Plus…DVC Villas coming to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Attraction refurb news, and more!
by Don Myers
As the leaves change and the season transitions, big changes are on the horizon at Walt’s Florida Project. Another phase of New Fantasyland has reached completion and an official announcement has been made pertaining to a DVC expansion at the Polynesian. So let’s waste no further time and dive right in to the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire….
We begin this edition of the Newswire inside Magic Kingdom, where last week Princess Fairytale Hall made its royal debut. The meet and greet, housed in the location formerly occupied by Snow White’s Scary Adventures, officially opened its doors on Wednesday September 18th. The attraction is split up into two queues, one for Cinderella and one for Rapunzel. Each day the two Princesses will be joined by a special “visiting Princess.” The visiting Princesses include names like Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, Tiana, or Mulan. The names of the visiting Princess will be displayed in the queue each day, so Guests will know who they’ll be meeting in advance. Personally I like the concepts of split queues and visiting Princesses because it offers up the opportunity for different experiences for Guests who visit the parks often. It’s also worth noting that FASTPASS will be available at Princess Fairytale Hall, and its opening means Mickey Mouse is now the lone tenant of Town Square Theater.
Continuing in the Magic Kingdom, let’s now make our way over to Frontierland for some refurbishment news on Splash Mountain. Every year (usually in Jan or early Feb) the mountain closes down for its annual refurb. This year the residents of Chick-A-Pin Hill will be taking their hiatus shortly after the coming of the new year, as the attraction’s closure has now been confirmed for Monday January 6th through Friday March 21st. This puts 2014’s refurb length of just under twelve weeks right on pace with that of 2013’s, and it also means the mountain will be back in operation for the majority of the busy Spring Break period.
Time to follow the hub over to Tomorrowland now for a quick newsbit on the Tomorrowland Speedway. A brief refurb has been scheduled for the attraction beginning on Monday January 6th. The speedway will be back in action one week later on Monday January 13th.
There’s one more piece of news to touch on at Magic Kingdom, and this one can be found on Main Street USA where a six week refurb has just been scheduled for Casey’s Corner. The closure begins on Monday January 6th and wraps up on Saturday February 15th. I have many fond memories sitting in the bleachers with my Family eating hot dogs and watching cartoons such as “Will Donald Duck” at Casey’s so I am personally looking forward to the restaurant’s re-opening this February!
Time to park-hop over to Animal Kingdom now as there’s news to report on the relocation of a quick service beverage spot. For this one we venture deep into the heart of Africa, as last week saw the closure of the Dawa Bar. The bar has been relocated to a spot closer to the Tusker House Restaurant. Work on the new theatre for Festival of the Lion King is currently underway in Africa, so one would imagine the space formerly occupied by the Dawa Bar will be a vital component in the construction of Simba’s new home.
Our final piece of news today is quite exciting. For this one we make our way out of the parks and over to one of WDW’s original lodging spots: Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Speculation over major changes to the Polynesian have been rumored for years, and last week the rumors were finally confirmed, as Disney officially announced that Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Villas will be built at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The project is expected to be completed in 2015, but other than that there’s not much more public information out there as to the timetable or scale of the expansion at this time. DVC villas sprang up at Wilderness Lodge in 2000, Bay Lake Tower opened up at the Contemporary in 2009, and construction on a DVC wing at the Grand Floridian is nearing completion. So the addition of the villas at the Polynesian means that by 2015 each of the “Big Four” Resorts in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area will now be equipped with DVC rooms.
Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s update. But before we call it a wrap, let’s take a look at the results of our previous poll. The question was:
Of the seven dwarfs, which one is your favorite?
And the winner is…..
Dopey with 33% of the votes! Second place was a tie between Doc and Grumpy, as each dwarf earned 18%. Happy and Bashful were next, as they gained 12% and 11% respectfully. Sneezy finished with 5%, and Sleepy snoozed his way through the poll with 3%. Once again, a big thank you to everyone that took the time to vote! Now on to this week’s question:
Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don also has been a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine since 2009.