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Orlando Parkhopper

Farewell to Halloween at Magic Kingdom, Hello Christmas, Fantasyland Construction

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by , 10-31-2011 at 09:45 PM

This week's Orlando Parkhopper brings you a fantastic look over the walls at the Fantasyland construction site and Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse refurbishment. We slip into the Enchanted Tiki Room and notice the odd capacity for that attraction, find some new Christmas merchandise and lament the disrepair in the confectionery. We'll also bid our farewells to Halloween and see the first signs of Christmas in the parks, such as the Osbourne lights in Disney Hollywood Studios. We'll also hear from Kevin Yee and see how much the animals like pumpkins at Busch Gardens and Disney's Animal Kingdom. We think you'll like today's update, if you do, leave us a comment below or click that Facebook like button above.

This might seem a little early since it was not even Halloween when we took these photos over the weekend, but there was a lot of Christmas Merchandise for sale at the Magic Kingdom this week. There are two rather interesting things we'd like to show you.

First, the Build Your Ear Hat Program no longer exists in the Magic Kingdom. Although the program was a lot of fun, many logistical issues existed with the snap on ears not always snapping on and the patches not always sticking. A much wider selection of normal Ear Hats now exists, from Tower of Terror Bellhop Ears to Donald Duck Ears, you should still be able to find something you'll like.

The second thing of note is that The Confectionary on Main Street is in very bad shape on its interior. The decorative conveyor belt system hasn't worked in more than three years, there are stains on the ceiling tiles, paint is peeling, and there are many small cracks throughout. Let's hope a refurbishment for the inside is on the way soon. (The outside was redone recently and looks lovely.)

Lot's of Christmas already on display

Water damaged and discolored ceiling - note the non-moving conveyor belt

This week, the Fantasyland construction seems to be really moving along. Notice that they are finally making room for the Seven Dwarfs coaster and excavating the large area in the center of the construction site.

The Beast's castle on snow dusted mountain top.

Mid-center-right in the picture is the pit.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the expansion the framework of the circus tents from Mickey's ToonTown remain to be repurposed as part of the Dumbo Circus Land.

The view from Tomorrowland Grand Prix

Though, it appears that they will be getting new coverings.


You can catch a quick glimpse of the construction site from the train

There is also a re-paving project taking place in the courtyard near the Carousel.

The Emporium got new store map signs and basket holders, which are nice, but give the store much more of a department store feel. New Pascale Plush Bean Bags are on sale from Tangled, and we also took a few shots of the Halloween Decor, which was actually a little better here than in year's past. It's a Halloween Masquerade Ball Family of Mannequins, and that's pretty cool, plus it fits the time period. Kudos to whoever thought about doing that.

Okay, so this one caught us by surprise, as we didn't even know this was happening. Mural tarps now cover the roof of Sunshine Tree Terrace. Now, the main thing that we want to point out is that there are supposed to be real flame torches on the roof of this building, and it adds a lot to the overall feel of Adventureland, but they haven't worked in over two years. We hope they'll come back now that they are redoing the entire roof. In the meantime, Sunshine Tree Terrace is operating with only two registers and a small amount of counter space to use.

Here is a look over the walls at the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse construction. THANK GOODNESS they are maintaining this lovely walk-through attraction. We are sure that there are many Disneylanders who would like to kick Tarzan out of their tree.

The Walt Disney World Railroad is a lovely attraction, but there is something that has been bothering us for years. Why is it that they have you go under an overpass and they haven't even tried to disguise it with a tunnel or something? Isn't this why Walt built berms and tunnels at Disneyland, to keep the real world as far outside the park as possible? The Imagineers are creative people, they could conjure up a cave in no time flat and you'd never know this real world road was even there.

So, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room will never be up to the Anaheim Standards, but it would be nice if we actually knew the capacity of the show for fire codes… (Like, huh?)

That's not very many guests.

and it would be nice if the flames were restored to the pre show. Yes, there are supposed to be flames in the rocks… though they, like so many other things in the park, haven't worked in years, and were not fixed during the refurb (this was a highly budget-cut restoration project)

Thankfully, the birds sing words and the flowers once again croon in in our Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room!

We hope that your Halloween was as amazing as ours was. For Those of you who couldn't be here in Walt Disney World for all Hallows Eve, Miles Breslin created a photo essay of some of the events that went on at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party.

The awesome grave keeper from the Boo to You parade.

The "live" actor situated on the lawn in front of the Haunted Mansion.

The annual Halloween fireworks are all treat.

Ghost dancers in the parade.

Maleficent being a diva… AGAIN.

Dr. Facilier in the villains show.

The parade never fails to impress.

The end to yet another wonderful Halloween Season.

As the spooky fun of Halloween Time begins to fade, "scary" is soon to be replaced with "Peace on Earth" throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America have been placed, though they remain dark as Disney's Hollywood Studios finishes preparing this winter treat. We visited during the magic hour just before dark to tease you with magic yet to come.

The entire Streets of America section on the way to The Now Its Just Getting Sad Back Here Studio Backlot Tour and The Huh? What? Was I Asleep Just Now? Lights, Motors, Action!® Extreme Stunt Show® (Now with Even® More® Legal® Protections®!) is getting decked out in what will eventually be a holiday light show boasting millions of lights.

Lights are strung on every bit of visible facade.

And when the lights go on and the sun goes down, you can imagine how beautiful its going to be back here. Even a Scrooge like me might just feel a glimmer of holiday magic. I said might. Let's not get too carried away just yet.

Disney's animal Kingdom released an adorable video of the animals having a bit of fall fun. Pumpkin playfulness ensues.

Kevin Yee returns this week to share his weekly take on all things Orlando.

  • Potted plants now cover the raised platform where the ‘newspaper robot’ used to stand next to PeopleMover.
  • Flowers around central plaza appear newly planted
  • Swiss Family Treehouse queue being rebuilt with new wood poking over the fence
  • Sunshine Tree Terrace has a themed scrim and ‘working rehab’
  • Sorcerers in the Kingdom displays now spotted also outside Frontierland pin shop and Adventureland “outdoor hallway”
  • Seven Dwarves coaster basement now being dug out
  • Potted trees in Fantasyland behind rehab walls are gone
  • Finally found Mickey pretzels – so far, only at Frontierland cart near Pecos Bill
  • Golden Oak Outpost closed before dusk on Saturday… and its menu has lost the unique flatbreads. Back to just nuggets and fries at this location.
  • Police dog spotted making rounds on the TTC monorail station
  • Fort Wilderness signage not displaying times or prices – looks run down
  • New Disney Dollars have Queen Anne’s Revenge from Pirates on the reverse

Giant Lego Man Washes Ashore in Florida

An 8 foot tall Lego Man washed ashore in Siesta Key, FL (near Sarasota) last week. Could this be a publicity stunt for the new Legoland in Winter Haven? According to reports, in the past, similar Lego men have washed ashore near where Legoland parks are located in Europe. Giant Lego man appears on beach

Cheetah, Cheetah, Pumpkin Eatah?
At Busch Gardens Tampa, the feline residents of Cheetah Run were treated to some giant pumpkins to explore. Though cheetahs are strict carnivores, the cats had a good time checking out the new smells and textures the pumpkins brought.

New Animal Care Facility Construction Progress
Elsewhere at Busch Gardens Tampa, work progresses on the state-of-the-art animal care facility. This new addition to the park will be opening in 2012.

Want to meet up with other Disney fans while at Disney World? Several of the Orlando Parkhopper team members are part of a group that meets every weekend. Join the public Facebook group and get notified of events (the locations are different every time). Drop by to visit the "attraction of the day" with us. Newcomers are welcome!

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We want your photos! Contribute to the Orlando Parkhopper by emailing [email protected] with your submissions. We welcome volunteers for single contributions as well as permanent "Parkhopper" staff.

Thanks to our fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who work so very hard every week to bring you the latest information from the parks. This week's team included:
Thank you for reading, we'd love to hear your comments below.

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Updated 10-31-2011 at 09:57 PM by Orlando Parkhopper



  1. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Amazing update. By far your best yet! Really appreciate the construction shots and lots of beautiful photos throughout.

    Well done!
  2. Fairy Godmother Travel's Avatar
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    Love seeing the Animal Kingdom inhabitants playing with pumpkins!

    The conveyor belt in the candy shop always added a touch of whimsy--hope they get it moving soon.
  3. Jacob Griffin's Avatar
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  4. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice update. It's so disheartening to see the former area's in disrepair.

  5. Maverick's Avatar
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    Fabulous update as always! I laughed, I cried two thumbs up!

    I may be weird for this but I like the overpass, but that could be because I find the whole underground tunnels and backstage city behind the Magic Kingdom fascinating. Its the small glimpse into the hidden world for me.
  6. Gregmh48's Avatar
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    Whoever made the Emporium directory doesn't know the proper name of the castle. ;-)
  7. DisneyResort's Avatar
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    In reference to the Swiss Family Treehouse, I'm a Disneylander and I remember when it was the Swiss Family Treehouse. I like it much better as Tarzan's Treehouse, in much the same way I prefer Pirate's Lair over Tom Sawyer's Island (although technically it's still called Tom Sawyer's Island, even though there's no signage to convey that).
  8. mickeyfan4ever's Avatar
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    thax fot the updadte i cant wait for my arivel to disneyworld 2013
  9. aashee's Avatar
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    Those pictures are absolutely stunning. My Iphone camera doesn't hold a candle to these shots. Well done, I'm loving the idea of a Florida winter!