Magic Kingdom is next up for our Walt Disney World construction updates & photo reports. In this post, we’ll look at the widespread attraction closures, IT problems, Tomorrowland entrance changes, Cinderella Castle walkway expansion, TRON Lightcycle Power Run progress, and more.
This update is actually from a couple of visits to Magic Kingdom last weekend and this week. The day after I took the first set of photos, a few things changed, and rather than eliminate those photos from the update, we decided to go back. It was a pretty day with some puffy clouds, so why not?!
We’ve mentioned it in a couple of recent updates, but it has been a brutally hot and humid summer in Central Florida. Not that summers here are normally peachy. With ‘feels like’ temperatures over 100 degrees almost every single day for the last two months, it seems worse than normal. As always, we recommend consulting our Summer Survival Tips & Packing Ideas for Walt Disney World…
The good news is that at least it has looked nice. We lament the Florida heat and humidity, but nowhere does epic sunsets and puffy clouds like Florida. Nowhere. The clouds in the time leading up to an afternoon storm are almost otherworldly, and almost make bearing the summer weather worth it (especially if those clouds are blocking the sun).
As an additional note, Magic Kingdom is unquestionably the best Walt Disney World park to visit on a hot or rainy (or pretty much any weather conditions) day. With classic attractions like Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, the TTA Peoplemover, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, and other options that are air-conditioned and/or shaded, it’s your best bet if there’s “weather.”
Anyway, moving on to our beautiful, albeit hot, days in Magic Kingdom…
Outside Magic Kingdom, the controversial removal of the Walk Around the World bricks has begun.
Additionally, the old permanent bag screening area has been removed. As we covered about a week ago, work has also now started on the walkway between Magic Kingdom and Grand Floridian.
We’ve noticed a slight uptick in wait times around the parks in the last week, but our Summer Is Not Peak Season at Walt Disney World Anymore post still applies.
The trouble with judging numbers right now is that crowds feel low to moderate, but wait times don’t reflect that. This is likely caused by a mix of attractions being down and hourly capacity being reduced due to lower attendance numbers–but that’s just a guess.
Just look at those puffy clouds behind Tomorrowland. Those will never cease to amaze me.
It’s probably just coincidence, but we’ve noticed a couple of widespread park attraction outages while visiting Magic Kingdom in the last several months:
You also might’ve heard about a ticketing system failure earlier this week at Magic Kingdom.
This prevented park tickets from being scanned, which meant that only guests with MagicBands were able to enter Magic Kingdom. This resulted in multi-hour waits for some guests to enter the park and a chaotic, congested scene at the park entrance.
This is obviously an extreme scenario, but technology problems are not all that uncommon. To me, it’s mind-boggling that Walt Disney World’s IT infrastructure is so bad–and this problem has gone unaddressed for years.
If you visit Walt Disney World regularly and have not had My Disney Experience crash, or have never been unable to book FastPass+, you should buy a lottery ticket, because you clearly have incredible luck.
Both of these issues, while obviously sporadic, underscore the importance of being nimble in your plans. When I saw photos on social media and read reports of people waiting 2-3 hours in that unshaded crowd to enter Magic Kingdom, my first thought was that I’d hop on the monorail and do Epcot that day instead.
Some people may not have that flexibility, but at what point does standing in that crowd just waiting sour your mood for the entire day or, if you have kids, lead to a meltdown? (My threshold is probably about 45 minutes, tops.)
Here’s a look at the widening of the walkway between Fantasyland and Liberty Square.
Considerable progress has been made since last month, with the exterior walls for the new walkway now up.
Above is a look from the opposite direction.
I actually took this same photo less than a week earlier, and it was not nearly this far along. At the current pace, we’d expect this to be done at some point in August. (Assuming, of course, that the project continues at this pace.)
Also in this area, a large area of Liberty Square is walled off.
This encompasses the seating area of Liberty Square Market, a large stroller parking area, and part of the walkway in the area. It has added to the congestion in Liberty Square, which can be a chokepoint on a busy day even without construction.
Also in Liberty Square, canopy work is being done at Haunted Mansion.
Why these projects are being undertaken in the hottest months of the year is beyond me.
Continuing on to Tomorrowland, where we have the most noteworthy change in Magic Kingdom this month.
The iconic Tomorrowland ’94 entrance marquee has mysteriously gone missing, with crates in its place awaiting the installation of a new marquee.
Here’s an “aerial” look at the scene of the great missing marquee caper.
If you take a look at the Magic Kingdom map in My Disney Experience, you can see that there’s already a new marquee.
It’s possible that this was an unintentional reveal of the design for the replacement here. It’s also possible that Walt Disney World knows fans will obsessively comb over all possible sources for a sneak peek, and that’s a placeholder design.
Hopefully, we will know fairly soon. The D23 Expo seems like a reasonable time to release some concept art showing how Tomorrowland will aesthetically ‘congeal’ once all of this work is done.
We don’t get much further into Tomorrowland before seeing the latest color scheme changes, with the metallic fins receiving a coat of white.
Construction of TRON Lightcycle Power Run continues along at a brisk pace. Here are a couple views of the progress:
In addition to the track being installed, we’re now seeing more support structures go up.
It’ll be interesting to see if the show building and canopy go up at an equally quick speed. Call me optimistic, but I don’t think it’ll take another 2 years to finish this. We’ve done it in Shanghai; it’s not an elaborate attraction.
Last week, Sonny Eclipse was still gone, presumably raised up (yes, he goes up rather than down) for maintenance.
Whenever this happens, my heart skips a beat. With so many changes in Tomorrowland and Cosmic Ray’s popular regardless due to its location, Sonny seems like the type of thing modern Walt Disney World would cut.
Fortunately, he’s now back and entertaining guests.
I hope that the one saving grace of Cosmic Ray’s on guest satisfaction surveys is Sonny Eclipse, and that keeps him around forever. (Actually, two saving graces–Sonny and the toppings bar!)
Astro Orbiter is now down for maintenance.
There have been a lot of last-minute additions, extensions, and other changes to the 2019-2020 Refurbishment Calendar for Walt Disney World. As we discuss in that post, there probably will be even more closures added come August 25, 2019.
Our next update will come as Halloween decorations start to go up around Magic Kingdom. I know there’s a lot of disgust about Halloween creeping forward, but honestly, I’m ready for it. (I’m not ready for early closures of Magic Kingdom several nights per week, to be clear.)
After what feels like an interminably long summer in Florida, I welcome even the ‘illusion’ of seasons. I know some pumpkin decorations and menu items around Magic Kingdom doesn’t mean Florida will suddenly see cooler temperatures or fall colors, but I’m nonetheless ready for a change of pace. And maybe–just maybe–we’ll get a cool morning once or twice in the next two months, and I can enjoy some pumpkin coffee that morning to make it feel just a tad more like fall.
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!
Have you experience IT issues while visiting Walt Disney World or using My Disney Experience? Did it negatively impact your trip? What about attraction downtimes? Encounter any particularly bad summer weather? Thoughts or insights about any other current construction projects in Magic Kingdom? Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts here? 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!