I do not think the fence is going to end up being a permanent solution.

Here are some shots of the area at night, where it looks fantastic!

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Last week, I commented on how I didn’t like the white railings on the steps leading into the area. They must have heard my complaint as this week, they are brown and fit in much better!

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld620-IMG_2626.jpg[/img]

Overall, the Casey Jr. play area is a great addition to the park. It is well themed, has great Disney characters involved, and will be tons of fun for families. I do think, however, that there need to be some changes to it to help prevent from injury and the occasional naked child. Hopefully Disney sees those issues, and is working to fix them!

But WAIT, that’s not all, I also have a 2nd Dateline Disney World for you today from the new Art of Animation Hotel and Animal kingdom – HERE 

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This week, we at Disney Photography Blog are proud to introduce our newest iPad app!

We are excited to announce our newest entry into the iTunes App Store with our [B]Walt Disney World iPad Wallpaper[/B] app.

This new app was created just for the iPad so that we could take advantage of the new retina screen on the latest iPad. It includes 30 wallpapers taken from all around the Walt Disney World Resort, all optimized and ready to be used on your iPad.

Not only are the photos great, but the app looks fantastic and is extremely easy to navigate. We are very proud of our first app (Disney Photo a Day 2012 for the iPhone & iPad), but the look and feel of this new app takes it to an entire new level.

We hope that this is just the first in a series of new iPad wallpaper apps, so please let us know what you think if you decide to purchase it!

For more information and to purchase the Walt Disney World iPad Wallpaper App, please visit the iTunes App Store!

All photos taken by either Adam Hansen, Cory Disbrow or Ryan Pastorino. App developed by Keith Kolmos.

Well, that’s going to wrap things up for this week’s New Fantaysland update. Did you check out our other update yet? It covers lots of other things that are going on at the Walt Disney World Resort and you can check it out HERE!

Do you like the new Casey Jr. Soak ‘n’ Splash? What are your thoughts on the Castle Wall starting to really come along? Let us know in the comments!

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 other website, [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].

  • SLUSHIE

    I think the fence around the train looks dumb. I get that there is the possibility of a kid slipping and falling since it’s all wet, but injuries are bound to happen in any playground and that thing is just begging to be climbed on.

    I think they should just put some anti-slip material and call it a day. I don’t see how some kid slipping on that is gonna kill them or break their face and getting hurt is part of being a kid.

    Tons of kids trying to get on it at once could be a problem but from my experience water play areas like this at theme parks (not water parks) aren’t ever really that crowded because what parent wants to drag around a wet kid all day.

  • I totally agree with you that the fence sort of ruins the look of the new Casey Jr train. They’ve built enough kids play areas over the years to know that anything kids can climb on, they will climb on, especially in a PLAY area. What were they thinking when they designed this?

  • mratigan

    ^ yes it totaly ruins the look of casey jr

  • LuckyJack65

    apparently there have been so many kids climbing all over the train, and parents encouraging it, that a CM has been stationed there to constantly monitor the area and keep kids off the train. As everyone else has commented, why couldn’t this situation have been dealt with during production?? Otherwise, it’s a cute area! The sound effects, the water effects, and the bright colors add so much to a child’s entertainment! I got a kick just standing there watching the kids play.
    Did you realize that the water is recycled? That means the chlorine content had to be raised SIGNIFICANTLY to deal with purification. Think of all those dirty, sweaty kids, and toddlers with dirty diapers playing in that water.

    • Yuck. Wouldn’t want that extra chlorinated diaper water on me. Thank you for the tip!

  • TodAZ1

    Anyone know why it’s taking until 2014 for the Snow White Mine Train roller coaster to open?

    • Mostly that it was the last item to begin construction and there is a lot of rock work and show scenes to construct. It isn’t going to take much longer than Mermaid took to build, it just didn’t get started until recently.

    • Jupiter Ramses

      The Mine Train is a lot more than a roller-coaster. In fact, that and the mountain is the easy part. Most significantly, the ride is using a brand new rocking coaster system that is actually still in the final development tweeking stages. There are a plethora of approvals from city, state codes to osha that have been extremely time consuming. Then there are audio-animatronics to build as well as program, which in itself is a very time consuming endeavor, not to mention detailed lighting and custom sound recordings and coordination. This is actually quite a complex venue and the coordination and development of each part is more extensive and complicated than you’d think. Still, everyone is pushing for it to finish as fast as it possibly can. Hope this helps a little.

  • Twist1234

    A simple solution to the fence problem would be to replace a section of the flooring with a padded material and put some thick plexiglass to block the train itself, so if kids climb it they can’t get into the locomotive or when they fall they don’t injure themselves, sorta like what they did for the Cars section of Art of Animation just with plexiglass.

  • Jupiter Ramses

    I can explain a little about the construction of the Castle Wall. It is a system called EIFS (exterior insulating finishing system), sometimes known as Dryvit. You see it everywhere, though you may not even realize it. Strip malls, stores, yes, even WDW. Its a 3 step process: The first is a plywood substrate that gets attached to the metal structure. Attached to that is rigid fiberglass insulation and finally, over that goes a metal lath mesh and then a stucco-resin-plaster type material. Because the insulation below it can be shaped, cut, sculpted and formed easily into pretty much anything, this material is used a LOT! Its cheap and durable. Its quite hard and can be very convincing as other materials: plaster, stucco, stone, wood, brick, anything. The Castle ‘stone’ walls will look very realistic when they are done but will cost a fraction of what it would be to use real stone veneer on the walls. And they wont need tuck-pointing, sealing or other maintenance that real stone would need. I noticed that Gaston’s tavern will also have a lot of EIFS details in the form of brackets, beams, etc.
    Just thought I’d share a little insight as to what’s going on construction-wise. 🙂

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  • Timekeeper

    Are there signs around the new Casey Jr.water play area, saying that the water is recycled?

    Timekeeper

  • lgriffi

    Getting excited for our mid-October visit to WDW! Looks like Casey’s water play area is ahead of schedule. Any speculation on Under the Seas and the rest of Fantasyland (except Mine roller coaster) being completed ahead of schedule or possibility for a “soft opening”??? Disney is saying “holiday’s 2012” would really love to see it when we are there in mid-October….any chances that you think that could happen?