Saturday SixWalt Disney World (FL)

SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstruct vol 6 – BACK TO WALT DISNEY WORLD!

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX joins blogger-in-the-sky @bioreconstruct to get a bird’s eye of Walt Disney World. This is a special occasion because Bio has spent the majority of his time in the air over the course of the last year covering the construction of EPIC Universe (which you can follow in our Flights with Bio series.) However, there have been some major Rumors & Innuendo going on that involve Disney over the past couple weeks that lead us to believe that some major projects are about to go full steam ahead. In preparation for the expected construction, Bio gassed up the blogger copter and got us some great aerial shots of Walt Disney World. Fell free to click on any photo to see a 4K version and let’s start off with…

# 6 – Beyond Big Thunder

Back in 2022 at the D23 Expo, Disney took an interesting tactic. Instead of just announcing new attractions coming to Walt Disney World, they instead had presentation on vibes and essentially held a “What If….?” session with guests in the audience. The area in question would be Beyond Big Thunder at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and there were rhetorical questions being asked such as, what if we could walk into a magical casita, like in Encanto? What if we could fly into the land of the dead, like in Coco? Definitely one of the stranger experiences that has happened during a Parks presentation at D23. There was even some blue sky concept art giving hints at what could be coming.

D23 Concept Art. What lies “Beyond Thunder…”

Two years later, with the Governor of Florida and Disney seemingly coming to an agreement that being adversaries helps absolutely no one, there are now signs that we will finally be discovering what lies Beyond Big Thunder. Working on 14 acres of land – roughly the size of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge –  this would be the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. As you can see in the amazing aerial by Bio below, there is plenty of room to work with past Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Aerial photo of undeveloped land behind Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Let’s take a look at the rest of Magic Kingdom, starting with a closer look at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad itself.

Aerial photo showing what’s just a little bit beyond Big Thunder. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Love this photo of the Liberty Belle approaching the Haunted Mansion. The picture also shows how well Disney hides the absolutely humongous show building behind the Haunted Mansion’s facade.

Aerial photo of Liberty Belle near The Haunted Mansion. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

On the other side of Big Thunder is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which will be opening later this summer.

Aerial photo of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial photo of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Next aerial features Adventureland, with another WOW factor of that giant Pirates of the Caribbean show building in the top center.

Aerial overview of Adventureland. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Next up we got Fantasyland, Storybook Circus, and Tomorrowland.

Aerial overview of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial photo of Cinderella Castle, with an audience watching Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

I can’t get enough of these Big Picture shots, and once again check out the space for what’s Beyond Big Thunder in the bottom left.

Aerial overview of Magic Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

We’ll close this section with a little Inside Baseball photo showing where the Magic Kingdom water craft go for service.

Aerial photo of a Magic Kingdom ferry boat in the Bay Lake service marina dock. Large boats can be transferred inside the building at arrow where there is extensive scheduled maintenance. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 5 – EPCOT

EPCOT is currently in the middle of the Flower & Garden Festival.

Aerial overview of EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This photo of EPCOT shows that Walt Disney World’s “blessing of size” does give plenty of room to build things if needed.

Aerial photo of EPCOT, and what’s beyond the Land pavilion. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

When I look at pictures of the Magic Kingdom my family took back in the 1980s, I’m amazed by the amount of trees inside the park that are completely gone now. EPCOT has gone the other way and added a whole bunch of trees into the park over the past couple years.

Aerial photo of Flower and Garden displays and the many trees added to EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This picture below shows us almost all the major projects that EPCOT has built in what seems like the last decade.

Aerial photo of some multi-year redone areas of EPCOT. Including Guardians of the Galaxy, World Celebration, and Journey of Water. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial photo of Figment in the center of World Celebration. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Let’s get a ground view of the Figment topiary…

Figment topiary in the center of World Celebration. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

…and at night. Truth be told, the best thing that has happened to EPCOT in a long time is the fantastic lighting package on Spaceship Earth. It’s truly fantastic.

Figment topiary at night. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Before we go back to the copter, let’s check out another patented Best Of Bio photo taken on the ground.

Mirror glass reflection of the EPCOT monorail at twilight. 10s long exposure photo. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Back in the air, looking at the staging for the nighttime spectacular Luminous. You can see in the photo that many of the smaller barges are connected together with a cable.

Aerial photo of the staging for Luminous. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

You can get a better look at one of those cables in the photo below.

A look at the cable connecting three smaller barges to a large barge at the Luminous show in EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Luminous barges during the day…

Aerial photo of Luminous staged in Showcase Lagoon. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

…and at night.

Aerial photo of Luminous seen the night after it debuted on Dec 6, 2023. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

We’ll close out the EPCOT section with another backstage marina shot. In the foreground you also see various plants that will eventually be displayed in the Flower & Garden Festival.

Aerial photo of the EPCOT backstage marina. (photo by @bioreconstruct)


Speaking of parks that have a lot of trees…

Aerial photo of the Animal Kingdom entrance plaza and Rain Forest Café. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The Tree of Life may be my all time favorite park Icon for any theme park.

Aerial photo of the Tree of Life and surrounding forest in Animal Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

From Pandora: The World of Avatar in the bottom left to Expedition Everest in the top right, this aerial is a tremendous look at the park.

Aerial overview of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This view of Pandora really shows the massive size of the show building that is shared by Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. The indoor queue of Flight of Passage is located in the tiered section of the building on the right, above the Na’vi River Journey.

Aerial overview of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial overview of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Rumors & Innuendo suggest that if you are a fan of Dinoland USA, you should probably get over to Animal Kingdom to enjoy it sooner rather than later…

Aerial overview of Dinoland USA in Animal Kingdom. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Its fascinating to me that Animal Kingdom has a ton of room for expansion, and desperately needs more things for guests to do. It appears that stuff is coming, but instead of adding it to Animal Kingdom it looks as if the park is going to lose a kid friendly land based on DINOSAURS, one of the most evergreen properties on Earth. Reminder: dragons and dinosaurs never go out of style.

In this aerial photo of Animal Kingdom: 1) WDW greenhouses. Home of the topiaries. The runDisney marathon enters and leaves the park on this road. 2) Dorms for the Kilimanjaro Safaris Elephants. 3) Future expansion. Marathon leaves on this road. 4)  Plants grown for animal bedding. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial photo of a service area at Animal Kingdom. Top center and toward the left is Kilimanjaro Safaris. The pond is where some of the park’s accumulated rain rapidly drains to. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 3 – Disney Hollywood Studios

Love the fact that you can see the Magic Kingdom way in the distance in the top center of the photo of DHS below.

Aerial overview of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The building with ABC Commissary, Sci Fi Dine In, and Baseline Tap House (top right) was added 2 years after the park opened. There’s also a Cast Member break room in the same building, behind the Grand Avenue façade.

Aerial photo of the center of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Aerial look at some of Toy Story Land. Green Building at center is Roundup Rodeo BBQ. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The original concept of Disney Hollywood Studios was giving guests a look at how movies and television shows are filmed. One of the “tricks” of Hollywood is you only need to build what people will actually see. In the photo of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll notice on the edge of the land there are some spires that are only half built, because that’s the only portion that guests can see from their viewpoint inside the park.

Aerial overview of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge DHS. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 2 – HOTELS

I think my personal favorite shots of Bio when it comes to Walt Disney World are the various hotels on property. The photo of Animal Kingdom Lodge below is just wonderful to me.

Aerial overview of Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This photo of the Magic Kingdom resort area shows us The Contemporary (and Bay Lake Tower,) Wilderness Lodge, The Poly (including the new DVC tower), the Grand Floridian, and Shades of Green.

Aerial overview of the Magic Kingdom resort area. Widening of Floridian Way is in progress at right. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

What a view of the All-Star Resorts!

Aerial overview of All Star Resorts. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Another “WOW!” shot of the All-Stars.

Aerial look at Disney’s All Star Resorts. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Coronado Springs resort is in center of this aerial photo. Near the horizon at left is the Magic Kingdom resort area. At right is the EPCOT resort area. So much greatness in this one photo, and you can really see the scale of the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado!

Coronado Springs Resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

There was discussion this past week on DisTwitter on which of the EPCOT Resorts was the best one. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but for me the Yacht/Beach Club is a much better choice than the BoardWalk because of the better dining options, the best pool at WDW, and it is dog-friendly. With Ample Hills creamery, ESPN Club and the Tangled breakfast gone from the BoardWalk, that resort has taken a major hit in my book post-Covid shutdown. Anyway, below is a great shot of the Beach Club and the Stormalong Bay pool area.

Aerial look at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This wonderful shot below shows us all the EPCOT resorts including the most recent hotel with the worst name, the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve (very first hotel up front.) Behind that are the Swan and Dolphin, and behind them are the BoardWalk, Yacht and Beach Clubs.

Aerial look at the EPCOT resort area. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

# 1 – Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser

We’ll close out this Flights with Bio with a look at the former home of the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. The shocking closure of this hotel after just over a year made it into our 2023 Theme Park Turkey the Year awards. However, TouringPlans’ own intergalactic ne’er do well Hank Lonely has intercepted messages from deep space that indicate we may not have seen the last of the Starcruiser!

Star Wars Galactic Starcrusier. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Star Wars Galactic Starcrusier. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Aerial look at where guests would take shuttle ships between the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser hotel and Batuu, the planet below, stopping at the port in Black Spire Outpost.

Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Aerial look at the former climate simulator in the now closed Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser hotel.

Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
This is what the climate simulator looked like to guests onboard the Galactic Starcruiser.

*Honorable Mention: Disney Springs Drone Show

Back in 2016, Disney tested out a drone show during the Christmas season at Disney Springs. You pretty much had to be in just the right spot to see anything that made sense, but it was a decent first effort.

2016 Disney Springs drone show. (photo by Views and Queues)
2016 Drone show. (photo by Views and Queues)

Recently it was announced that a new drone show will take place at Disney Springs in May, called Dreams That Soar. Bio made sure to photograph where the 2016 drone show was staged at, which was at the west end of Disney Springs, right past the Cirque du Soleil building.

Disney Springs. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

In the top of the photo below is the Saratoga Springs resort. The area where the drone show was staged at was the small field area next to the Cirque building.

Disney Springs.  (photo by @bioreconstruct)
A 2016 drone show was staged at the west end of the lake at Disney Springs. A new show starts in May. Disney Dreams That Soar. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So there you have it: SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstrust vol 6! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out the THEME PARK ENJOYMENT INDEX, giving a monthly recap of all the theme park news you need to know (and a lot more you don’t need to know, but we’re gonna tell you anyway). You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstruct vol 1 (Starcruiser, Disney Lake Nona Land)

SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstructi vol 2 (EPIC Universe, Tron Lightcycle Run)

SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @biorconstruct vol 3 (The Destruction of Harmonious, EPIC Universe)

SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstruct vol 4 (Luminous, Journey of Water)

SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstrust vol 5 (DreamWorks Land, EPIC Universe)

The SATURDAY SIX Celebrates 10 Years of @bioreconstruct

The SATURDAY SIX Presents: @bioreconstruct’s favorite aerial photos

The SATURDAY SIX Takes 3 Flights in a Single Day with @bioreconstruct

The SATURDAY SIX Presents: Our favorite @biorconstruct photos of 2022

The SATURDAY SIX Presents: Our favorite @bioreconstruct photos of 2021

The SATURDAY SIX Presents: Our favorite @bioreconstruct photos of 2020

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Digital Maestro Scott Walker, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, artist @SonderQuest, the mighty maven of merchandise Hedgehog’s Corner, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, the permit princess Alicia Stella, master cartographer Tommy Hawkins, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Absolutely no help was added by SeaWorld Influencer @SuperWeenieHtJr. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

A Florida softshell turtle swimming with friends in a pond at EPCOT. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

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One thought on “SATURDAY SIX Presents: Flights with @bioreconstruct vol 6 – BACK TO WALT DISNEY WORLD!

  • This makes me so happy. Love all of Bio’s photography!!


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