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.