Magic Kingdom Update – June 2019

Magic Kingdom is the first stop in our June 2019 Walt Disney World photo reports. In this update, we’ll look at the Cinderella Castle walkway expansion, TRON Lightcycle Power Run construction, new restaurant menus, more Tomorrowland paint, and more.

In what’s seeming to become a tradition, we visited on another partially overcast day–this time going early to beat the afternoon rain forecast. On the plus side, summer crowds are not yet bad at Magic Kingdom. My general expectation is that this will be a comparatively slow summer at Walt Disney World, with many guests holding off on visits until October or beyond.

On the downside, this was our first time in Magic Kingdom since visiting Disneyland. In case you missed our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Opening Weekend Recap, Disneyland has been absolutely blissful. Low crowds in addition to the mild weather and everything else that makes Disneyland great. Don’t get me wrong–I love Magic Kingdom…

Magic Kingdom is my “home park” and the one for which I have the most nostalgia…but there’s something to be said for the charm and quaintness of Disneyland, especially when the park is quiet. There’s also something to be said for Southern California weather, and for not sweating through my shirt 5 minutes into the day. 😉

Oppressive humidity comes with the territory of visiting Florida in the summer, so that’s not really “news” or any big surprise. Nevertheless, even as we’ve been to Walt Disney World dozens of times between June and September during the height of this weather, my body will never get acclimated to it. (See our Summer Survival & Packing Tips for Walt Disney World if you’re visiting at any point in the next few months and want to be as best prepared for the heat/humidity as possible.)

Our primary motivation for visiting Magic Kingdom today was tasting the new lunch menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

We seldom plan our counter service meals in advance, so it had been a while since we’ve done lunch here. I have a lot to say about the new menu and our overall experience doing lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant, but that’s another post for another day (tomorrow, specifically).

As we indicated in our recent post, “The Case for Sleeping on Advance Dining Reservations,” it’s now far easier to find same-day availability at Walt Disney World restaurants. This is true even at (some of) the best in-park dining options.

On a related note, we recently reviewed the new menu items at Liberty Tree Tavern.

In other Magic Kingdom dining news, the refurbishment walls have come down at Tortuga Tavern and the restaurant has reopened for the summer season. You can see our thoughts on this restaurant in our Tortuga Tavern Review from the last time it was open.

To be honest, I have zero idea what changed here (aside from a new menu item). Maybe someone with sharper eyes than mine can spot a difference, or perhaps changes were made in the kitchen and the wall simply went up around the ordering kiosks and front entrance?

Continuing in Adventureland, our long national nightmare is over as this little fella has returned.

We can all now rejoice at watching unsuspecting guests getting belted with camel slobber.

While we have a post dedicated to the Top Ten Toilets at Walt Disney World, we have an embarrassing lack of content for the best bathroom signage. 

Not that you care, but this is among my favorites (yes, I have favorites–plural). It has old school ‘Vacation Kingdom of the World’ vibes and I’m guessing it dates back to the 1970s.

Moving along to Fantasyland, whatever is happening with Castle Couture is still ongoing.

At this pace, TRON Lightcycle Power Run is going to open before this wall comes down. Perhaps all will be revealed about Castle Couture at the big D23 Expo Parks & Resorts keynote.

The walkway between Fantasyland and Liberty Square remains closed.

I am impressed that, per the map at least, the walkway has transformed into a sizable green space.

Fortunately, Sleepy Hollow has not been consumed by the grassy area on the map, and it remains open.

You’ll also still have a clear view of Cinderella Castle from the Liberty Square Bridge (right). So long as you don’t want one of the moat, this is still a clean shot.

Here’s what the view looks like of the moat.

It’s difficult to tell from the wide shot, but the foundation and retaining wall are in place for the expanded walkway.

Here’s a closer look of the old walkway versus the expanded area.

I hope the trees are replanted at the edge of the moat to give this area more charm and intimacy. Most of them were cut a couple years ago ahead of Happily Ever After, and this pathway has felt comparatively barren.

Magic Kingdom has lost so much foliage and green space in the last couple of decades. I realize some of that is out of operational necessity, but it’d nonetheless be nice to see some of the trees return.

As you can see, the moat has been refilled on this side of Cinderella Castle.

Same goes for over by Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.

It’ll be interesting to see whether this area gets a new look as part of the ongoing Tomorrowland refresh.

More of the new paint scheme can now be spotted near the old Stitch’s Great Escape location.

At this point, I’m withholding judgment on the Tomorrowland changes until they’re completed. Right now, it’s a visual hodgepodge.

The good news is that TRON Lightcycle Power Run is coming along at a fast pace.

In addition to the track being installed, we’re now seeing support structures go up. It’ll be interesting to see if the show building and canopy go up at an equally quick speed.

Official word from Walt Disney World is that the TRON attraction is set to open at Magic Kingdom in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

As we’ve said a couple of times now, we wouldn’t be surprised if this is more like a Spring or Summer 2021 opening, rather than an October 2021 debut.

Tomorrowland Speedway is back up and running.

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of this attraction, but I think there will be some cool kinetic energy to the area with the TRON coaster whizzing by overhead, plus the train and these cars moving by underneath and around it. That energy would be even cooler if these vehicles were modernized and given some sort of TRON-inspired nighttime lighting effects.

I’m not a fan of shirts with “witty” or “clever” text on them and it disappointments me that Disney has gone all-in on this type of merchandise. Then again, I’m a surly curmudgeon, so take my opinion for what it’s worth (probably nothing).

(Don’t even get me started on the people who pay money for Etsy shirts that complain about how much they’ve paid for their trips. Ah, the irony.)

In fairness, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have been knocking it out of the park with merchandise lately, and there are far more hits than misses from my perspective. Not everything needs to appeal to me.

Among the most notable new merchandise releases are these items from the Rainbow Disney Collection, which Disney stated is to celebrate Pride Month. Some vibrant and eye-catching designs, and the overt use of Pride Month is a small step in the right direction.

Overall, a fairly enjoyable day in Magic Kingdom despite the weather. If you can handle the humidity and don’t mind the daily afternoon rain showers, this summer should not be a bad time to visit. Look out for more Magic Kingdom updates in the near future–it should be a nice change of pace after the barrage of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge posts. The Be Our Guest Restaurant update comes tomorrow, and I’ve already purchased a ticket for Villains After Hours!

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 progress on TRON Lightcycle Power Run? Excited to see it this far along? 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!


25 Responses to “Magic Kingdom Update – June 2019”
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