Hello, and welcome back to Dateline Disney World. We are in the Magic Kingdom this week to look at the Mine Train, curb removal, Hub construction and hot princesses. Let’s get started!

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!!

When I entered the park, Festival of Fantasy was making its way down Main Street.

Got to love the Maleficent dragon.

The parade still feels very popular and exciting to lots of guests.

Current state of the Hub:

We were hoping for a soft opening at the Mine Train, but CMs were walking the track, so that didn’t happen. Disney did announce, however, that the official opening date is May 28th.

Frozen madness continues, and is sparking debate as to whether or not this franchise will be getting its own dark ride soon.

Black tarps STILL over the old Fastpass signs.

The rest of this week’s column will be pretty much just nice photos, since the news this week was a little dry. Enjoy!

Several projects still taking place in Adventureland.

The Cinderella Wishing Well was under walls a few weeks back, but is all cleaned up now.

Not sure how I feel about this one.

The Box below is likely for more curb removal near Tony’s. How do you feel about the removal of the curbs in the Hub and Town Square?

New shiny Nikon signs.

And saving the biggest news of the week for last, we are seeing a pretty massive overhaul of the Polynesian Resort. It will now be known as the Polynesian Village Resort, which was its original name. The main lobby waterfalls will be replaced, which is sad, but as a consolation prize, we are getting a Florida version of the very popular Trader Sam’s bar from Disneyland!

This is a huge upgrade in my opinion, as I was a huge fan of Sam’s while I last visited Disneyland. While I will be sad about the loss of the waterfalls in the lobby, it is something that has been decided on, and at this point is really out of guest control. What are your thoughts about the redo and the loss of the waterfalls?

That’s it for this week. Hopefully we’ll be reporting on the full Mine Train experience soon! Leave us a note in the comments!

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  • Ravjay12

    They are probably making it safer for walking and easier for strollers with the curb removals so I understand that. But it takes from the illusion that you’re on a real street. It will be harder to sit and watch parades without the curbs, too. Mine train looks great! A Frozen dark ride would be cool, perhaps with the trackless system used in Mystic Manor and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt.

    • ParkerMonroe

      I concur with everything you’ve said.

      Regarding the Frozen Dark Ride… maybe it’s time Disney dust off and repurpose those old World Showcase Russia pavillion sleigh ride plans!

      • AaroniusPolonius

        If they are going to use the Honey Hunt/Mystic Manor/Remi Ride trackless technology for anything at WDW, I’d vote for a new attraction based around Figment at the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot. Heck, they could redress Mystic Manor and sort of follow the same storyline, where Figment unleashes the power of imagination behind Dreamfinder’s back and we’re all caught in the kaliedescopic vortex.

        (No doubt I’ve just cursed that idea, but one can dream!)

      • mondo

        I like the Figment/ Imagination ride idea. I could be as easy as switching out the characters and changing the dialogue and backstory. All the scenes could be the same.

    • BlahBlahson

      The Figment/Mystic Manor redress is a phenomenal idea. That one makes sense on so many levels.

      • imagineer97

        SOMETHING must be done with Imagination! It’s in sorry shape now. Any time I go on it, there’s about two other people on it. I too would like to see something with Dreamfinder and Figment, but I just don’t know if people would go on it. For most guests, the refurbishment of this attraction would probably have minimal effect.

  • tofubeast

    I’m all for a Frozen ride….just as long as it doesn’t take over Maelstrom. FP+ worked perfectly for the Anna & Elsa meet. My daughter and I only waited all of 5 mins. Looks like you had a great weather day. It was rainy during our visit there a few days ago.

    I loved the new parade. The audience was very into it. Lots of energy, color, and movement. WAY better than the previous one. The Mine Train looks fantastic and, while sad not to ride it, I loved hearing the whistling and other sounds coming out of the mountain. It looked even more incredible at night. Overall, I thought MK looked in great shape, despite some construction walls around the hub and in Adventureland. Had nothing but sweet Cast Members as well.

    I’m very excited about Sam’s coming to the PVR. It’s a very welcome addition.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      I’d be against Frozen taking over Maelstrom just because they’re not strictly from Norway. I’d also be against it because it’s such a non-corporate-tested ride, dated and all, that kind of falls into a camp, “Mommie Dearest” place, where thousands of years ago there were one-eyed trolls in highly chlorinated water and then Boom! All history is done until oil. Love. It.

      I think, for the time being at least, Magic Kingdom should double down on the Frozen characters meet and greet and just stock both sides with ’em. That’s a loooooong wait for non FastPass+ peeps.

  • Conconhead

    It’d be nice if they could take the old Swiss chateau from the Skybuckets and turn that into a Frozen M&G in Anaheim. Add a winding path upward, transition from flowers to a snowscape… Ah, alas. Also it’d work if they used all the old space from the Speedboats by Matterhorn, provided that isn’t slated for eventual Star Wars Tomorrowland.

    • Freddie Freelance

      Or hollow out the hillside, put a small show building behind it, and put a dark ride where the Skyride station was!

  • Erik Olson

    Curb removal makes sense for every reason. From an accessibility point, it means chairs and strollers aren’t limited to specific locations that are prone to bottlenecks. For everyone else, few of whom are watching where they are going, it removes an unnecessary tripping hazard. We often talk about how cable management “yellow jacket” covers are what people trip over most often. Limit the risk and ease traffic.

  • SpectroMan

    I’m fine with a Frozen dark ride as well, as long as it’s not at the expense of another dark ride or any other attraction. It would need to be a fully newly constructed item. Heck, it could even go into Snow White’s Scary Adventures’ spot (sorry, not a fan of meet & greets!)

  • EC82

    Of course they will do a “Frozen” overlay to Maelstrom. It is inevitable. The Norwegian government hasn’t been involved with the pavilion for years, and Disney clearly doesn’t give a flying flip what it does to Epcot, the park that has absolutely no credibility anymore. If it can be turned into an ad for Disney movies, why not?

    What a shame about curb removal. Once again, pandering to the least common denominator. For forty years, people navigated curbs just fine, suddenly they are a problem.

    Oh, Imagineers, I have a great idea! Wait until the MOST crowded season of all, just as you are preparing to finally open a new ride at Magic Kingdom, then embark on major construction. Everyone will love it!

    • OperationsSupe

      I wonder if you would be saying the same thing about the curbs if you were in a wheelchair visiting during peak times…

    • WDWfanBoston

      To call someone with a disability a “least common denominator” is both rude and insulting.

      • OprylandUSA

        Oh, please! He wasn’t talking about disabled people! He was talking about the people that weren’t looking where they are going. Geesh, Disneyphiles! You guys need to stop trying to find things to complain about!

        “Get off the cross, honey! Somebody needs the wood!!” – Dolly Parton

      • WDWfanBoston

        @Opryland: my comment has nothing to do with whether I am “pro” or “anti” Disney. It had to do with the previous comment about the disabled. If you can’t understand that, I can’t help you.

        Thanks for the Dolly Pardon lyrics. It sounds like you’ve got something in common with her: your both boobs.

      • OprylandUSA

        I didn’t say you were anti-Disney. I said you were complaining too much! We all need to stop the whining and start appreciating. WWWD.

        Yeah, I may be a boob (most certainly, but I own it). But.. just because Dolly has giant boobs, you can’t call her one. That’s sacrilege.

  • tooncity

    The thought that Disney would build a new Dark Ride Attraction based on a recent Hit Animated (Frozen) movie is, simply laughable.

    Over the last 25 years, Disney only leverages hit animated movies by Parades, Meet n Greets, puppets shows or musical stage shows. Disney has finally gotten around to building a Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast attractions, those movies were made in 89 & 91. The recent add of Tony Story Mania, based on Toy Story from 1995. That was only 15 years and NOT a Disney movie at the time.

    People will scream about Lion King, but that Puppet Show was cute; and it’s been replaced. The Lion King Show as DAK, is based on recycled Parade Floats. Nice and fun but not a A+ uniquely Disney imagineered attraction.

    Roger Rabbit from 1988, was killed at Disney-MGM. It was turned into Mickey’s Birthdayland at MK, and consisted of weak unimaginative offerings. Never a full realized true attraction. Somehow it squeak by at Disneyland & Toyko, but was still shortened by budgets. (RR Cartoon Spin was supposed to be 2 levels). It maybe the fastest Disney has ever movied to take advantage of a hit movie, to theme park attraction ever. Movie 1998, Cartoon Spin 1993. That’s 5 years, when has Disney ever done that since?

    There is NO past history to suggest Disney would build a dark ride based on Frozen. NOTHING. Those folks spreading that kind of rumor are DREEEEEEEEEAMING! Just Let it Go, folks; you’ll live longer!

    • konekobus

      After Finding Nemo, which at the time was about as big a hit as Frozen, it only took one year for the Turtle Talk attraction to pop up at Epcot. Four years after the movie, in 2007, Epcot, Disney Studios Paris and Disneyland, all had Nemo rides.
      And by 2009, six years after the movie, every Disney resort on earth had a Finding Nemo attraction.

      The Cars attraction in Paris also only took one year. So I think Disney waiting 20 years to turn popular films into attractions is a thing of the past.

      • tooncity

        Another chirp, from a the apologist Waltie crowd. Make the excuse.

        Those are NOT expensive, 100 Million attractions that people want. Those are simple redress’ of old dated preexisting attractions. Some paint and digital projections. Movie rides that get dated fast. Turtle talk is NOT an attraction it’s a Meet n greet. Yes, the cheap Finding Nemo Subs, (the one that’s CLOSED, to save money on labor), that was not a NEW ride.

        You are dismissed. Your assertions are delusional. It’ll take 20 years to get a Frozen attraction. You guys are dreaming.

        Datedland is still waiting the fix of the totally Neutered New, New Tomorrowland of 98. Which consisted of ripping out everything that moved and painting the place baby diaper brown.

        Stop making excuses for these guys.

      • MikeBlakesley

        Nemo probably had all the ancillary stuff planned before it was released, anticipating its blockbuster status. Frozen was an UNEXPECTED blockbuster. Nobody expected that movie to do any better than Tangled or Wreck-It Ralph, but it’s become the biggest thing since Lion King. So, they are having to scramble to develop stuff based on it. I would rather have them do a nice attraction than a slap dash one.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      To be fair, it seems as if Disney tends to wait until the intellectual property has been leveraged into a classic, an icon, before moving into ride land. Which is to say that Beauty & The Beast needed to get Direct-To-Video Sequels, a Broadway show, a 3-D re-release and so on.

      I think tooncity is right. I’d be really surprised if Disney moved right into Dark Ride attraction at this stage.

      I think it’s more likely that they’d pull out the now-dated, long-in-the-tooth Little Mermaid live musical stage show from DHS and replace it with a new Frozen musical stage extravaganza. That would also give WDW the benefit of having one of their hottest intellectual properties at present represented in two theme parks (Princess Hug Zone at MK, live musical stage show at DHS.) It would also give DHS some “new stuff” news to report, since, uh…they don’t have any.

      • BradyNBradleysMom

        I bet the “dark ride” they are thinking of is remaking Maelstrom at EPCOT. Then they’d have the Princess meet and greet in the MK and the stage show at DHS. They will probably do all three Frozen projects, one for each park.

        Just don’t hold your breath for an Arctic area of DAK with animals like from Frozen. They won’t ever do that, too much money. But an Arctic area would be cool. Literally.

    • mondo

      @ tooncity Just curious , are you a fan of Frozen?

      • tooncity

        What does that have to do with anything?
        Is Disney concerned with it’s own apathy towards it’s customers?

        The idea that Disney would build a whiz-bang $100Million plus Frozen attraction based on a Billion dollar hit movie has no bases in reality. None. It’s a Fantasy to expect THIS current manage team to do such a thing.

        They would Build a Star Wars/ Marvel one before that. Frozen will get a nifty little Stage Musical at the Studio. That’s it. Everything else is a dream

    • sixalex

      Usually I am one of the “Waltie” apologists, but this time I have to lean towards tooncity’s opinions. Even the newest of the new big addition at Disneyworld is New Fantasyland which is primarily based on older movies. Nothing much older than Snow White right?

      Though it does occur to me that Walt himself was a lot quicker on the draw. He built Disneyland in 1955 to support “Sleeping Beauty” which was not released until 1959!

      Okay. Maybe I am stretching a bit, but my real point is Walt thought ahead, looking forward to the future. Why is Tomorrowland so boring? Take a walk through Innoventions. Aside from Marvel meet and greets (based on characters created when? Captain America from WWII?!) it is basically a Sears store electronics department from (at least) ten years ago.

      Now it is going to be (by some accounts) Star Wars land? Maybe. Even then, although this a very active property with new movies arriving soon, is this really proactive per Walter Elias Disney? The last Star Wars movie is from a decade ago. The original? People who weren’t even born when “Star Wars (A New Hope)” came out are potentially grandparents now!

      Uncle Walt may be spinning in his cryogenic chamber.

      Still, all that being said, those calling for a “Frozen” themed dark ride are using their imaginations and making wishes. I admire that. Although I am not as impressed at the film than the rest of the world, the idea that the old and once beautiful Skyway station might actually become useful in some small manner is a pleasant concept. Will it happen? Not in the current corporate climate of Disneyland.

      But we can still dream.

    • goinskiing

      Ummmm, Radiator Spring Racers at California Adventure (Cars Land in general really) and the Ratatouille ride in Paris spring to mind. I wouldn’t rule Frozen our for a dark ride at all, it’s only the highest grossing animated film of ALL time. I’m sure Disney is looking to capitalize on this, it’s what they do.

      • BuckyRister

        Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the highest grossing film of all time.


      • OprylandUSA

        Re-read that list again. Gone With The Wind is the highest grossing film of all time. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the highest grossing ANIMATED film of all time.

  • EasyRover

    So, the mine train is now open, but its still not…open.

  • disneydempster

    I personally like the curbs for their definition of street vs sidewalk, they facilitate parade viewing and curbs are still used at Disneyland. Reasonable people seems to be able to walk and watch their step – seems an unfortunate change.
    Frozen dark ride could be cool – get it? Might make a good enhancement to Norway pavilion.
    The waterfalls at the Polynesian while nice they really seemed dated. Adding Trader Sams will be a refreshing update.

  • Klutch

    One could say “The Lion King” got its own theme park with DAK.

    And Disney hasn’t had a hit movie like Frozen since The Lion King. I mean, this Frozen thing just keeps on going! It’s a juggernaut. Even a pointy-headed guy looking at spreadsheets would get behind a Frozen dark ride because the riders would exit through a Frozen themed gift shop.

    • Jabroniville

      Alas, that gift shop would be out of everything but those Frozen-themed sugar cookies within five minutes :). They can NOT make that stuff fast enough! You gotta sell pretty well to make DISNEY look like they under-produce your merchandise!

    • CaptainAction

      One could say “The Lion King” got it’s own park with DAK.
      One would have to be delusional.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        ^Right? That’s cray-cray!

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ ^ Finding Nemo made more than the Lion King, at least according to Walter Isaacson in Steve Jobs biography.

      Disney should build a mostly indoor castle theme park, “Frozen Disneyland,” within 100 miles of Chicago or NYC. An “If You Had Wings” style attraction with a Main Street entrance could be a giant ad for Walt Disney World with small OJ samples at the end.

      • OprylandUSA

        He would be right “technically” But, because of inflation and the exponential rise of ticket costs, it will be a long time before Lion King is beat with those factors included.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for all of the excellent photos, Cory! 🙂

  • Jabroniville

    I was here this week! I noticed the black tarp FastPass sign too, and immediately noted that MiceChat would be immediately bringing it up in their next Dateline :). I noticed some people complaining about the security cameras on the Mine Train being super-obvious and a different colour than the rest of the post they were attached to, and figured those must be MiceChatters, too! Alas, I guess not.

    The Festival of Fantasy is pretty neat, with some VERY well-designed floats and costumes. Anna & Elsa always draw a HUGE reaction in that, as it’s the only time the fans get to see them without waiting an eternity in line.

  • Disney Analyst

    For the news this week, Frozen music was added to the opening float of Festival of Fantasy. Strobe lights are now on and synchronized to music on all the floats. Maleficent now has more fire, and smoke coming from her nostrils. The finale float has had bubbles added.

  • danielz6

    Carsland debuted only 6 years after the movies release. So yes there is precedent for quick adaptations of cartoons into rides.
    As for frozen, it fits perfectly in fantasyland much more than anywhere else. Not only is the story set in a fictional town in Scandinavia, but also fits the overwhelming European theme of fantasyland. Epcots country pavilions usually represent a non fictional portrayal of the countries and since frozen is purely fantasy and not even taking place in Norway, I think that would be a bit of a forced inclusion.
    Ratatouille on the other hand fits perfectly in the France pavilion and it really just baffles the mind why Disney wouldn’t import this attraction to Epcot.

    • sixalex

      Why isn’t “Ratatouille” being used at the expensive French Restaurants?

      Because it is a movie about a rat.

      Really. Who gave that one a green light? 😉

    • AaroniusPolonius

      “Ratatouille on the other hand fits perfectly in the France pavilion and it really just baffles the mind why Disney wouldn’t import this attraction to Epcot.”

      Because they want to give the European audience something unique for their “local” Disney Parks & Resorts experience. Remember that WDW garners a lot of its visitation mix from the overseas European vacation market, so there’s probably a need to keep WDW and DLP/DSP as unique from one another as possible.

      And I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I’m less for cloning attractions worldwide and more for using ride tech to underpin several different attractions all in different, park/location specific “drag.” (I suspect that the main Avatar boat ride and the under-the-castle Shanghai Disneyland ride are basically the same ride in different drag, for example.) So, while I want the trackless tech to come to WDW, I kind of want it to be in its own stew of theme. (Same goes for CarsLand, as we already have that ride tech in the form of Test Track.)

      • Bartattack

        Actually, I would’ve rather seen the Ratatouille in Epcot than here in Paris. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the Paris studios are getting a big new ride…they need it (and the Disneyland Paris park needs one as well). But building a French themed ride in Paris…where you can see the real thing around the corner, doesn’t excite me.

      • danielz6

        I am of the opinion that Disney world should be Disney’s premier resort and have all of the best that Disney imagineering has to offer, cloned or not. It is a shame to me that this is the only resort where Disney has the space to literally build anything they want, yet most of us have to travel outside the country if we want Disney’s newest and best attractions. The point is that Ratatouille fits the theme of Epcots France pavilion much more than a theme park about hollywood and film production. I’d rather have an awesome cloned trackless ride than none at all.

      • danielz6

        Bartattack right. I imagine a lot of Parisians, though enjoying the ride, will be scratching their heads at a mini Paris and French restaurant just down the road from the real thing. And didn’t Disney already make that mistake with CA adventure?

      • CaptainAction

        Guys, Ratatouille, the Ride, costs money.
        You can’t have that at WDW.
        You can’t have a Frozen ride either. That would cost money.
        You can have a meet n greet or maybe a parade. No, not a parade but maybe one float in a parade.
        You can have a TON of merchandise in ALL the stores from Frozen though.
        If WDW ever approves a new attraction of Frozen they will have to tear Winnie The Pooh out for it.
        Apparently Walt did not buy 43 square miles of land but only 430 acres. If you want something new, then something has to be torn out. Had to tear out 20,000 Leagues and Snow White to build Dwarf Mound Coaster and The Lame Mermaid.
        Half the attractions ay Disneyland are closed because they can’t afford to operate them.
        The rumors are going around that the Disney Parks in the USA are nearing bankruptcy.
        They could only pay the construction crew for the Dwarf Mound Coaster every third week or so and that’s why it took over 2 years and still can’t be completed.
        Send your non tax deductible gift to WDW ASAP!