Back at the D23 Expo in September of 2009, then President of Parks and Resorts, Jay Rasulo revealed some exciting new plans to expand Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The announcement came on the heels of some blueprints that leaked over the summer, and Rasulo even made reference to those leaked blueprints in his announcement.
Fans at the D23 Expo were excited by the news that they would be doubling the size of Fantasyland with some new dining options, some new interactive meet and greets with Belle, Aurora and Cinderella, an enhanced Dumbo attraction (doubling the capacity of the current attraction) a brand new D-Ticket attraction based on the Little Mermaid. Rasulo also mentioned a new area for Tinkerbell and her fairy friends that would be dubbed Pixie Hollow, but the full details on that weren’t available just yet. While most were excited to hear the news, some fans both inside and outside of the company outwardly expressed concern over the heavy female slant of what would be a reported $300 million expansion.
Fast forward a little more than a year later, and the rumors started cranking up once again that some changes were coming to Fantasyland. This time fueled by internet message boards and the new head of Parks and Resorts, Tom Staggs some rumblings started to emerge about internal debate over whether or not the appeal of the Fantasyland Forest expansion was too narrow. Tom Staggs would report in an interview that they are looking to broaden the appeal of the new offerings, and many took this to mean that the concept for The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train ride had indeed been dusted off as was the rumor circulating around the fan community.
Today at 7 PM Disney will officially announce the changes to the Fantasyland Expansion, and they include The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train as well as many other interesting details that Disney fans can look forward to. Earlier today, MyFoxOrlando posted some of the concept art of the project, and ever since the fan community has been in hysterics over what’s to come. The expected completion date of everything is 2013, with most of the originally conceived plans (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo) to be complete by 2012.
Without further adieu, here is some of the information and concept art that we can all look forward to.
The revised concept art of the entire land can be found below. With these images, be sure to click them directly for a larger version.
Beginning with the information that was aleady announced, below is a photo of Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid the attraction is meant to be an omnimover attraction and will take guests Under the Sea through the songs and story of The Little Mermaid. It is expect that this opens in 2012. For those guests looking to preview this ride, an identical attraction will open in Disney California Adventure in 2011.
After exiting Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid guests will exit into a large maze/water play area called Scuttles Landing. It is expected that Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid will utilize Fastpass, and most people are regarding this as a D-Ticket attraction.
Another area that hasn’t changed significantly from the original concept is the Beauty and the Beast area. This area will feature the Be Our Guest Restaurant, a 550 seat dining area that will function as a counter service restaurant during the day and a table service for dinner. An additional counter service facility titled Gaston’s Tavern will also be a part of this mini-village. Finally, Enchanted Tales with Belle will have a new location after vacating the Fairytale Garden in favor of Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder. Some photos of the Beauty and the Beast area can be found below:
While the enhanced interacive queue, and new spinners for Dumbo the Flying Elephant have been known for a while, the name for the new miniland had not yet been determined. It appears the name of this Circus themed area will be Storybook Circus and it will include Dumbo the Flying Elephant as well as a water/playground themed around Casey Jr. Photos of that area can be found below:
The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm has survived this expansion, but it will be receiving a bit of a makeover. This is the first official announcement of this name and theme change, The Great Goofini. Concept art for this attraction can be seen below:
Finally, the major announcement that’s coming from tonight’s press event is the addition of a new ride to the Fantasyland expansion. The new ride is known as The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train and will feature cars that can swivel like a baby’s crib as it navigates through a tame roller coaster track as well as some dark ride portions. It is expected that this attraction will open in 2013. The addition of The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train means that the classic Fantasyland dark ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures will be closing to make way for Princess Fairytale Hall. The princesses will have their meet and greet location in what many are assuming/hoping is a temporary location. Photos both can be seen below:
Disney fans have reason to be excited by these changes, and I personally can’t wait to see this move from concept art to reality.
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