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Winnie The Pooh attraction at Magic Kingdom opens with new Queue

My wife took the kid to the Magic Kingdom today and reported that parts of the new queue for Winnie-The-Pooh attraction were open today. The queue is part of Imagineering’s attempt to make waiting in line less like waiting and more like fun. This is achieved primarily through the addition of interactive elements and new ideas about the flow of the queue. Initial results from Pooh indicated they have achieved the fun part, but the jury is out if it will stand up to the quirks of guest behavior.

We’ll keep a closer eye on this project going forward. In the meantime, follow below the jump for more photos and details of the new interactive queue.

As you can see above, the new queue enters to the right of the relocated tree house of Mr. Sanders (aka Winnie-The-Pooh’s house). You then proceed around the back of the house and into the queue area.

This is the approximate area where the fast pass machines and the old ticket booth / Kodak booth were located. As you can see there are no machines here, but there is a FastPass queue (it loads near the entrance to the shop). For now guests have to get their Winnie-The-Pooh Fast Pass tickets from the machines at Philharmagic. No word on what the long term plan is here.

This part of the queue is still blocked off, but it is the first interactive area that families will encounter. The ‘grownups’ queue around the outside while the kids play in the middle.

The second interactive area continues with a grownup queue (that light brown path) and a kids play area nearby. I have to wonder about how well the adults will police themselves when one has to go get their child who doesn’t want to end playtime as the queue moves on? Will the queue wait for that parent to retrieve their child(ren) or will it just move on leaving the family to rejoin the queue where they can?

My wife said this part of the queue was particularly well done. Including this vegetable patch.

Those are gophers, but they’re not Gopher. He’s still in the ride.

Once you turn the corner into the building, you encounter these large interactive screens. They start about 1 foot off the ground, so all ages can enjoy, and simulate a dripping wall of honey. When a guest starts to push the honey around various Pooh characters are revealed. I’m pretty sure that the Imagineers included this as a metaphor for the current state of theme park designers vs the budget cutters in Burbank.

In the final stage of the queue, you can see how they’ve totally done away with the metal poles and replaced them with a timber motif. They’ve also done away with the disabled access issues by widening the stand-by queue to accommodate electric scooters.

According to my wife there are still some kinks to be worked out. The actual queue is much shorter with much of the old space for switchbacks given over to interactive elements. The fast pass queue misses all the interactive elements, which some may see as a bad thing.

I’m particularly impressed with the new theme elements of the queue. The brick and wood look and feel fits in naturally with the building next door (a tudor style facade) and, presumably, will mesh well with the Fantasyland expansion that’s currently under way. Once you’re inside the building the color scheme and design elements could use some help, if you ask me.

9 thoughts on “Winnie The Pooh attraction at Magic Kingdom opens with new Queue”

  1. Pingback: Alltop Disney

  2. Looks good, but… how long until the interactive elements look worn, distressed, discolored, etc. You know with thousands of hands ‘moving honey’ all day long, those screens are going to look terrible in about 6 months. How many disgruntled parents are there going to be trying to get back in line after they round up their children? Will there be a couple of cast members stationed throughout the line to keep traffic moving and kids from climbing onto the gopher hill? I remember ‘back in the day’, cast members would be stationed at the entrance to the attraction, you might run into one or two in the queue, sweeping trash, making sure guests were behaving properly and then there would be two in the load area. Now at some attractions, there might only be two cast members in the load area…

  3. As a cast member on the Pooh ride, a few things:

    1. To Patrick, above: we currently have cast members stationed throughout the queue to make sure the kids aren’t climbing the gophers, but I don’t know how long that will last. I realize this is a big play area, but in my opinion, the parents should be watching their children to see if they’re climbing on/touching things they aren’t supposed to, but unfortunately that’s not happening.

    It’s very stressful for us cast members because whenever someone gets hurt (lots of kids walking on the uneven brick walls), we (Disney, we cast members, etc etc) are the first to get blamed when half the time, the parents are the ones putting the kids up on the brick walls and yes, even into the gopher areas. I even witnessed parents staring at their kids as the kids threw mulch into the gopher holes. So I don’t know what’s going to happen with that.

    2. Re: this article–the lines for the queue are bigger, but electric scooters still aren’t allowed in the queue. It’s not that they can’t fit there when they can, it’s that there is no room for them at the unload area of the ride. There’s barely any room to drive one of those straight without blocking the exit, try having to turn an ECV around in one of those little spaces. (The only electric vehicles allowed–that have ever been allowed–are the electric wheelchairs that have joysticks. Those are allowed because they are boxy like wheelchairs (and not oblong like other ECVs) and therefore can fit-though still with some trouble, but not as much.)

  4. I hate to say it but this looks horrible. I like the idea of interactive queues but so far none of them have met up to the disney level that I expect. The elements are sort of tacky and when it is all put together is looks very incoherent. Maybe it looks good in person but yikes, I expected better of disney. I did however like how they incorporated the tree into the entrance, that at least looked nice

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