08 July 2013

The Seaweed is Always Greener

Inside of the next year the major construction project inside the Magic Kingdom known as New Fantasyland will be completed. The end of the building process can’t come soon enough for many guests. The main rationale behind this anticipation is the last of the new experiences, whether it is the Mine Train coaster or the princess meet-and-greet hall, will finally be able to be experienced. While I’m looking forward to new attractions as much as the next person, I’m really thinking about the overall aesthetic of the park and my interactions with it.

For many years now Fantasyland has been a complete tangle of narrowed walkways, rows upon rows of refurbishment walls, and vista of construction equipment. I completely understand the process and that new rides, restaurants, and experiences do not spring up overnight and that the process is now even more in the public eye than ever before. Once it is all completed it is going to be an incredible corner of the park, and one people will find themselves gravitating towards time and time again. That said, the view of the park from almost any corner has been plagued by the sights of construction for years now and the end of it will return something special to guests.

Think about the Magic Kingdom you grew up with. Think of the winding lanes and weenies around every corner. There may have been a temporary wall here or there, but for the most part the views were picture perfect no matter what direction you looked in. For any child venturing to the Magic Kingdom in the past few years, they’ve never had that experience. I want to see children and families, many of whom have scrimped and saved for this one trip, be able to walk through the park unfettered by having to navigate via a labyrinth of walls. I want them to move from story to story and wonder to wonder with that same sense of awe that I can remember having in the park of my youth.

Now before you get all bent out of shape, I’m not saying I want to see the end of new areas and innovation in the Magic Kingdom. In fact, I have spoken about my dreams of revitalizing Tomorrowland on many occasions, and those are still ideas that I’d love to see step out into the neon lights of the city of tomorrow. The park will always be in a state of flux, moving into a new form of itself, and that is one of the incredible things about the park. I’m just hoping that any massive projects take a break for a couple of years so we have time to enjoy the park as it stands in its current incarnation.

There is a lot of good that has come out of the revitalization of Fantasyland; new attractions, a top-tier new restaurant, and a completely new traffic flow for a large swath of the Magic Kingdom. I wouldn’t give up these additions for the world, I just want to be able to explore the park and wander through it without the visual, auditory, and crowding issues that have become the norm in recent years. I want children to see it for all the charm I know it has, and not become distracted by what is happening behind the barricades. Oh and the Mine Train, I can’t wait to get aboard the Mine Train!

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