Disney World Makes Vital Crowd Change at Magic Kingdom

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Maleficent dragon sculpture breathing fire against a clear blue sky.

Credit: Harsh Light, Flickr

The Walt Disney World Resort has made an alteration to its flagship theme park, Magic Kingdom Park, that will usher in a vital crowd change potentially for all the wrong reasons.

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

All Eyes on Magic Kingdom

Disney World has been under the microscope of late as Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger looks to appease shareholders and fans. The most recent development came with Iger stating there was nothing “tangible” to show for the huge $60 billion financial investment the company made months ago, half of which is being pumped into parks and resorts.

Following Iger’s comments at the latest shareholder call, Disney speedily released numerous updates coming to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Central Florida. Perhaps the most exciting was the confirmation that the first steps in bringing the “Beyond Big Thunder” project to life in Magic Kingdom were underway via a permit filing.

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

The “Beyond Big Thunder” project was first presented as a blue sky idea at the D23 Expo 2022, wherein Disney Experiences (formerly Disney Parks, Experiences and Products) chairman Josh D’Amaro revealed development concepts pertaining to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom at Disney World.

Magic Kingdom’s expansion would see elements of Coco, Encanto, and the Disney Villains arrive at the park, joining areas like Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Main Street, U.S.A. The “Beyond Big Thunder” project is being reported as the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. It is not confirmed what will be part of this new area nor what name it will go by. Judging by the inclusion of Encanto in the Tropical Americas section of Animal Kingdom–which Disney Parks recently teased on Instagram–the Family Madrigal may be out of their spot next door to Cinderella Castle.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure, which replaced Splash Mountain, at Disney World.
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Is Changing Iconic Fantasyland Location in Magic Kingdom

But before all that happens, Disney has another major opening to mark–the grand reveal of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which will officially replace Splash Mountain in Frontierland in the summer of 2024. With all this investment going into Disney World’s oldest theme park, guest intake will only go higher. Recently, the Spring Break season saw record travelers move through Orlando, and judging by the sold-out Disney Genie Lightning Lane offerings and park hopping ban, fans just cannot stay away from the leading Disney park.

a photo of Cinderella's castle inside of Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Magic Kingdom Makes Vital Crowd Change

Over time, Disney World has been known to alter its operations. One of the most frequent changes Disney World seems to make is the show times of its parades and cavalcades. For the Festival of Fantasy, the parade has been showing twice daily since February, at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Before this the popular parade was operating just once a day at 3 p.m. At the same time, the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade moved to morning showings only.

Now, Disney has once again reduced the Festival of Fantasy to just the 3 p.m. showing, causing what will be a vital crowd change for the park. The Festival of Fantasy is one of the most popular presentations at Disney World. With characters like Anna and Elsa from the Frozen franchise, Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989), Tiana and Naveen from The Princess and the Frog (2009), Mickey and Minnie themselves, and a giant mechanical Maleficent dragon, the parade attracts hundreds of Magic Kingdom guests. With the removal of one performance, the sidewalks at the park are about to get a lot more crowded.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on their Festival of Fantasy — Disney Parade — float
Credit: Disney

Related: Rise of the Resistance Shutting Down, Cast Member Tells All

The current schedule has the Festival of Fantasy operating at 3 p.m. daily through May 4, with the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade showing at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Festival of Fantasy runs from Frontierland into the grounds of Cinderella Castle and then down Main Street, U.S.A.

Do you think it is a good or bad decision to perform Festival of Fantasy once per day at Magic Kingdom? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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