The Magic Kingdom Central Plaza lovingly known as the “hub” has undergone changes that have completely transformed the area forever but Disney isn’t done just yet. Work continues on the major redevelopment project that aims to ease pedestrian traffic at the center of The Magic Kingdom, whilst attempting to enhance what was already there. After having completed Plaza Gardens East and West earlier this year much of the attention has turned to the Central Plaza where the “Partners” statue stands with Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse (currently covered by a protective construction wall) and the neighboring regions alongside the castle. If the previous half of the expansion changed how we saw the entryway to the Magic Kingdom’s lands this last part of the build will redefine and enhance the look of the most photographed theme park icon in the world.
Castle Walls kind of became my thing during and after the construction of New Fantasyland. They marked a symbolic and physical end to the old Fantasyland and the start to New Fantasyland. They gave Cinderella Castle her royal courtyard in a way that made it more clear to guests visiting the theme park, even though this bit of theming had always been there in the background all along. So when I saw the latest castle walls and spires under construction this time in front of Cinderella Castle herself, well who wouldn’t be excited? The new castle walls and spires shall frame Cinderella Castle and make her presence larger then ever before especially as you make your way up Main Street USA. And they shall continue to play a practical role too as the Cinderella Castle stage show control booths shall sit atop the newly built castle walls.
Elsewhere we see the remnants of what was the Magic Kingdom’s Rose Garden. To say we will always have fond memories of the area that now stands as a mound of elevated dirt is an understatement but the time has come to bid farewell. That is except for one lonely rosebush that either through magic or Disney foresight has survived this far through the construction as a reminder of what came before. As the new ornate railings and lamps take over the old, some of it is no doubt more beautiful but in many places we are losing treasures that made the Magic Kingdom what it was for so many years, truly charming.
There are still months before construction is finished, though it is likely we shall see construction completed at the “hub” before the Disney holiday season gets into full swing. That is when you will really get to appreciate what these changes will mean for the Magic Kingdom. A park struggling to meet the attendance demands of today with a theme park infrastructure that simply wasn’t designed to withstand it in its original form. Soon that all changes as Cinderella Castle is about to grow up.