Okay, there’s quite a lot to cover in this update from the Magic Kingdom, including some big rumors, so let’s get right to it. First off, the “Let The Memories Begin” campaign has begun and new ephemera is beginning to roll out. First Napkins,
and then cups… and also guide maps (not pictured, alas).
The tour guide courtyard is behind tarps, pretty tarps at least.
And the confectionery is similarly Christo’d.
In Adventureland they are preparing to replace the original bridge into the land…
and will use this temporary bridge to provide access in while work goes on.
Work goes on elsewhere in Adventureland too. This area has been used for stroller parking as of late.
Some roofwork is being done here.
And the Pirates restrooms are getting a much needed update.
You probably heard about the little attic fire at Tiki Room last week. It resulted in some water damage and reportedly destroyed at least one audio-animatronic, the Iago figure. Not sure if the damage visible in this picture is from the fire, but they did have the attraction doors open to help air things out. I didn’t see any work going on.
Meanwhile there is not yet any signage indicating that Tiki will be down for an extended time. Just a cast member doing centurion duty.
Splash Mountain is down for an extended refurbishment. While they’re not yet adding interactive queue elements (those are still in design phase), they are adding lap bars to the ride logs. There will be one lapbar for each row, similar to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The longer loading time involved with checking the lapbar will have the effect of reducing capacity on Splash Mountain. So that interactive queue will become more necessary.
I’m also hearing that WDI is taking advantage of this downtime to install better quality security cameras. The type of cameras that will be necessary when Next-Gen technology is rolled out across the park. In theory, Disney will be able to use Facial Recognition combined with RFID technology to provide you a DVD full of photos and actual videos of you on various attractions in the parks.
Work goes on around the Cinderella’s Royal Table level of the castle. New fiberglass panels are going in to replace rusted materials. Meanwhile we have tarps. Not exactly the best view for those who booked a pricey meal.
This photo shows approximately where the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction will be located. It’s likely to be the last thing to open in the Fantasyland Expansion as the Dumbo ride mechanism will have to be moved before construction can begin on the indoor/outdoor ride.
Progress continues on the Be Our Guest Restaurant and Belle Meet and Greet area. They’re starting to work on some of the external ironwork that will support the rockwork that will hide the show building.
Work has begun on the Gaston’s Pub area….
and steel girders are up outside the show building for Voyage of the Little Mermaid. When the DCA version of the attraction was at this stage, omnimover track was already being installed and tested. I suspect the Florida version is close to that stage as well.
Toontown closes February 11th, but already a few elements are starting to disappear.
This is where Dueling Dumbo’s will be located. They’ve started to survey utilities and erected a well. That hill where the trees are is approximately where the tent with the interactive game queue will be. One of the Dumbo rings will be just on the other side of those utility boxes.
To make that possible, the Speedway will have to be shortened just a bit. Work is now underway to tighten the final corner by about 10 feet. Not a lot of room, but needed to squeeze the two dumbo rings in-between the speedway and the existing Barnstormer coaster.
The last bit of news contains two big rumors. First is that the abandoned Fantasyland Skyway station has finally succumbed to neglect and the elements. It’s structurally unsound and will need to be dismantled. The second rumor is that WDI has an idea for this area that is part of the long range goal of solving the Peter Pan queue issue.
When Next-Gen technology is rolled out, one of the prime candidates for an improved queue experience is Peter Pan. Alas, it’s also the most challenging queue since it is the most space constrained of all Fantasyland queues. The recent switch of entrance and exit for It’s A Small World was done not for internal consistency, but to shift the external portion of the queue over to the Skyway station side of Fantasyland.
This clears up space in the Fantasyland walkway for Disney to slightly move the Peter Pan facade forward to make the queue wheelchair accessible. They’ll also move the bathrooms across the way to the space where the Fantasyland Station is now. That restroom space will extend the Peter Pan queue adding room for interactive elements.
The end result will include a possible rerouting of the pathway from Fantasyland to Liberty Square. I know I’ve lobbied for the Fantasyland Skyway Station to become a princess meet and greet, but I’m willing to sacrifice that if Disney can figure out how to make the Peter Pan queue manageable and enjoyable.
There are plans that are even more blue-sky than what I’ve described above. Keep in mind that none of this has been given a budget yet. So plans may change.
That’s it for today’s update. Thanks for joining me. As always, please do send me rumors and news for future updates.