Observations from the Magic Kingdom: Saturday, March 15, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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. DSC_0323

 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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

 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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Posted on March 25, 2014

9 Responses to “Observations from the Magic Kingdom: Saturday, March 15, 2014”

  • Your photos just pop with color; they look fantastic! Any insight as to your camera and equipment? Did you do any editing to them before posting. Thanks for the update!

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on March 26, 2014, at 1:42 pm EDT

      Hello, CJ! Thanks much for the kind words. I shoot with a Nikon D3100 and edit in Lightroom. I generally don’t do too much in post processing except adjust the lighting some for exposure and such. I occasionally bump the contrast and saturation and have noticed that WordPress does some of that too when photos get uploaded into it.

      • by Daisy Lauren on March 26, 2014, at 8:25 pm EDT

        I love your photos too. I rented a D3200 to play with this weekend. I’m curious how it stacks up to my Canon.

        • by Morgan Crutchfield on March 27, 2014, at 2:29 pm EDT

          Thank you, Daisy, for a kind compliment. I’m interested to hear what you think about the Nikon. I love mine.

  • We are headed to Disney World in mid-November. Can you offer any insights as to how far the construction on the hub might be that late in 2014? Would they ever completely take Wishes off the schedule due to construction like this? Or is there any chance it’s actually done by the time they are setting up for the holidays!?!? (he asks hopefully and knowing the answer is probably NO WAY)

    • by Morgan Crutchfield on March 27, 2014, at 2:30 pm EDT

      Hi Dan. I don’t have a timeline as to what will be where, but I can guarantee you’ll be able to see Wishes. The revamp will likely be pretty far along by the holiday season, but without a timeline it’s hard for me to say what will and won’t be done. I’m betting you’ll have a great time no matter what, though. Thanks for the question!

      • Just an FYI, I’ve read a couple places now that they expect to have the water back within a couple weeks. I don’t know how good that info is and it may be just one bad bit of info getting spread around to different places but we can all hope.

  • Oh, we’ll have a great time for sure, we took the kids the first time 2 years ago and can’t wait to go again. Just excited and nervous about it being as good as the first time! Thanks for all the observation and in the parks blogs, I love the pics, they always make work disappear for a few minutes at lunch!

  • hi Dan. thanks for all the great new info. bringing my 2 grandchildren 2 and 4 for first time this mid aug (only time their parents can go). so of course mk will be the biggest event. so im wondering when will the water be put back in the moat? a shame had to be drained. im sure my littles wont mind lack of water a bit but we adults love the aesthetics of the park since going almost every yr since the 80s.