Our sights return to Magic Kingdom as we take a look at what is now a variety of completed projects around Magic Kingdom, in addition to checking in on a couple of construction projects still underway.
Main Street USA is currently scrim-less for the first time in a long time. The above picture is from November 1st, when the seasons inside Magic Kingdom were as close to “in flux” as you can be when you transition from Halloween to Christmas over the course of about six hours. Most of the Christmas decorations are now up; here on November 1st, the Christmas cheer is probably most obvious on the right where you can sort of see some garlands hanging on The Chapeau and the Mickey wreath wrapped around the lamppost.
The Christmas tree has been installed in Town Square and the nutcrackers have arrived.
Here’s the view down Main Street on the morning of November 4th, a particularly grey day. I wasn’t particularly happy with how the majority of the photos turned out, but maybe I can milk these decorations for all they’re worth and make a whopping two posts out of them – one sunny and one a little more grey.
A moment of zen from Main Star USA pic.twitter.com/xaYIaX0pu7
— josh (@easywdw) November 4, 2018
Here’s a quick little video showing off the first Christmas music of the season on Main Street, in addition to an outstanding typo by yours truly.
A scrim had been hanging over the Firehouse for several months. Above is how the building looked at the end of August.
By the beginning of October, the scrim was coming down.
Now, like most facade projects completed by the Walt Disney Company, the building looks brand new.
Part of the Emporium had also been behind scrims for months.
That building has also emerged looking better than this photo probably implies.
While these types of projects typically “feel” like they take several months longer than they probably should, it’s worth remembering that Disney basically removes and reconstructs the entire building’s facade. It’s a lot more than a pressure wash and a paint job.
In related scrim news, the tarps around Prince Regal Royal Carrousel finally began coming down on November 1st and the carousel is completely unwrapped as of November 3rd.
Here it is on November 4th, looking as vibrant and gorgeous as ever.
The top is also attached for the first time in over a year.
Erin and I are pretty excited to ride it later this week for the first time in a long time. Pay special attention to the hand-painted artwork, which tells the story of Cinderella as the carousel spins.
If you’ve visited during any point between late February and November 2nd, you would have seen something like the above.
Here it is in September.
My estimation is that the work ended up being much more complicated than Disney originally expected as we take a look in October.
Over the last eight months, the Carrousel was occasionally closed in its entirety, in addition to operating for months with the walls and tarps surrounding the majority of the base.
The ride was a little more palatable at night if you kept your eyes closed.
Nearby, the sword in the stone is still missing.
It’s been a few weeks, but hopefully we’ll see its triumphant return.
Back in Storybook Circus, preparations are being made for a new dance party at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I like these bows.
Frozen Holiday Wish, the Cinderella Castle lighting show, debuted November 4th at 6:15pm and runs daily at that time through the end of the year. The exception is November 5th when Magic Kingdom closes at 4:30pm for a cast member celebration. Above is a look at the crane that aids in the Dreamlight installation behind the construction wall last month.
With the lights now up, the area is clear again.
I’ll have an update on the show next week, but the advice on how to see it should be the same as described in this post from last year.
Elsewhere in refurbishments that are taking longer than any of us would like, Liberty Square Riverboat remains closed.
The Riverboat was originally slated to reopen in the middle of July, but that was pushed back to August and then September. Currently, the only guidance is “Late 2018.” Fortunately, those visiting these days will enjoy the Rivers of America flowing as much as 6-inch deep water can.
If you had visited back in August, you would have seen the Rivers drained to mud.
And the bare track winding around Tom Sawyer Island.
These sorts of water pumps are what you typically see after major flooding.
That would have still been better than the view for much of September when the entire area was drained.
Currently, Tom Sawyer Island is closed for refurbishment. It’s expected to reopen December 21st.
There’s been quite a bit of work in Tomorrowland since the “Incredibles Expo,” that turned out to be the opposite of incredible, ended in early September.
The marquee for Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor came down over several weeks in September.
The removal may have something to do with widening the walkway, though I’m not sure this area is any more congested than the Old Fantasyland walkway outside Peter Pan’s Flight, the walkway next to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, or the area around me as people attempt to flee my wrath.
Here’s a wider look from September 5th.
And just about a week later, on September 13th, most of the sign had been removed.
Though the walls remained up for about six more weeks.
Here’s one more shot from September.
The good news is that the walls are now down.
The sad news is the (temporary?) sign now looks like this. I’ve been to Taco Bells that have put more effort into their drive-thru signs.
One wonders what the shelf life for the Laugh Floor is these days. FastPass+ helps fill most shows, but I don’t think the attraction ranks in most people’s top 20 at Magic Kingdom, let alone their top ten. It’s the sort of thing that would fit perfectly in Monstropolis, but perhaps doesn’t have a suitable home in a re-imagined Tomorrowland anchored by Tron on the contemporary end and Space Mountain on the quaint end.
Speaking of Tron, virtually none of the construction is visible from inside the Park, but you would think that would change as the canopy goes vertical. Word is that there’s still some question as to how the roller coaster and the Speedway will coexist basically on top of each other.
As a reminder, here’s the previous Monsters, Inc. sign.
With the circled area representing what’s been removed.
The spinning ball thing was missing from Tomorrowland for several weeks. It looked like it may be another example of Disney removing something to help crowd flow.
But the spinning ball thing is back and probably spinning better than ever, though I haven’t run any tests myself. That seems to bode well for some other ongoing projects like the sword in the stone and perhaps the Monsters, Inc. marquee.
We recently familiarized ourselves with the state of the Space Mountain exit in our Tomorrowland rope drop touring strategy post.
As a reminder, you’ll exit the ride outside as the ramp winds around the building.
It certainly appears like the exit could be re-routed back around inside the building and eventually spit you out next to the entrance. You’d think that would create a bit of a bottleneck with so many people heading towards the standby entrance.
It would be odd to see Disney move a major attraction’s exit from the gift shop to just outside it. On the other hand, this is the current Build-A-Lightsaber setup inside the Light and Power Co.
I’ve been to garage sales with classier setups.
We can at least re-familiarize ourselves with pricing. If you missed yesterday’s Hollywood Studios projects update, the setup at Tatooine Traders next to Star Tours is a lot more sleek. On the other hand, you could probably put pieces together to your heart’s content here in Tomorrowland without anybody bothering you unless they are also dumpster divers looking for a can of half-empty soup or your social security number.
The stage is set for A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas as part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which begins on the 8th.
Tomorrowland Terrace remains closed most days, though we’ll likely see it serving lunch again come Thanksgiving week. Until then, you can enjoy the art on the window covers that’s a little Carousel-of-Progress-esque.
Next to what is now known as “The Purple Wall,” you’ll see this temporary art advertising Disney’s #ShareYourEars Here campaign.
It’s actually pretty neat marketing that goes towards a good cause. You don’t have to take your picture here or in front of the advertisements at the other Parks to participate.
With daylight saving time now ending or starting or whatever is going on with what time it is or isn’t, it may be worth noting Disney’s new partnership with Citizen, which is now “the official timepiece of Walt Disney World and Disneyland.”
In addition to what I’m sure will be a slew of overpriced watches, you’ll now see the watchmaker’s logo on the various clock faces around the Parks.
The fact that they’re willing to sponsor a clock actively rigged with explosives must be a testament to the confidence in their product.
Over in Adventureland, the Club 33 Lounge quietly opened.
You’ll find it just across the bridge into Adventureland and next to Skipper Canteen.
With the thirty-thousand-ish dollar buy-in and the $15,000 a year in dues, the website would admit that it didn’t see a tremendous amount of value in being able to attend a collection of small lounges across the four major theme parks. Sure, you get 50 one-day park hopper tickets a year or something, but I don’t have any friends. You get some number of anytime, any attraction FastPass+ experiences, but I don’t want to ride anything. The membership covers premier passports for a spouse and children under the age of 26, but my twins just turned 27 last month. And you get a handful of daylong VIP tours, which, now that you mention it, may expedite my quick service menu reconnaissance.
But while I don’t care about any of that fluff, Club 33 members can apparently stand out on this balcony and look down at the unwashed masses with pity and disdain.
And this interests me greatly. Certainly I can disparage the Walt Disney Company in a variety of blog posts just as easily from that balcony as I can from home. So if you see somebody folding one-day park hoppers into little paper airplanes and tossing them in the general direction of Crystal Palace, please holler at your boy and then leave my presence immediately.
Speaking of the Adventureland bridge, you might notice that it has recently been replaced.
For a while it was metal.
With absolutely no fanfare whatsoever or any sort of announcement that I can remember, the Jingle Cruise has taken over for the Jungle Cruise again this year.
I’m not a huge Jungle Cruise person, as I don’t really get jokes, but the holiday flair adds a festive element to November and December rides:
Jungle Cruise can see longer waits than you might expect early in the morning with a limited number of boats running and FastPass+ can be a little more difficult to acquire later in the afternoon, making the ride a moderate priority. You’ll have the best luck if you can get here in standby before 10am or keep refreshing FastPass+ availability to find a suitable return time.
Back in Fantasyland, Fantasy Faire is the name of the store located to the right of the entrance to Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
You’ll currently see this display with eat hats decorated by cast members and guests with a variety of pins.
This struck me as a bit odd considering it might be uncomfortable to have a bunch of pin backs pressing into your noggin, potentially stunting your ability to craft hilarious tweets or blog posts about straws.
But it appears like the endgame may be these patches, which you can use to “style your own magic” as the display suggests.
They can either be used as temporary stickers or you can sew them on:
I would guess that the collection will be expanded in the near term and then unceremoniously ended about a year later.
In news that might matter, the final performance of Move It, Shake It is scheduled for December 1st. The new show, which should follow the same idea with more of an emphasis on Mickey and Minnie Mouse, is expected to debut January 18th, 2019. On the same day, Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration, which “will bring new music, dancing and all sorts of other fun” will also debut along with “Limited-Time Magic entertainment and other experiences.” The Dapper Dans will begin singing more songs about Mickey and Minnie and we’ll also see even more merchandise and food honoring our favorite mice.
That should catch us up on what’s happening around Magic Kingdom as far as projects and construction are concerned. We’ll stick around for some food.