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(6/13/13) DaMouse takes us in for a look at the current progress on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train this week.
(6/11/13) Screamscape sources tell us that while in the Magic Kingdom they were approached by Cast Members taking a survey on Main Street. The interesting thing is that the survey questions (MORE...)
(6/6/13) Disney reports that the last pieces of track for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been installed (MORE...)
(5/13/13) There was a bit of a fuss over the pending Coronation ceremony of Merida being welcomed into the Princess club by the 10 official Disney Princesses that took place on Saturday. Quite a few parents groups (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Main Street Bakery - NOW CLOSED through Summer 2013
Park News - (6/11/13) Screamscape sources tell us that while in the Magic Kingdom they were approached by Cast Members taking a survey on Main Street. The interesting thing is that the survey questions were mostly to get their thoughts about Star Wars and the idea of building a Star Wars themed “Land’ somewhere in Walt Disney World in the future. A similar survey was being asked of guests in Disneyland several months ago.
(5/13/13) There was a bit of a fuss over the pending Coronation ceremony of Merida being welcomed into the Princess club by the 10 official Disney Princesses that took place on Saturday. Quite a few parents groups were upset because they felt the strong and bold Merida character was getting too much of a makeover… possibly handing over her bow for lipstick and hairspray I suppose. In the end, from the pictures I’ve seen of the event posted by our friends at MouseSteps, it looks like all the fuss was for nothing as the same looking Merida character we’ve seen in the park since the film came out rode into the coronation ceremony on the back of her Clysdale Angus. The event was also interesting as Merida was given a crown to wear by her mother, Queen Elinor, which apparently was the first ever appearance of Queen Elinor in a Walt Disney World theme park as well. The event ended with Merida posting for a group shot with the other 10 Disney Princesses wearing her crown and holding her favor Bow as well, making her quite the kick-ass looking princess. (My money is on Merida winning the next all Princess Royal Rumble, with Rapunzel coming in second since she wields a mean frying pan.
(5/6/13) On May 11th there will be a special Limited Time Magic celebration at the Magic Kingdom as “all 10 Disney Princesses” will come together at Cinderella Castle at 9:30am to honor the addition of their newest member, Merida from Brave, as the 11th official Disney Princess character.
(5/1/13) An interesting report over at MiceChat confirms that the SpectroMagic parade has been retired for good. Previously it was expected to return to service once again within the next year or so, but upon inspection Disney reports that the old parade floats are too badly decomposed and will be destroyed.
On another note, it seems the old “Escape Tunnel” from Fort Langhorn on Tom Sawyer Island was closed and boarded up with a fake door to keep curious eyes out.
(4/29/13) As rumored, as the launch point for Disney’s Monstrous Summer event the Magic Kingdom will remain open from 6am on May 24th to 6am on May 25th. Mike & Sully will be on hand as the Grand Marshals for the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade and make special appearances in Tomorrowland. Look to see a variety of Disney characters throughout the park in their pajamas as well during the late night and early morning hours, as well as a special dance party to be held in the Cinderella Castle courtyard. You can also look for an update to the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor as the gang has been studying new jokes and are ready to graduate to new comedy bits in honor of their alma mater, Monsters University.
(4/15/13) Tinker Bell and all her fairy friends will appear at Pixie Hollow at Disneyland as well as Ticker Bell’s Magical Nook at the Magic Kingdom from April 15-21st as the next Limited Time Magic event. Click here to see the official announcement and times the Disney Faires will be making appearances in each location.
(3/25/13) OrlandoParksNews reports that construction work has begun in front of the Magic Kingdom as they prepare to expand the park’s bus loading area. Once your done with that, you might as well check out the latest project update photos for the park that they have also posted here. Looks like a few buildings in Liberty Square are getting some fixing up. It is also worth mentioning that I’ve been told Splash Mountain has also reopened at last and looks better than ever.
(3/11/13) The new Tangled themed area and restrooms have opened in Fantasyland, next to Small World. Go on a photo tour of the site over at MouseSteps this week.
(3/7/13) Disney and More is back with another set of pictures from the Magic Kingdom shot back in 1971. So fire up the time circuits and make the jump here.
(2/28/13) Disney & More has posted a fantastic collection of black and white aerial photos of Walt Disney World shot in late 1971, shortly after the opening of the Magic Kingdom. The pictures show off the early look of things in the park as well as the Transportainment & Ticket Center, Contempory Resort Seven Seas Lagoon and the Polynesian Resort, with most looking to still be under partial construction at the time.
(1/16/13) A new set of MyMagic+ park entry sensors have bee installed at the Magic Kingdom. You can see pictures at the Orlando Sentinel.
(1/7/13) According to an insider, there are a number of issues with Splash Mountain that need to be dealt with during its short 7 week rehab. Water rides, due to their nature, always are fairly maintenance intensive, and a highly themed ride like Splash Mountain is especially vulnerable to the elements and decay issues as we’ve seen with the arrival of the safety tarps placed over the loading area.
According to various sources, the root of the problem and concerns with pieces falling off the mountain stems from leakage from the old irrigation system installed to keep the sections of real grass planted on the structure green. This system has been shut down and I’m told we can expect to see the real grass replaced with fake astroturf instead. We can only hope they can address the damage caused to the mountain’s surface during this time as well.
A second issue brought to our attention is the lack of proper drainage in the off-hours. When the attraction is turned off at night, all the water in the attraction should drain down to the sub-level reservoirs located between the “mountain” and rear show-scene building as intended, leaving the upper levels of the mountain and show scenes of the ride dry and easy for maintenance to access to address issues as needed. From what I’m told, over the past 3-4 years the Laughing Place scene has not been able to properly drain and been the cause for for some ongoing maintenance issues here with the show scene. Lets hope they have the time to solve this issue as well this year.
(11/12/12) Disney has confirmed that the first of the previously announced Starbucks location coming to the Walt Disney World parks will open in early 2013. In the Magic Kingdom the Main Street Bakery will close in January 2013 and reopen as WDW’s first Starbucks location at the start of the Summer. In Epcot the Fountain View café will close in March 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks location in Mid-Summer 2013.
Both locations will offer the full range of signature Starbucks beverage items, breakfast sandwiches and a selection of baked goods. The locations on the way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will likely be announced once these first two locations open.
Also, for those worried about losing the Main Street Bakery or Fountain View bakery locations, Disney has confirmed that a selection of each location’s favorite baked goods will still be made available to guests when they reopen as Starbucks. The final menus have yet to be chosen however, so if you have a favorite item you think should stay, it may be worth voicing your opinion to Disney.
(7/2/12) Screamscape sources tell us that Walt Disney World management is absolutely drooling over the possible sales potential of being able to sell the Glow with the Show Ears at some point in the near future. You can catch a great video of the Glow with the Show Ears in action at the World of Color show at California Adventure in the video clip here. The new electronic mouse ear hats are being sold for about $24 at the moment, and WDW merchandise’s eyes are just twinkling with dollar signs at the idea of being able to make these things work in some fashion at every big night spectacular at WDW.
As such, the rumor mill about possible new show concepts is buzzing at full tilt right now with ideas for a new Illuminations show at Epcot, ways to add them into the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, Fantasmic at the Studios (or a new show), or the long rumored Rivers of Light concept for Animal Kingdom. Right now it seems the quickly way to get the Ears into the park ASAP would be as an enhancement to the Magic Kingdom’s current nighttime lineup of Wishes, The Magic, Memories and You, and possibly even added in as a way to plus the eventual return of Spectromagic when Main Street Electrical Parade leaves once again. (Spectro was previously rumored to possibly return in 2013.
Early 2013 - Interactive Queue at Big Thunder Mountain - (3/4/13) Our friend Jeff Kober has posted a detailed review of the new Big Thunder “Interactive Queue”, along with plenty of pictures. Make the jump over to DisneyAtWork.com.
(2/27/13) DaMouse has posted a four-part update about the new effects now testing inside the Big Thunder Mountain queue.
(2/22/13) Walt Diseny Imagineering takes us on a tour of the new interactive features being added to the queue at Big Thunder Mountain. Check out the video below.
(2/4/13) Another look at the latest progress of additions being added to the Big Thunder Mountain queue area can be found here.
(1/25/13) The interactive queue elements are going up inside the Big Thunder Mountain queue at last. You can find a nice collection of photos showing off the various new objects posted to the Disney at Work Facebook page.
(11/21/12) Well that didn’t take long, as Disney has released the name and back story behind the man in the mystery portrait, and confirmed that it is part of the new backstory for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The final install on the new interactive queue area is now ongoing and will soon tell the story of one Barnabas T. Bullion, a gold magnate who rules the Big Thunder mining Company “with a golden fist”.
He comes from a powerful East Coast family, has a lust for gold and is seeking to find his very destiny in the form of the ultimate gold strike. Unfortunately for Barnabas, he may have met his nemesis in the form of Big Thunder Mountain, as the legends say the mountain is “very protective of the gold it holds within, and the unfortunate soul who attempts to mine its riches is destined to fail.” So far this legend has held true as Barnabas’ mine “has been plagued by mysterious forces and natural disasters” since it went into operation. Not to be stopped, the Big Thuner Mining Co. is still hammering away at the mountain, digging new shafts and discovering new veins of gold every day. “But a word to the wise for anyone attempting to visit the mountain: watch out for runaway trains.”
(11/19/12) The Disney Parks Blog have released a mysterious portrait that they claim is a hint and sneak peek for an upcoming WDW project. The hint about the identity of the man in the painting was, “His obsession with gold will ultimately lead him to ruin.”
Most who are fans of Disney Imagineering will recognize the face right away as clearly being Tony Baxter, who is well known for his work creating the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attractions, which started off as a minor attraction meant to accompany Marc Davis’ Western River Expedition concept for The Magic Kingdom.
Since we know the new themed interactive queue and storyline for Big Thunder Mountain has yet to open, it would only make sense if this portrait was a fun way to put Tony into the new backstory behind Big Thunder. We’ll find out more soon I hope…
(9/25/12) When Big Thunder Mountain went down for a lengthy rehap earlier this year, we had heard that the ride was also next in line to get some kind of interactive NextGen queue enhancements. Unfortunately when the ride reopened, while the queue had been refurbished and changed a bit, that was all there was to it at the time. Now the Disney Parks Blog has confirmed that an “interactive queue” is on the way to Big Thunder which will tell the story of the Big Thunder Mining Company like never before. No timeline was set for this new project however they did say it was to be done at night when the park is closed, so no downtime is expected.
2013 - A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas - (5/3/13) Behind the Thrills has a report after playing a soft-preview of the new interactive Pirates game at the Magic Kingdom this week.
(4/29/13) Disney offers up new details about A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas. “In time for summer, “A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas” will be a new interactive adventure where Magic Kingdom guests participate in pirate raids throughout Adventureland. Pirate maps lead to fabulous treasures as guests join Captain Jack Sparrow and fight off the Royal Navy, Captain Barbossa, Headhunters, Curses and the greatest threat of all, Calypso the sea goddess. If they help Jack succeed in all the missions, they will be welcomed as part of his new crew. If not, they face the wrath of the cruel sea…alone. The adventure is divided into 5 different raids, each comprised of a series of interactive tasks. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete all of the tasks in each mission. Guests may complete as many missions as they wish, but only those who complete all of the missions get to become full-fledged pirates under Captain Jack Sparrow.”
(4/9/13) Disney shows off a sneak peek at the new Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas game opening soon at the Magic Kingdom.
(2/4/13) A reader has
sent in a nice batch of pictures showing off many of the new interactive Pirates themed displays showing up in Adventureland for the new game.
(1/28/13) Disney at Work tells us a bit more about what appears to be going on in Adventureland near Pirates with the new interactive game project to be called A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas. According to the report, there may be two different versions of the game, with one being much more interactive than the other… and also coming in with a higher cost to play. In exchange for the upcharge to play the game however, you may actually walk away with some kind of real world ‘treasure’ if you solve the game.
The article also drops another hint about another possible game project on the way that may involve visiting all four of the theme parks, called Disney’s Story Maker. There will be lots to set up before this one is ready to go, and it will likely involve the full use of the new MyMagic RFID bracelets as well, so don’t look for this one to be ready anytime soon.
Disney has also released a piece of concept art for the new Pirate’s Adventure game on the Disney Parks Blog that is work checking out as it shows off things like shooting a canon to ring a bell, games involving shrunken heads and much more. While not confirmed the artwork for the game area also shows off the Swiss Family Treehouse, which could be repurposed to become part of the game as well.
(1/24/13) An interesting item was discovered at the Magic Kingdom that looks like it is part of the rumored new Pirates game. In the bushes next to the main pirate tower building, a series of green posts have been installed that appear to have odd bamboo poles mounted inside, as if waiting to spring out and maybe scare someone. Anyone know more about what is going on here?
(12/7/12) Some interesting new construction work is underway inside Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom, near Pirates and Jungle Cruise. The early thought is that this may be for some new interactive game, likely another NextGen initiative with a Pirates theme. Check out pictures of the work in progress posted to OrlandoParksNews.
Late 2013 - Princess FairyTale Hall - New
Character Meet & Greet Under Construction - (4/29/13) While I don’t have an exact timeline, Disney says we can expect to see the new Princess Fairytale Hall now open in “late 2013”. So if I had to guess, I’d say sometime between October and December.
(11/12/12) Attractions Magazine reports that by the time to new Princess Fairytale Hall opens in 2013, most of the Disney Princesses will have undergone some minor makeover work to their appearance. Look for slight changes to their wardrobe as well as some adjustments to the hair styles to make them a bit more fashionable.
Spring 2014 - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - (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 sendi
ng 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 - (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.
2016/2017 - Tomorrowland Revamp - Rumor - (3/13/12) DisneyGossip has posted an interesting little rumor this week pondering a few interesting ideas. For example, some people have wondered why the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game has stations in every land except Tomorrowland. (Ok, theme wise it doesn’t quiet make sense to put a magic themed game in Tomrrowland, but that’s besides the point…)
The revamped and expanded Fantasyland, once complete will also draw in a lot of guests into the new realms, allowing for a period of time when Disney may be able to attempt another drastic update to Tomorrowland. Not just in the Magic Kingdom, but possibly also to clone it to work as the long desired Tomorrowland update needed at Disneyland as well.
If Tomorrowland is the next big revamp in the works, they claim that the land would likely get a new E-Ticket attraction as well as a C or D ticket style dark ride, possibly themed to WALL-E. While I would think that this may be the excuse needed to bring the Marvel Universe into Disneyland, DisneyGossip wonders if Avatar could be made to fit into Tomorrowland instead on both coasts. Some interesting ideas to think about either way…
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.