Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Rivers of America at Sunrise

PHOTO REPORT: Magic Kingdom 4/10/21 (On-Ride Photos Get Watermarks, Weighted Peoplemover Testing, Refurbishment Projects All Around, and More)

Greetings from Walt Disney World on another Spring Break weekend! We’re at the Magic Kingdom today, checking up on a variety of projects ahead of the resort’s 50th anniversary. There’s a lot going on inside — and in the case of one project, outside — the park as we are less than six months away from the start of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”


Outside of the park, additional work is beginning at the Transportation and Ticket Center. While a couple elements have been repainted into a 50th anniversary color scheme recently, we now see a section of railing removed, likely as part of this refresh.


Other railings, which look like the one pictured above, remain in place at the moment.


Naturally, the first project we take a look at inside the park is Cinderella Castle, which is midway through its transformation ahead of its golden anniversary. Ribbon-like wrappings have been added to additional turrets as the week progressed.


At the same time, work is happening around the castle, and one such example is the missing lamp post just outside of the gates to Cinderella Castle.


Another one of the nearly dozen construction, refurbishment, or reimagining projects we’re looking at today is Cinderella Castle’s stage. The stage has been completely dismantled over recent weeks, and is now in the latter stages of assembly, possibly being completed before the end of the month.


Over at the Jungle Cruise, we’ve yet to see a replacement for Trader Sam since his sudden removal on Monday.


In Tomorrowland, testing of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover continues, and today we noticed a few cars carrying weighted bags around to simulate the weight of guests. The refurbishment of the attraction was recently extended into May, with an actual reopening date being a mystery.


Unlike the predictable and recurring delays of the Peoplemover, we got a little bit of a surprise today when we saw the addition of fairly aggressive watermarking to PhotoPass photo previews at the exits of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Splash Mountain. These watermarks are similar to what has been found on Disney apps and websites for quite some time.


Taking a quick merchandise break, the new “Play in the Park” dress which debuted at Disney Springs yesterday has now made it to Magic Kingdom.


Magic Kingdom — and Walt Disney World as a whole — still await the arrival of Winnie the Pooh nuiMOs which were supposed to debut on Monday. While some new outfits arrived, the plush themselves were delayed in shipping.


Back in Tomorrowland, work continues on TRON Lightcycle / Run’s construction as temporary support framework continues to be removed. Once the framework is gone, we hope to see covering added to the structure in short order.


Within Storybook Circus, the refresh of Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak is ongoing with the majority of the work coming in the form of new paint.


The story is pretty similar at Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, where some framing has been nicely updated with the gold leaf being restored, but other sections have temporary flat images in their place.


Outside of the Tangled restrooms in Fantasyland, updating of paint, pennants, and other elements has been taking place since March but seems to have fallen into a lull with seemingly little progress happening for a couple of weeks.


While not currently undergoing any kind of work (although it was scheduled to begin in May of 2020), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is always a welcome sight — especially early in the day. Inevitably this will be another project on the long list of work, but probably not until 2022 at the earliest.


The barrel bridge was recently added back to Tom Sawyer Island, but still isn’t quite complete. As such, it remains closed to guests.


Finally, we wrap up our day back at Main Street Station — not so coincidentally, yet another of the current rehabilitation projects in the park. A variety of characters appear here, including the newest additions of Moana and Mulan earlier in the week.

That’s going to do it for our day in the Magic Kingdom. There’s a massive amount of work going on in the park, with more in progress or coming soon like Hall of Presidents, Main Street Confectionery and Cinema, The Chapeau, Walt Disney World Railroad, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Cool Ship, and endless repaving (none of which we mentioned above with all of the other projects).

How do you feel about the park being in such a state of constant rework ahead of the 50th anniversary? Would you be satisfied with a visit to Magic Kingdom right now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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