We finally had the chance to see the Magic Kingdom Christmas tree this year, which went up after the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade taping (below, left). It is pretty much the same as in previous years, with a train, toy soldiers, gifts and more under the tree including a reference to Walt Disney’s personal Carolwood Pacific “Fair Weather Route” railroad. (below, right).
Video #1 – Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree 2012, Walt Disney World – This is the Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree – including up-close detail, for 2012! The tree is pretty much the same as in previous years, with a train, toy soldiers, gifts and more under the tree including a reference to Walt Disney’s personal Carolwood Pacific “Fair Weather Route” railroad.
Denise and I were invited by our friend Derek to try out the Cast Member FastPass+ test (below, left). We were all issued green FastPass+ cards with our name and ride information stored (below, right). Our first ride was to have been Space Mountain, but due to Disney transportation issues, we were late. Derek was able to change our Space Mountain ride to a different time (he rode it himself), and we soon met Derek at the Haunted Mansion for our first attraction.
We were happy to be able to dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant (below, left) just a few nights back! It was during a Cast Member preview of New Fantasyland, but they allowed us to come in and enjoy dinner. The ballroom is huge and beautiful, we especially love the falling snow in the windows (below, right). We requested the West Wing, which is where we dined.
New Fantasyland opened for previews last Friday! We had known about the upcoming preview for days, but we were in Pittsburgh until Saturday – we are very happy that our friends Daniel and Corinne Andersson shot footage for us! You can see the video below the photos, they were the very first guests in line, and the very first guests to enter New Fantasyland. We did make it into this area after the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic on Saturday – tired from our flight, but excited to see the expansion for ourselves. I think we’ve been there 4 times now! We never waited long for Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (below, left). The longest wait was 20 minutes, but it was more often than not that we walked right on. The Mermaid queue is detailed and exquisite, and there is no way to take a bad photo here (below, right).
Yesterday we went to the Magic Kingdom to see the last shows of Country Bear Jamboree before it went down for refurbishment. There is talk that several minutes might get cut from the show, so we wanted to make sure to capture it in photos and video just in case. But first, we took a look at New Fantasyland progress, and found that the sign for the Be Our GuestRestaurant is now up! Behind it appears to be a griffin (below, left). The Be Our Guest sign (below, right) features a rose and several symbols.
We were heading to Epcot today to dine at the Mexico pavilion’s La Hacienda (thanks to our friends Kelly and June!), and we’d been told that Gaston (from Beauty and the Beast) and Wendy Darling (from Peter Pan) were greeting guests. Both Gaston (below, left) and Wendy were testing, likely for meet-and-greets in the new Fantasyland. Gaston was quite the hit with the women, as one grabs a load of his muscular arm (below, right).
Friday was a busy day at Walt Disney World for us, we started at Epcot for a Flower and Garden Festival seminar (partly hosted by Eric Darden) and then headed to the Magic Kingdom (below, left) to photograph the Fantasyland construction. The castle wall portion of the Fantasyland project is moving along (below, right), with Beast’s Castle in the background.
Yesterday we went to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (below, left) to see the beautiful Easter Egg Display in the lobby (below, right). This is the first year of the lobby display, though the decorated eggs have been placed in restaurants during the Easter holiday for the last 15 years. Each egg is hollow milk chocolate, weighing 9 – 12 pounds and is 16 – 20 inches tall!