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Inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster – The Details

Yesterday we updated you with an overall look at progress on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction site, today we have a collection of photos that focus on the smaller details from within the belly of the attraction. These details come from the portion of… Read More »Inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster – The Details

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster Construction Update from Disney World

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The last attraction to open in the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland expansion is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s a completely new kind of roller coaster with cars that swing back and forth. This allows for tighter corners and a slight increase in the thrill, while still keeping it kid friendly.

If it seems like the project has been taking forever, you’re partly right. Vertical construction of the coaster only began in March of 2012. It is currently expected to open sometime in early summer of 2014, which puts it at a little over two years from dirt to ride opening. Don’t make any plans based on that rumor as it may be pushed back. That’s about the speed for a major new attraction at Disney these days.

Those who have been paying close attention to the blog know I had an emergency surgery to correct a heart defect, so I’ve been limited in what I can do in the parks, but I was able to get out and get some new video and photos from the scene earlier this week.

There is significant progress from my November 6th update. The mountain is starting to look like a mountain, with actual real trees and some artificial ones dotting the show building. Queue and show elements are beginning to be installed and actual testing of cars on the track is occurring. Not on the day I was there unfortunately, but I did capture some video of the mountain to share with you:

Many more pictures of the construction site below the jump:

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FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part 2: Challenges and Solutions Ahead

One tap of the MagicBand and Guests access their Disney FastPass+ attractions which can be secured before they even leave home. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

One tap of the MagicBand and Guests access their Disney FastPass+ attractions which can be secured before they even leave home.

The switch from Legacy Fastpass (where select attractions were able to be reserved on a day-of basis as many times as you could according to the rules) to the Next-Gen technology driven Fastpass+ (where most major attractions and many minor ones now offer FP+ entry, but you’re limited to just three FP+ a day) is nearly as drastic a change as the transition from the famous A-B-C-D-E-Ticket ride coupons to a passport system where one ticket gets you in the park and on every attractions.

My memory is a little hazy, but I don’t recall guests getting so worked up about that switch. That’s because it was largely a switch in the method of accounting in the guest’s vacation ledger. With ride coupons park admission was merely a token charge, the real money was in the coupons. So grandma could take the kids and she would only have to pay a small amount for herself. Single admission changed that model forever. The new model meant Disney got more at the gate, but a savvy guest could work the system by staying from open to close (we called them marathon days) and ride many times more attractions than they could with a coupon book. Plus they wouldn’t be stuck with a bunch of unused A-tickets at the end of the day. So in the end, the ledger balanced for the guest.

A certain camp of Disney Imagineers believe this switch was the worst thing to happen to the parks. That the move away from ride coupons and to a single passport, meant that new attractions couldn’t be cost justified based on coupon purchases, that guest behavior was unleashed and less predictable, that minor attractions suffered in attendance, and that it made more difficult for a family to come and enjoy the park if they had to pay a large chunk up front just to get in. The counter arguments were: that most families on vacation had a set amount to spend and they’d spend it on passports or ride coupons just the same, that allowing guests to experience the park without worrying about buying another E-ticket for Space Mountain provided a better guest experience, and that the real money for Disney was in hotels, food, and souvenirs. Read More »FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part 2: Challenges and Solutions Ahead

FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part I: My Magic Kingdom Experience

Update: Welcome to NY Times readers. Please find the latest news on MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ here. See all of our coverage here.

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I went to the Magic Kingdom on Sunday to test how the FastPass+ (FP+) experience would work for someone who has time for a mid-day 4 hour visit. I’m still building back up to theme park conditioning, so anything more than that exhausts me. I’m a local and haven’t yet booked a night at at Disney resort, so I don’t own a MagicBand. Even though FP+ has been running in place of the paper (aka legacy) Fastpass system at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since before Christmas, this was my first experience with FP+.

Given that the FP+ system had been live for a few days already, I made sure to read various discussion boards about other people’s experiences and tried to determine an optimal strategy for myself and my son. Unfortunately, almost nothing turned out the way I thought it would.

My first attempt at accessing FP+ was a strikeout. I had read a few accounts of how guests were able to make FP+ reservations at the TTC via Guest Relations cast members armed with tablets. When we arrived at the TTC via the parking lot tram around 10:45AM there were no Guest Relations cast members to be found. Disney might have just been experimenting with that service earlier in the week. In theory, almost everyone arriving at the TTC is on the way to the Magic Kingdom, but you don’t really know until they’ve actually swiped their cards at the front gate. So I can see why they pulled that option.

After a quick ride on the monorail to the main gate, we immediately headed to the Main Street Opera House to score our FP+ reservations. I entered and went right to the MyMagic+ terminals, which would let me make a FP+ reservation if I was a Disney resort guest, but apparently not if I was a day-guest. There was a separate queue for that. A queue with a long-line as it turns out.Read More »FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part I: My Magic Kingdom Experience

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Construction Update from Disney World

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Construction on the last attraction remaining to be completed for the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom has taken some exciting leaps since we last checked in. Although they weren’t testing on the day I was there, as you can see above, a complete train has been added to the tracks of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. That’s an exciting bit of progress, but the attraction still is set to open sometime in 2014 with no official date yet announced.

Here’s more video from around the mountain and through the peek windows. Sadly the windows are getting progressively dirtier, but you can still make out most of the detail. I’m most excited about how the buildings that will house the entrance and exit queue are coming along. Notice the steel construction, gotta be hurricane proof in Orlando.

Thanks for watching. I’ve added a few photos below the jump if you can’t watch the video:

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Child clocked by Disney Dancer in Parade, Gets Black Eye

One of my favorite entertainment elements at the Magic Kingdom is the “Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it Street Party.” The key word in that title is ‘street’ as unique to any parade, guests are invited into the street to dance with Disney characters and… Read More »Child clocked by Disney Dancer in Parade, Gets Black Eye

Magic Kingdom Update – Mine Train, Pirates Adventure, and More

It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to take a long stroll around the Magic Kingdom and snap some photos. Most of New Fantasyland may already be open, but there is a lot of work going on at the Mine Train and elsewhere in the park. There still have been no official opening dates for the Princess Fairytale Hall or the Mine Train. We’re hearing that the princess meet and greet has been pushed back. I hope that means they’re adding some upgrades.

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Starting outside you can see that horizontal construction has begun on the new bus loop for the Magic Kingdom.

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Larger buses will eventually be entering and exiting here. More buses should translate to easier connections to other Disney parks and the new Disney Springs

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