When I first read that Disney was planning to overhaul the Hub, I tried to stay neutral. The idea disquieted me, for sure, but how can you react to something you’ve never seen before? I tried to reserve judgement. But, still. It disquieted me.
Two weeks ago, I finally saw the newly redesigned Hub in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. And I absolutely love it. Love it! Can’t get enough of it. Wish I could spend long afternoons enjoying it.
1. The big, empty spaces
What … the … what!?! Where in Walt Disney World can you spread out like that? Nowhere, that’s where. But these new grassy areas provide ample space for folks to spread out and relax, to enjoy the atmosphere and to take it all in at their own pace. As someone who prefers to sit on the ground and loves to just relax out-of-doors, its absolutely perfect. (I took a nap there while Dan took photos. And I didn’t even mind that it was artificial turf.)
Also, I’ve always felt a little bit of a disconnect as I walked from the end of Main Street into the Hub … how did Cinderella Castle fit? Now it all feels linked. The transition makes sense. At the end of Main Street, there’s a little public square (instead of a vast, open space), leading more logically into the Castle foreground.
2. The water features
How beautiful are these shots? How beautiful are these fountains?! They’re simple, but stunning. They provide a great focal point for the town square and a great centerpiece for the character statues. And the moving water adds some tranquility to the otherwise busy space. I’m a big fan.
3. The opportunity for interaction
These new spaces provide ample area for interactions between friends, interactions between guests who are soon-to-be friends and interactions between guests and characters. Case in point: When we visited Easter Weekend, Rosie and Flutterby (inspired by characters from Alice in Wonderland) were greeting guests in Plaza Garden West. “Greeting” may not be the best word … I mean, these beautifully costumed characters were posing for photos and joking with guests–really spending quality time, something you rarely see at Disney World. I hope this kind of thing continues!
4. The ability to move around
Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt like the Hub is too crowded. It’s a very rare moment–even at a low-crowd time–when you can move comfortably. But this new configuration really cures that. It’s so much easier move around the new Hub–before, during and after parades, castle shows and fireworks … pretty much any time.
The extra ring around the Hub area makes it easy to navigate around without having to elbow through a crowd and makes it possible to get from land to land without getting stopped up. It’s basically made traversing the Park a dream. There are still a ton of people in the Hub. It’s not like they all went away. But if feels like there are big, open spaces all around now. And it totally makes the Magic Kingdom feel less claustrophobic.
5. The new Move It Shake It
I’m not sure if the changes to Move It Shake It are directly related to the new Hub design, but I think they are … the ability to move around more easily makes it possible for the Move It Shake It Dance & Play It to be even more interactive without blocking up traffic.
If you haven’t seen the new Street Party, they’ve added huge screens to the parade floats … and your photo may just play on the screen during the end of the party (if you mark it #MoveItShakeItPics)! I just love this mini-parade–it’s so upbeat and fun, and this new facet brings so much energy to the Hub and gardens. (I do miss the old song … but the new one will grow on me, I hope!)
What do you love about the newly redesigned Hub? Let us know in the comments!