One of the great things about Disney parks and Walt Disney World in particular is that stuff is always changing. Even Madonna would have a hard time reinventing herself at this pace.
It’s well documented that Walt wanted it this way. He’s famous for saying that he wanted something he could endlessly tinker with, like George Lucas. Even the lines would never stop growing (or maybe he said “trees,” I don’t know).
Case in point: Magic Kingdom. I’m continually amazed that I even though I visit the parks a few times a week, there’s always something different. Sure, usually it’s minor stuff. I’m mean, I’m not going to show up and suddenly be confronted with a new awesome backstory for the Carousel. That would be too much to hope for.
But I hadn’t been to Magic Kingdom in maybe three or four weeks, and suddenly I see changes everywhere. It’s like I rented my house out for a month and they go and rearrange the furniture. So, if you will indulge me, a little photo tour…
|The Adventureland Bridge is under refurbishment. Apparently it was just not noisy enough when strollers were crossing it.
|There is a whole new bridge to the side of the real bridge, and you don’t even need Ewoks to find it. I’ve heard reports that this is actually temporary, though it’s pretty solid for a temporary structure.
I’m a little perplexed by this one. This new bridge actually joins with a patio area that’s part of the old Adventureland Veranda. They’ve knocked out the rail above, as well as the rail on the Main Street side.
If this turns out to be permanent, then you can forget about the Swan Boats ever coming back. I took a look at the support structure and it’s much too crowded down there for any boats. Sorry for those of you who have been holding your breath for 30 years.
|I guess Rafiki won’t be doing Character Greeting on this patio any time soon.
By the way, there are scrims on the outside of El Pirata y el Parico as well. This is the early stages of the long-rumored Tortuga restaurant, though I still don’t understand why they didn’t put it in Adventureland Veranda. And speaking of Adventureland Veranda rumors, Ariel was supposed to move in here while her ride is being built. She’s there alright, but outside. So no chance to catch a glimpse of the old restaurant.
I didn’t think to snap any pictures, but Splash Mountain was cycling empty logs with new lap bars installed. There were tour groups of lawyers oohing and aahing over them. It will probably be open by the time you read this.
Haunted Mansion still has tarps over the outdoor cemetary. They’re certainly taking their sweet time back there. I’d still like know for sure if they are doing something interactive, or just making a better wheelchair line.
Over in Fantasyland, there is all sorts of newness. Obviously the big deal is the Fantasyland expansion. More interesting structures have started to appear, in addition to the boring warehouse look of Ariel’s Finding Nemo Adventure. The Beast’s Castle is still hard to glimpse (it’s in the back corner), but much nearer to the fence, Maurice’s cottage has sprung up. I didn’t take a picture of it, but I did snap this lovely shot of rock-work framing for Mermaid. Thank me later.
|If this were 20 years ago, you’d be looking at a building housing the polar ice caps and the lost city of Atlantis.
If you were to do an about-face from the above picture, you’d be looking at the Speedway. This would normally cause your eyeballs to ache from lack of theming, but today there’s something interesting to look at.
|On-road or off-road?
They’ve obliterated one whole side of the track. This is prepwork for the Dumbo Circus area, and is presumably just a re-routing of the track. Unfortunately, this continues to be one of the biggest wastes of space in all of the Disney parks.
Fantasyland has also gained a completely new food and beverage location:
|Would someone tell me which classic fairy tale storybooks featured ice cream?
Relax, it’s just the old Mrs. Pott’s location, under new name (formerly Lumiere’s Kitchen, formerly Gurgi’s Munchies and Crunchies, formerly Condorman Bakery)
With Beauty and the Beast getting a whole mini-land inside the expansion area, I guess they figured Mrs. Potts didn’t need this gig over by Winnie the Pooh.
Finally, I conclude with this lovely shot of Barnstormer, as it will soon lose the magical “kiddie-coaster through a barn” theme and become The Great Goofini (a.k.a. “kiddie-coaster through a circus.”)
|How hard do you have to hit a barn in order for a hat to make its own hole?
I actually rode the ride, since I probably won’t be back in Toontown before it closes for good. The cast members were handing out Barnstormer Frequent Flyer cards to everyone in line. They probably have boxes of those things that they need to get rid of in a hurry. I will treasure it always.