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"Pooh's Playful Spot" is worth checking out ... if you're already inside WDW's Magic Kingdom

"Pooh's Playful Spot" is worth checking out ... if you're already inside WDW's Magic Kingdom

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So I'm in the Magic Kingdom this past Friday afternoon. And I give Jim a quick call to find out if there's anything he needs me to get pictures of while I'm visiting this WDW theme park. And Mr. Hill says: "Yeah. Be sure and get some pictures of 'Pooh's Playful Spot.' That new Fantasyland attraction just opened yesterday."

Photo by Jeff Lange

As it happened, I was actually strolling by the Magic Kingdom's newest addition while I was talking with Jim. So I quickly hung up my cell, then went in to check out "Pooh's Playful Spot."

My reaction? I wasn't all that attracted to this new Fantasyland attraction.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Don't get me wrong. If I were a parent with a two-to-five year old, I'd probably be much more enthusiastic about "Pooh's Playful Spot." After all, this extremely kid-friendly play area provides toddlers with a variety of things to crawl through, slide down and/or explore.

Photo by Jeff Lange

So this recent Fantasyland addition should be a fun spot for families to visit. Particularly if they're looking for a place where their young kids can decompress a bit before heading back into the crush & the craziness of the Magic Kingdom.

And I guess I should acknowledge  here that the Imagineers obviously did make an effort to properly theme this new play area. Recreating well-known settings from the "Winnie the Pooh" films, books and TV shows like the entrance to Pooh's house ...

Photos by Jeff Lange

As well as Rabbit's hole ...

Photos by Jeff Lange

Plus the ground around the oversized honey pots & the water play area is covered with that rubberized material. You know? That stuff that's supposed to prevent kids from hurting themselves when they fall down.

Photo by Jeff Lange

So clearly the Walt Disney Company put some pretty serious thought (not to mention some significant cash) into the creation & construction of "Pooh's Playful Spot." But -- if that's really the case -- then why are so many Disneyana fans (myself included) obviously not all that impressed with this new Fantasyland attraction?

The answer's simple, really: When you drop something that's as tiny and cute as "Pooh's Playful Spot" into an environment that's as rich in detail and theming as WDW's Fantasyland is, this new play area is almost automatically going appear to be under-sized. Puny. Small.

You know? Sort of like Piglet.

Photos by Jeff Lange

More to the point, given that this spot in the theme park used to be occupied by one of Disney World's more elaborate attractions, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" ... Well, I guess you can understand why some of us Disney die-hards might be grousing about how "Pooh's Playful Spot" is a pretty poor replacement for "20K."

Speaking of "20,000 Leagues": There's a rumor currently flying around the Web that the Imagineers have allegedly hidden some sort of tribute to that old Fantasyland favorite inside of Pooh's house. Which is why -- if you sit at "Pooh's Playful Spot" long enough -- you may get the chance to see a scene straight of "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree." Where some overweight Disneyana fan squeezes their oversized butt through Pooh's front door, then tries to find out where exactly WDI hid that "20K" reference inside this hut.

Photo by Dan Morrow

So -- all in all -- I guess I'd have to say that "Pooh's Playful Spot" is okay. Not great, just okay. By that I mean: Clearly, this new Fantasyland additiona will appeal more to parents of small children.

But as for the rest of us  ... I'd say that you'd feel like a bear of very little brain if you were to make a special trip to the Magic Kingdom just to check out Disney World's newest attraction.

So plan accordingly, alright?

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  • I live here in Orlando and visit the parks often, of course. About this Pooh area...I don't have anything against Pooh, but this is something that belongs out back at one of the resort hotels...not at the MK. Not only does it appear puny as mentioned above, but it and it's exspansive, adjacent grassy nole (that extends almost all the way over to Pinocchio's Village Haus) do not a proper backdrop for Fantasyland make. I think that our Fantasyland really lost something big when 20K left. I'm not even talking about the ride...but the vibe it created for Fantasyland. It was a big beautiful backdrop for that part of the park. Now Fantasyland is really lacking to me, aesthetically speaking. Mickey's Toontown Fair and the area where 20K was, combined, is a huge piece of land where something really great could be sitting. WDW's Toontown area was born out of the supposedly temporary Mickey's Birthdayland..the area has always felt weak and half hearted to me. I guess I always hoped we would get a Matterhorn in this spot, truth be known. That is out of the question now that Everest has opened at DAK and it has a yeti inside? It took what?...24 years for Disneyland to get a new Fantasyland? Well WDW's Fantasyland is now 36 years old...don't we deserve a big boost to ours by now?

    Oh, by the way...Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the entrance/queue to WDW's ride-through Pooh attraction is not very good looking...it just isn't pretty, right?

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