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Magic Kingdom Weekend Update – Part I

Had a great time in the Magic Kingdom today (once I got into the MK at least). There are plenty of noteworthy changes at the park: the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom was open for guests in testing mode, construction was going full bore, and a few surprises were in order. This is a long update with 28 pictures. So I broke it up into two parts. But it might become three or more, who knows. Stay tuned.

Alright then. On with the show.

We arrived at the TTC only to find the Express and Resort monorail lines down. Everyone was being directed to the ferry boats. Without knowing how long the monorails would be down for, we decided to take the ferry.

A giant crane hanging over Cinderella Castle is not really what you want to see when you’re arriving at the Magic Kingdom.

However, when you’re arriving via ferry boat, this is an even worse sight — a ferry still in the dock. We didn’t have to wait as long this week as we did last week (about 6 minutes of waiting this time, about 12 minutes last week). But even more frustrating was the fact that both monorail lines came back to life while we were stuck in the middle of the lake and started delivering guests from TTC to the main entrance ahead of us.

With both a monorail and a ferry arriving at the same time bag check lines were long. I chose a shorter queue, but ended up waiting even longer than most as the Security Guard actually found something prohibited in a bag a few people in front of me. A small glass bottle of alcohol (serious, sneak it in in your pockets or a plastic container if you have to people. You’re not frisked, just your bags) and a mid-sized kitchen knife. There was also a little bit of a language barrier. Everything was handled professionally, but with only limited bag check lines open, it was just upping my frustration level to stuck in a line that was not be moving.

I know we hit the trifecta of bad luck, but I have to think that a guest’s arrival at the park is an area of the show still in need of much work. Starting off with a frown on your face is a bummer, you know.

Finally, we saw this sign and I mentally prepared myself for immersion in the magic.

Let’s get into the magic below the jump:

Did I say magic? I meant vinyl tarps. Well, at least this is better than the brown tarps we saw last weekend.

More Vinylmation, er tarps. I’m starting to think that they could just build a whole replica Magic Kingdom out of these vinyl tarps. Sort of like the fake town in the classic movie Blazing Saddles, only we could charge $80 a day for foreign guests to visit instead of blowing it up. I’m sure they’d never know the difference. The real MK could then get all its refurbishments done at the same time instead of dragging it out over years.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom was open for testing today. I’ll have a separate post on this later this week. In short, I think it has potential.

The bridge over the castle moat was getting some TLC. Weirdly the parade was limited to going up and down main street, and around the hub. But no problems with the bridge here. Instead it was for a different reason we’ll see later.

Here’s the reason that crane was up. Time to take down the Christmas lights from the castle.

Here’s the reason the parade was limited to Main Street and the hub. They’ve cut large sections of the pavement in Frontierland. Looks like they’re planning on fixing the slope here. It’s a little steep for some of the parade floats. A more gentle angle will be better for every one.

This video is from Kevin Yee. It shows a very unfortunate piece of bad show. Every animatronic on the whole finale boat in Splash Mountain is broke. This is awful. At some point you have to shut down the ride until you can make it show ready again. I think they’re definitely past that point here. Anyone know if this was a short term thing or part of a larger problem?

For reasons we won’t go in to here, we made multiple visits to First Aid today. The nurses there are always pleasant and exceedingly helpful. The biggest problem is this horrible door/counter situation. Lately the nurses have taken to just greeting guests out in the foyer instead of behind the counter. But wheelchairs still have a very difficult time navigating the turn and it means there is a lot of walking around and disappearing backstage instead of staying with guests. I’d really like to see this fixed with a counter similar to what they have at EPCOT Center’s first aid station. .

On to Fantasyland where the new restrooms are expected to open later this year. They’ve finally started some serious earth moving behind the tarps they added last week. The addition of these restrooms will allow Imagineering to fix the dreaded Peter Pan queue. So we’re all looking forward to that.

The closure of the stroller parking has necessitated some wider distribution of the kid carriages. Here they’re taking up about half of the walkway. Not too bad as far as a traffic impact. But I could see it getting a lot busier and the strollers could become an issue.

Work is already underway on the Fast Pass side of the queue for Peter Pan. The cast member said this was not related to adding any interactive elements.

One last shot of that crane. It’s parked pretty much in the wide open behind the castle. Why can’t they put one of those vinyl tarps up here to hide this yellow monster?

Thanks for making it this far. Part two will focus largely on the new Fantasyland construction. Even after Dumbo closing, there’s a lot to see.

12 thoughts on “Magic Kingdom Weekend Update – Part I”

  1. Yikes, shouldn’t removing the lights be something done overnight? This terribly ruins the magic! I feel like it’s something Walt never would have allowed

    1. Think about how hard it is to clamber on your own house roof removing lights – then think about doing it in the dark on something like Cinderella’s Castle. It’s the drawback of the more elaborate shows they’re doing. More elaborate shows = more elaborate setup = more time required to do setup and takedown.

      And if they had to move the crane in/out every night, it would reduce the amount of time available to work by at least an hour or two, possibly longer — which would mean removing the lights would be stretched out over an even longer period of time, which would reduce the number of hours available to do other things at night.

      It’s all about tradeoffs.


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  4. Constructionland! Yay!

    But really, as a passholder, I can’t believe how run-down areas of that park even after all the refurbs. The other three parks (which are newer, yes, and less crowded with shorter hours) seem in much better condition. Magic Kingdom is almost embarrassing with things like Splash and Fantasyland gridlock.

  5. What a mess, a real shame if it’s someones first visit, it sort of spoils it, I didn’t like all the alternation before we left mid jan but it’s so much worse now it seems, thanks for your update.

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  7. Seems like MK park is undergoing huge renovations and from what I have been reading it needs it! Add in the fantasyland expansion, and he time of year its unfortunate to have so much work going on at the same time. Lets hope we will have a better, bigger, smarter park very soon

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  11. We’ve visited MK this time of year twice and usually have pictures with the crane. MEH you get over it. they really do it in a few days, which when you think of the number of lights, and the height of them, is pretty impressive.

    Hopefully Splash will get some TLC soon

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