ParkSpotting at Magic Kingdom – Central Plaza transformation, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, more Festival of Fantasy fun

in Disney, Entertainment, Magic Kingdom, ParkSpotting, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Coming out of a rare weekend with no special events to cover, it’s time for another ParkSpotting adventure!

Our last was from the Disneyland Resort. Today’s photo tour takes a trip through the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, noting ongoing changes, updates, and a few fun moments.

Easter is on the way, so Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny are now meeting and greeting with guests near City Hall, giving out free Peeps to those who see them.

Magic Kingdom

The much talked-about repainting of the turrets on Cinderella Castle has completed. No, they’re not silver as they appeared to be for a while. That shiny undercoat allows them to shine in the sunlight, as they do now, back to their traditional blue color.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Construction is well underway on the Central Plaza transformation project, with walls blocking large areas around the Hub.

Magic Kingdom

Fortunately, Disney’s artists find ways of making these construction walls interesting, adding plenty of characters to them.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

The moats surrounding Cinderella Castle were drained for a while as part of the project, but were being refilled over the weekend.

Magic Kingdom

But the old Swan Boat dock has become a casualty of the project, completely gone from the park, now replaced by a flat, freshly-mulched area just beyond the rose garden.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Ducks continue to waddle through the park, with one young new addition receiving a double Cast Member escort.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

The new Festival of Fantasy parade is delighting guests twice a day during the busy Easter week. The FastPass+ viewing area is a great place to watch from, allowing ample room to spread out without having to stake out a spot in advance. Located around half of the Hub facing Cinderella Castle, it’s a perfect way to follow favorite floats to watch them more closely after they arrive from Liberty Square.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

The fan favorite parts of the parade that draw the most excitement are still those moments of fire and ice: Maleficent and Frozen. Screams come from the crowd as guests spot Anna, Elsa, and Olaf while “oohs” and “aahs” are heard whenever the giant dragon spits fire.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

And after the parade passes, it’s fun to turn around and see the unusual sight of the dragon casually meandering amongst the crowd down Main Street USA.

Magic Kingdom

FastPass+ is certainly handy to snag that prime parade viewing spot without waiting and though MagicBands are not required to use it, they are prominently featured and on sale throughout the park along with accessories. A lot of guests seemed to just be using their RFID-enabled tickets though – which is how I use the system. On hot days, wearing a rubber wristband isn’t exactly comfortable.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Since Disney currently limits each guest’s daily allotment of FastPass+ selections to just 3, the many available kiosks become fairly empty as the day goes on, since no one has any use for them after using up their choices. Soon, however, Disney will allow repeat visits to these kiosks to schedule more FastPass+ selections once the initial 3 are used.

Magic Kingdom

That will certainly come in handy for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train when it officially opens in early May. Though some workers have been spotted riding the new roller coaster, no guests have ridden it yet. And it’s clearly not quite ready, with scaffolding, extension cords, and other signs of construction still present. But it’s close.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

A peek beyond the construction walls offers glimpses at the Dwarfs’ cottage and vultures overhead.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

On the backside of the Mine Train mountain lies a Disney Vacation Club sales area themed to The Little Mermaid, opposite Ariel’s ride. This location was once planned to be a merchandise store but ultimately became timeshare sales instead. At least it’s well themed.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Close encounters with unusual characters can often be found in the parks. Meeting Cinderella’s wretched stepsisters was a highlight of one young girl’s day while a female clown from the Giggle Gang somehow reminded me of Kristen Wiig.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Over in Tomorrowland, the thumping sounds of dance music ringing out means it’s time for the #IncrediblesSuperDanceParty. (Yes, the official name is a hashtag.) It features Mr. and Mrs. Incredible along with Frozone dancing to pop hits.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Nearby, one custodial Cast Member was making a few magical moments in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe by way of soap art.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

In Liberty Square, it was clear that the beginning of Easter week was already bringing bigger crowds as the Haunted Mansion consistently had upwards of a 40-minute posted wait time. The installation of FastPass+ into this attraction brought a reworking of the iconic entrance gates, pushing the plaques to the outside in favor of a more prominent entrance for those who schedule a time to skip the line. (It is a handy feature to have.)

Magic Kingdom

Finally, the nearby Sleepy Hollow counter service eatery dishes out one of the park’s best lunch offerings in waffle sandwiches. This sweet and spicy chicken sandwich lives up to both of the adjectives in its name. Other options include ham, prosciutto and cheese, as well as a Nutella-filled dessert version.

Magic Kingdom

That’s all for this edition of ParkSpotting. More to come – here and there!

(I really need to do these more often, right?)

28 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Claire

    I love looking at these – yes, please do more!!!

  2. Avatar

    David

    I cannot wait for the Seven Dwarfs Mine train. I hope it’s open when I’m there the weekend of May 16th.

    1. Avatar

      spice

      im there the weekend of may 16 17 18 and that’s my bday wish

  3. Avatar

    Aubrey

    Do you know if they ever take guests on rides during Keys to the kingdom tour? We are doing it May 2nd AM. I’m crossing my fingers someone feels compelled to take us on.

    1. Avatar

      David

      Yes, Haunted Mansion and maybe Jungle Cruise(without skipper spiel-History of attraction instead} Although it does change

    2. Avatar

      danielle

      We went in July and they took us on The Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean.

    3. Avatar

      Debs

      I’m on an AM KTTK tour on 2nd May too, maybe I’ll see you 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Shirley Pitts

    Wonderful as usual in the Disney tradition. I love Disney World-brought my kids there when they were young and have been with my grand children also. I love going there all by myself-it brings out the child in me. Hope to go when the seven drawfs mine train opens as it is my favorite cartoon. My dream when I retire is to work at Disney during the winter season. What better way to experience the park then helping others to enjoy it.

  5. Avatar

    Christian

    Total Kristen Wiig!!

  6. Avatar

    Anna

    Excellent Ricky!
    Please do more of these, I love reading them.
    Thanks for all your hard work, it’s really appreciated!

  7. Avatar

    Lucas

    Maybe its just the contrast with the sky or lighting, but do the turrets look like they are a shade brighter than they were previously?

  8. Avatar

    Valerie

    Yes, you need to do more of these. Didn’t know about the Tomorrowland dance party.

  9. Avatar

    mark

    Any ideas on the height requirements for the dwarves ride? Thanks

    1. Avatar

      Nicole

      38″

  10. Avatar

    Emi

    Hi. About FastPass+. I´ve recently bought tickets on-line and i got an email with a voucher to show at the main entrance. Will i get RFID-enabled tickets when i redeem the voucher? or I need to buy the MagicBands to enjoy FastPass+

    1. Avatar

      Travis

      Your tickets will be FastPass+ enabled when you turn in your vouchers. You will need to go to the kiosks with your tickets to get reservation times.

  11. Avatar

    Huong

    I’m an avid Disney World go-er with of course an annual pass. I constantly look forward to reading everything you post! I wish they would have a gift store across The Little Mermaid ride instead of Disney Vacation Club. Not sure why they don’t have a gift store around that area since children and fans would love it possibly being stocked with Snow White & The Little Mermaid merchandise. At least I know I would and think it would’ve been a better (& more profitable) idea.

  12. Avatar

    Holly E

    “Gnutella”? Lol

    I thought it was spelt Nutella….?

    1. Avatar

      Ricky Brigante

      Fixed. 🙂

  13. Avatar

    EricJ

    The repainting of the turrets…So that’s why there’d been a crane towering over the castle, in all of the last few months’ photos?
    Nice job–I’d thought it was something to do with the Mine Train or the Hub expansion.

  14. Avatar

    Clay Matthews

    Great shots, Ricky!

    One quick question: we finally booked the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party for our latest WDW trip (this August) and I was wondering if the construction walls for the hub expansion were going to be an obstruction to the view. Could you tell from where you were shooting? And yes, I know, the fireworks themselves will be up in the sky. 8^)

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar

      Mike Cranston

      We attended the Dessert Party on Friday the 18th. The walls were not an obstruction.

  15. Avatar

    Roberta furtado

    im gonna spend my son 2nd birthday at the parks. just want to know if they have any special for occasion like that. like dinner with mickey or else

  16. Avatar

    Craig

    Love the update, please do more!

  17. Avatar

    Great blog! Easter time is always exciting at The Magic Kingdom! I cannot wait until the new Seven Dwarves’ ride opens-it is sure to be a great addition to Central Florida’s great attractions.

  18. Avatar

    EricJ

    And how many trips have I made and never once realized Sleepy Hollow had waffle sandwiches/desserts? 0_0

  19. Avatar

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  20. Avatar

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for providing these details.

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