Not long ago I was looking back over some family photos of trips to Walt Disney World, and remembered how bummed we were when we realized that the photo we anticipated the most--a shot of our family on Main Street U.S.A. with Cinderella Castle in the background--was graced with the boom of a giant crane being used to adorn the castle with Christmas decorations. Back then September and October were still relatively slow times, so it was a small price to pay for virtually no lines!
A visit yesterday to Epcot and Hollywood Studios reminded me of that trip, and how cranes and construction barrels have come to rival Mickey ears as familiar sights at WDW. Maybe it's because of the ever-increasing pressure from area competitors to "plus" the guest experience, but all the ongoing projects have given a whole new meaning to "Progressland" (the GE pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, and an important conceptual inspiration for Epcot Center).
I wrote in an earlier blog post about the coming Skyliner, a new-and-improved version of the old Magic Kingdom Skyway, which will transport guests among Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and at least two Disney resorts. By all appearances, things are progressing full-tilt on this project. Here are two photos of Skyliner towers going up just outside the International Gateway entrance to World Showcase:
And a few shots of other towers (and the station) under construction at Hollywood Studios--taken walking toward the Studios on the pathway from the Epcot resorts:
And one looking back from near the Coca-Cola machines at the entrance to the Studios:
I'm not sure how many guests each Skyliner vehicle will hold, but let's hope it's a lot. Otherwise there could be quite the logjam with hordes of us entering and exiting these stations on our way to ...
Star Wars Land! or, more accurately, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (since this is on the signs and I heard it was the official name yesterday). I know this facade doesn't look like much, but I had to wait my turn to take the pic--undoubtedly a testament to the remarkable anticipation surrounding the opening of this new land.
Not far away in Hollywood Studios is the newly-opened Toy Story Land, where you're greeted by a massive, talking Woody doll welcoming all the new toys:
Although this land is officially open and technically no longer under construction, they're evidently still working out some of the kinks on the new Slinky Dog Dash. After waiting in line for over an hour with a few hundred of our closest friends, we all left disappointed after the ride was shut down due to technical difficulties. Looks like a lot of fun, but we'll have to wait until another trip to experience it firsthand:
And finally, back in Epcot, it's a little more difficult to tell how things are progressing with the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride that will replace the Universe of Energy in Future World:
Other than the construction fence and cranes, not much has changed since the ride closed down in August of last year. My main question is whether or not they've figured out a way to use all those solar panels for the new attraction!
So what's your reaction to all the ongoing construction at WDW? When you see cranes, fences, and other evidence does it increase your anticipation of all the new coming attractions? Or do you feel like it's too much of a real-world intrusion that takes away from the magic that--at least for many of us--is a trademark of Disney vacations? Post your response in the Comment section below.
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