PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

This post may contain affiliate links; please read the disclosure for more information.

Our latest photo report brings us back to the Magic Kingdom as closures and refurbishments begin to takeover for the rather short off-season in Orlando.

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom

I decided to rope drop the park earlier this week to see how the morning now unfolds with the moving of the welcome show and the opening of Main Street a full hour earlier.

The Walt Disney World Railroad was actively being worked on as we walked by.

Only the centralized security checkpoint was in use prior to park opening.

The Walt Disney World Railroad is closed for refurbishment and a large tarp covers the train station currently.

Annual Passholder entry lines are still in place, but sometimes can be longer than the regular entrance lines during this time of year with less tourists and more of the locals and annual visitors coming to the parks.

A number of stores and restaurants are open starting at 7:50AM (with a 9am park opening).

You can even start the day with some popcorn…

The meet and greets are not open, but the PhotoPass area and Curtain Call Collectibles are.

The Emporium is open while work is done to the facade.

If you need hats or pins at 8am, you can certainly buy them…

The Confectionery is also open at this time.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

The Art of Disney and Uptown Jewelers do not open until the park does however.

The Emporium is open though.

Crowds were pretty light until about 8:45am.

The Crystal Arts shop opens with the rest of the park.

“When Donuts Are In a Sundae, You Can Have Ice Cream Anytime…”

Of course, the Main Street Bakery Starbucks is open for breakfast.

Lines were not unreasonable inside at around 8:20AM.

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor is open for breakfast, serving Mickey Waffles, a doughnut sundae, and a variety of other items.

Be sure to check out our in-depth review of the new breakfast items here.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

Casey’s Corner is also open for breakfast (and covered in the review linked above).

“Let the Magic Begin”

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

We walked up to the Castle around 8:50AM and things were still pretty manageable.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

Just in-case you can’t find breakfast check-in…

Guests pretty much jam the walkway to the Mad Tea Party in hopes of garnering a short wait for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you aren’t near the front of this pack, don’t even bother.

We elected to wait about two people deep on one of the walkways through the Castle.

“Let the Magic Begins” starts at 8:55AM. Once it is over the characters are allowed to vacate the stage, and then guests are walked up the Castle walkways slowly until they merge at the top before going through. I was astonished at the ability of the cast to ensure that one path did not get anywhere faster than another, as once we go through the Castle, we merged seamlessly with those who tried to go around the Castle moat, down the side path between Liberty Square and Fantasyland. We then even were given the opportunity to catch up with some guests on their way to Peter Pan’s Flight (I assume from Be Our Guest breakfast), and we were all then released to go to the ride. I was amazed as the efficiency of the process, far more organized than I would ever give modern park operations credit for.

We ended up waiting about 9 minutes for Peter Pan’s Flight, even while stopping for a few photos on the way.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

By the time we exited, the wait was at 40 minutes though.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train line was a pretty big disaster after rope drop. We elected to do Winnie the Pooh next and waited about 12 minutes for that.

The line stretched all around the mountain, not that the large tour group was helping…

More tour group…

Notice something out of place?

One unfortunate couple got stuck in the middle.

The line keeps going, and going, and going… About 30 minutes later, the line was contained inside the queue thankfully, but the queue will slow once more FastPass starts coming in…

We elected to do The Haunted Mansion next and our wait was far shorter than 15 minutes.

The Hall of Presidents is Closed

The Hall of Presidents is now closed to add President Donald Trump (which can now be said officially). It will reopen around July 4th weekend this year.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

Morgan Freeman will reportedly not return as narrator, which is not surprising given his political alliances. We have to wonder what the show will be like when it returns…

This and That

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

The breakfast waffle sandwich has not yet appeared at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

There is a owl post with trading pins at the Frontierland Trading Post.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

Al the Owl who guards the post is my new spirit animal. I hope his last name is Woll. Get it? Al Woll?

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

The Country Bear Jamboree does not open until 11 am.

Muffins and coffee are available at Westward Ho.

Next door, the popcorn cart now sells Maple Popcorn rather than regular buttered popcorn.

Be sure to read our review of this new flavoring here.

The barbecue menu is gone from Tortuga Tavern, when they are open, you can just get Turkey Legs, Hot Dog Combos, and Chocolate Chip Cookies…

The Zanzibar Trading Co. store is gone for some reason, now a seating area…

Many of the merchandise fixtures remain, but are covered up.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

They are trying to sell some small snacks next door, but I’m eating a food counter or cart to end up in here…

The Cool Ship and Cool Scanner are now behind walls, so maybe this will be the Magic Kingdom Joffrey’s location?

Which now makes these construction walls a mystery…

A Jumbo Mickey Mouse Talking Figure was just released in the parks.

His wand lights up and he speaks, but he also has movement using a handle on his back.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

A park exclusive Tasum Tsum notebook was released. It retails for $14.99/

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

A series of VHS themed (kids, look it up) notepads were also released.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

The front and back pages have pictures of a VHS tape ion the clamshell case.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

The interior features both graph paper pages and notepad pages.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)
PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

They are a little pricey at $14.99.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

The limited edition Lady and the Tramp Valentine’s day MagicBand 2 is on sale.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

Some new Twenty-Eight and Main shirts on sale.

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 1/20/17 (The Hall of Presidents, VHS, Al the Owl, Refurbishments, Etc.)

I don’t know about you, but there are times when planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming! There are so many options, where to stay, when to go, is this the best price. So, I want to introduce you all to Cindy Minor and the team at Small World Big Fun. They will help you plan your Disney vacation for FREE. Contact them today!

Get a FREE Disney Vacation Planning Video

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

15 Comments

Click here to post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Great update, beautiful photos. I will say I was going in May but just booked Universal. Very frustrated with Disney offers that go away, one a past guest email offer at Pop Century that went away the next morning, also finding that standard rooms are not offered but you can get a preferred one. Maybe it is just very busy the first week of May. I also found it was cheaper to book a room (getting a standard) then tickets, then try it as a package (only preferred offered) . Does anyone know if Disney is cash grabbing with hotel rooms forcing preferred rooms and hotel upgrade? One week at Universal with 2 park a day tickets for the week than 1 week at Pop Century with 3 day / 1 park passes. Also, is the Disney site getting a little confusing? I’ve been twice a year for 8 years now and this is the most confusing time ever.

  • “Hid wars lights up and he speaks, but he also has movement using a handle on his back”

    Proofreading is hard.

    Thanks for the update though! No more chicken sandwich waffle at Sleepy Hollow?

      • Jack Tripper, you’re being Mr Naive again. CM’s know the cabanas are coming back. They just took away the temporary ones. The cabanas went away just like Disney After Hours did. Aren’t those back too or am I being negative?

    • 20 years? Save your money. Nothing at Magic Kingdom will be 1/10th the quality, value or experience of even 10 years ago. Or if want to see what would be similar to what you saw, go to Shanghai Disney. It’s not run by Disney, and they aren’t disgustingly cheap. WDW Florida as can see from reports is mostly stores of cheap trinkets and horrible quality food that would leave you begging for a dirty fast food chain. Sadly true. Not negative…accurate.

        • That’s the point sadly. Unless they smile in long lines, few attractions or shows left open, being hollered at to move and pack more tightly into crowds, and sub McDonalds quality food at Ruth’s Chris pricing, not likely to see many smiles. Florida has many other great attractions besides theme parks though.

        • Awe I feel for you. As optimistic as I am, the grandiosity of WDW is there, but it’s a money grab factory of lines and places you can see how it’s not well run, and they just don’t care. Period. We took my grandparents, uncle and youngest (7 and 4), and the “Reunion Resort” where we stayed pool and golf was the smile maker over ANYTHING Disney World. And we are all fans! Was our first visit in 4 years. Huge diff. They have problems.

Latest Videos