Magic Kingdom Update: Castle Cranes & Canal, Construction & Crowds

We once again return to Magic Kingdom for another Walt Disney World photo reports. In this update, we’ll cover the current crowds, TRON Lightcycle Power Run construction, FuelRod changes, as well as an extensive look at Cinderella Castle–both at construction that’s now finished and new work that’s just starting.

Let’s start with crowds. If you saw our recent Why You Should Visit Disney World RIGHT NOW! post, you know that we’re emphatically recommending a visit to Walt Disney World between now and early November 2019 for a variety of reasons. (Seriously, if you can swing a last-minute trip, do it!) One of those is the low crowds, and ease of avoiding them even once they get worse (and they will).

While crowds have picked up a tad since their lulls during the week of Hurricane Dorian, they are still at or around their off-season lows. With that said, this varies day by day, particularly in Magic Kingdom. If you’re visiting in the next few months, you’ll want to follow a few rules…

The first is to visit on a day when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Very Merry Christmas Party is occurring. Crowds during the daytime hours when these events occur at night are the lowest you’ll see them. Due to shorter operating hours, most guests will avoid these days, meaning significantly lower crowds.

We usually recommend Park Hopper tickets during this time of year as a result, as you can simply hop to a park that’s open later if you have Park Hoppers. However, even if you don’t, you can often get more done in fewer hours than on a normal, non-party night.

The second tip is related to the first, and that’s to avoid non-party nights, especially Saturdays. Because it’s sandwiched between two party nights (or three in October!) and because locals are off work, Saturday sees disproportionate crowds to the rest of the week. Avoid Saturday.

Other than that, normal touring advice pretty much applies–and even a “busy” day this time of year is still comparatively less crowded. Since the start of the month, it has been rare to see any of the Magic Kingdom mountain range above an hour, and many days, they’re below 30 minutes. Not too shabby!

If you haven’t seen today’s separate New Automated Cameras at Mickey & Minnie Meet in Magic Kingdom, be sure to check that out. That’s a pretty big topic, so we felt it deserved a separate post.

Those new cameras just debuted at Town Square Theater, and we do a lot of editorializing about them (spoiler: we’re not fans).

On the Cinderella Castle front, we have good news and sorta-bad, sorta-good news.

Let’s start with the good, which is that the Cinderella Castle moat has been refilled, and this area now looks great. Here are some photos:

My only quibbles here are that mature trees were not planted along the walkway. I already covered my thoughts on vegetation in our last Magic Kingdom update, so I’ll spare you those here.

Additionally, there’s still no seating here for Sleepy Hollow. Hopefully, this is a temporary thing. If not, the surplus of space in this area is really awkward and unnecessary. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt on that one.

Next up, the sorta-bad, sorta-good news: THE CRANE IS BACK.

This crane has become infamous, and for years was met with consternation by guests as it “ruined” their PhotoPass shots of Cinderella Castle.

In the last couple of years, Walt Disney World has only raised this crane during the overnight hours, so that no longer happens.

Now, the only real downside to the crane is that it closes off the other pathway and results in this wall being up in Fantasyland. Not really a huge deal, in my estimation.

The (tremendous) upside of the crane is that it’s a harbinger of the holiday season.

This crane installs the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights, and this crane appearing means we’re drawing closer to Christmas…and cooler weather. It’s no secret Christmas is our favorite time of year at Walt Disney World, and I was downright excited to see this crane. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

At the Memento Mori gift shop, there are new “Host a Ghost” apothecary jars containing one of the 999 happy haunts from the Haunted Mansion. I guess this is supposed to be a full experience, with Madame Leota channeling a restless spirit from the Haunted Mansion to materialize inside the jar. At long last, a real ghost will literally follow you home.

That’s right, they’re real and they’re spooktacular!

On a partially related (but mostly super-unrelated) note, we’re happy to hear that Netflix has acquired the rights to Seinfeld starting in 2021.

Half of the pop culture references in our posts are from Seinfeld, which are likely lost on the kids these days. So, if you don’t find a particular post funny, it’s not my fault. Please just give it a couple of years and re-read in 2021 after you’ve watched the greatest sitcom of all time. I’m excited to be relevant again.

Over in Tomorrowland, we see the second crane is now totally up at the TRON Lightcycle Run construction site.

Not much else to say here, as aside from that, nothing has changed since last week’s TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom: New Concept Art & Construction Photos update.

Above is another look from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, this time from farther away to see the crane in all its crane-y glory.

It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, Walt Disney World does to conceal the show-building at Magic Kingdom. At Shanghai Disneyland, the canopy is sufficient. However, there are fewer viewing angles there. At Magic Kingdom, there’s the PeopleMover, Storybook Circus, etc. I personally don’t think it’s a huge deal either way.

FuelRod stations around Walt Disney World have started to remove the “free” verbiage, suggesting that the era of free unlimited swaps could be coming to an end.

On a related note, if you hate me and want to revel in that, be sure to check out the comments to our We Don’t Recommend FuelRods post. (The recent ones aren’t so bad, but yikes, I cannot imagine leaving a vitriolic remark to someone who disagreed with me about a battery charger!)

The good(?) news is that Walt Disney World is now testing phone charger stations throughout the parks. Here’s one in the Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. (Or, and here’s a novel idea, you could bring a high capacity charger with you to Walt Disney World and not waste time with this or swapping FuelRods!)

Finally, here it is, your moment of zen…

Err…moment of pure terror. Sorry, I always get those two types of moments confused.

Seriously, though, I looked up while waiting for the Express Monorail, and jumped a bit when I saw these. For what it’s worth, I absolutely love these dummies (and think they’re a great Twilight Zone nod), but I wasn’t expecting them to be staring me in the eyes, peering into my soul while I was mindlessly waiting for the monorail. In any case, this seems like as good of a point as any to end our Magic Kingdom update. Stay tuned for more from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the finished Cinderella Castle construction project? Happy to see the moat refilled? What about the annual arrival of the infamous ‘castle crane’? Excited that Christmas is fast-approaching, or are you still savoring (what should be) the start of Halloween season? Feedback about anything else covered in this Magic Kingdom update? Do you agree or disagree with our advice for dealing with the ebb and flow of Magic Kingdom crowds this time of year? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


29 Responses to “Magic Kingdom Update: Castle Cranes & Canal, Construction & Crowds”
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