News and Views around Walt Disney World-third week of April, 2014

News and Views around Walt Disney World-third week of April, 2014

This week only: Festival of Fantasy Parade now being offered at noon and 3PM!  The Main Street Electrical Parade will be at 10PM and 12AM all week.  Wishes will remain at 9PM. Guests were lining up at the ropes in Frontierland wondering what they were lining up for since they did not expect Festival of Fantasy at noon, but at 3PM.  It is being offered this week only at these two times.

This is great for families who need to head back for kiddos to nap, or cool off in the resort pool for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  When the Grand Marshall family was announced and the parade officially announced people from all over Frontierland came out to watch.  There was no waiting at Big Thunder Mountain.  Folks in the Splash Mountain queue did not leave their spots as the line was over two hours long.  Everyone else was full of smiles watching the parade.  It let us forget about the sun for a few minutes.  I finally got a photo of the Maleficent dragon breathing fire.  Be sure to check out the pics below.

New Docks at Magic Kingdom- We could see an empty ferry boat approach the new dock at the Transportation and Ticket Center but boats were not landing there loaded with guests yet.  It is supposed to open sometime this week.  That will help with transporting people on multiple ferry boats as they will not have to wait for a dock space to be open.  There are two new docks, one at T&TC and one at the Magic Kingdom

When exiting the ferry boat this morning we were directed to new but temporary Bag Check entrances directly across from the boat dock.  The Bag Checks at the regular entrance looked almost empty so I went around to those and was in the park in just a couple of minutes.  I noticed later in the afternoon that these new Bag Check stations were moved next to the original Bag Check tables to help move guests through more efficiently.  I really appreciate the extra effort to get us into the park quickly.

Small World celebrated 50 years on April 10.  Cast Members and guests around the world joined together to sing the iconic song which was written by the Academy Award winning Sherman brothers and is sung in five languages on the ride. There are 289 dolls designed by Disney Imagineer Mary Blair.

April 14 through April 18 Magic Kingdom will be open from 8AM to 1AM. Disney resort guests will appreciate MK opening from 7 to 8AM each morning just for them.  Easter Sunday they will be open 9AM to 12AM. Evening Extra Magic Hours will extend MK to 3AM on April 18 and April 20 to 2AM.  On the 15th and 17th Epcot will remain open with EMH until 11PM. April 16 Hollywood studios has EMH until 12AM.  There are two shows of Fantasmic! each evening at 8:30PM and 10PM.

While walking in I can see most if not all of the painting on the turrets of Cinderella Castle have been repainted a metallic blue with gold accents on the tops. There is some water in the moat again, more than just the result of rain storms.  The landing for the Swan Boats is completely gone and has been replaced with landscaping.  The Tomorrowland waterfall is back on and it looks great.  The construction wall that kept visitors from walking up to the Castle and into Fantasyland starting near the Merida meet and greet is down.  There are many construction walls around the Castle hub area.

It is hot, I am getting a milkshake.  I went to Storybook Treats in Fantasyland and they make great milkshakes!  I enjoyed my cool drink as I walked around the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ride still under construction.  There are construction crews all over the mountain.  Some are touching up paint, but some appear to be doing some work on the track.  I know there is testing that has to take place, which has not, before it can open to the public.  Still, with all this activity I feel it will be soon.  Peeking through the tiny windows they gave us we can see that materials around the base of the mountain have all been cleaned up.  I do see temporary water hoses going to some sprinklers running along some of the track sections.  There are some pieces of scaffolding, self-standing, that has reappeared but to the best of my ability to see I think this is just for touch-up painters.  I want to see the ride testing to see the speed and rocking motion this ride will have. There was a shop by the same name as the ride that was closed a few months ago and the sign just came down this week.  It is still closed and has no indication of what will go in there.  As I linger to watch the construction crew and take photos here I always hear guests walk by and speaking about this ride as another ride entirely.  This is not Big Thunder Mountain, or Splash Mountain, or Space Mountain, or Expedition Everest.  This is 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ride.  Please read your maps before you tell your child “See, Big Thunder Mountain isn’t open yet.” I hate seeing tears for nothing, especially at Walt Disney World.

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The construction of the new DVC Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian resort are progressing.  We can see several roof sections sitting atop a hill at the construction site, and some of the Bungalows that have been put together.  These are pretty large buildings.  Some will be built over the water, connected to the mainland with wooden boardwalks which has been created.  If you look behind the first building on your left, while looking at the Poly from the Ferry Boat, you would see a new Bus loop approach and covering at this building.

The Epcot International Flower and Garden show is still going on and on my trip this time I tried the Watermelon Slush with a Cumquat Pie at the Florida Fresh booth.  They were both delicious.  And yes, I had to have Violet Lemonade slush because they are sooo good! I see there are Double Chocolate Funnel Cakes at the Funnel Cake stand at American Adventure.  What a great dessert!

While we are in Epcot, let’s play one of the games being offered.  There is a Muppet’s MBI game that is included with admission to the park, and an egg hunt game that costs $4.95 each.  In the Muppet game you are given an agent book and the rules are explained.  The egg hunt game you are given a map of World Showcase and a sheet of stickers that you use to match up the large eggs placed in each country with the sticker and mark this on your map.  You get a surprise at the end of both.

Downtown Disney continues to be a huge construction zone.  You cannot walk down through Pleasure Island; you must take the newer route down by the water to walk from DD West Side to DD Marketplace.  Coming around the corner near Paradiso I can see this is hurting their business.  They have tables that had extended to the water’s edge but no longer have that space.  The new Boat House restaurant can be seen going up nearby.  The causeway joining Rainforest Café and T-Rex /Lego store area is progressing.  There are walls and construction machines all over Walt Disney World it seems. Across the street near the Hess station there are more construction walls, and right next to Typhoon Lagoon clearing of trees and flattening surfaces has quietly been going on.  Now there is a building there as well.  It looks like it will be parking, but for what we have not been told.   The parking garage has raised only about half of the second floor.  Work has begun on the second parking garage.  The wide parking area we had been able to use behind West Side now has construction walls up on at least a third of it.  If you can get to Downtown Disney by boat or bus from your resort you are much better off doing that because parking has grown very scarce for now.  The weekends are the worst for trying to get in there.  There is satellite parking across the street from Downtown Disney that may help you get to a dinner reservation in time, even if you do have to walk further.

I reported to you last week of a new menu and new prices at Earl of Sandwich at DD Marketplace.  This week Pinocchio Village Haus finally reopened.  The plain cheese flatbread (adult size), Meatball Sub, four breadsticks with pizza sauce, Italian Wedding Soup, Iced Coffee French Vanilla or Mocha, and Pinocchio’s Punch are no longer on the menu. New on the menu is Lemonade Slush or Blue Raspberry Slush for $4.49. The prices did not increase.  Ironically the menu posted just to the side of the main entrance is the old menu.

April 20 is Easter Sunday and if you would like to attend a religious service there are two available. In the Fantasia Ballroom of Disney’s Contemporary resort will host Catholic Mass at 8AM and 10:15AM and a Protestant service at 9AM.  You will not be able to drive and park at the Contemporary; you will need to use Disney transportation to get to the resort, if you are not staying there.

April 13-20 Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny are available for photos in the garden, next to Town Hall, Magic Kingdom. On April 19-20 Mr. Easter Bunny will make pre-parade appearances.  The celebration in Disneyland has all of the Disney rabbits available for meet and greets.

You will find plenty of goodies for stuffing Easter Baskets at places like Main Street Confectionary or Goofy’s Candy Company, but if you want to have a professional basketeer put together a basket for you just call 407-WDW-GIFT and they will help you with that. Check out the special Easter Holiday treats like an Easter Bunny candy apple, Iced Gingerbread Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Crispy Rice treats that look like spring flowers, decorated eggs, some with coconut dyed green and jelly beans on top, brightly colored Mickey cookie pops and special holiday cupcakes.

April 4-22 you can view the 3rd Annual Chocolate Easter Egg display at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  These eggs are 16 to 20” tall and are hand painted with tinted cocoa powder.   Joining the line-up this year is a Frozen themed egg with a portrait of Elsa. Other character eggs such as The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Pocahontas, and Lady and the Tramp are here amidst floral or beach scene eggs.  These eggs, of which there are 18, take between 18 to 20 hours to create.  There are even a couple of Steampunk versions of eggs, a theme which has been popular in several other areas this year, such as the Maleficent dragon in the Festival of Fantasy parade.  These eggs are completely edible, made of modeling chocolate, fondant icing, royal icing and sculpted sugar.  I wouldn’t mind taking a nibble on some of these, how about you?

I hope this brings a little bit of Walt Disney World into your day even if you are not here to enjoy it.

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.