If you’ve been to the Magic Kingdom in the past few years you’ve likely experienced the gridlock that happens around the park’s “hub” throughout the day but especially after the nightly Wishes! fireworks show. The masses attempt to go each and every way all at once and what ensues often is just short of dangerous. Most are trying to get out of the park and back to their hotels. Others can’t wait to squeeze out more fun in the Magic Kingdom’s lands after the crowds have diminished. And still others seem to be going in directions that to an onlooker don’t quite make sense. Needless to say something had to be done to fix that situation for Disney guests and cast members who were struggling just to keep order. The massive reworking and expansion of the Magic Kingdom’s “hub” has already begun to rectify many of the issues outlined above and there is still yet more work to be done on that front. Yet while that project continues on, another side project both literally and figuratively, has been simultaneously in progress and ties in directly with the work at the center of the theme park.
For as long as I can remember the Main Street USA bypass has been in use in order to alleviate the overcrowding issues that often face the Magic Kingdom. Of course this used to be reserved for the parks busiest days but as the years go by it feels like almost every day is a busy day at the most visited theme park in the world. Hence the bypass is becoming a way of life at the Magic Kingdom and since it gave guests a view into the wilds of the backstage areas of the park, it was always a jarring experience for those used to only seeing the best of Disney themed “magic.” Then I started to see glimpses of theming appear on the backs of Main Street USA’s buildings and knew the days of drab walks to escape the crowds might one day become a thing of the past. Now, though not quite yet finished the process of lightly theming the bypass has given the Magic Kingdom something it desperately needs for crowd control without totally sacrificing guest experience in the process. The theming isn’t all I hoped for but it is a substantial upgrade from what was there before and so I’ll take this first step in the right direction for an area of the Magic Kingdom that is now used so often it might as well be on the park map.