For this update, we visited Magic Kingdom the day of the early closure due to Hurricane Dorian and were actually surprised that the crowd level wasn’t significantly lower. This might fly in the face of the photos and reports on social media, which presented the park as a ghost town.
Magic Kingdom was hardly busy, to be sure. However, we took photos for this Magic Kingdom update almost a year to the day before our most recent one; on a normal day in early September last year, the park was less busy than on its 3 pm closing day…
That’s simply the reality of September at Walt Disney World. Even as January, February, October, early December, and other windows of time that used to be off-season have seemingly vanished, September has ‘held strong’ as the reliable off-season time to visit Walt Disney World.
Suffice to say, we ended up leaving after a little over an hour because the park was significantly busier than expected, but it was still pretty quiet. Let’s start out with some photos from around Magic Kingdom showcasing the low crowds and other random stuff…
Heading over to Tomorrowland, Astro Orbiter is still scheduled to reopen in late September. However, there’s no sign of anything happening here, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see this extended again. Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn into an indefinite closure, with Astro Orbiter making way for the Observatron or something like that.
Sorry I didn’t report this breaking news earlier, but Tomorrowland Terrace received new seating a couple weeks ago.
Personally, I wish this were open more. It’s not Disney’s most brilliant themed design, but the views of Cinderella Castle are nice, as is the airy seating area.
Not really much new to report on the color scheme changes front, but it’s safe to assume this project will trudge along until TRON Lightcycle Power Run is ready to debut.
Speaking of which, no updates on that ride’s construction here. We have a ton of new photos, but also some stuff I forgot to post about it from the D23 Expo, so I’ll just throw together a standalone post for that all.
Moving to Fantasyland, wait times have been low for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train since the start of September.
Magic Kingdom’s most popular attraction is consistently posting waits under 60 minutes. (Even at 10 am–after the park has been operating for 3 hours–it’s still only a 30 minute wait!)
Moving on to Liberty Square Market, where you can now see that this seating area has been totally demolished thanks to the scrims being lowered for the storm.
Also in Liberty Square, let’s take a look at the reopened Cinderella Castle walkway widening:
I won’t say this is finished, as clearly seating needs to be installed outside of Sleepy Hollow, and there’s still work that needs to be done in the moat.
However, the walls are down and guests can now walk the path. That’s good news, especially as we approach October and the busier holiday season.
A few thoughts here.
First and most simply, the finished project looks nice, with details above and below the path to make it fit the area and look as if it’s always been here.
Next, I’m not convinced this will do anything to alleviate congestion.
Our very first time walking it, we encountered the exact same slow-moving traffic as before, except with strollers pushed side by side instead of in a single file line. I don’t think super-narrow walkways are the “answer” but I do believe that guests will take up as much space as you give them.
Finally, I hope a lot more trees are planted outside the wall, along the water before the moat is refilled.
Before Happily Ever After, this was a tranquil, secluded, and shaded path thanks to it being lined by mature trees.
Prior to that show’s debut, most of the trees were removed, and not much was replanted.
It looked bare on the castle side, but at least it was secluded. Now, there’s more concrete and fewer trees.
It seems like Walt Disney World is learning its lesson with shade/trees/heat in EPCOT, only to make precisely the same mistakes throughout the rest of the resort.
I really hope this trend is reversed soon, as trees are increasingly vital to putting the ‘park’ in theme parks.
In case you don’t remember or never saw what this path used to look like, above is a photo I shot in 2011.
I loved this area because you could catch glimpses of Cinderella Castle while walking back here. In some spots, it truly felt like you were seeing a castle nestled away in a forest. It was a charming path–the kind of thing Magic Kingdom could use more, not less, of.
Moving along, here’s a look at the backside of Cinderella Castle at night, with some fast-moving clouds overhead. I shot this during the most recent Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which was a beautiful evening with low crowds. We’ll have another ‘party report’ tomorrow.
On the other hand, work is moving quickly on the walkway between Magic Kingdom and Grand Floridian. The swing bridge is sitting out in this area, staged and ready for installation. The pivot point piping has also been placed into the edge of the canal.
Even with the brisk pace, this is probably still a couple of months away from being finished. (It doesn’t help that everything has basically paused for a week due to the hurricane.) Hopefully it’s done right in time for the holidays, when it’s actually pleasant to walk from the Grand Floridian or Poly to Magic Kingdom!
What do you think of the finished walkway between Liberty Square and Fantasyland? Like the wider look, or prefer the more intimate, tree-lined path? 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!