We’ll spend some time looking around Magic Kingdom to see what projects are currently going on or have recently concluded. The majority of those projects are either just outside or just inside the entrance. The picture above is from this past Wednesday afternoon.
Since then, Disney has installed a proper scrim over the front of the Train Station that should remain until it reopens from refurbishment, which is currently scheduled for the 3rd of March.
For a facade as large as the Train Station, it usually takes about a week to go from the brown tarps going up to when we see the more attractive printed scrim. My assumption is that there’s some amount of measuring and whatnot that goes into the printing process. Otherwise they would go straight to the pretty stuff.
I wrote a lengthy post about how the new Welcome Show in front of Cinderella Castle affects opening and touring strategies in this post. I would not expect the Welcome Show to return back out to the Mickey Floral courtyard at the conclusion of the refurbishment.
The train shuts down for refurbishment for a couple of months most years and in the past, the characters that typically appear for the Welcome Show have simply walked out onto the platform rather than arriving via steam train during that downtime. I would think that the move to the Castle Forecourt Stage is a blend of guest comfort, cost cutting, and security.
Work continues around the monorail platform, the tarps of which I’m sure combine with the constant downtime to instill confidence in the system.
We’re supposed to be in line for some additional changes in how the monorail crowds flow up and down from the various platforms. We’ll see.
The route to the ferryboat has already been changed recently so that guests headed in that direction break off from the crowd heading to the buses much earlier.
A wider view here with security to the left, the monorails behind me, and the boats to Fort Wilderness/Wilderness Lodge to the right.
A reminder that if you see something like this at the temporary bag check closer to the buses, to continue walking towards the monorail platforms/main bag check area and use those lines as they will almost always have much shorter lines.
This is the scene at the exact same time where you could walk right up to a bag checker there on the far right.
Inside, there’s some facade and structural work going on in front of the Emporium.
We’ll run into some walls in Tomorrowland, but I think this does it for tarps/scrims.
Speaking of the Emporium, here is the current “Buy More…Buy More” stuff:
These notebooks that look like VHS boxes are all the rage:
I thought the spines on them were a little stiff because it “felt” like the pages were just kind of glued into it? You should be able to find them via the Shop Disney Parks app if you search for “VHS.”
None of the accessories for the “MagicBand 2.0” with the removable puck/icon are currently available, though Disney is now offering some limited edition MagicBands in the 2.0 style and they are shipping the new version to guests with new resort stays as of a couple of weeks ago.
The custom designed MagicBands are still the old version as well.
I’m just glad that I’ll be able to wear this year’s Half Marathon Weekend medal ironically next year.
2017 merchandise is out in force and unlike the gaudy stuff that we’ve seen over the last couple of years, a lot of it is understated. This might not be the best example. I’ll take pictures of the rest of it if there’s any interest, though it should also be available via the Shop Disney Parks app.
On the other hand, I bring my mom a dated ornament each year and have already exhausted the number of designs that they offer. You can only put so many pictures of me wearing the same polo in the picture frame.
You’ll find this design on about a dozen pieces of apparel.
So uhhhhhh…you put the wand there through the hole in Mickey’s hand…then you squeeze the handle in back…and he relentlessly moves his hand up and down as he waves his wand.
If you’re going to bring one home, at least class it up with this Darth Vader tie.
One wonders how many millions of dollars Disney spent on focus groups to come up with, “The Last Jedi.”
It’s nice that they are putting all of the stuff that is cute but isn’t going to work as intended in one spot.
This is what the “Disney Dine On The Go” Meal Pack certificates look like.
This is where the certificates can be used during the test, which is only taking place at Magic Kingdom.
They’re sold in packs of two – one meal from Park opening through 4pm and the other good from 4pm through Park close.
Each set is $29, so you’d have to come away with an average of $14.51 per meal to come out ahead. With Disney offering just one fountain beverage size in the $3.29 regular, that means your entrees would need to cost at least $11.22 to break even.
In this day and age, that’s not real hard and you might actually have to go out of your way to find an adult entrees priced under $11.50. The Taco Burger above would run you $15.99 at Pecos Bill, a quick service that doesn’t offer any entrees under $11.99.
Here at Cosmic Ray’s, every entree other than the Chicken Breast Nuggets fits the bill.
Of course, the website has covered the ever-increasing costs of quick service food in a lot of depth over the years. Disney has always sold the various Dining Plans as a way to save money versus paying out of pocket. And if you go about your vacation eating in a very specific manor – ordering the most expensive entrees and desserts at the most expensive restaurants – and then eating all of that food and paying the higher tip – there is potentially some savings to be had. But those Dining Plans are only available to guests staying on property. And from there, you either need a package with tickets or Annual Pass. And then you have to lock that Dining Package in for the length of stay for all guests staying in the room. These “1 Day Meal Packs” are likely a way for Disney to coax day guests and off-site visitors into committing to eating two meals in the same theme park on the same day under the guise of saving money.
And it’s perhaps not a guise as those willing and able to eat two theme park meals inside Magic Kingdom can easily spend more than $29 on two quick service entrees and two fountain beverages. Currently, you’ll need to visit Guest Relations or a Vacation Planning kiosk to purchase the certificates with this “test” continuing through February 22nd.
Over at Pecos Bill, there’s Beef Nachos on the Kids’ menu for $6.49. Considering it includes access to the toppings bar, you could pile on quite a bit of cheese, guacamole, and more for not a whole lot of money.
Over at Golden Oak Outpost, across from Pecos Bill on the Adventureland side, Waffle Fries seem to be going in and out of stock. Regular fries had been offered for a couple of weeks before the lattice cut version returned a few days ago. Some say management is still waffling on how to proceed. (Kill me).
The refreshment carts that dot the Hub area on both sides of Cinderella Castle offer the same souvenir mug that’s available at Be Our Guest Restaurant.
One wonders how long it will be until Donald is carrying a tray of Vodka Crans.
The “big news” last month was of course that the devil’s drink has seeped out of the comfy confines of Beast’s West Wing into the AAA Five Diamond Award winning Tony’s Town Square. If frozen chicken parmesan isn’t sacred, what is in this cruel world?
As usual, the more you spend, the less the markup is by percentage, with the Bramito being the best value (with the Super Tuscan a close second).
While I don’t think anybody expected anything other than Moretti at Tony’s, Blue Moon and Stella may be disappointing selections at Skipper Canteen, considering Disney has done a decent job of adding interesting selections at recent installations like Nomad Lounge. Out of every brewery in the world, you went with Coors…
Also at Skipper Canteen, a few more changes have taken place.
The Cachapas replace the Arepas, which makes a lot of sense as the previous version of a similar dish was probably a bit difficult for your average tourist to figure out, even if the flavors theoretically came together nicely.
The sides and preparations on the lamb and steak are also a bit different. I would reiterate that this is my table service lunch choice at Magic Kingdom and I’m not sure that it’s close.
Liberty Tree Tavern is the only restaurant advertising a beer on tap with a description written by someone that has potentially never tasted “brew” before.
If you’re in the market for a $320 bottle of champagne, you can enjoy it at Cinderella’s Royal Table if you are also the type of person to wake up at 6am 187 days in advance to book it.
Overall, the wine/beer choices are limited at the few new outlets that offer them. Wake me up when I can get my growler filled at Diamond Horseshoe.
Tortuga Tavern across from Pirates of the Caribbean has done away with its barbecue menu and switched to offering Turkey Legs and Hot Dog Combos. And it’s actually open this week from 11am-8pm.
The seating area has historically been one of my favorite spots to stop and take a moment to troll people on Twitter, but the overwhelming stench of the hot dogs combined with the turkey legs makes Casey’s Corner smell like the Disney Springs Basin store.
If treats are what you’re after, there is of course no shortage.
This is at Big Top Souvenirs in Storybook Circus.
If you’re looking for something basic, nobody ever goes into the Frontierland version, which may be why they aren’t serving the turkey leg “rice crisped treats” anymore.
The lineup of allergy-friendly snacks continues to expand. I don’t remember seeing that Cranberry Mix, but it’s possible that I’ve posted about it three times already.
Over in Frontierland across from Pecos Bill, this popcorn stand is offering the first popcorn flavor other than butter or caramel inside Magic Kingdom.
Maple Popcorn is now available and it’s also available at the refill price if you’ve purchased a length of stay bucket.
I was impressed by it – the sweet glaze added a nice light crispiness to each bite and the sugar factor didn’t overwhelm the flavor profile, which made it a lot more addicting to eat than your typical caramel corn, which is a lot more of a “take a bite and pass the carton” situation in my experience. The flavor of Aunt Jemima lingered a bit with each bite and the smell of brown sugar and molasses made for a pleasant experience.
Those with refillable buckets will definitely want to make a stop to mix things up a bit and those looking to detox from Disney’s typical buttery flavor may also want to give it a whirl.
Speaking of popcorn, you might run into some new flavors in these tins with a fun old-time-y theme.
Similar packaging houses a number of other treats, including this caramel popcorn bark.
If you’re looking for regular popcorn, it’s available at the carts to the left of Liberty Tree Tavern or Big Thunder Mountain.
We’ll pick things up in Adventureland with a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean:
And our good friend Bill.
You may want to time your Dole Whip for an off-peak time as the non-dairy treat has only become more popular in its location to the right of Enchanted Tiki Room. This is the scene at 2:25pm on what should end up being one of the least crowded days of the year.
For a bit of extra fun, take it next door for lunch.
Zanzibar Trading Co. is now a collection of covered tables rather than merchandise. It seems ripe for some kind of snack installation.
Or maybe Jager Bombs.
In Part 2, we take rides on Big Thunder/Splash Mountains and watch Country Bear Jamboree and Muppets Present…in addition to checking out the progress on a couple of projects in Tomorrowland.