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Ears the News with Richard

Big Thunder Mountain is scheduled for a short refurbishment in April 2014. The Magic Kingdom attraction is closing on 4/7/2014 through to 4/9/2014. 

Pirates of the Caribbean is scheduled to be closed for refurbishment in late April 2014. The attraction at the Magic Kingdom closes on 4/28/2014 through to 4/30/2014. 

Both attractions are rumored to be receiving a new on-board photo system, although this is not yet officially confirmed.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
The Frozen meet and greet featuring Anna and Elsa has been extended to the end of January 2014. The Norway Pavilion meet and greet has been extremely popular, with wait times on some days over the holidays reaching 5 hours. You can now meet them until 1/31/2014.

The Aladdin and Jasmine meet and greet location at the Agrabah Bazaar is currently closed for refurbishment, and during this time they have relocated to the Adventureland Veranda porch.
The refurbishment is scheduled for run through until 2/13/2014.

Downtown Disney's Cirque du Soleil La Nouba will be closing for rehearsals and refurbishments later this month. The downtime begins on 1/12/2014 through 1/ 20/2014.

The MyMagic+ 'MagicBand-only' testing is set to expand from the Pop Century and All Star Resorts test to include all Walt Disney World Resort hotels by the end of January 2014.

With 'MagicBand-only', guests will be given a MagicBand in place of the Key to the World Card for all MyMagic+ functions, including park admission, touch-to-pay, touch-to-enter, and FastPass+. 
Key to the World cards can still be requested, but are not available for regular FASTPASS use. This means that by the end of January 2014, all Walt Disney World Resort Guests will be using FastPass+, and will not have access to the legacy FASTPASS system.

The rollout for 'MagicBand-only' is as follows.

Jan. 6 – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Jan. 7 – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
Jan. 8 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Jan. 9 – Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Spring Resort & Spa
Jan. 10 – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Jan. 13 – Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
Jan. 14 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Jan. 15 – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Jan. 16 – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Jan. 17 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Jan. 20 – Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom is adding more air conditioned seating space with a refurbishment project beginning this week.
The new enclosed space will make use of the existing outdoor patio, which is rarely used in the summer months due to direct sun and high temperatures. Work begins this week and should be completed by mid February 2014.

Two smoking locations have been removed from Disney's Hollywood Studios effective  1/6/2014. 
The smoking location at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and outside the Hollywood Brown Derby have both been removed. The remaining smoking locations are:

Behind Hollywood Scoops on Sunset Blvd
Studio Catering Company courtyard
Next to 50's Prime Time Cafe
Between The Great Movie Ride and ABC Commissary

The official Disney Parks Blog has posted a great video giving us a glimpse behind-the-scenes at Walt Disney Imagineering as work progresses on creating the ride vehicles for the upcoming Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster for the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland.



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