There’s so much going on in the Magic Kingdom right now that I’ll just jump right in. You may have heard about the Festival of Fantasy Parade that started on March 9. And it’s so spectacular that I gave it a whole post here. Take some time to give it a read if you’re coming for FOF in the near future, or just look at the pictures if you can’t get to World any time soon.
Recently, Disney announced that it was starting major a major revamp of the “hub,” the Magic Kingdom’s center section, so that the park would better handle crowds during peak season, parades, and fireworks shows. Construction has already begun, and if you’re coming to the Kingdom in the next year, be ready to see a park very different from the one you may be used to. First, you’re going to notice cranes (sometimes up to three at once) and the refurbishment going on at the castle.
The turrets and the facings on the castle are also currently being painted a silver color, which is a primer underlay for the usual blue. The blue will return, but in the meantime the silver makes for an interesting look. You’re also going to see multiple scrims (tarps) on buildings that are being refurbished like the one above.
Because the changes to the hub require that new concrete be laid for walkways and seating areas, the moats around the castle and Main Street, U.S.A., have been drained.
The sights around these ex-waterways aren’t the prettiest, and it’s going to ruin some pictures that you may have taken previously. Also departing are some familiar landmarks like the Rose Garden and the Swan Boat Dock.
The construction also involves a lot of walkway tear-up, so you’ll see construction walls and tarp covers in quite a few places. Disney got funny with the one below, printing the fence cover with the eponymous planters that tend to go up when they’re trying poorly to hide something that’s coming.
While it sounds like (and really is) a lot of not-so-pleasant change, there are things that have already undergone construction that are looking much better. The fencing has been removed from the courtyard between Casey’s Corner and The Crystal Palace and the walkway widened, and the outcome is a much more open area.
Eventually, the hub will look like the concept drawing below and will likely be a much more pleasant place to be when the Kingdom gets crowded. Changes are expected to be complete by 2015.
But there are other things going on around the park, too, and not all of them are unpleasant. The #INCREDIBLESsuperdanceparty (daily in Tomorrowland starting at 5 p.m.) has taken some flak for its hashtagged name, but the night we were there the party was jumping, and the characters were in close interaction with the guests. The music made for a fun ride around the PeopleMover track, though I’m sure some would not appreciate the disruption in what for many is a peaceful break in the day.
If you’ve never ridden the PeopleMover around sunset, give it a try and see if you can’t snap some photos. It’s gorgeous up there.
In snack news, Cheshire Cafe across from Mad Tea Party has some new cake cups. If you haven’t tried these, they’re a lot less messy and, in my opinion, a lot more tasty than a regular cupcake. They’re layers of cake and frosting with fun decorations. The two new varieties are marble cake with cute white chocolate bunny ears and a candy daisy, and a strawberry shortcake version with a candy Queen of Hearts playing card. Cake cups can be purchased with a snack credit, should be shared to avoid sugar coma, and should always be consumed with a cold milk standby.
Over in Fantasyland, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is nearing completion. Landscaping has been added, and construction walls have been removed around the attraction. The ride has been testing with empty cars for several weeks, and the opening date has been announced as May 2. There are rumors that soft openings will begin around April 20, but take that with a grain of salt, as all rumors should be taken. I’ve included multiple pictures of the ride to hopefully give you all the details you’re looking for.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train height requirement has been announced as being significantly lower than the other coasters in the Kingdom at 38 inches, indicating that this ride will be a little more tame than originally predicted.
For those of you who are big “it’s a small world” fans, the ride celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this month, and a special website with fun activities has been created for the festivities. Check it out at SmallWorld50.com.
I’ll leave you with a shot of Princess Fairytale Hall, which in less than a month will be getting two new princesses, Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Check here for more details on that arrival, and until next time, keep it magical! ~M