Disney World: What’s New, What’s Next May 11-16, 2011

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Wednesday, May 11

We checked in at our resort a day before the D23 events began so that we could get settled at the resort and eat at a couple of our favorite places. We spent the morning at Epcot.

The renovations in Mouse Gear are finished. When you walk in, at least at the Test Track entrance, there is a sign that shows you the layout of the store.

Mouse Gear map

There are signs overhead like this one that will direct you to the different sections.

Sign

They have some fitting rooms available if you want to try something on.

Fitting Room

They have a nice jewelry and watch section. There is a small selection of the Dooney + Bourke bags there, too.

Jewelry and watch

At the World Showcase entrance, Tow Mater has joined Lightning McQueen.

Tow Mater

The flags are still up behind Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater.

Flags

Flags

Since our room was ready after lunch, we headed back and went through the Magic Kingdom gate. The far right lane, usually used for buses is being worked on so that lane and the second-to-right lane are blocked off. Buses are going through the third-to-last right lane. It made getting over to go to our resort a tad hairy. Please use caution going through that area if you’re going to any of the Magic Kingdom area resorts until they are finished!

Buses

Thursday, May 12

When we registered for D23’s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt, we were told which park we would begin with. We were assigned Epcot. There was a a check-in table near Guest Relations outside the main gates.

Check-in

We liked these posters at the ticket booths.

Ticket booth poster

There was some work going on at this Innoventions area.

Innoventions

There was some work going on in the back of the China pavilion.

China

We had four hours to complete the hunt at Epcot. When we were done, we went back to the resort to regroup and to take the bus to Magic Kingdom.

The Wilderness Lodge bus stop refurbishment is complete.

Wilderness Lodge bus stop

We grabbed a quick dinner before we started the Magic Kingdom portion of our day.

The Confectionery is still partially under scrims.

Confectionery

The area next to City Hall still has Mr. And Mrs. Easter Bunny’s backdrop up.

Backdrop

The Carousel of Progress’ sign is being worked on.

Carousel of Progress sign

There were some walls up near the Lunching Pad.

Walls

There’s been a lot of progress on this building (I had previously called it a ‘wall’ because that’s what it looked like). There were several construction machines running behind the wall.

Storybook Land building

They have added more trees so it’s harder to see over the walls in Fantasyland.

Trees

Fantasyland expansion

Fantasyland Expansion

The walls around the back of the castle were down.

Castle

There were walls around Cinderella Fountain.

Fountain

There were walls up around the dock to the Liberty Belle. The Liberty Belle IS running – go around to the right side of the walls to wait/board.

Liberty Belle

At bus station A at Magic Kingdom, stop number 3 is behind walls (the picture is very blurry… sorry!) so it’s hard to see Wilderness Lodge’s stop behind the walls but it is there. At the stop, we saw some work going on at the end of station B’s line.

Bus work

When we left Wilderness Lodge, we thought something looked different near the store but couldn’t figure out what. When we came back, we looked over to say hi to the PhotoPass Cast Members who were always there… only they weren’t there because the PhotoPass desk has been taken out!

PhotoPass

Friday, May 13

We began Day 2 of the Great Disney Scavenger Hunt at Animal Kingdom. We were told a lot of people had the same idea because Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer much shade in the afternoons and it was kind of, er, hot!

Animal Kingdom’s questions had us running all over the park and the only thing that really caught my eye as new/changing was the fact that Primeval Whirl had walls around it.

Primeval Whirl

In all honesty, it was so crowded at Animal Kingdom that I couldn’t easily take pictures (it was wall-to-wall people in some places) and we were under such a time crunch- we had 3 hours to complete Animal Kingdom and the book had us running back and forth- so I was looking around but I wasn’t *looking* around. I’ll be back there soon, though.

Studios was our fourth and final park and, honestly, our favorite for the scavenger hunt. I was able to take more pictures as we walked around.

There was a sign at Guest Relations outside the park letting you know that you could purchase tickets at the ticket booths as well.

Sign

The stage has been set up in front of the hat.

Stage

The walls around what will become the new Winnie the Pooh meet-and-greet had some cute decorations.

Pooh

There were some walls in the Magic of Animation queue.

Queue

There were some walls on Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Boulevard

All of the scaffolding was down on Tower of Terror.

Tower of Terror

There was a ‘Cars 2’ poster up near Pixar Place and I don’t recall seeing this face painting station before.

Poster

The walls are decorated around the delayed Phineas and Ferb meet-and-greet.

Phineas and Ferb

All of the new signs were up at Star Tours (yay!!!!!).

Star Tours

Star Tours

The Jedi Training Academy Stage looked refreshed and the new attraction poster was up.

Jedi Academy Stage

Star Tours sign

Saturday, May 14

The Destination D event began. Day 1 was a lot of fun and I saw a lot of footage that I had never seen before. I’ve seen tons of Disneyland footage but not that much from Disney World so that was a great. There were lots of stories and laughs. The archives have a small exhibit and this piece from Minnie’s kitchen in ToonTown has been saved for the archives.

Minnie's blender

The only other thing to report from Saturday is it’s another day close to when Star Tours reopens!! Can you tell I’m excited about Star Tours? 🙂

Sunday, May 15

They announced that the Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) will be reshaped to be similar to Tropical Serenade, which opened with Magic Kingdom in 1971. The new version will be called Enchanted Tiki Room.

Monday, May 16

We went over to Studios to have a look around. On Streets of America, these banners were up over the street.

Banners

We saw this “box” around the palm tree.

Palm tree


Deb Wills, founder of AllEars.Net, is an internationally recognized expert on Disney vacations ranging from Walt Disney World to the Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland and Adventures by Disney. For many years she participated in events designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer, which she herself survived in 1986. She now raises funds for FORCE - Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, to increase awareness of hereditary cancers.

6 Replies to “Disney World: What’s New, What’s Next May 11-16, 2011”

  1. Thank you for the updates! I don’t get down to the world very often but LOVE to keep up to date on what is being done. It’s my little fix in-between visits. Thanks for making a usually “normal day” at the office a little bit more magical 🙂

  2. Just wanted to say that I have found so much great information on your site and I haven’t even read a 1/4 of it. Thanks for all the info and updates and pics and ideas and, and, and…lol Thanks, Brandon (Tennessee)

  3. Hey Ashley,

    Did you happen to see if the “House of Tomorrow” is back open at Innoventions?

    ASHLEY:
    I didn’t see if it was open. I’ll check the next time I’m there. Sorry!

  4. Thanks for another great update Ashley. My wife and I love reading them. We live in Indiana so we don’t get down to “The World” as often as we would like. Your blogs are a perfect way for us to keep up on what’s going on. Thanks again!

  5. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for the update and the great pics!
    We went to the Magic Kingdom this Wed. (the 18th) and had a great time! The park wasn’t crowded at all and we got to do alot. I originally wanted to go to MGM to try and get lucky to hit it just right and do a test flight on Star Tours but I overslept and got out so late that while we were driving down to Disney I aborted the mission and went to MK instead.
    The wall was still up at the Liberty belle and I meant to ask what was going on but forgot. However, the wall near the Lunching Pad was down. We finished the day as usual at EPCOT and accomplished a lot. Hadn’t been in to see Figment in a while, so we went on “the tour.”
    Bring back Dreamfinder! Yeahhh!

    Thanks again for the great blog. ~ Johnny.

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