Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(9/16/14) Elsa To Freeze the Castle Nightly This Winter (MORE...)
(9/1/14) Astro Orbiter Rising (MORE...)
(8/28/14) Hub Construction Photo Update (MORE...)
(8/21/14) Construction Update (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Astro Orbiter - NOW CLOSED through Sept. 27, 2014
Mickey’s PhilharMagic - NOW CLOSED through Sept. 27, 2014
Carousel of Progress - Sept. 22 through Sept. 27, 2014
WDW Railroad - Sept. 29 through Nov. 7, 2014
Magic Carpets - Nov. 10 through Nov. 21, 2014
Cinderella’s Royal Table - Jan. 5, 2015 through Mar. 6, 2015
Park News - (9/16/14) Along with the announcement of a new Frozen themed ride in Epcot, Disney has confirmed that the Queen Elsa will use her powers at the Magic Kingdom this holiday season to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace nightly, starting in November. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf will also be in the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party parade.
(9/1/14) After being closed for the summer, the Astro Orbiter is now being slowly put back into place atop Rocket Tower Plaza. You can see the latest progress pictures over at OrlandoParkNews.
(8/21/14) Orlando Park News takes a photo trip around the Magic Kingdom to check on the latest construction and rehab projects taking place in just about every land in the park.
(8/13/14) Guest going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party can pick up a new exclusive Pirate Helmsman card for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game. You can see the details here.
(8/12/14) Orlando Parks News takes a look around the Magic Kingdom at the various rehab work projects going on, and with a special look at Tomorrowland and the new red and orange colors painted around the reopened Peoplemover and working up Rocket Tower Plaza structure on this page.
(8/6/14) It seems that the last row in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean rides across the globe are all not being used currently. I’ve been sent reports from Disneyland, WDW’s Magic Kingdom and even Disneyland Paris who all report that the last row of seats are roped off from use. According to one reader, the local news in Orlando mentioned this in the past week or so and implied that another person had come forward to claim some kind of hand/finger injury on the Florida ride that had taken place before the latest report where the man lost the tips of his fingers. It seems they both were sitting in the six row, so for now they are all closed while the incidents are being investigated.
Note: No word on if the last row on the Tokyo Disneyland ride is open or closed.
(7/30/14) You wont hear me report too often about Disney gift shops, but this one I’m excited about. Walt Disney World has confirmed that the Yankee Trader shop in Liberty Square is now closed and will reopen this fall as a themed shop that will specialize in Haunted Mansion merchandise, including the new Haunted Mansion Authentic line. You can see some of the new Haunted Mansion items soon to be on sale here.
(7/25/14) the latest post to ThemeParkUniversity mentions an interesting new Paper FastPass test system that it being tried out at Fairy Tale Hall this week and is expected to be tried at Soarin’ next week. The idea is to combat the extra long lines by offering guests a paper Standby return time card, allowing them to return and get into a managed standby line where they will only have to wait about 30 minutes or so instead of several hours. This makes sense, by removing guests from standing in a queue, they can be elsewhere in the park, potentially spending money, instead of being trapped in a long queue for hours doing nothing but waiting.
Keep in mind that this is in addition to the FastPass+ system reservations, so in essence they have now created a two-tier FastPass system, with FastPass+ guests on top and the new system just below that with a longer wait time. Of course, this begs the question… what happens to guests who come late when all the FastPass+ and new standby return time cards have all been given out? Are they simply out of luck, or does the park still offer a normal standby queue for those willing to wait? That would be one very sad and long line however…
While I’ve yet to experience FastPass+ first hand, I was well versed in the old paper FastPass system and really never cared for it. Call me old fashioned, but I still like the idea of the good old days where you can just visit the park attractions as you come to them and not have to make reservations, or return at a later time. If the line for something with any kind of FastPass in place is too long… chances are removing FastPass entirely from that attraction will help smooth things out, allowing people to see the true line length for what it is and make a choice about waiting or not, without invisible guests waiting in a virtual queue being in front of them.
(7/11/14) According to the local news an adult male guest visiting from the UK lost “the tip of his ring finger and pinky finger” on one hand while riding Pirates of the Caribbean on Thursday. They haven’t said how it happened, but best guess, I’d say he had to have been sticking his hands over the side of the boat and into the water. (Which is why they say to keep your hands, arms and legs inside at all times!) He was taken to a local hospital for treatment, and Disney has since had the ride checked over, determined it to be safe and reopened it for guests. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this soon.
(7/2/14) OrlandoParksNews has posted an update showing off the latest look at that construction mess in progress at “The Hub” and on the second page you can see how they have entirely removed the Astro Orbiter ride from the platform as well.
(5/21/14) Walt Disney World has announced that the infamous ‘Kitchen Sink Sunday’ once only available at Beaches & Cream (at Disney’s Beach Club Resort) is now also available at the Magic Kingdom at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Plaza Restaurant on Main Street USA for $14.99. (Note: A smaller version is also now available at Disney California Adventure at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream.)
(5/2/14) According to the rumor mill the long-term shutdown of the TTA and longer shutdown of the Astro Orbiter might see some new lighting and effects added to both attractions, as well as get the orbiting planet decor to move once again. Sounds like a good thing to me… I’m just not sure why it has to happen over the busy summer unless there is also a more urgent pressing issue of some sort.
(5/1/14) Maybe it’s just me, but looking over the latest rehab schedules for the Magic Kingdom has brought some interesting and very long term rehabs to light in Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland Transit Authority (aka: Peoplemover) along with the Astro Orbiter above it are both slated to close down for virtually the entire 2014 Summer season starting on June 2nd. TTA isn’t scheduled to reopen until after August 4th and the Astro Orbiter wont reopen until after September 19th! Considering that most parks considering long term rehabs of any major rides for the summer season a “no-no”, I’m curious what could prompt such a lengthy downtime for the two attractions which happen to share the same tower structure for a station. Anyone know more?
(4/22/14) Anna and Elsa have now made the trek over from Norway at Epcot over to their new home at the Magic Kingdom. Check out their new digs in the latest update at MouseSteps this week. On a related note, I saw several reports from over the weekend, reporting a 3 hour long Standby wait just to meet them. Ouch!
(3/17/14) Walt Disney World reports that starting on April 20th, Anna and Elsa (the sisters from Frozen) will be moving from their current digs at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion over to the Magic Kingdom where they will set up a new Meet & Greet experience alongside the other Disney royals at the Princess Fairytale Hall.
(3/8/14) I thought I had mentioned this before, but seems I forgot, so forgive me… but the US Disney Parks will be hosting another 24 hour day event in 2014 where you can “Rock Your Disney Side” all night long. The event will kick off at 6:00am on May 23rd at the Magic Kingdom in Florida and inside both of the Disneyland Resort theme parks, where they will stay open non-stop through to 6:00am on May 24th, 2014.
(2/14/14) A small fire broke out on the roof of the Little Mermaid attraction building last night, sparked by fireworks debris from the evening’s show. Damage was said to be minimal by the time the fire was put out, though the attraction will likely remain closed today while they inspect the site.
(2/12/14) For those who have heard some of the rumors, I’ll cover this briefly. PUSH, the talking trash can that has graced the Tomorrowland pathways and entertained guests since the mid 1990’s has been retired from service this week when the contract between Disney and his creator came to an end and was not renewed. PUSH was a great and unique character, so it is sad to see him go… but like all things within the Disney park realm, nothing stays the same forever.
(2/2/14) Disney Insider has released some AMAZING historical pictures showing off the first Space Mountain structure under construction back in the 70’s. Not just the coaster part itself, but how the iconic structure itself was built from the ground up is fascinating to see. Check it out.
(1/14/14) As was previously rumored, Disney will be turning off all the old paper style FastPass machines at the Magic Kingdom and switching to the FastPass+ only system starting on January 14th… TODAY. Animal Kingdom switched over during the Christmas break, which leaves Epcot and the Studios as the only parks still using the old legacy paper-based system for the time being. I’d expect to see both of these parks also switched over before the start of Summer.
Now Through 2015 - Central Plaza Hub Expansion - Under Construction - (8/28/14) Orlando Parks News takes a walk around the Magic Kingdom again this week to show off the latest construction progress being made to the Hub area of the park. The difference of the one side under construction compared to the other side which is still mostly untouched is striking.
(8/8/14) Orlando Parks News check in on the Hub construction project area this week.
(7/24/14) Orlando Parks News has posted another construction update from the Magic Kingdom’s Hub area, showing off the large areas being worked on as they expand the pathways, add new pathways and and make the Hub easier to navigate.
(7/17/14) A new look at the construction taking place in the Hub area at the Magic Kingdom can be found at OrlandoThemeParkNews.
(6/10/14) OrlandoParkNews takes a look around the Magic Kingdom’s Hub area this week to check on how things are progressing with the remodel of the park’s central gathering spot as well as a look around some other building rehabs taking place in Adventureland.
(5/22/14) A new construction update from the Magic Kingdom showing off the state of the work to expand the Hub area has been posted to OrlandoParkNews.
(4/22/14) DaMouse takes a look at the Hub area of the Magic Kingdom this week, where construction to reform the Hub area and the waterway around it has begun.
(2/28/14) The Magic Kingdom has announced a new enhancement plan for the park’s Central Plaza (hub) area between the end of Main Street and the Castle that will see new pathways added, sculpted gardens, expanded restaurant seating areas at Casey’s Corner and The Plaza and a new special viewing area for fireworks and castle performance viewing. The work has already begun, but it wont be entirely finished until 2015. Watch the Fly-Over video below to see how the area will look, but some of the changes may be subtle at first.
The major changes to appear will be the addition of a new outer circle ring walkway around the hub, which is very needed as the outer circle around the hub can be nearly impossible to navigate when there is a major fireworks show or parade about to take place. The lower end of the hub, where it connects to Main Street will also be widened and expanded, adding new pathways back that can also serve as additional viewing areas for fireworks. Meanwhile the meandering pathway between the Hub and Tomorrowland that used to go out to the old Swan Boat dock structure appears as if it will be removed entirely, and likely the home to this new sculptured garden they mention. I’ve included a screen capture of the new version of Central Plaza for you to compare to the current Google Maps aerial view of the park.
2021 - 50th Anniversary Celebration - Rumor - (7/4/12) While this seems a little far fetched at this point, we know Disney does often keep a decade long masterplan in the filing cabinet to help plan the future of the Disney parks. This puts a very special event in focus for the long-range planners to start thinking about: the 50th Birthday of the Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World in 2021.
Much like the big Millennium celebration, 100 Years of Magic and such, rumor has it that Disney may be planning another mega 16 to 18 month long celebration for the Orlando resort. In the past celebrations Disney has been known to roll out major new attractions at the parks, big new parades, night time spectaculars and often even adding a towering new icon structures or two. (Anyone up for another giant pink Castle Cake?)
While it’s really far too early to know for sure what Disney may be dreaming up at this point, one new addition in particular for the Magic Kingdom does seem to seem to be a no brainer. It just wouldn’t be a 50th Birthday celebration without having a new fireworks spectacular at the Magic Kingdom. (I’m having a vision of a Castle Cake again… with 50 giant candles shooting fireworks into the sky.) Time to wait and see I guess.