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Weekend Update – Epcot, Magic Kingdom

We managed to make it to two parks this weekend and was surprised by a few things. There was the expected walls in Fantasyland and further progress on the new restaurant in Mexico, but wait until you see a couple of these pics.

Lot’s more vertical construction visible in Mexico.

They’ve started to lay the floor for the exterior deck, which appears to be a lot bigger than we previously saw.

That’s because some of the construction walls are down. I didn’t capture it in this pic, but the interior floor is still dirt at this phase. That’s a lot of outside seating.

One more pic before we leave EPCOT below the cut and then a whole lot of news from the Magic Kingdom

This perfume display in France has changed since the Flower and Garden festival opened. There used to be a knob you had to twist to get the smell to be released. That day, I watched guest after guest try to figure it out and fail. Now that knob is gone but I couldn’t smell anything nor figure out how to get it to come out. Hmmm. Something is still not quite right. Plus some of the flower exhibits in this area were showing some wear and tear.

Today we entered the Magic Kingdom right after rope drop. Just inside the bag check area a generically costumed cast member was handing out park maps, but not to everyone. I walked up and asked for one and she said “Oh, you want a coupon?” Of course, I did. But I had no idea that’s what it was at the time. I wonder what criteria she was told to use for handing them out.

20% discount for an early or late lunch was a pretty good deal. But I heard that Hollywood Studios had a buy-one, get-one free entree deal, which is potentially a better deal. We went to Columbia Harbor House right at opening and there were about 10 families there. All of us had the coupon. So if the goal is to drive early dining, I think it’s working.

For the record, I want to see more of this thing. But if there is going to be a discount, a coupon that’s randomly handed out at the gate shouldn’t be required. Rather it should be open to everyone who dines during those times.

In Town Square, Exposition Hall has started its remodeling phase. That means one of my favorite places in the park is now gone. The little theater that showed a few early Disney cartoons was a cool respite from the sun and crowds. I hope something equivalent returns when it reopens.

As part of the construction this wheelchair ramp has been added. It’s not perfectly themed, but I guess that’s understandable if it’s really temporary. If it’s going to be here for a few months, it would be nice to see better themed hand rails added.

The expanded deck for the Fireworks dessert is open. I’m not impressed with some of the work. There is painted plywood in places, which looks bad. But the extra space will be nice and the new planters on the outside are good design. If they put hanging plants in them, it should have a wonderful look.

I’m posting this as my Merchandise find of the week. It’s a great t-shirt design and could be worn to any Grateful Dead concert too.

If you hadn’t heard the walls are up in Fantasyland. Get use to this for the next 2-3 years. We’ve lost the Pooh playground, Ariel meet and greet, and the new DVC location they had just finished building.

More walls.. at least the colors change every couple dozen meters.

And there is the inevitable stroller parking. This will be chaos in the summer.

Dumbo remains open for now.

as is all of Toon Town Fair.

I’m liking the quotes and Stanley is getting some great sponsorship value.

Pooh and Tigger have been moved to Toon Town Fair. Alas, the smoking section has not yet been moved. Please stop torturing the train riders and kids with the foul odor and move them somewhere away from everyone else.

I have to thank my son for discovering this. There is some construction going on across the train tracks from Fantasyland Station. Too early to tell what it is. It might must be parking for construction workers or a power substation, but it could be a new show building for an as yet un-announced attraction. Whatever it is, the backstage access road can be seen from across the area. Any ideas.

Tinker Bells treasures has added a new photo studio. This is getting a little too Knott’s Berry Farm for me. I’m assuming there was a demand or they wouldn’t have given up the valuable merchandise floor space. That said, no body was in line when I walked by.

Peter Pan is getting some facade work done. It just had a great sign upgrade a few years ago. But the facade did need some work. I wonder if they can fix up the queue some while they’re at it. Add some interactive elements.

And that’s our tour this week. I hope you liked it. Let me know if you have any questions about the state of the parks.

15 thoughts on “Weekend Update – Epcot, Magic Kingdom”

  1. Very interesting and informative. I’d love to see more tours like this in the future. Great job! Thanks!

  2. John, Disney uses the coupons to keep track of how popular the promotion is and if it’s working. I imagine if it’s successful then the mouse may consider lowering prices for certain times during the day to better control crowds and increase business during those hours.

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  5. John,
    That HC ramp in front of Exposition Hall has been in place since mid March at least when I was there last. We were stuck on it trying to get out of the park before/during Spectromagic since I used to use the old arcing ramp that’s in the area under renovation as a bypass around the parade watchers. Now its virtually impassable. It must not have been up long then because no one was keeping it clear and staff members couldn’t get people to move at all once the parade began. It took 10 mins after the last float passed for us to get past the train tracks and on our way out the door. I’m just happy we didn’t have our little one with us that night.

  6. Wow, Magic Kingdom is looking like California Adventure with all the walls. Hopefully it’s not as claustrophobic and perhaps they can get bits of the construction done so the public isn’t staring at those walls for 2 years. Loving the outdoor seating @ Mexico, that’s going to be prime seating for IllumiNations and on cooler Florida days.

  7. The photo studio in Castle Couture (it’s no longer Tinkerbell’s Treasures) is for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I have no idea if non-BBB users can get their photo done there as well, but it was put in there so that the princesses can get their pictures taken.

    As for Peter Pan, I work in Fantasyland and I believe it’s just facade work. They would have to close the queue if they wanted to add interactive features. (Not that it’s not a possibility; just that I don’t think they’re going to do that with this current work.)

    Disney Girl :)

  8. When I was small, I remember the theater actually being IN the theater on Main street. Having it in the exposition hall never made a whole lot of sense, but it certainly was a favorite place of mine to visit, to cool off, and to enjoy some classic Disney. Sadly, I don’t think enough people actually knew about it. With virtually nobody ever using it, I wonder if Disney has given it the boot.

    I certainly hope not.

  9. I noticed the problem with the smoking area in Toon Town last week – you can’t avoid walking through it to get to Pooh & Tigger’s new greeting area, and the train station offloads right into it. I was quite unhappy about that and mentioned when we had to walk through it that it should be moved.

  10. Was all the water drained around the castle when you were there? We were there a couple weekends ago and they had it drained. They also had a large sheet-like thing around the bottom, covering up the siding of the castle. It looked normal far away, but up close it was rather ugly!

  11. It was still drained on Sunday. I think they’re doing the best job they can for the work they’re doing. Unfortunately there is no real off-season for the parks anymore. So they’re stuck with bad options no matter when they decide to refurbish an attraction or building.

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