Disney Magic This Week (Live from Walt Disney World)

By Cassie

Today is a beautiful day! It is a great day to visit Magic Kingdom so let’s go! Leaving the Transportation and Ticket Center via the Ferry Boat- off to our left are the new DVC Polynesian bungalows under construction. There are more of the buildings on the platforms over the water here and construction crews are working on different stages whether it is roofing, walls, basic skeleton construction of the bungalows and a new building on the land nearby. The bungalows are single story and fit the style of the rest of the Polynesian resort rooflines. We can see another Ferry Boat waiting in the lagoon for us to pull out so they can come in and dock. There are three Ferry Boats operating this morning, but the additional docks that were completed, not long ago, are not being used for some reason. Look across the water, the Cinderella Castle and the main entrance to Magic Kingdom is clearly in view. It is so much fun to hear guests seeing this perhaps for the first time and how excited the children get from spotting the Castle or Space Mountain.

It is a busy morning and bag check is quite full. There are additional tables and security officers that have been added to the central area approaching the ticket touch points. Make sure you look for them when you come because there is almost no wait at their tables. We are in! The train is in the Main Street Station right in front of us and happy guests are waving. Grab a Guide Map and Times Guide and let’s check to see if anything “New” is highlighted for today. Disney has highlighted being able to meet Anna and Elsa from the Frozen movie at Princess Fairytale Hall and that they can be seen in the Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3PM today. If you don’t already have a FastPass+ for meeting these sisters, make sure you see them in the parade. They command a very demanding stand-by line from park opening to 30 minutes prior to park close.

As we emerge from the tunnels under the train station we see new bright red banners letting us know that Magician Mickey Mouse is available to meet you in Town Square Theater and now Tinker Bell is residing in the same Town Square Theater and is ready to meet you too. Her wait time is much shorter than her Adventureland location, and the waiting can be done inside with the comfort of air conditioning. There are FastPass+ available for both Mickey and Tinker Bell.   Marie and Pluto are greeting guests in Town Square right now. Checking the Times Guide is helpful, but it doesn’t tell us we can see Mary Poppins outside of Le Chapeau, Snow White on Center Street, and Princess Aurora in the Town Square Courtyard. If you have a favorite Disney character that is not shown on the Times Guide feel free to visit Guest Relations to request a list of times/locations where that character will be available for a meet and greet. The characters are becoming an even bigger part of the guest experience than in the past. We have been known to wait several hours to meet some of the characters, endure huge crowds to get a peek of someone in a parade that is not normally seen, and to purchase hard tickets for special events to grab a glimpse of a favorite Disney Villain! I am glad more obscure characters are coming out!

Walking up Main Street U.S.A. I glance in the Art of Disney entry and I am drawn over to see what all the gold in the front case is all about. There are special gold collectible coins, and ticket books. These are really amazing. I especially like the gold ticket book. It sells for a mere $165.00. These are all 24K gold! Let’s walk through the other shops here and look for new stuff. There are some new Florida weight scarves; I want the one with Ariel on it. Have you stopped to watch the glass blower in Arribas Brothers shop? Nearby we can see a Theme Park Exclusive: Park Pals created-here figurines of classic Disney characters. You can even purchase a solar powered base that enables a figurine to move slowly in rotation so you can enjoy a 360-degree view of your purchase. Across the street we see several new t-shirt designs for sale.

I am happy to see so many designs exclusive to Walt Disney World. (Check them out in the photos below.) We have made it to the end of Main Street and the merchandise and find ourselves in Casey’s Corner. How many of you must have Casey’s at least once every visit? It is a great quick-service restaurant! We are too early; the counters are not open yet. Just outside we still see green construction walls blocking our view of the work going on which is continuing to change the Cinderella Castle hub area into a larger guest-friendly layout.

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Crossing over Main Street and looking down toward the Cinderella Castle we can see construction walls extending down both sides of the street. Darn, Plaza Ice Cream is also not open yet. There are more of those green construction walls up from Main Street all the way to Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant. Since this is the busy season this location will be open for lunch and dinner, but is not open yet. I am glad I came this early because I can get some great shots of the restaurants before they are full of people. I hope these give you a way to picture them when deciding what is best for your family. I really like the menu here at Tomorrowland Terrace as it offers several items not found in the other Magic Kingdom food locations. The seating here is unique as it is very open, yet shaded.

The FastPass+ kiosk location near Stitch’s Great Escape has a sign listing it as FP+ for Tour Groups. This season brings many tour groups so it must be helpful to have a FP+ location just for them. If you are leading a Tour Group, understand that Cast Members are trying to help you when they say give each person in your group their own paper ticket to turn in at FP+ entrances. It really will help your group get through faster and not hold up the FP+ line unnecessarily. There is another FP+ kiosk nearby reminding guests that they can also sign up for an additional FP+ after using their first three. These additional FP+’s will have to be made at the kiosk only.

Straight ahead in Tomorrowland we can see the large central structure for PeopleMover and Astro Orbiter is mostly covered up with fabric and wood construction panels. They are both down for refurbishment right now. You may have visited The Lunching Pad which occupies the area below these two attractions. It is still open but you need to look for the short tunnel that leads to the ordering windows. This menu has changed perhaps since you were last here. They have always sold quick snacks but today they have BLT Hot Dog, Philly Cheese Steak Dog, and a Coney Island Dog. There is still the very popular Cream Cheese Pretzels and Mickey Pretzels. Beverages include Orange Juice, Soda, water, regular milk and soy milk, coffee, and a nice assortment of Frozen Carbonated Beverages that can be served up in a regular cup or a sports bottle. There is a nice variety here for a quick bite. It looks like we are too early for the Tomorrowland Incredibles Super Dance Party. The rides are starting to form lines now. If you come just prior to park opening you can start your day right with little to no waiting for your favorite rides. Around 10:30AM you start to lose your advantage as more people are coming into the park now. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café that borders Tomorrowland and Fantasyland is open but not serving yet so I can’t even take a photo of their menu or you. Their menu is a computer screen and only comes on when they are ready to serve. There is a bathroom in here and some Phone Charging Lockers that you could use if you need to.

I am hungry, how about you? Would you like to visit Sleepy Hollow with me? Sleepy Hollow is in Liberty Square and we just need to cross over the Castle hub area and down the short bridge. This little restaurant serves up freshly made waffle items, fresh-made funnel cakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches, ice cream cups, a variety of beverages and even fresh soup-of-the-day. I am getting something I have not had here before, a Waffle with Strawberries and Whipped Cream. They also are one of the few places that sells Barq’s Root Bear so I am getting that too. There is one scoop of strawberries placed in the center and then a squirt of whipped cream. My first thought was, is that it? I have to admit after carefully spreading the toppings across the waffle I was able to taste strawberry on each bite. I will be ordering this again!

Back in Fantasyland the line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has grown to 90 minutes with the line extending from the queue entrance around the ride fencing back near Dumbo. I could be wrong, but that looks longer than a 90-minute wait. If you want to stand in a line like this make sure you have water to re-hydrate everyone in your party because this is directly in the sun. Dehydration is the number one reason in the parks for people fainting, feeling nauseous, sick, weak, shaky, disoriented and needing to seek further medical attention. I have read that by the time you realize you are thirsty you are already suffering from dehydration. Don’t wait. Just add water. The line for Anna and Elsa is about the same, but it is mostly inside now. Anna and Elsa no longer have a visiting princess (Aurora was moved, remember?)so their queue is now mostly all indoors. Fantasyland has been getting a great deal of architectural attention lately. I have been sharing photos with you of the cloth screens or construction walls on the Fantasyland attractions. There seems to be a cloth barrier up in front of parts of Pinocchio Village Haus, Peter Pan or “it’s a small world” for months. They go up and come down and go up again. They have had background castle walls added, their roofs have been brought into the color schemes of Cinderella Castle all to bring the whole Fantasyland section to coordinate with the Castle. And more recently the walls have been getting higher and higher. Check out the photos below to see what I mean. When they are done and these current walls are brought down I will try to show you the “before and after” of these attraction fronts. I love the details, the castle walls, the towers, actually all of what has been done so far. I am curious as to why the newer walls have to go so high though. Columbia Harbour House which is part Fantasyland and part Liberty Square has been included in these refurbishments and is looking really good. The shop that is adjacent to Columbia Harbour House, known as Yankee Trader is closing for an extended duration, perhaps long enough to be refurbished into a Haunted Mansion merchandise location. That is what many of us are expecting. Last year there were many Haunted Mansion merchandise items tested and they quickly sold out so it only makes sense that this location will become a more permanent home for that merchandise. (If you visit the Marketplace Co-Op you will find some more merchandise based on the rides and lands of Magic Kingdom, but hurry, they are selling like hot cakes!)

Here is something interesting. Look at the souvenir popcorn bucket being sold here in Liberty Square. It is Mickey in costume with a cane and a jack-o-lantern Halloween bucket in hand. It is the middle of June. Moving along down into Frontierland we can see some people enjoying the Frontierland Shooting Gallery. That is fun if you are a pretty good shot; just remember to bring some cash along because it is extra. This is a cloudless morning, getting close to high noon here in Frontierland, so let’s move away from the shooting gallery and go visit Big Al’s shop. Here you can find a selection of hats to offer you some shade that don’t also have large mouse ears attached to them. We are right across from Country Bear Jamboree and this is a favorite show of mine and it brings welcome relief from the direct sun and heat right now. Exiting CBJ we run right into Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café. I have included the latest menu photo below. The souvenir glass boot glass is back and it is filled with a welcome slushie. Pecos Bill is a western-themed saloon with plenty of indoor and outdoor shaded seating. It has its own restrooms, a well-stocked fixin’s bar for everything on the menu, and did you know there is even a “Pecos Bill Code of the West”? Yep, it is presented on a faux animal skin: “Respect the land, defend the defenseless …and don’t ever spit in front of women and children.”

Let’s go cool off at Splash Mountain! We don’t have a FastPass+ so we will have to wait in the Standby line. When entering we see the old paper ticket Fast Pass machines have been removed. There is new concrete and it opens a lot of space up. While in the queue, which thankfully is either shaded or inside with air conditioning, we see a sign “Now Appearing: Come‘n’Shake a tail with The Swamp Boys” and a snapshot of alligators with instruments and hats. “If you’re lookin’ for music that won’t bog you down”! I love this ride, especially in the hot weather. People aren’t hiding under ponchos in our boat- we want the relief Splash has to give.

Big Thunder Mountain’s old paper ticket Fast Pass machines have also been removed and people are taking up space in this little section of shade under the roof. There is an un-manned Disney ice cream cart in here under a tarp so it looks like they intend to use the space for selling some refreshments. I wonder if Splash will be doing the same with their open space.

The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness is worth the wait, want to ride? As we exit we get hit by the “geyser” which honestly, feels really good today. Frontierland shops have some merchandise I want to check out. I heard there were some new t-shirts in here for the little wranglers. They are cute, check out the photos below. There is a new series of pins that are in the “chalk board” style with detailed white line designs on a black background. There is a starter set and I also see a Mickey and a Minnie piece. These are cool. There is more merchandise with the chalk board look down at the Marketplace Co-op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. What about Monsters University, do you like those versions of Mike and Sulley? They have their own pins. An individual Olaf pin and a new Merida pin grab my attention. I am buying the next one I saw because it was Dopey and Grumpy in a swinging mine train car. Love it! It even has a jewel on it!

Let’s go to Adventureland. Captain Jack Sparrow is out teaching his recruits how to sword fight, as only Jack Sparrow can. This is a very entertaining show so when you visit, make sure you check your Times Guide for when it is going to take the stage. Recruits are chosen from the crowd gathered around the stage. LOL! I love some of these new Pirate shirts: “To err is human, to arr is pirate”. Did you like that one? How about “Its all fun & games until someone needs an eyepatch”, both shirts sporting a pirate skull and crossed bones. Across the way we can visit Tortuga Tavern, not open for dinner, but for a limited time you can purchase a Strawberry Lemonade Slush served in a souvenir Skull Mug with a glow cube, of course. Make sure you read the Tortuga Tavern Code of Conduct to avoid any trouble in there.

The wooden tiki-gods, out in Adventureland between the Jungle Cruise and Magic Carpets of Aladdin, are out spitting up a storm. Children are cooling off in the water that alternatively comes out as a mist or a squirt. No height requirements here. The Enchanted Tiki Room is open for business, but it is another attraction that has been in and out of construction walls for the past year. The height keeps going up, just like in Fantasyland. Today there is a large section behind walls, again. There is a nice long bench in front of it on which to enjoy something from Sunshine Tree Terrace next door. Working our way around, past Agrabah where Aladdin and Jasmine are greeting guests we see the construction walls that had covered the majority of the shops here are gone and you can see the island style hats, dresses, etc. from the street again. Watch out for that spitting camel as we turn the corner.

Swiss Family Treehouse is very busy today. I enjoy this lush area of the park, with the exception of having to smell smoke as this smoking section seems to attract everyone in the tri-state area. The lines for Aloha Isle are fairly long but hey, if it’s a Dole Whip Pineapple Float you need, this is the only place to get it. Adventureland has a lot of banana trees around, can you spot them?

It is time to say good-bye to the Magic Kingdom. Let’s take the Monorail back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Starting next week the Monorail will be making some changes to its operating hours for at least the balance of the summer. The Magic Kingdom resort line will run from 8:30AM until midnight. The line taking guests from the Transportation and Ticket Center and Magic Kingdom (and back) will operate from 9:30AM to 11:30PM. The final Monorail beam, the one that travels between Epcot and TTC will run from 9AM to 11PM. If you need to get to or from any of these places, outside of these times, there will be additional transportation by boat or bus available for you. The Monorail is being changed to an automated system, which is expected to deliver a more efficient service and enhanced safety, will be able to give arrival times for the next train and more efficient dispatching of the trains. Don’t forget this weekend there is going to be a big “Trucks on the Town” Food Truck event at Downtown Disney with a total of fourteen different trucks and menus!

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.