The Magic Kingdom’s “hub” at Walt Disney World is in the midst of a major transformation that will be completed in 2015 bringing new pathways, gardens and firework/parade viewing pads. It is just the latest infrastructure upgrade to come to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World as it approaches its 43rd birthday and has to cope with record attendance. The design of the new hub features extensive enhancements that will take place in phases, beginning with some of the work we’ve covered over the past few weeks at Casey’s Corner. One of the major new features of the new expanded hub is the second ring of pathways that will now circle around the main ring that has been a hallmark of Disney Parks since the opening of Disneyland in California. This will undoubtedly allow for improved guest flow during parades and fireworks when there are still tons of guests looking to enter and exit the park. Still, the new expansion of the hub inevitably arrives with some trade-offs.
Much of the pristine beauty of the Magic Kingdom’s hub and central plaza does come from the gardens and waterways and though the gardens appear to be plussed in some ways while diminished in others, the waterways nearest Casey’s Corner and The Plaza restaurant are going to be reduced in size in order to create some of the new viewing areas. We won’t fully be able to appreciate the aesthetic change until the expansion is completed sometime next year. It is then when we will be able to truly gauge whether the capacity driven changes are worth the loss of the classic design of the Magic Kingdom. But anyone who has been to the Magic Kingdom lately and experienced the traffic congestion in this area of the park knew that at some point soon something was going to have to be done to address the issue. What excites us the most is that this infrastructure may also be in preparation for what may eventually replace Wishes! in the years to come.