photo update


It’s off-season again at the Magic Kingdom and that means construction walls are already popping up all over the park. We have a look at a few of the changes going on around the park that are visible from on-stage. I don’t have a lot of pictures of the Halloween decor because I’ll be heading to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tonight, but there are some ‘Fall’ decorations you might appreciate.

This time of year at the parks is one of my favorites. The weather starts to chill and the crowds begin to thin. That means us locals finally get a chance to go on those new and major attractions we’ve been avoiding all summer due to long lines. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Anna & Elsa meet and greet anyone?

For now, all the heavy construction action is going on over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs. But I would not be entirely suprised to hear that the Magic Kingdom will get something new when it comes to the Star Wars attractions that will be added to the parks.

Finally, although I don’t have any photos of it, the crane is back to install the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights for Christmas season. You’ll just have to find a unique angle to take that castle photo from. Also, if you haven’t already seen it, don’t miss our September update from the Magic Kingdom Plaza / Hub construction project.

More photos below the jump:


As we have posted before, the Central Plaza, or hub, at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is undergoing an update. The finished version will have more of a park like setting, with ample walking space to navigate around parades and shows, more outdoor dining seating, plus special viewing areas for fireworks and more.

Since our previous update Disney has added sand and earth to provide a way for construction vehicles to get to and from each side of the moat. At few more of the structures have been removed. Most of the progress has been made on the Crystal Palace side of the hub with extra dirt brought in to level the ground. There has also been some work on the paths around the entrance to Adventureland.

I do find it interesting that they’ve essentially given up trying to keep water out of the area on the Tomorrowland side. It may account for how slowly the project is progressing. But given all the rain in Central Florida, I’m not surprised.

More photos below the jump for those who can’t watch the brief video:


The Central Plaza / Hub area of the Magic Kingdom is scheduled to receive a major improvement to the walk-ability and flow from a guest perspective. We covered that story previously. But here’s a basic recap: a second ring of walkways will be added to the hub, new gardens will replace part of the moat and can be used as fireworks viewing party locations, the food vending and castle show out buildings will get makeovers, and lastly (but not least) Casey’s Corner and the Ice Cream Parlor will get expanded seating areas.

Now we’re back with the first of many updates tracking the progress of this major upgrade. Disney plans to take their time and make changes in small chunks so as not to disturb too much of the park’s central plaza at once, but some stuff just can’t be avoided. We’ll try and highlight how that might affect future visits as we go along.

As a starting point, here’s a short video with a look at how the hub looks as construction gets under way:

The end result will be something new for the Magic Kingdom style parks, but I think it will work. See our gallery of additional images below the jump:


As we saw in February’s 2nd update, the walls are down around a small section of Snow White Mountain at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It will be the last area to open as part of Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland expansion. Since February a lot more landscaping work has been done, to the point where it is practically a forest in some parts. But in other areas there is still a ways to go on just covering the dirt. As we saw in the ride-through POV video, there is also a lot of finished touches on buildings and interior sets.

We still have no word on an official opening date, but some say soft opens could come as soon as late April or early May. We do know that the media event will be the last few days of April. Cast member previews usually start either shortly before media events or shortly after them and then once cast members are done, annual passholders get a chance, and finally soft openings. But sometimes that’s all thrown out the window too. So don’t make any plans until it is official or if you do make plans, have a backup ready in case it isn’t ready. Those coming in June should most likely be able to ride, but nothing is certain. This is a completely unique ride system that Disney had built. Nothing like it exists.

As usual, we have both video and photos from all around Snow White Mountain.

Photos are below the jump:

The walls are down around a small section of Snow White’s mountain at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland expansion. So we’re back with a second update on the roller coaster this month. Work by Disney’s artisans and craftsmen (and women) appears to be is progressing at a rapid pace now. When workers aren’t putting finishing touches on the show details others are testing the cars on the track and working out the kinks of the dispatch and safety system.

Still no word on an official opening date, but some say soft opens could come as soon as April. Here’s video of taken of the newly open area yesterday as well as updates from all around Snow White’s Mountain.

Many more photos of the newly revealed vista and other progress on Snow White’s Mountain below the jump:


After Comcast’s CEO made it clear yesterday that Universal plans to challenge Disney for a larger slice of the Orlando travel market, it makes sense to check in on the progress of Universal Orlando’s next salvo in the theme park wars – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion.

It’s 2014. At some point this year, Universal plans to open Diagon Alley to teems of Harry Potter fans young and old. They’re definitely making progress.

The London facade that faces into the park is absolutely huge. You can’t even see much of the Diagon Alley area beind those walls, but it’s big too. But the real giant of the bunch is the show building for the Gringott’s bank attraction. That will disappear behind theming, I hope, although you can see a little bit of it poking through right now.

Follow below the jump for many more photos:


Downtown Disney is at the start of a multi-year project that will transform it into a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex called Disney Springs. With construction of the first parking garage underway, things are getting serious. Over the weekend, I stopped by to see how traffic and parking was flowing.

It turns out things aren’t too bad. However, Disney is being crafty with its directions to open parking lots. The T-Rex and marketplace parking lots will always fill up early on busy days, but there was still plenty of parking down by Cirque du Soliel’s La Nouba, even though the street signs all directed guests to park and one of the two remote parking lots across the street. I followed the signs just to see where they led and ended up parking at Team Disney building. It was actually a pleasant experience with a shuttle that picks up and drops off right at La Nouba. I avoided the unpleasant hunt for a parking spot and only added a few minutes delay in waiting for the shuttle. You can walk across the street if you desire.

At Downtown Disney itself, there are walls everywhere, a bit more demolishing has occurred, and they have started construction on what will be the first new building of Disney Springs. That and more in our photo tour below the jump: