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5 Cuts Coming to Disney's Magic Kingdom In a Few Days

Though we’ve known for some time that budget cuts were coming to Walt Disney World, new information has trickled out of the resort in recent days that shows one, very strange fact: almost all of the current cuts happening in the near future (at least that we know about) are going to be happening at the Magic Kingdom. Even though this park is even opening a new attraction on October 2, 2016, this date will also represent the end of operations for a number of in-park entertainers and characters, including some fan favorites. 

Though it is curious that Disney would make cuts at the park that has been more or less stable through the tumultuous summer of 2016, here are all of the cuts that we know about (so far) that will be taking effect at the Magic Kingdom in the next few days. 

1. The Notorious Banjo Brothers (And Bob) - Frontierland

Though you probably already know the Notorious Banjo Brothers (and Bob) as the resident country and western band of the Magic Kingdom (playing good 'ol country hits as well as recent Disney favorites with twangy flair), it looks like this entertainment act, which has been playing in various spots around Frontierland for nearly a decade (the earliest we remember them being around is in 2007) is unfortunately heading for permanent retirement from this park.

According to Disney's official park calendar, the final day for this Magic Kingdom mainstay will be October 1, 2016, and like all of these other cuts, no replacement is planned for this entertaining trio. In fact, two characters who call Frontierland home at the Magic Kingdom will also unfortunately be getting the axe at the exact same time.. 

2. Woody and Jessie - Frontierland

Image: Disney

Effective October 2, 2016, Toy Story characters Woody and Jessie will no longer be meeting guests at the Magic Kingdom in Frontierland next to Splash Mountain. And while Woody meets guests currently at Disney's Hollywood Studios' Pixar Place, the Magic Kingdom has historically been the only place in all of Walt Disney World where Jessie can be met regularly, which means guests who want to see this character one last time will need to do so in the very near future, as after this date Jessie will only appear as part of other entertainment around the resort, and will not be available for pictures or autographs. 

3. Rafiki - Adventureland

Aside from the loss of these two characters in Frontierland, it looks like Rafiki (who has been meeting guests in Adventureland for the past few months next to the Skipper Canteen) will also be leaving the Magic Kingdom in the near future as well. Though no firm date has been given for this character's departure, considering all the other cuts, the first week in October seems likely to be this character's last. However, the good news here is that, like Woody, Rafiki can still be found very easily at Walt Disney World. Guests who want to meet this character will be able to find him daily in the Rafiki's Planet Watch area of Disney's Animal Kingdom. 

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There are 30 comments.

I don't see how you figure crowds are down this year. Was there in June and it was busier than ever.

Isn't Elena ever going to have an actual M&G at WDW?(she would had arrived at MK earlier)

I'm not that surprised by the woody and jessie thing. They are building an entire land in Hollywood studios dedicated to toy story. I bet she will reappear there.

This is just more in a series of bad decisions for WDW. Starting with the decision to get rid of Malestrom and put a frozen ride in Norway of the World Showcase instead of putting the ride in Hollywood studios (which would have made much more sense) their have been a lot of questionable moves at WDW. Maybe they should realize that the reason the number of visitors is down is because they are charging way too much. But of course nobody is ever going to actually lower prices to make things more affordable so instead they will kill a parade and get rid of beloved characters and force feed us Elsa every chance they get instead.

Actually, I never cared for the Maelstrom ride and like the new Frozen ride, and I've been going to the Disney area since 1972. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

I think Maelstrom was a good ride in it's day. But, it was time for something new. Haven't checked out the new Frozen ride yet, but plan to in next few weeks.

Part of the magic of Disney is the extra touches and pop up experiences, if you take them all away Disney will just be another theme park. The magic is essential!

Can't see any of these as a big deal.
By far most people who go to WDW don't would never notice any of this. They go to experience what is there not notice what isn't.
I was there for 6 days this last March - I didn't see any of these and didn't know they existed. Even if I did I would have assumed I just missed them.
None of these are integral to a visit.

I can't believe they are doing away with electrical parade! That was part of what made the park special, especially with Tinkerbell flying through the air at the end and the fireworks! . My kids are adults now and still wait for that! I hope they give Elana more attention. She has so much positive energy.

have no fear, Tink does still fly. that's during the wishes fireworks, nothing to do with the old parade!

retiring the iconic main street electrical parade forever?! how can that be?! I've attended that parade on every disney visit since I was a child (over the last 35 years)! makes me super sad I won't get to see it again on my next visit (May 2017) or that future generations won't get the pleasure of such a magical experience. :(

At WDW, the Main Street Electrical Parade only ran from 1977-1991, then again from 1999-2001, then from 2010-2016. It ran at Disneyland from 1972-1996.

It wasn't around 35 years ago.

35 years ago was 1981, so by your breakdown, it was there until the person was 10, then again from age 18 to 20 and once more 29 to 35.

I know. It's scary that the 80s were 35 years ago. (Says the kid born in '81.)

In my opinion Disney wouldn't have to make these cuts if they didn't keep raising prices like crazy and weeding out lower middle class families from affording a descent vacation. Plus their fast pass policy stinks too. You can't afford to enjoy the parks anymore and on top you can't do most of a park in a day. It's very disappointing. They would be wise to rethink the high price tags!

I'm only sad about the electrical licht parade. We took our son this past November to Disney, but were only able to get a glimpse of the parade (it was a short trip). So I'm thankful we got to at least see a small bit of it; however, I've been to disney multiple times since I was 2 and that was the one thing I could remember in my younger years- seeing the light parade. It's so iconic and beautiful. Truly saddens me that it's going away!

They didn't say they're eliminating any and all light parades. They said the Main Street Electrical Parade.

There's a BIIIIIIIIIG difference.

I have an idea. Why doesn't the damn CEO take a cut! I mean he only earns multi million dollars per year! What's next for WDW? Charging a few bucks to use the bathrooms? Fire this damn fool!

As I haven't been to the parks since the late 90s, I'm not sure how the characters all fit into the general scheme of what the park is doing with them, and question how much money Disney will save by eliminating these characters from daily viewing. I worked at the Magic Kingdom in the 90s, so I know a bit about the ins and outs of what's going on there. If it's a staffing thing, they won't fire those cast members outfitting those characters. They will simply move on to doing different things in entertainment. It sure sounds like a foolish idea, what with the backlash they're bound to get from loyal guests and others. Oh well.....

Will be Coming in a few weeks. I understand things change. However I don't buy the whole "budget cuts" crapola. Sorry the Disney execs are losing an Extra million from their paychecks when it's the little guys who actually MAKE WDW what it is! We booked a few months ago for an EPCOT resort and could only get Bwalk Villa for $500+ a night! Disney is certainly not starving for business!

The Electrical Parade is still amazing, and my boys love it, especially Tinker Bell at the start. I too have seen it since I was a kid, and maybe not everything needs to be changed just for the sake of changing it. Instead, how about doing it only on weekends, or just once a night instead of twice? That would make it more special and save costs. Also, I suggest that Disney offers an opportunity to pay for season passes monthly like other theme parks do, they will generate more revenue that way.

I agree with a previous comment that said the CEO should take a pay cut. My family and I have been DVC members for 16+ years, as well as annual pass holders, and its nearly impossible to afford to vacation at WDW. Mr. Iger has made some really bad decisions lately, IMO. He needs to stop cutting out the "magic", stop raising prices before he loses more loyal Disney fans.

I don't see why they're cutting characters. Back in the day they just had them walking through the park. They can go back to doing that and do a rotation. Like two days a week, this character, 2 days a week, another and so on. Taking away any Toy Story character is a mistake since the new movie is coming out.

They should've thought about this before they did the Star Wars expansion, then this wouldn't be happening.

WDW is getting the Paint the Night Parade from Disneyland. Disneyland is getting the Electrical Parade--which is where it started in the 70s. I find these comments about how people have been watching this parade for 40 years at WDW truly amusing. You'll be wowed by the Paint the Night. They're in the off season now, cuts are normal, it'll ramp back up once the holiday season starts. Plus they are getting ready for new and great things like Toy Story Land (Jessie will pop up there). The characters should rotate out, it gives variety to each visit.

wdw is not getting paint the night. it's staying at dlr and will be going seasonal, until the retirement of dep.

I have been to Walt Disney World to many times to count in my lifetime. Love Disney and the parks!!!!! It is time for some changes to keep returning visitors like me happy to come back. You have to admit, when Disney does something new, they do it right and spectacular.My family was just there in August and we thought everything with Star Wars was AWESOME!!!!! New things are not bad, just something new to enjoy. Disney has lots of new and exciting things coming to the parks. Where else can you visit that has something for you to do at any time for the price? Walt Disney World is amazing.

i dont like the changes.. I loved the stitch ride.. i love meeting the characters.. your taking away what Disney was.. and i understand things cost more.. but your making it to expensive for someone to come.. you have raised prices every year the last few years.. stop changing so much.. stop trying to improve things that people already love and enjoy..

I'm sad to see the Banjo buddies go as they are old school magic kingdom and it feels like there is less and less of that these days. I'm sure there will be another night parade coming soon so I'm not concerned about that. and yes it's getting harder to afford a Disney vacation even as a DVC member.

I first went to Disney in 1975 as a kid and my parents took me twice a year for more than a decade. Now I am an annual pass holder and I take my kids about six times a year. I am very nostalgic and get anxious when changes are made, but it always seems like Disney makes good changes. Maelstrom was my favorite ride in EPCOT and I was so mad that they got rid of it, but I have to say that Frozen has grown on me. I love Disney so much that I dream about being an Imagineer and fixing all of the deficiencies, but they do it well without me. I fear change, but my advice is to embrace the change. Your kids are growing up with a new Disney and I think they are doing a good job in keeping the classic Disney and promoting the new Disney.

Let's face it Disney isn't hurting for money. When they say they have to make budget cuts we all know it's a big bowl of baloney. Like someone else said they're taking all the magic away and raising the prices they are going to lose some families that choose to come regularly. I'm part of a group that loves all things Disney, and some of them even are DVC members are not going to Disney World on a regular basis like they used to. I realize Disney already has their vacation club money, but if people are coming and buying meals and buying souvenirs then they're still missing that money. We've been going every year since 2007, this will be our last year until the 50th anniversary. I just think when you're paying 300 to $1,000 a night for a hotel that there should be a lot more magic, and it shouldn't be being cut. Like I said when I started this comment, Disney is not hurting for money and they do not need to make any budget cuts.

Ive been going to Disney World at least once a year since 1971. I was born 2 months before it opened. (I have since moved to FL and am an annual passholder, visiting at least once a week) I honestly dont care about those characters being discontinued, dont recall the country band and have no clue who Scoop Sanderson is. I am very sad about the electrical parade, tho. It was a magnificent spectacle and I'm sorry to see it go. However, it was older than dirt. I will look forward to something new in its place and cross my fingers that its as good or better. Same with Stitch's great escape. It sucked when it was alien encounter, but it sucks even more now. I'm happy they will replace it. I also have to agree with one of the comments in regards to the frozen ride in Epcot. I enjoyed Maelstrom, but more importantly, that ride was about Norway. How does Frozen offer insight into the culture of Norway or any other country? (They really need to ditch the 3 caballeros in Mexico for the same reason. Its like they are forgetting the focus and intent of world showcase.) Anyway, change is good.


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