Hello, and welcome to [B]Dateline Disney World![/B] In today’s column, we have another large [B]Magic Kingdom[/B] construction update, I’ll share with you a new iBook all about [B]Tokyo DisneySea[/B] that was just released by a friend of mine, and we’ll also take a look at a [B]short film[/B] I created at the park this week. Lots to look at, so let’s dive right in!!

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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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Starting all the way over at the left side of Fantasyland, work continues on the Tangled meet and greet area.

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This is the base of what is apparently going to be Rapunzel’s Tower. They’ve hidden it behind the trees quite well, but I’m sure they will be happy to show it off once completed.

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At the Castle Wall that will divide the old and new sections of Fantasyland, we saw a large amount of change this week, with tons of details happening!!

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Lots of rock work was put up, and some of it even looks like it might be its final color.

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Arches:

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The regal lining is up in many places along the left wall and the turrets as well.

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It is really looking spectacular. On the left side, the game of catch up is still happening, but work progresses still every week.

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A detail piece waiting to be put up.

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Incredible to think that this is really starting to take form, and that not so far from now, we’ll be able to walk through these walls and enjoy new experiences.

Over where Snow White’s Scary Adventures used to be, another construction wall has gone up, probably for some more surface refurbishment.

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It creates a very narrow pathway by SWSA, but that’s ok since there isn’t much need to head there anyway. A Cast Member has been placed there to keep traffic moving in case it jams up.

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Over by the Beauty and the Beast area, the Beast’s Castle is still looking great, especially with an ominous sky behind it.

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Work continues on the roofing near Gaston’s Tavern.

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Those arched windows on the top of the building are finally be attended to as well. Here’s the view from over in Storybook Circus thanks to a telephoto lens!

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Doesn’t seem like much has gone on near Bonjour! Village Gifts.

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Here’s Maurice’s Cottage. It seems much of the work is done here, although it is hard to see with the heavy foliage (which I’m not complaining about!) and the construction walls there.

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Heading over to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there was a lot of work going on this week, as the structure had lots of people attending to it.

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Some welding happening.

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They also appear to have put some wrapping on the brown supports for the roller coaster track. My guess is to just keep them from getting damaged due to weather which would warrant them being repainted.

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Here’s the area from the Storybook Circus side.

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At the Little Mermaid dark ride, not too much has changed with the exception of this rock work we’ve been covering for a few weeks now.

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But, the more I look at this building, the more happy and excited I am about it. The level of detail that is coming through is striking.

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Seems like WDI knocked it out of the park here.

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Prince Eric’s castle is oozing with great structure and detail.

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I have been on the version of this ride in California that is already open, and I enjoyed it quite a bit as a solid C or D Ticket attraction. And while I think the exterior won’t put it over the top to E-Ticket classification, I do think it will greatly enhance the experience, and be downright beautiful. Very photogenic as well.

More into Storybook Circus, there hasn’t been much movement on the turquoise and red tents. But, you can imagine how impressive and large the area and these tents will feel once these walls come down and you can get up close and personal with them.

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At Dumbo, the 4th of July holiday has come and gone, and the left side is still running.

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Many thought that after the holiday, Disney would shut down the ride to fix the scraping problem that made about half of the elephants look quite ugly. It seems though that Disney has simply just repainted them.

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This makes me a little bit nervous, as I would like to think they would fix the problem permanently, and not with a temporary paint job. But, we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

In the back of the Circus, the third tent’s skeleton started to rise.

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It should make for a very interesting scene once the area opens with a courtyard right in the middle of the three.

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Here’s a shot of all three tents. It was hard to find a view of this scene, but if you want to find it yourself, you can go into the Dumbo area over by the Fastpass return and see it.

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Entering Storybook Circus from the Tomorrowland path is certainly becoming more and more nice every week, as it just finally starts to feel complete.

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[center][size=5][b]DisneySea in Pictures[/b][/size]
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This week, a good friend of mine and member of the Disney Photography Community, James Hilger released an iBook entitled [I]Tokyo DisneySea in Photographs[/I].

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James is an established and very talented photographer who also has a wonderful way with words, and recently visited the Tokyo Disney resort. After seeing DisneySea, he instantly fell in love, and wrote this book, which is essentially a love letter to the park.

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The iBook contains 7000 words that lay out the theme of the park, how the different areas are laid out, some info about the attractions, shops, restaurants, and even the Hotel Miracosta that resides inside the park. And of course, his words are accompanied by stunning photographs, over 130 in total.

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The book is available at the iBooks store, and can be found by clicking HERE.

[center][size=5][b]This and That[/b][/size]
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The Crow’s Nest gift shop at the Adventureland and Frontierland border has gone under refurbishment.

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The buildings that were under scrims for so long on Main Street still look beautiful.

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I found it funny the difference in wait times at the middle of the day at the Town Square Theater.

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I don’t know about all of you, but I prefer the Mouse to his Princess friends, and could not believe that he was a short 10 minute wait compared to their 65 minutes!

And lastly, earlier this week, I spent an evening in the Magic Kingdom equipped with my DSLR camera that takes some pretty excellent video, and I shot some of my favorite scenes. My intent was to bring the viewer right into the park with me. So, I’d like you all to enjoy “Evening at the Kingdom: A Grand Circle Tour”! Hope you enjoy it!

Well, that’s going to wrap it up for this week’s Dateline Disney World. Do you guys share the same feelings I do about the Little Mermaid dark ride? Have any thoughts on the controversial decision to keep Dumbo up and running and just doing patch work on the elephants? 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]

  • LongtimeReader

    Though I’m not 100% sure, I believe that they already replaced and readjusted the tiles that were causing the scraping to happen. They did not need to close the attraction to pull it off, I’m told. It was a very minor issue, and not the rumored “the whole pit has to be enlarged” thing that blew up on the internet. The water features were off for a few weeks, and I believe that was why. Though time will certainly tell if that was indeed the case!

  • tofubeast

    Gorgeous photos, as always. I love the Beast’s Castle and how dramatic it looks in front of the huge Florida clouds (esp on thunder storm days). Thanks for the video. Please post more in the future!

  • WesternMouse

    The WDW construction isn’t nearly as interesting as watching DCA. The Fantasyland project appears to me as an effort equal to putting a bandaid on a gushing wound.

    • Cory Disbrow

      While watching what’s going on at WDW might be less interesting to you, you have to consider the scale and purpose behind both. DCA was essentially transforming from one theme park to another, while the Fantasyland project is simply an addition to an already established park, albeit a large project. And while I agree that there are other things at WDW that need fixing and New Fantasyland is a nice distraction from them, I would hardly use the bandage analogy. I don’t think it would be fair to call something that is costing hundreds of millions of dollars a bandage.

      • Petchaurus

        Cory,

        Thanks for your updates. I love the updates you deliver to us on all things Disneyworld including the construction updates. Although I frequent the DLR more due to my location, I love finding out about the updates in your neck of the woods just as much. I too am VERY excited about the expansion and find the level of detail promising.

        Thanks for all you do!

  • jcruise86

    Nice update! Thank you!

    I liked your friend’s description of the island at Disney’s Tokyo sea park.

  • The Little Mermaid building is certainly a huge improvement over what they did in California Adventure. I’ll be interested to see what, if anything, they do with the theme of the queue and interactive elements.

    In California, the ride maintains very short waits. Wondering if the same will be true in Florida.

    Great update!

  • Mickey777
  • SpectroMan

    Thanks Cory – that much longer wait for Princesses vs. Mickey explains why all our stores are filled with the same generic crap as the store next to it 🙁

    Ever since the artwork of New Fantasyland was released, it was clear to me that Little Mermaid in WDW is going to have exponentially longer lines than it’s cousin in DCA.

  • MiceChat Staff

    Cory this is some great work, thank you for going and getting these shots for us. I know that it’s a lot of work and we really appreciate it. But how do you make construction photograph so well. Not fair.

    It almost has me excited for the expansion. But somehow I just can’t get excited about restaurants, meet and greets, and a cloned dark ride. The aesthetics are beginning to impress, but that’s it. The only thing that has me mildly excited is the themed kiddie coaster. Oh well.

    But again, thank you for the update! Nice work detailing the progress.

  • Spongeocto4

    Thank you for the update

  • napeterson18

    Man, I wish I could buy that book! James is my favorite photographer, I use his photographs as my wallpapers on my computer that cycle through and use a picture of his from TDS in my signature on the forums (all with his permission, of course)!

    I get goosebumps looking at his work.

    • napeterson18

      And I could buy the book, but I don’t have an iPad to put it on. 🙁

      • Cory Disbrow

        I’m pretty confident that with the response he’s gotten on the book that a PDF version of it should be coming in the not so distant future, so there’s hope!

  • Are you sure that the Tangled structure is going to be a meet & greet? Based upon what I have seen, it appeared to just be Tangled-themed restrooms (with the tower). Of course, they could always throw Rapunzel in that area to wander, but I don’t think there’s any dedicated structure for her.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I’m not positive about it being a meet and greet, but it just makes sense, in my opinion. The one that was across the street from Cosmic Ray’s was very popular before Rapunzel was evicted in favor of Merida. Now she’s in Town Square on Main Street, and is still very popular, with the queue being full almost every time I’ve seen her there. In my eyes, it would be silly to theme just a bathroom around a very popular character, and I think that it would make far more sense for the Rapunzel meet and greet to be in a place like Fantasyland as opposed to next to the Chamber of Commerce, but then again, Disney has done some very silly things before!

  • ChrisFL

    I love seeing the updates to WDW….but then I see the screenshot of that first DisneySea iBook and my heart melts away….knowing that I’m too far from Tokyo…its only been 3 months since I was there and I always wish I could go back immediately.

    The park, especially at night is too beautiful for words.

  • renderman7

    hey cory, great update as always.

    love the video, hopefully you have the time to do like an in depth on sections of each of the parks, would love to see a world showcase one, just one thought though, try not to use the in your face transitions. The book flips, the tile flip.. that sort of thing, crossfades, pure wipes (ala star wars) even the out of focus works.

    just a thought.. cheers

  • BassBone

    I thought they’d fixed the Dumbo problem as it was just a couple tiles that were installed improperly. Why are you ignoring people that say this?

    • Cory Disbrow

      First time I had heard of the tiles being the issue was the first comment on this week’s columns. Not ignoring anyone, just hadn’t seen or heard of it, my apologies.