Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(7/25/14) Magic Kingdom Testing New Paper FastPass Style System (MORE...)
(7/24/14) Hub Photo Construction Update (MORE...)
(7/17/14) Hub Construction Update (MORE...)
(7/11/14) Guest Loses Fingertips While Riding Pirates (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
TTA / Peoplemover - NOW CLOSED through August 4, 2014
Astro Orbiter - NOW CLOSED through Sept. 19, 2014
Liberty Belle - August 4 through August 8, 2014
Mickey’s PhilharMagic - Sept. 8 through Sept. 19, 2014
Carousel of Progress - Sept. 22 through Sept. 27, 2014
Park News - (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.
Spring 2014 - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - Opens May 28th - (5/28/14) I’m told that Disney quietly opened Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to the public a few days early, starting on the first of Memorial Day Weekend. According to reports, wait times are ranging between 1 to 2 hours.
(5/3/14) Looks like there are still a few issues with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to be worked out. Despite running the ride for the media and invited guests on Thursday, and holding a dedication ceremony on Friday morning, Disney says the ride will not open to guests until May 28th.
(5/1/14) Disney has released a nearly complete POV video of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train experience, cutting out a portion of the indoor ride segment. Check it out below!
(4/30/14) An awesome update showing off many images of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train animatronic figures, their cool animated facial features, and a video from Imaginerring can all be seen over at Disney & More today.
(4/23/14) A great new look around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction area has been posted by OrlandoParksNews.com. On a related note, the Orlando Sentinel has also posted details about a new interactive game that will be found inside the attraction’s queue area allowing players to scoop up gems from a sluice box.
(4/16/14) Some new photo and video footage of Disney Imagineers test riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been posted by DaMouse this week.
(4/15/14) Disney has released an amazing new video showing off some the new animatronic characters going into the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride, which feature detailed physical animation abilities, but also internal video projection systems used for the facial animations.
(4/10/14) Walt Disney World has released a new and awesome animated look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride this week, as the railway hauls precious gems through the hillsides.
(4/9/14) Is there an issue with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?
Some interesting pictures were sent my way this morning, featuring workers focusing on an area of the ride layout doing some digging, breaking out a jack hammer and the track in the area looks like it may have been welded for some reason. Lots of WDI types were seen hanging around the site this morning making lots of phone calls as well along with at least one person with “Vekoma Rides” on the back of his safety vest. Curious…
Not to worry however, testing resumed later on the same day with what appeared to be fully weighted trains, along with some riders from Vekoma. According to our watcher, the speed of the train appeared to be hindered along the way by some trim braking systems as well, rather than running at full speed. They sent a final picture showing off the track section they were working on, as seen during the test runs. I’m not entirely sure what all that extra hardware is.
On a better note, the attraction’s very cool looking lighting package has been lighting up Fantasyland after dark as of late, through the use of dozens of yellow flame like colored lantern lights scattered throughout the entire mountain and nearby pathways. You can see pictures of the area after dark posted to DaMouse this week.
(3/20/14) More construction walls around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train have come down, offering up excellent new views all around the park’s major new attraction. See the latest pictures posted to DaMouse.
(3/18/14) Good news… I’m told that Cast Members will begin training to run the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train starting on April 20th. UPDATE - Other CM’s will begin to train at Seven Dwarfs well before April 20th as well.
(3/6/14) Care to see what New Fantasyland looks like from the top of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride? The Disney Parks Blog has done just this, posting the view to be seen in two directions from the top of the mountain.
(2/26/14) BestOfOrlando goes over why it has taken 20 years for Walt Disney World to finally transform the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride into the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week. They also point out what I’ve heard also, that there will be a 3-day long official WDW Media Event that will see the new ride given the grand opening treatment taking place from April 30 to May 2nd. That said… expect to see the ride quietly soft-open to the public as far as a month ahead of this media event.
From what I’m told, Imagineers have already begun taking test rides late at night after the park is closed. They’ve already posted a fun side-by-side comparison video of what a ride on it looks like, shot at night, alongside the preview animation of the ride experience. Oh… and according to the online chat event that took the other day, the height limit will be 38 inches.
(2/24/14) The Disney Parks Blog will host an online live chat today (Monday, February 24th) all about the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 2:30pm EST. Click here and join in on the fun!
(2/13/14) The latest photo update from DaMouse not only shows off the highly themed environement built for the Seven Dwarfs coaster, but also shows off weighted coaster trains taking full speed test runs around the course.
(2/12/14) The construction walls have come down around one section of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, allowing a full viewing of the very attractive scenery and landscape that Disney Imagineering has surrounded their latest roller coaster with. Take a peek with MouseSteps.
(2/10/14) More great images showing off close-up views of the themeing going into the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train have been posted by the Disney Parks Blog.
(2/5/14) The latest look at the Seven Dwarfs ride can be found at Orlando Park News this week, as well as a peek at various other construction projects taking place throughout the Magic Kingdom.
(2/2/14) The Disney Parks Blog gives us a peak inside the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week, with a close up look at some of the amazing themed textures we will find in the queue and attraction area when it finally opens to guests. Speaking of which, while there has been no further update on a soft-opening date, I’m told that the official grand opening and press event for the ride has been set sometime in early May 2014.
(1/30/14) DaMouse takes a look around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week as the many artificial trees and shrubbery are put into place around the outer edge of the attraction area. Give it a look and “bring me a shrubbery!”
(1/27/14) The latest buzz from Screamscape sources is that despite a desire to open the new Seven Dwarfs coaster in February, the project is a bit behind schedule and is now looking at an opening date sometime between late March to early April if all goes well.
(1/13/14) Time to check back in on the Seven Dwarfs, as the their new coaster is getting closer to actually opening and has been seen starting to make semi-regular test runs. Casey’s hot dog stand on Main Street is also closed and walled off for some kind of refurbishment. Check out the latest pictures over at OrlandoParksNews.
(1/10/14) Time to check in with those lazy Seven Dwarfs and their crazy Mine Train project… images courtesy of MouseSteps. Why isn’t this open yet?
(1/7/14) Disney gives us an up close look at the new coaster trains for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride, showing off how they decorated, painted and treated the trains to give them just the right themed look and texture.
(12/31/13) Lets take one last look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2013, thanks for OrlandoParkNews for the update.
(12/19/13) New pictures of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train testing have been posted to MouseSteps this week.
(12/18/13) A new look at the ongoing construction on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been posted this week, thanks to DaMouse.
(12/10/13) I saw a picture of these guys installed onto the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train the other day and I thought that they looked familiar… and I guess my hunch was right. Disney has confirmed that they have installed scenic elements (vultures) at the top of the mine train’s first lift hill that were once part of the old Snow White’s Scary Adventures dark ride.
(12/3/13) OrlandoParksNews takes a look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week.
(11/26/13) A brief video showing off one of the trains making a test run on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can be found at Facebook.
(11/12/13) A new construction update from New Fantasyland has been posted by OrlandoParkNews this week.
(11/5/13) It is time for another look at the progress being made on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride this week, thanks to our friends at DaMouse. Much of the attraction area has been fleshed out already and shaped. While there are still several yellow unfinished sections, I don’t think these will be around much longer given the rapid progress we are seeing elsewhere. Check it out!
(10/29/13) A new construction update from the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can be found at OrlandoParkNews this week.
(10/24/13) DaMouse is back with a new look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction site.
(10/22/13) A new photo update from the Magic Kingdom showing off the latest progress on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster as well as other rehab projects ongoing around the park has been posted to OrlandoParksNews.
(9/30/13) A new construction update for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been posted to OrlandoParksNews.
(9/25/13) Great news from the Magic Kingdom this week as Disney reports that following the completion of the push/pull car test, they successfully ran an entire train out of the station under it’s own gravity, completing the “first drop out of the station”. You can see a couple of pictures at the Disney Parks Blog.
(9/19/13) MouseSteps latest update features picture of an ore cart on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train track, loaded with weights in a couple of seats to make one of the cars tilt and undergoing a pull-through around a section of track.
(9/18/13) A tweet from Disney confirms that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has begun push/pull testing. They also tweeted a picture of a coaster car inside what might be the station area… showing off the unique flooring configuration (slot car) that hides the coaster car’s tracks below the floor, allowing only the ore cart to be seen sliding through the station.
(8/5/13) A new construction update from the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction site has been posted to DaMouse.
(7/18/13) DaMouse takes a look at the Seven Dwarfs coaster today as a lot of the new themed rockwork and mine shaft entrances are starting to become more visible.
(7/2/13) According to a twitter post by Walt Disney World the first of the new Ore Mine Cars for the new Seven Dwarves coaster in New Fantasyland has arrived on site and can be seen here.
(6/13/13) DaMouse takes us in for a look at the current progress on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week.
(6/6/13) Disney reports that the last pieces of track for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been installed at last. Don’t get too excited however, as you will still have to wait until 2014 to ride it.
(4/29/13) A new construction footage video showing off what’s going on inside the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction site like never before was released by Disney. Check it out below.
(4/25/13) A new construction update from the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride has been posted to OrlandoParksNews.
(4/5/13) A new series of panoramic pictures of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can be found by clicking on the April 4th update here.
(3/28/13) DaMouse has posted a new construction update focusing on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week as they pour concrete down on the structure to form the fake mountainside.
(3/14/13) OrlandoParksNews has posted a new update from Fantasyland this week showing off the progress on the new coaster as well as a look at the new Tangled themed area.
(3/11/13) A great collection of panoramic pictures of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can be found at MyThemeParkFanatic this week. Just click on the first picture to expand the view.
(2/18/13) Negative-G dropped into the Magic Kingdom in late January and posted a general trip report here. You can jump ahead to see some good pictures of the Seven Dwarves construction site here.
(1/21/13) Thanks to a reader for sending in a good batch of new construction photos from the Seven Dwarves construction site.
(12/31/12) I managed to squeeze in a personal visit to The Magic Kingdom in myself on Christmas Eve (warning: the crowds are at an OMG-Run For Your Lives! level…) and took four great shots of the Seven Dwarves coaster under construction. You can now get a pretty clear look at how the layout will go, as I drew out for everyone earlier this month, and the footers for the outdoor track sections are fairly clear to see at this point as well.
(11/7/12) As I mentioned a few days ago, the huge network of steel mesh is now being added to the Seven Dwarves structures, serving as the hidden framework for what will eventually look like a fake themed landscape. Check out the latest pictures at DaMouse.
(11/5/12) A reader sent in a couple of pictures showing off the structure we can see so far for the Seven Dwarves ride. You can make out the top of the second lift hill (the enclosed one) coming out from the structure where it will make dive and turn slightly to the right to go under a bridge structure, where it will turn around the head back over the top that that same bridge into the final turns before the ride ends. At the top of this lift hill, inside the structure, I’ve been told to expect a scene very similar to the one used at the top of the first lift hill on Hong Kong’s Big Grizzly coaster. There will be a track switch scene, with a fake alternate mine tunnel turning off to the right, but Dopey will do something to accidently hit the track switch and instead of going into the Diamond Mine, you’ll be sent dropping down and out of the mine on the final runaway trip back to the station.
In case you’re wondering about all those little metal poles and based on the room of the structure, those will eventually hold a network of twisted steel mesh that will become the outer coating and fake rockwork of the hill and dwarves home.
(10/17/12) Screamscape has compiled a layout drawing for the Seven Dwarves coaster, and I’ve put it down as a two dimensional overlay over a recent aerial photo of the construction site borrowed with permission from DizFanatic, with special thanks to photographer Scott Keating.
As for the coaster specs, we know about how the themed ore cars will swing side to side, and I believe we can expect to see up to three 5-car trains used on the coaster, with each car holding four riders, so 20 riders per train. It also appears as if the majority of the dark ride scenes will take place in the building leading to and up the second lift hill. The top of this second lift hill is the piece of track we’ve been seeing poking out from the tallest section of the existing structure already in place.
(10/2/12) Some interesting footage about the development and design process WDI has gone through for the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train can be found in a video here. Just fast-forward up to the area between 20-25 minutes to see some unique pictures and animated test footage of the new coaster.
(3/23/11) Despite the concept artwork released to date, Screamscape has heard it said before, and once again now, that the Seven Dwarves coaster will mostly be an outdoor ride. I’ve also heard that it may not be ready to open until 2014 right now, though these kind of things are subject to change.
(1/29/11) Everyone has been wondering just what we can expect from the Seven Dwarves coaster and according to this interview with Disney Imagineer Eric Jacobson, the experience will be somewhere in between Big Thunder Mountain and Goofy’s Barnstormer. By the end of the ride, the cars your in are supposed to be so full of jewels from the mine, they’ll tip side to side to “unload their cargo”.
(1/19/11) Disney World held a special media event on Tuesday to talk about all kinds of exciting new things. A big part of this was to unveil the revised plans for the New Fantasyland project, which will nearly double the size of Fantasyland. Disney has confirmed that The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride is real and on the way to New Fantasyland. According to the description the mine train will, “take guests on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” The coaster will feature a first-of-its kind ride system with a train of ride vehicles that swing back and forth, responding to every twist and turn of the track. The journey will be accompanied by music from the classic Disney film and animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs.” Interesting bit about the coaster cars and how they moved with the turns. I’m wondering if they really “swing” side to side, or sway or perhaps more of a fishtail.
Spring 2014 - Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade - (3/10/14) Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom premiered their new Festival of Fantasy Parade at last on Sunday and DaMouse caught the entire performance on video. The new floats are simply stunning in detail and huge in scale. Plus the parade has a ton of talented performers in excellent costumes throughout. This may be one of the best Disney parades designed to date, so check it out below!
(2/26/14) Walt Disney World has confirmed that the new Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will begin performing on March 9th at the Magic Kingdom. This is the first new major daytime parade to launch at the park in some time and features an armada of colorful parade floats and fascinating looking performers.
(1/7/14) The last performance of the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade at the Magic Kingdom took place on Saturday. You can catch a photo recap of this last performance over at OrlandoParksNews. The new Festival of Fantasy parade will replace it in the Spring.
(4/29/13) An all new parad
e will come to the Magic Kingdom in 2014 called the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. This new daytime parade will start in Spring 2014 and bring all new colorful fancy floats, characters and an original soundtrack featuring beloved songs from your favorite Disney films mixed with a new parade theme song.
Now Through 2015 - Central Plaza Hub Expansion - Under Construction - (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.