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Category: Magic Kingdom (page 1 of 2)

New Magic Kingdom Security Measures Mean Shorter Lines for You

Since the installation of much-needed metal detectors at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, getting into our favorite park has been difficult. Long security lines frequently pushed out as far as the ferry boat entrance, making it difficult for guests to even get into line coming from the boat and the bus stop area. Disney attempted to rectify this situation by adding more security lines, but to no avail: lines were out of control.

So how do you keep visitors to Disney’s busiest park happy? Well, the latest solution is to move security to several different locations. So far, it’s working quite well, especially for guests staying at the monorail resorts.

This is the walkway from the Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom.  Guests coming from this resort will go through security here if they choose to walk to the park. It moved quickly. In fact, things were so slow, one of the cast members working there jokingly told me, “I’ve been talking to the plants. So far, they haven’t answered back.”

Guests taking the monorail from the Contemporary, Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian will go through security before the enter the monorail. I stayed at the Grand last week and things went very smoothly there, even during busier times.

Here’s another view of the Grand Floridian’s security line.

As you can see, this is a nice bonus for monorail guests, who will simply exit the monorail and walk right up to the touch points and enter the park.  It really was a breeze getting into the park this way.

If you’re parking at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and taking the ferry or monorail to the Magic Kingdom, you’ll go through security after you exit the tram.

The tram drop off and pick up area has been moved further from the covered area (towards the road) to make room for security.

Here’s another view of the new tram drop off area. Security and bag check is to your right.

After you go through security, you’ll choose whether to take the monorail or the ferry, same as before. Note that guests going to Epcot will have to go through security again when they visit that park. Also, if you are a guest at a monorail resort and you are taking the monorail to Epcot, you’ll go through security twice: once when leaving your resort and again when you arrive at Epcot. That seems to be the only glitch and even that is minor.

Next up, buses. I think it’s tempting to think that bus riders might have it the most difficult, but keep in mind, you’ve always had to go through security at the Magic Kingdom. Now you’re just doing it with fewer people, as monorail and ferry boat riders have already gone through the process. This means your time in line is going to be much shorter.

As you can see, even during a busy early evening in April, lines were short.

A lot of times Disney fans don’t like change. I get it because if they ever took out Carousel of Progress, I would be the first to chain myself to the building! But this is good change we can all agree on. Lines are moving faster and there’s less congestion, which means you get into the park faster. And who doesn’t want that?

 

 

Christmas 2013 in the Magic Kingdom.

It’s Christmastime at Walt Disney World and no park looks more festive than the Magic Kingdom. Every night, Cinderella’s fairy godmother lights the castle with thousands of “dream lights,” but that’s just the start of the magic you’ll see throughout the holiday season.  Main Street is decked out with pretty garlands and wreaths.
A close up shot from one of the lampposts.
 And Main Street. No matter how many times I walk down this street, it’s always exciting.
And the same scene at night.

Tin soldiers greet you in Town Square.

These guys look almost too festive to eat. Well, almost.
You’ll find Mickey head sugar cookies in pretty greens and reds this time of year.

Mike Wazowski pays a visit to the holiday themed Club 626 show in Tomorrowland.

I secretly want a silver Christmas tree with bright colored bulbs.

Pretty shop windows at the Emporium on Main Street.
You can find these Disney character stockings in the Emporium.
If you’re looking for the best candied apples in the park, stop by Main Street Confectionery.
Tasty little Christmas treats.
There’s no end to the type of Mickey head ornaments you can buy. I love that these blue ones aren’t your traditional red and green.

And for those who love pink, these are adorable.

For those who prefer red, these are cute.
Cute Mickey Santas. I even saw some mini Duffys with Santa outfits.

I know people who buy the souvenir popcorn bucket every Christmas. Here’s this year’s offering.

Great photo opportunities here. It was pretty dreary when we left the park the other day, but I couldn’t resist one more picture.

I hope you get a chance to visit the Magic Kingdom this year for the holidays. Let me know what you think.

Christmas 2013 in the Magic Kingdom.

It’s Christmastime at Walt Disney World and no park looks more festive than the Magic Kingdom. Every night, Cinderella’s fairy godmother lights the castle with thousands of “dream lights,” but that’s just the start of the magic you’ll see throughout the holiday season.  Main Street is decked out with pretty garlands and wreaths.
A close up shot from one of the lampposts.
 And Main Street. No matter how many times I walk down this street, it’s always exciting.
And the same scene at night.

Tin soldiers greet you in Town Square.

These guys look almost too festive to eat. Well, almost.
You’ll find Mickey head sugar cookies in pretty greens and reds this time of year.

Mike Wazowski pays a visit to the holiday themed Club 626 show in Tomorrowland.

I secretly want a silver Christmas tree with bright colored bulbs.

Pretty shop windows at the Emporium on Main Street.
You can find these Disney character stockings in the Emporium.
If you’re looking for the best candied apples in the park, stop by Main Street Confectionery.
Tasty little Christmas treats.
There’s no end to the type of Mickey head ornaments you can buy. I love that these blue ones aren’t your traditional red and green.

And for those who love pink, these are adorable.

For those who prefer red, these are cute.
Cute Mickey Santas. I even saw some mini Duffys with Santa outfits.

I know people who buy the souvenir popcorn bucket every Christmas. Here’s this year’s offering.

Great photo opportunities here. It was pretty dreary when we left the park the other day, but I couldn’t resist one more picture.

I hope you get a chance to visit the Magic Kingdom this year for the holidays. Let me know what you think.

Newly Refurbished Main Street Bakery Opens As a Starbucks.

I had the good fortune to visit the newly refurbished Main Street Bakery on opening day last Tuesday.  After a bit of fanfare, it was business as usual with two queues and lots of registers to ring up guests and feed their coffee and pastry addictions.  Things went smoothly on this surprisingly slow opening day, but Disney will probably need to rethink the very busy pick-up area once things really get going as guests tend to congregate there making for serious congestion.

Make no bones about it: The Main Street Bakery is now a Starbucks. Disney purists will cringe at this news, but can take heart in the fact that it still essentially looks like the old Main Street Bakery, minus the seating area.  The same colors and theming are still present, albeit with the Starbucks logo. Cast members even wear the same uniforms as before.

Perhaps the biggest change can be seen in the food case. Almost none of the former pastries and desserts exist. Instead, you’ll get the same treats that are available at Starbucks locations everywhere with a few of the old Main Street Bakery items thrown in for good measure.  Coffee drinkers might say this is a fair trade given how bad the coffee in Walt Disney World was prior to the arrival of Starbucks.

The complete lack of seating is a disappointment, but not surprising given how small the space is. In its former incarnation, the Main Street Bakery was a nice cool spot to relax and enjoy a quick snack. There wasn’t a lot of seating and it was downright cozy, to put it nicely, but you could usually find a place to sit as turnover (excuse the unintentional bakery reference) was fast. By expanding the actual retail space and adding an additional queue, Disney did away with this seating area leaving nothing more than a small counter where you maybe five people can stand. Everyone else will have to walk and snack or head over to the picnic tables across from Casey’s or The Plaza.
Overall, I think the changes to the Main Street Bakery will satisfy most guests. Being able to get a decent cup of coffee in a Disney park has proven very popular in Disney California Adventure, where there’s been a Starbucks now since last year.  While some Disney diehards will lament the presence of a non-Disney corporate entity in the park (forgetting of course that this isn’t the first time this has happened), the branding is subtle and blends in well with the theming.  I think this will prove to be a well-loved spot in the Magic Kingdom.

Best Disney Snacks & Treats

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Please welcome Melissa from Picturing Disney.
If you are anything like me, Disney food can be as enticing a reason to plan a return trip as the ambiance and the all-inclusiveness of the resort.  I tell people all the time that it’s because Disney cooks and bakes some magic right in every dish.

One of the most overlooked and delicious ways to enjoy Disney food is the amazing and unique snacks. Everything has that Disney touch.  Do you have a favorite? I couldn’t choose just one so here are my top 10:

1.  Mickey Premium Ice Cream bars.  There are no words for my love for these crunchy, sweet, mickey-shaped ice creams.

2.  Dole Whips.  Obviously, these make the list, but for me its the Dole Whip float that steals the show. What is your favorite treat from Aloha Isle?

3.  Pretzels. I’m a sucker for Mickey Shaped foods and soft pretezels are no exception.

4.  Practically Perfect Punch.  This is availabe at Jolly Holiday in Disneyland and I can’t get enough of it  (Jungle Juice and Ohana Juice may be a tie for 4th on second thought).

5.  Mickey Waffles.  I know, again with mickey shaped food! These are just perfect.

6.  Main Street Bakery Cupcakes or Boardwalk Bakery muffins.  When a muffin is a meal that keeps you completely stuffed for hours you know you’re in Disney.

7.  Rice Krispy Treats. I love how these come with so many quick service meals and I’ve sometimes been known to hoard a couple in my room and take them home with me to enjoy Disney magic after the trip.

8.  Cotton Candy/Popcorn.  Even though these are very different I have to group them together because I love them for not just their taste but for the awesome containers they often come in!

9.  Churros.  I adore Disney churros from the Mexico pavillion in Epcot and the carts in Disneyland.

10.  Orange Citrus Swirl.  I had to make this #10 because I know I WILL love it but have not tried one yet.  Wishful thinking?

Whats your most favorite Disney treat? Did it make the list? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to come and check out my photoblog, Picturing Disney!

Dumbo’s Interactive Queue.

There’s a lot going on at Disney World right now that’s both innovative and fun. At the top of my list is the interactive queue for the new Dumbo.  If you haven’t been to Disney World in a while, they’ve moved Dumbo from its previous location in the middle of Fantasyland to Storybook Circus, where Mickey’s Toon Town Fair used to be.  They’ve also added a second Dumbo and a fastpass option, which has dramatically decreased wait times. But perhaps the most welcomed addition is the new interactive queue. 

Standing in front of the two Dumbos, you’ll have the option of doing the standby line the right or, if you have a fastpass, taking the fastpass option on the left. Skip the fastpass.  Your kids will love the interactive queue option on the right.  We waited around ten minutes, sometimes less, to get into the play area. When you get up to the front, a cast member will ask how many are in your party and then hand you a pager. Now say, for example, you have a total 35 minute wait for the attraction. You’ll spend around 25 minutes in the play area, turn in your pager to the cast member at the front, and then wait another 10 waiting for the ride. It might sound like a long time, but trust me: Your kids won’t want to leave. And depending on the age of your kids, you’ll enjoy sitting and relaxing on the benches.

There are slides, fake fireworks to shoot off, and plenty of things to climb and jump on. Do you see those netted areas up there? They’re big enough for an adult to run around in too, so you can join your kids. There’s a back stair behind the “burning” building in the picture above that grown ups can use if they don’t feel like climbing up. There’s also a play area for young toddlers right in the middle with seating for the adults. If your kids are 5-years old and up, they should be fine running around on their own. The ground is soft and there’s not a lot of potential for accidents.
Just a couple of warnings. There’s no restroom in the interactive queue. You’ll have to turn in your pager to the cast member at the front and she’ll  give you a fastpass to go through the other side of Dumbo once you’re ready.  You’ll go out the back door and walk straight over to the Storybook Circus bathroom, which is right next to the train station.  The other issue is the back door.  The play area holds 175 people. With that many kids and grownups running around, it can be difficult to keep up with your kids. Since no one is manning that door, it would be easy for a small child to open it and walk outside. I’m hoping to see some measures put in place to change that, as the potential for some sort of incident is there.
I think this is one of the smartest things I’ve seen come out of Disney Imagineering in a long time, turning the long wait times for Dumbo into fun. I literally couldn’t get my kids out of there. And that, may be it’s only fault, which isn’t a bad one to have.



Staying Hydrated at the Magic Kingdom

Water is your friend!

Keeping cool and hydrated while visiting Central Florida is important anytime of the year, but especially during the hot and crowded summer months. While soda abounds at the Magic Kingdom, it isn’t always the smartest choice when the weather turns blistering. So, grab your sunglasses, your hat and your sunscreen as we look at some simply ways to stay hydrated.

Ask for Free Water
Any quick service stand or snack cart that sells fountain soda will be able to give you a free cup of water. All you have to do is ask! They will also wet down bandannas and small hand towels to help keep you cool. If the heat gets overwhelming, don’t hesitate to stop a cast member. They can direct you to the First Aid station near the Crystal Palace.

Fruit, Fruit and More Fruit!





Even thought the Nutella Waffle with Fruit might seem a little much on a hot day, it still offers a generous helping of blueberries, bananas and strawberries. You can find bananas, oranges and apples all over the Magic Kingdom at various snack locations but two spots standout for their variety.

Fantasyland

  • Cheshire Cafe – fresh fruit, lemonade, slushies and Smart Water.

Liberty Square

  • Liberty Square Market – apple slices, oranges,  bananas, grapes, green apples, mixed fruit, pineapple spear, watermelon and carrot/celery sticks.

Water Misters and Sunscreen…Oh, My!


Everyone has seen those carts parked everywhere selling the spray bottles with the fans on top. You know, the ones that spray the cooling mist of water?
Well, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the misting fans cause more sunburns than you would think! The water droplets magnify the intensity of the sun and the mist keeps the sunscreen from being as effective. We always recommend that you take a hat of some sort…and that you reapply sunscreen throughout the day.

As a reminder, it takes about 30 minutes for sunscreen to be effective. Applying it and then going into direct sunlight is better than no sunscreen, but it is still not as effective.

Citrus Swirls
Don’t forget to enjoy the reborn Citrus Swirl at the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland. This creamy and refreshing orange and vanilla treat is a perfect snack on a really hot day. Or course, you are in danger of getting brain freeze as you try to finish the treat before it melts.

How do you stay cool and refreshed at the magic Kingdom?

Be Our Guest Restaurant Opening Rumor!

Why aren’t those people jumping over the fence?!?!

Chris was talking to a cast member on Sunday about the opening of Fantasyland and has this tasty rumor to share:

Here’s some gossip regarding the fantasyland expansion. Rumor has it that the Be Our Guest restaurant will open sometime this summer, possibly late July. The gift shops in that area will open then as well. You’ll be able to access that area only.

As a reminder, this is only a rumor. We have also heard that you might be able to make Advanced Dining Reservations this July for sometime in Fall 2012.

Check out the post that we wrote about trying to nail down the dates for the Fantasyland Expansion.

You can see the other posts we have done about the Fantasyland Expansion by clicking here.

Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Cruise: Be a Jungle Cruise Skipper

One of the most coveted jobs for wanna-be Magic Kingdom cast members is being a skipper on the World Famous Jungle Cruise! Not all of us can move to Orlando and take a job at Walt Disney World, but there is a way you can be your own Skipper on the Jungle Cruise during your next vacation!

Located next to the exit of the Jungle Cruise is Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Cruise. Shrunken Ned’s is a way for you to unleash your inner skipper by piloting your very own remote control Jungle Cruise boat.

You still have to provide your own jokes.

I’m your Jungle Cruise skipper today. You know the difference between a Captain and a Skipper, don’t you? The Captain goes down with the ship…

You have to use tokens and there is a machine nearby that will accept one and five dollar bills. Pop in the token and you’re off! You can move forward and backward as you take your tiny boat on your own three-week cruise.

Wave at all the people on the dock…. ’cause you may never see ’em again. Of course, you’ve never seen ’em before, so you aren’t gonna miss anything.

Tikis with gaping mouths and a river full of pointy spears block your way as you navigate the perils of the Junior Jungle Cruise.

We have other dangers like monsoons, rapids.. WATERFALLS! Everybody on this side, ya wanna lean in! (looking at other side of boat) You guys… jump out. Lean in! Lean in! C’mon… please…. Dive, dive…..

Watch out for the volcano and the secret elephant bathing area!

It’s ok to stare, by the way, they’ve got their trunks on…

The boats are even named like their full-size counterparts. I like this mini-attraction because it is a great way for the kids to have fun and feel like they are doing something exciting (and a little dangerous). It gives the parents a brief respite before the next attraction, too.

Hey look everybody! It’s Chief Nammie! He’s your head salesman here in the jungle. As you can see, business has been shrinking a little lately. He’s got a great deal goin’ on…two of his heads for one of yours. Any takers? Aw c’mon! No matter what the size, you come out ahead! You know the old saying…two heads are better than one!

This could lead us to more danger. This could lead to a dead end. Or, it might be like everything else, and lead us to another gift shop!

Have you ever done Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Cruise?

Any other places you like to take a fun break for a little while?

Heard any good jokes lately?

Fantasyland Expansion Update: Storybook Circus – A First Look

Signs like this one on the construction wall welcome you.

The first part of the Fantasyland expansion, Storybook Circus, has been in soft openings for just over a week now, and I had the opportunity this past weekend to take a look. 

This snack and drink cart is located outside of Storybook Circus, as you make your way in.

It’s still very much in the early stages yet; no merchandise is available for sale in the new area, and there are no places to eat or grab a snack within Storybook Circus right now. And while beautifully landscaped, there’s still a lot of wide open areas where shade is needed, making it seem much hotter then it is. But of course, these are all things that will be worked out – we’ll see shops and lots of (new) merchandise, snack and dining options will be added, and trees will be planted. 

Even in its early stages though, Storybook Circus is truly incredible. Beautifully themed and designed, it was exciting to see even this small section (consisting of The Great Goofini, one side of Dumbo, and the Walt Disney World Railroad Train Station) up close, after months of standing on ledges and finding other unique places to take pictures. It also makes me excited for the months ahead as Storybook Circus grows and new areas open up. 

Who’s ready to ride?


The Barnstormer, featuring the “Great Goofini” is up and never looked better. And with a minimum height requirement of only 35″, this roller coaster is great for even the smallest thrill seekers in your family.

Take a ride and sneak a peak at the Fantasyland construction going on.

I’d make a point of checking out Storybook Circus early in the day, as by around 11 a.m., lines were already 30 minutes and growing to ride.

After months of seeing this cut-out over construction walls, it was nice to get an up close view. 

The new Dumbo looks great, and the water feature is a nice touch, too.

The lines are still long, but people didn’t care, even though there’s not a lot of shade available in certain parts still. This should change when the second Dumbo opens up. The interactive queue line should also help pass the time. 

The big top isn’t open yet, but I’m betting it will be in the next couple of months, once the second Dumbo is added.

Timothy Mouse hasn’t been added to the new Dumbo yet, but Disney has said he will be included as work progresses. He does, however, give guests instructions before the ride begins.

The new train station is open and looking good! 

And it runs frequently and for most of the day, too.

These are the new restrooms in Storybook Circus. The brick work is just great! It doesn’t even look like a bathroom. 



Although I was a little confused by this sign above the toilet. I know bottled water is expensive at Disney, but is this a real problem with guests?



There’s lots of nice detail work throughout Storybook Circus, like this stone work, which is everywhere. 

Since the circus came to town, it only makes sense that you’d see animal tracks of different shapes and sizes, as well as peanut shells, in the cement pathways. Disney has said as more of the expansion open, you’ll see the tracks leading towards those new sections, too. 

The garbage cans are themed too.  Disney did an excellent job incorporating the circus theme without it being too “in your face.” 

I even like the new outfits the cast members in this area have to wear. And while this cast member seemed happy, not all of them looked too thrilled with the new threads! 

I hope you enjoyed the photos. You can be sure as the new Fantasyland continues to grow and change, we’ll be bringing you updates and more pictures.

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