By Don Gworek
I visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom this past Saturday to bring you these updates. Take notice of the yellow arrows added to Disney’s concept art above, as you’ll see the actual photos of these areas below.
The forest is also growing. Right now, these add visual comfort to guests. Trees are always welcome backdrops, and although these don’t provide shade, the area does seem cooler. These trees will probably be planted in their final locations within a year, and become the forest of the new Fantasyland area.
Few guests realize this turn of the Tomorrowland Speedway was relocated and shortened slightly. This is a view from Feb 5. The Speedway continued to operate while the turn was relocated. The inside pair of lanes were closed, while guests rode in the outside pair of lanes. New lanes were poured.
When the new inside lanes were completed, the outside lanes were removed, and the outside lanes were connected to the new outside lane pavement. New outside lane pavement is to the left, waiting to be connected in this view from Feb 27.
Here’s the new turn as of March 25. Most guests won’t notice a difference. The reason the turn was relocated is unclear at this time. The shift does allow 30 to 40 more feet of land available for the Fantasyland expansion – perhaps it is for more room for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. The concept artwork shows the area behind the wall here as a wide walkway.
The touchability of the new musical crypt is actually achieved with beams of light. The arrow points to a trick that was originally developed for Epcot in 1982. Epcot had kiosks and other interactions with touch screens. Touch screens are common and routine today, but at the time there were no durable surfaces. So the Imagineers ingeniously ringed the Epcot touch screens with a frame that used invisible beams of infrared light. As you touched the video screen glass, your finger interupted a grid of the infrared light. The Epcot video screens were removed in the 1990s. But the trick has come back to the Haunted Mansion queue.
This grid overlay shows how the beams of light form a grid just above the surface of the crypt. When you touch a musical instrument on the surface, your finger interupts two beams of light, pinpointing in a grid map what musical instrument should be played.
The projectors on the east side are a little more hidden by the roof line.
The seating is available to anyone, but probably could be reserved as a post-dinner area for a wedding rehearsal, or as an area for a business convention to celebrate top performers and treat them to a private party ending with fireworks.
A new service beam was added to the monorail system, where the Epcot beam completes its turn out of the Transportation and Ticket Center. It’s where a service vehicle will be parked for a more central location.
These monorail photos are from Feb. 20.
We’ll end with a video look at some of these updates: