Fantasyland Rising, World Showcase Touch-Ups, Star Wars Weekends, and MORE!
by, 05-17-2012 at 08:37 PM
Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, there was more progress on the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, along with a bunch of small improvements happening all around the park, and also the newest addition to the Disney character family arriving at the park. A World Showcase pavilion received some TLC over at Epcot, and preparations are in full force (no pun intended) for the madness that is Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Lots to cover today, so let's start at the Magic Kingdom!
Inside Dateline Disney World
- Magic Kingdom
- Main Street Refurbishments
- Fantasyland expansion: New Elephants, Scaffolding Coming Down at Mermaid, New Model at DHS
- Morocco gets some TLC
- Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Star Wars Weekends starts TODAY!
Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!
Mending Main Street
Lots of work is still going on at Main Street USA. This week, there were several spots along the trolley track that were repaved.
It's getting hard to present these construction scrims in a different manner each week when you can't see what is actually happening behind them. But, they're still there, and I assume work is continuing.*
I spoke to a friend this week about the Main Street Bakery and the fact that it has been under a scrim for several months now. He noted to me that the refurbishment goes all the way out over the sidewalk, which is exactly what happened last year at the Main Street Confectionary. It turns out that they completely ripped off the facade of the Confectionary and started from scratch. It now looks stunning.
If this is what they're doing with the Bakery, it should look excellent once the scrim comes down.
Right past the turnstiles on the left, walls have gone up for what is probably just a regular old refurbishment.
Here's a shot from the Hub!
Lots of work is continuing at the New Fantasyland, and workers have been behind the walls around the clock. It really is quite interesting to see (and hear) all the work being done during park hours. Let's start over at Storybook Circus. The elephants have been installed at the second spinner of Dumbo.*
There were a bunch of workers behind those walls when I rode Dumbo this week, which gave me the feeling that they are pushing to get this second spinner open as quickly as possible.
Here's a shot of the entire expansion from the highest point on Dumbo.
Continuing down the pathway, the walls that we reported on last week are now down, and what occurred was a repaving that took a portion of the old blacktop near Winnie the Pooh, and turned it into the same pavement that is featured in the New Fantasyland.
And this week, another section in that area that was blacktop is now walled off, and will soon receive the same treatment.
At Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, we've seen some scaffolding come down, and it looks great.
And here's a closeup of the details on the top of Prince Eric's castle:
Even though some scaffolding has come down, there is still lots to be done, and workers are still up there every day.
After riding Dumbo, I also noticed this detail, which I had not seen before. I would imagine details like this will probably be prominent at the entrance to the attraction.
At the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there isn't a whole lot to report on. Some extra supports have gone up, but nothing major.
So, here's a shot of the area at sunset from the other night.
I really think this area is going to shine once it is all finished, and I can only dream of the photographic possibilities of this new area with sunsets like that!
Over at the new Castle Wall, work is progressing, with more plywood going up, and more supports going up seemingly every day. Here are some wide shots of the work.
And here is a very wide shot to give you an idea of where the Castle Wall is and how it will lead in and out of the original Fantasyland.
And the same thing, just from the other side.
As mentioned before, there is lots of little work happening here.
Lots of plywood is being placed on the wall and the turrets that rise atop it.
A few more views:
At the large Beauty and the Beast section, work is happening on just about everything. Here's a wide view of the area:
And one that is a little tighter:
Gaston's Tavern is starting to really come along!
As is Bonjour! Village Gifts.
At the Be Our Guest Restaurant, if you look closely, you can see some detail on the entrance to the restaurant.
Also, there looks to be some very cool looking detail with some rocks on what looks like a bridge.
This week, over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney added a model of the New Fantasyland to its One Man's Dream attraction.
The model is pretty big, spanning across the entire back room of the attraction. It is built at a scale of 1/4 inch to 1 foot scale, which gives you an idea of how massive this project truly is.
Disney also supplied a little map to let guests know what is coming, and where it will be located.
Here are some more shots!
It was really nice to see this to get an idea of what this will look like when finished.
They also had in a glass case, a model of the new Dumbo spinner:
I very much enjoyed seeing this model. It gave me lots of hope for this expansion. If you look carefully at the photos, you'll notice lots of trees. This is a wonderfully positive sign, in my opinion. There is also a whole bunch of water, and twisty paths, not just big and wide straightaways. I think all of this will give a great sense of depth, and really surround the guest in the theming of the area. Let's hope the finished product turns out as nice as the model!
This week over to the right of Cinderella Castle, Merida from the new Pixar movie Brave, made her debut at the Magic Kingdom. Her new meet and greet is in the same place where Rapunzel from Tangled was last year, and Belle before that.
There is lots of detail on both the outside and inside of the meet and greet. These banners are on the outside.
There are also really nice touches on the inside.
What is very cool is this set of bear cubs. They are all animatronic, and interact with guests and Merida herself. Very impressive, and got lots of oohs and ahhs from guests!
But of course, the star of the attraction is Merida.
As can be assumed, there is also a new batch of Brave merchandise right outside the meet and greet.
This and That
There have been some construction walls and tarps put up along the Pirates of the Caribbean queue.
There is even a very large wall/scrim at this point right next to the loading area.
I'm not entirely sure what they could be for, but it was reported that Pirates was closed quite a bit during the past week, so this could have something to do with it. Possibly an interactive element to the queue? That has been one thing that Team Disney Orlando has done to quite a bit of the attractions at WDW, so it is very much a possibility. But, for all we know, they might just be tidying up the place!
And lastly, work continues over by Peter Pan's Flight on the new restroom/Tangled meet and greet area in Fantasyland:
Welcome to Epcot!
World Showcase TLC
Not a huge news week at Epcot, but I did see on Twitter that the Morocco pavilion had gotten some repainting done. Since Morocco is one of my favorite WS pavilions, I headed over to check it out.
Reports have said that the paint is brighter, but I can't really tell. Here's a spot in the pavilion that didn't receive the paint:
And now a spot that did:
What do you think? Any different?
Let us know what you think in the comments!
Welcome to the Studios!
Work picked up this past week at Hollywood Studios, with the final preparation happening for Star Wars Weekends, which starts today! There are large banners wrapping columns at the turnstiles featuring the Star Wars characters.
Also over by Star Tours, there are banners featuring more characters from the Saga.
Who can resist a big closeup of Billy Dee Williams?
Inside the Tattoine Traders gift shop, Disney has opened a new build-your-own toy droid option. They've named it the Droid Factory.
Here you get to take a whole bunch of different droid parts:
And mix and match them:
To make a complete droid!
This was a lot of fun to play around with. The Mickey ears are a fun touch, and it seemed that the guests who were checking it out were pretty into it. The price however, leaves a little something to be desired.
Ouch. I understand that putting together things from scratch and making it custom is a great reason to crank up a price, but that is pretty high. $12 for one and $18 for two. For just a few dollars more, you can build your own single sided lightsaber and get something much bigger for your money. I'm sure this will be a hit though, especially with the Star Wars super fans coming in over the next few weekends.
Speaking of Star Wars Weekends, my other website, Disney Photography Blog will be having live coverage of SWW today! You can check it out here. Our good friend Tom Bricker, who runs Disney Tourist Blog, will be there on Saturday, and will also have coverage.
Well, that's going to wrap it up for this week's Dateline. There are lots of things going on at the resort, and it leaves us with lots to talk about. Do you like what you see in the model of the New Fantasyland? Are you ready to face the madness that is Star Wars Weekends? Do you wish the scrims on Main Street would just come down already? Let us know in the comments!
If you enjoy the column, especially the photos, and you want to check out more photos and tutorials on Disney photography, please check out my other website, Disney Photography Blog. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, ISO5571.
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