Unruly Guests Force Disney To Change Magic Kingdom Layout

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Low crowds at Magic Kingdom's Frontierland with rip diagonally across the image

Credit: Inside the Magic

Walt Disney World Resort is an ever-changing behemoth, and this recent report recalls a time when Guests caused the Magic Kingdom to change its layout.

A rainbow crosses the sky over Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World, found in Orlando, Central Florida, opened over 50 years ago, and during the five decades it has welcomed Guests, has changed exponentially. Of course, the Resort originally opened with just the Magic Kingdom, and was later joined by EPCOT in 1982, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998.

And even on a smaller scale, Disney World has been a constantly evolving theme park Resort. From rides to attractions to experiences, the version of Walt Disney World one Guest has visited will be vastly different from the one another visits a year later.

Performers in front of Spaceship Earth
Credit: D23

But have all the updates and alterations been driven by The Walt Disney Company? Or have Guests helped usher in changes at the famous Disney Resort? This report says yes, they have.

In a recent report, Robert Niles of the Theme Park Insider revealed how, during his tenure at The Walt Disney Company working at Walt Disney World Resort, unruly Guests actually caused Imagineers to change the layout of Magic Kingdom.

Years ago, the popularity of the Country Bear Jamboree and its Christmas Special spawned a summertime version called the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown. Niles relays his time working on the attraction in Magic Kingdom.

Country Bear Jamboree
Credit: Disney

As part of working the attraction, a Cast Member was assigned one of three roles — theater, turnstile, or greeter. The greeter position was “responsible for maintaining the queue,” which meant managing the stroller parking, the Guests lining up, as well as stopping people from hopping over the planter separating Frontierland, where Country Bear Jamboree resides, into Adventureland, home of Pirates of the Caribbean.

“But since cutting through that planter intentionally allowed guests to save a several-minute walk to get from the center of Adventureland to the middle of Frontierland, sharp-eyed guests with spatial awareness and no fear of a three-foot jump crawled through that planter all the time,” the writer tells us. “Walt Disney World management, therefore, tasked greeters with stopping them, for their own safety.”

Entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean, the Walt Disney World ride
Credit: Disney

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According to the report, Disney World Imagineers noticed this unruly behavior and made official changes to the park layout in order to cater to the problem. Upon returning to the Park a while after, Niles said:

“Where a three-foot retaining wall once stood, Walt Disney World had regraded the pathways, creating a sloped walkway that now connected the middle of Adventureland with the middle of Frontierland. No more jumping — or trying to stop the jumping — required.”

Shooting Arcade exterior in Frontierland at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

At the time, it may have been prohibited to use this method to traverse between Adventureland and Frontierland, but, actually, as the writer points out, it was a needed change in order to keep the Guest flow moving and, more importantly, to keep Guests happy.

Back in 2023, Disney fans are anxiously awaiting an update on the larger-scale projects happening around Walt Disney World Resort. In Magic Kingdom, there is a possibility that an entirely new land will be created, featuring areas themed to Coco (2017), Encanto (2021), and the iconic Disney Villains.

Disney World IP expansion including 'Coco', 'Encanto', and Villains Land
Credit: Disney

The Beyond Big Thunder Mountain project was part of the “Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products” panel at last year’s D23 Expo, where Parks head Josh D’Amaro was joined by Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios Jennifer Lee and Creative Portfolio Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, Chris Beatty, to reveal potential plans for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. The latter includes areas themed to Moana (2016) and Zootopia (2016).

Meanwhile, while these “blue sky” ideas float around the minds of Disney executives, a very real construction project is happening over at EPCOT Park. Last year, EPCOT rebranded its Future World area into three new neighborhoods to sit alongside the World Showcase — World Nature, World Discovery, and World Celebration.

Walt Disney World EPCOT's World Celebration Concept Art
Credit: Disney

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The latter, which is the main area surrounding Spaceship Earth, is currently amid an extended construction project that will eventually be the home of the CommuniCore Hall and CommuniCore Plaza, where the hub of EPCOT’s many festivals — like the current International Food & Wine Festival — will be hosted.

Did you know about this change at Disney World? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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