We currently have an 8289 on order...the pantry at the entrance was done away with part way through 2014...in fact when we finalizing our order in Oct many dealers didn't even know about the change yet...in fact you can still find some on dealer lots with the pantry. They also moved the toilet so now you have a full linen in bathroom as opposed to the previous that had it above the toilet. There is also now a pocket door from the bedroom to the bathroom.
What they did do is install cabinet doors in the island from the trlr entrance door side so you have more accessible storage in the island now as opposed to the previous doors that were by the fridge and stove.
By having the stairs at the entry door as opposed to partway into the trailer, after the pantry, seems like the stairs are wider now, but I can't confirm that as I never measured it.
We were questioning the removal of the pantry as well, but my wife says there is more storage there than we know what to do with...hey no sense questioning the DW when she says , believe me there is lots of storage.