The Magic Kingdom looks set to begin a large-scale project to once-and-for-all address the congestion problems that plague the center of the park during busy periods.
According to plans, the park will introduce a second ring around the current hub, providing additional walkways and dedicated viewing areas for the fireworks and parades.
The first phases of the project are already underway, with concrete work being completed around the areas outside of Casey's and the Plaza restaurant. The recently started draining of the moat around the castle will also facilitate some of this work.
Significantly, the rework of the hub will provide a walkway that will connect directly into the currently under-construction Main Street bypass, which will allow guests to exit the park through a walkway running parallel to the existing Main Street U.S.A.
To create the new walkways, some of the water areas will be reduced, but not eliminated, and some of the existing landscaping will be removed. Part of the plans call for artificial grass, which will not only look pristine, but will also double as dedicated FastPass+ viewing areas for fireworks. Expect to see new landscaping, including topiary and fountains throughout the new areas.
To help you visualize the changes, take a look at the before and after renderings below. These are not entirely accurate, but will give you a very good indication of what is being planned. Thanks to WDWMAGIC forum member 'MarkTwain' for the rendering.
As always, plans change, and until officially confirmed by Disney, the plans outlined here should be treated as speculation.
Current hub layout
Mockup of hub changes