Magic Kingdom Update: September 2018

We’ve already covered Halloween at Magic Kingdom via our 2018 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Photo Report and Fall Snack Guide to Walt Disney World. Aside from the seasonal festivities, quite a bit is going on around the park, so let’s take a grand circle tour of the various construction projects and changes.

We actually start before even entering Magic Kingdom, where construction on the TRON coaster attraction slated to be added to Tomorrowland is partially visible from the monorail. Aside from glimpses of dirt mounds while exiting Space Mountain, there aren’t good views of the TRON work within Magic Kingdom.

This paltry view is about as good as it gets unless you head to upper levels of the Contemporary. Once work on the TRON showbuilding starts going vertical, we’d expect this to be more clearly visible. Anyway, with that said, let’s head inside Magic Kingdom for the rest of the update…

Continuing in Tomorrowland, removal of the SpeedRamp continues with the exit rerouted behind the attraction. We shared some photos of the temporary exit in our Tomorrowland Summer 2018 Update, and it still looks exactly the same so I won’t rehash those here.

Speaking of Space Mountain, here’s what a 15 minute posted wait time looks like during the middle of the day:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the attraction–or Magic Kingdom in general–as dead as it has been the last couple of weeks. It would seem that the start of Food & Wine at Epcot has also siphoned away some crowds, leaving Magic Kingdom even less crowded of late.

This time of year used to be our go-to for visiting Walt Disney World, as the last couple weeks of August still had summer operating hours while seeing reduced crowds as schools returned to session. I remember trips back around 2008-2011 during the ‘glory days’ of Extra Magic Hours, which were 3 hours in the evening at the time, when we’d stay in Magic Kingdom until after 3 a.m.

While those days are lone gone–both for Magic Kingdom operating hours and our stamina in staying up that late–we did enjoy several nights closing down Magic Kingdom this trip after midnight. It was really quite fun, and the time between when the sun goes down and the parks close–and the heat becomes bearable–during these low crowd times of year is awesome.

Also in Tomorrowland, there are also some walls up near the entrance to Monsters Laugh Floor; from the TTA PeopleMover, it appears some concrete work is occurring, but we only got a brief glimpse over them.

Continuing on around towards Fantasyland, we have the ongoing Prince Charming Regal Carrousel work. The attraction is once again in operation, but it seems kinda pointless without the views of Fantasyland to us.

It’s become a dumb running joke between Sarah and me that the purpose of this refurbishment is to turn the carousel into a double-decker.

That’s obviously not true (or is it?!), but every time we pass the carousel, we joke to one another about this. So, if you’ve overheard two idiots talking about this in Magic Kingdom, you might’ve passed us!

We tried the Mermaid Donut for an upcoming post about the best snacks in Magic Kingdom and, suffice to say, it will not be making the list.

Hype on this particular snack is either coming from Instagrammers who don’t eat the cute snacks with which they pose, or people who have never consumed a donut prior to this, and are simply impressed by the concept. At a time when gourmet donuts are a really trendy thing (that shops are doing incredibly well), it’s disappointing to see Disney phone it in with donuts that are “cute” and nothing else.

Over in Liberty Square, a pair of cofferdams have been installed on the Rivers of America for the extended Liberty Square Riverboat refurbishment, which will include track work.

The cofferdams are essentially on either side of Haunted Mansion, and offer a rare look at the guidance track for the Liberty Square Riverboat and supports fo Tom Sawyer Island docks.

As you can see from the photos, there have already been a number of construction workers in the drained riverbed. Early reports indicate they’ve already found 3,392 pairs of Mickey ears, 47 Stitch fidget spinners, and 6 great white sharks.

Here are some more photos of the work in the Rivers of America around the Riverboat dock:

In addition to the workers, there have also been a number of egrets chilling down there, presumably cleaning out the partially-eaten turkey legs guests have tossed into there over the last decade.

Rounding out our tour of Magic Kingdom, we come to Adventureland.

Not much new to see here until we get to the land’s entrance, where a temporary bridge is over the permanent bridge, which is undergoing a significant refurbishment project.

Outside the entrance to Adventureland, we look back and can see Magic Kingdom’s Club 33 location. When we took this photo, the upper scrims had just been removed to reveal part of the finished exterior.

Yesterday or the day before, the lower scrim also came down. This location will reportedly open this fall, but we don’t have any specifics beyond that.

Finishing out our grand circle tour and returning to the Central Plaza, we find low crowds in the Hub.

On Main Street, there’s a scrim up for a facade refurbishment, as has become normal this time of year.

While these scrims are annoying if you want that perfect shot down Main Street, they are important “unheralded” work that it’s good to see happening.

This maintenance prevents/repairs wood rot, and just finally started occurring within the last ~5, after years of neglect.

Even if the results aren’t noticeable to most guests, people would notice if this work never occurred and visible decay started.

Finally, we head up to the Train Station for a look down Main Street. The flag is at half-staff to mourn the passing of U.S. Senator John McCain.

Overall, a relatively low-key update from Magic Kingdom, particularly as the major construction projects that are occurring are not yet visible from guest-accessible areas. We’ll probably have another update on Magic Kingdom in the next month or two, but things should start to get really interesting in early 2019, when work really picks up steam in Tomorrowland and elsewhere around the park.

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

Thoughts or insights about current construction projects in Magic Kingdom? Excited to see the TRON attraction start going vertical from within the park? 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!

26 Responses to “Magic Kingdom Update: September 2018”
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