Disney finally decides to finish a sidewalk it announced in 1994

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PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
After nearly 25 years, Disney is finally moving forward with plans to connect the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort to the Magic Kingdom via a pedestrian walkway. The surprising move was first revealed via public documents posted on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection website and was later confirmed by a Disney spokesperson.

This isn’t the first time a walkway between the Seven Seas Lagoon resorts and the park has been proposed. In June of 1994, Disney World began selling ‘Walk Around the World’ bricks that were to form a walkway eventually connecting the TTC to the Magic Kingdom. The roughly 1.5-mile-long walkway was mostly completed except for one small section stretching from a service canal to the Grand Floridian. To this day the original red brick pathway can be seen winding along the lakeshore near the Monorail beams with that one piece still unfinished.

In March of this year, Disney announced that they would be removing the ‘Walk Around the World’ bricks as they reimagine the entrance experience at the Magic Kingdom. The new walkway would use the same or a similar path to the previous one but with that final segment finally being realized.



Two things that some fans how expressed concern about: how Disney plans to cross the service canal, and where the new pathway will link up to the Grand Floridian. Documents confirm that the pathway will have a stationary bridge over a drainage canal behind the Grand Floridian Convention Center. This indicates that the pathway should connect to the resort near the rear of the convention center, likely near Building 5 (Sago Cay) and the main building.

The service canal crossing is the more problematic one since it is used on a nearly nightly basis thanks to the Electrical Water Pageant storage area being along the canal, just out of sight of guests. Some fans have expressed concern that the popular nighttime boat parade may be discontinued thanks to the new pathway, though this seems unlikely since Disney also uses this same canal to access the Rivers of America. While not used nearly as much, this canal allows for the Rivers of America ships to navigate between the park and the larger boat service area and dry dock located off of Bay Lake.

An elevated pathway, roughly the height of the monorail beams is a possibility but a small draw bridge, like the one used daily in Epcot, seems to be indicated in other recently updated public documents.

White flags and steel retaining walls are seen on the site of where the new Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom pathway will be located. - IMAGE VIA BIORECONSTRUCT | TWITTER
  • Image via Bioreconstruct | Twitter
  • White flags and steel retaining walls are seen on the site of where the new Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom pathway will be located.

The new walkway comes as Disney’s monorails have become more and more unreliable, with numerous high-profile breakdowns and service issues reported in the past few years. The new alternative way to access the Magic Kingdom from the two resorts may help alleviate some of the demand on the monorails, especially during the high demand times just after the nighttime shows. The pathway could provide a quicker option for those who don’t wish to use the boat transportation. Rumors of the Grand Floridian Convention Center being replaced by new ultra-luxury suites could also mean the nearby Monorail beams may be placed out of service during construction of the new building. But those rumored plans have yet to be confirmed by Disney or any reliable insiders.

No timeline on when the new pathway will open has been announced, but preliminary construction on the site has already begun.

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