Hello, and welcome to [B]Dateline Disney World![/B] Thanks to Tropical Storm Debby coming through we only have a [B]Magic Kingdom[/B] update for you. But, it is a large one, with lots of [B]New Fantasyland[/B] news, and finally some movement on the construction scrims on [B]Main Street USA.[/B] So, let’s get started!!


Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!


[center][size=5][b]Mending Main Street[/b][/size]

We have lots of news coming from Main Street USA this week. First things first, Main Street is getting all dolled up for the 4th of July, with its traditional bunting.




I love the patriotic feel of the bunting, and I think it really adds a celebratory feel to Main Street.




But even more exciting than the 4th decorations is the fact that some of the buildings that were under scrims have come out! We’ll start with this thin building next to the Confectionary and the Chapeu.




The building looks fantastic and brand new.




It’s really exciting to see these come out after being under scrims for so long!




The Chapeu is still under scrims, but from the little bit I could see underneath it, it should be coming down soon.

Further down Main Street, the top half of the huge scrim that was up on the Main Street Bakery is now gone, revealing another set of fantastic looking storefronts.





Again, the details look pristine, and it is obvious that the 5 months or so that this building was covered was worth it.




More details:




All very good news on Main Street! Now over to the New Fantasyland expansion!

[center][size=5][b]Construction Kingdom[/b][/size]

Lots of things going on at New Fantasyland this week. We’ll start over in Storybook Circus.

This is now the view you get when you exit the WDW Railroad. It really is quite impressive, and lots of eye candy.


As can be expected, the Casey Jr. Soak ‘n’ Splash area is very popular amongst kids.



I don’t think it will be a favorite of parents though, as I saw many wallets coming out to buy towels from the nearby gift cart. Pretty smart business move by Disney there!

Dumbo’s second spinner is now up and running. Here’s a short video of it.

The first spinner that was put in this location was also in the news this week, although not for the best reasons. Apparently, there was a design flaw on the new spinner that causes this to happen to the elephants.




In my eyes, this is bad news. This spinner opened only a few months ago, and is showing signs of serious wear and tear. According to reports though, Disney has acknowledged the issue and will be closing this spinner soon to fix it now that the second one is operational. Seems like something they shouldn’t have missed the first time out, but oh well.

Fastpass is now available for Dumbo.


It seems a little silly to me, since they now have two spinners (sort of), and they built an interactive queue. And now Fastpass? I rarely see the wait higher than 30 minutes since the change of location, so I’m not sure if FP is worth it here. What is even more interesting is the location of the Fastpass machines.



Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The Fastpass machines for Dumbo are all the way over by Mickey’s Philharmagic. In my opinion, that’s a long way to walk to get a Fastpass. The machines share space with the Fastpass location for Winnie the Pooh, and looks something like this.




One positive about this is the fact that the new Fastpass signs are now digital, and very easy to read. And since they are inconveniencing you by making you walk all the way over there, they have the standby wait time posted on the sign.

The large circus tents look no different than they have for the last few weeks.


Over by Winnie the Pooh, the new meet and greet location has proven to be quite popular.



Yep, a 40 minute wait to meet Pooh. Just for a fun comparison, the standby line for the ride at this same time was 30 minutes. I’d rather take a ride than get an autograph!

Over at the Little Mermaid dark ride, work continued on the rock work on the far right side of the building.


Palm trees in front of the building.



Disney posted a photo this week with a visible nod to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the queue for this, which I felt is pretty cool:

Look closely. Do you see anything in the rocks?

At the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the supports that were extending to the side facing Storybook Circus now seem to have been mirrored facing the other side of the large lift hill.


There was lots of movement at the Castle Wall this week. It seems that the right side keeps playing catch up to the left side, as it was receiving new plywood this week.




Starting to look nice!



Meanwhile, the left side of the Wall is seeing more and more final pieces going up.





Some detail has popped up on one of the arches that people will be able to walk through once this opens.



Detail work going on here too.


Over at the large Beauty and the Beast area, things look basically the same at Gaston’s Tavern.


And at Bonjour! Village Gifts. My eye never caught the green and orange roofing in the background before. Interesting looking:


There is also some new work happening in between these two buildings.


Disney has announced some of the menu offerings and new info for the new Be Our Guest restaurant:


Guests will be able to enjoy sandwiches and salads during lunchtime when this is a counter service location. You will order, and then the servers will bring your food in on china, not paper, and with real silverware. This is a great idea in my opinion, and it adds class to the dining experience, even on the counter service end. The grilled steak sandwich on butter roll caught my eye. Then, at dinner time, it transforms into a much fancier table service offering, with some french entrees. I think this is great, as Magic Kingdom really needs some expansion in terms of menu selection. Disney also announced that you will be able to make dinner reservations starting in August, but they have yet to announce when the restaurant will actually be opening.

There also seems to be some rock work happening to the far left of the Be Our Guest restaurant.


[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]

Over at the spot where the Tangled meet and greet will be going, we saw more vertical construction.




A view from Columbia Harbor House.


Some shots from the Liberty Square Riverboat.




And this shot is the one that peaks my interest the most.


These guys are standing on top of the berm where the construction is happening. They were looking at some rebar and consulting some paperwork. Reports suggest that Rapunzel’s tower will be going up in this location and looming over the new area, which would be pretty cool.

Some quick refurbishment going on at Tom Sawyer Island.


Also of note on Tom Sawyer Island, the water wheel that had not been working for quite some time was working again this week!


This gets a big thumbs up for me, as fixing that is something that isn’t necessarily urgent, but adds to the scene and the theming immensely. Here’s a quick video of it in action.

Also in Frontierland, some extra ODV carts have been added, probably to help absorb the summer crowds.


There was also some new to me merchandise at the Haunted Mansion gift cart.


The WDW Railroad is all spruced up for the 4th of July holiday.


Over in Tomorrowland, Buzz Lightyear is down for a quick refurbishment. It is scheduled to reopen this weekend.


On the monorail back to the parking lot, I snapped a few photos of the DVC construction at the Grand Floridian.



Certainly coming along quickly for its Fall 2013 opening.

Well, that’s going to wrap things up for this week’s Magic Kingdom and New Fantaysland update. What are your thoughts on the state of the new Dumbo? Bad oversight, or doing things on the cheap? Does it need Fastpass? Doesn’t Main Street look great after its refurbishments? 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 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].