Thursday, July 23, 2009

The New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World

Edit #9:  Updated 5/28/14:  New Fantasyland is complete, with the finishing touch, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which officially opened to guests today.  
Edit #8:  Update 4/17/14:  Princess Fairytale Hall has opened and we are now waiting for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to open, which could happen soon.  Rumors indicate the Grand Opening is May 2nd, but nothing official has been announced as of yet.   The attraction has been cycling cars and some Cast Members have been seen test-riding it. 

Edit #7: The New Fantasyland Part 1 has officially opened!  Currently there are two more pieces being built.  Fairytale Hall will open in late 2013 in the former spot of Snow White’s Scary Adventure.  A new roller coaster called the Seven Dwarves Mine Train will open in Fantasyland sometime 2014.   

Edit #6:  The New Fantasyland officially has a Grand Opening date!  The Be Our Guest Restaurant, Under The Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales With Belle, Ariel's Grotto, and Gaston's Tavern are opening on December 6, 2012.  Also expected to open by that date are the remainder of the attractions that will be found in Storybook Circus.  The Princess Fairytale Hall will open in 2013 and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will open in 2014.  
Edit #5:  Update 4/29/12:  A new timetable has been announced for the New Fantasyland project.  As of right now, the second phase of Storybook Circus,  including the second Dueling Dumbo with the indoor queue and Casey Jr. Splash and Soak Station are set to open this July.  The Be Our Guest Restaurant, Under The Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales With Belle, Ariel's Grotto, and Gaston's Tavern  have a projected opening date of late 2012, right in time for the Holiday Season.  Finally, Disney is expecting to open up The Seven Dwarves Mine Train, as well as putting the remaining finishing touches on this new expansion in late 2014. 
Edit: #4:  Update 3/12/12:  Today, the first part of The New Fantasyland has soft opened.  Part of the Storybook Circus has opened, which includes one Dumbo, The Great Goofini, and The Fantasyland Train Station 

  Edit #3:  Updated 1/18/11  For a blog post of The New Fantasyland Revisited, the revised version of The New Fantasyland,  please click here.  It will update you on all of the changes announced.

Edit #2: Updated 8/26/10 The rumors appeared to be true. Some aspects of Fantasyland are getting reworked. I'm hearing for sure that the things that are definitely coming are The Little Mermaid attraction and the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Also, more than likely Dumbo. The rumored changes appear to be that the where Dumbo will be will be themed all circus (including Goofy's Barnstormer). Also, it appears a Snow White Mine Car ride is being looked at, meaning that Snow White's Scary Adventures would close. This is rumored to become a new (potentially temporary) meet and greet area for the Princesses. If it is temporary, they may be building a new permanent meet and greet area for them where the Skyway station is. No word on what may end up being built in place of where Snow White was just yet. Every thing is still very up in there air. Will keep everyone posted as more info gets released.

Edit: Updated 4/11/10, since this really is official and there's a few changes that have happened to what the "leaked" ideas were. Changes will appear in bold red.

Once again...sorry we're late with this one...Yesterday I recorded the podcast with Mike....and we'll let's just say that hours were spent on the, this didn't get done.

Anyway...ignoring my tardiness...let's take a trip into Fantasy!(land that is).

As many of you know, there were recently plans leaked out debuting some new information about a new Fantasyland refurb. Many speculated if the plans were even real...and I believe we can agree with certainty now, that they indeed are. I will not post the plans, because if they are, Disney didn't really want them leaked (from my understanding), however, if you are interested in finding them, there are available in many different places on the net.

So, let's talk about these grand plans that just got released (mysteriously) to the public.

The first thing that is being rumored is that Mickey's Toontown Fair is going bye-bye. This area, as well as the former 20 Thousand Leagues area is supposed to be included in this new Fantasyland area. Making this space much larger and allowing for more room for guests. (Yay for not being cramped anymore!)

Now, the original Fantasyland should stay with the same layout, for the most part. Your favorite attractions from there aren't going anywhere. (It is being rumored that they may get a bit of spit and polish in the update though...but we'll have to see what happens, if indeed this refurb goes through.) The spit and polishing is currently happening to the facades of current Fantasyland attractions as we speak.

From the new area they are building on, they are essentially going to be splitting the area into basically 8 different sections. Sections that will be included are: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pixie Hollow, Dumbo, and Winnie the Pooh, and a section featuring the Barnstormer. The Barnstormer area is more than likely going to be a part of Dumbo's land.

The way they are going to situate this refurb is interesting as well. It's rumored that once you walk out of the castle, you will be in the castle foregrounds. (That's where everything that's already been built will be located.) Then, Disney is planning to build a castle wall, where you will go around it, and then go into this "Enchanted Forest" type area.

The lands are also very interesting. Each one has a few things that definitely pique my interest. So, lets look at these "lands" in order from right to left.

First we'll have, in the former Toontown area, the Dumbo land. Dumbo is rumored to be removed from it's current location and situated in the back, near the train station. The most interesting part about this new area for Dumbo is that they are looking at building a second Dumbo attraction and enclosing the queue. The queue will have the ability to have interaction (kinda like we do with Mr. Potato Head, but a little different.) The queue will be more like a waiting area at a restaurant with possibly a pager system or something a little different that they are currently working on possibly at Rock n' Roller Coaster over at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Next, you will reach the Barnstomer area, which it appears is staying, but the question is if the theme will stay? It doesn't really fit with the new Fantasyland plans. The theme is supposed to change to a Dumbo theme.

From there, we'll come to the Pixie Hollow location. This will be an expansion of the area that's already there. Not too much info is known about this area yet.

Then we'll have an Sleeping Beauty section. On the map it says attraction, but rumors are swirling that it could mean one of two things. One is that it's really a fancy meet and greet...the other is a small show of some sort. I would guess show because I have information that something called Sleeping Beauty's Birthday Surprise will take place in this new Fantasyland refurb. This is going to be a meet and greet area, with a show element. Guests will be able to create birthday cards for Aurora's 16th birthday and give them to her, along with meet the princess.

We then will head over to a tiny new Pooh area. It appears they will be removing the Pooh's Playful Spot playground and instead building a nice little meet and greet area. The meet and greet area will more than likely now be over by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction.

After that, will be the Cinderella section. Included in the Cinderella area is another place marked attraction, which is believed to be either another fancy meet and greet or a small show. The info I have about this says something about Cinderella's Chateau. Guests will get a chance to meet Cinderella and dance with her. Boys will get the chance of how to be knights.

From there, we have the two biggest areas that will be added. Behind Cinderella's section, there will be a section for The Little Mermaid. This one will include a clone of the ride being built for DCA. (Ariel's Undersea Adventure) and it will also house a meet and greet for this fantastic Mermaid. Another thing that rumored to be going into this land though include something called Triton's Treasures (thought to be a gift shop). The also have something called Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt, which, I would guess would be very similar to the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure in design. Haven't heard much about Trition's Treasures or Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt...don't know if these are going to still take place.

The last area, is the one with the most that is thought to be included in the plans. First will be an area called Enchanted Tales with Belle. This is thought to be something similar to what has been going on in Fantasyland. It's also rumored that Fantasyland will be getting quite a few new dining options in this new update. The first one is called Gaston's Village. This, has been thought to be a Counter Service eatery. Next is Lefou's Creperie...which I believe will be a snack area. (Selling types of pastries, desserts, etc.) Also, a Table Service restaurant is rumored to be included in this area of the park, called (get this!) Be Our Guest Restaurant. They are also looking at putting in a gift shop in here called The Village Book Shop. The Be Our Guest Restaurant and Gaston's Tavern will be built. The Be Our Guest Restaurant is more than likely going to be Counter Service in the afternoon, but turn to Table Service for dinner. I believe Lefou's Creperie is no more and I haven't heard anything about The Village Book Shop either.

So, what do I think about the refurb? I think it's great! I know a lot of people are saying it's only one E ticket, (the Little Mermaid attraction), however, considering how long it's been since they've built an E ticket attraction, I'm happy to see they're doing anything. Also, yes, it's a lot of meet and greets, but remember, they are tearing down Toontown, so they are really just removing some meet and greets and replacing them with others (which are going to be much cooler, I'm sure.) Finally, I'm glad to see they are considering addressing the restaurant issue at the MK. I'm glad that they are considering, not only a new counter service restaurant, but a table service one as well. This will be a huge addition to the MK.

Would I have liked to have seen more rides in these plans? Sure...who wouldn't. (I mean, that is a good portion of the reason why so many of us go down there.) But with that being said, all in all, I think these plans sound great. Definitely a much needed improvement for the Resort's flagship theme park. (Remember Disney, even flagship theme parks need new big attractions and some love and care too.)

So, what do you think of these plans? I really want your all's opinions on this. Do you like it? Do you wish they were adding more? Do you wish they were doing something different instead? Let's hear from you!

And remember, See Ya Real Soon! :)


Michelle said...

Wow Rikki - lots of interesting information there. I hadn't heard most of that before. I like the idea and think a Fantasyland refurb is long overdue. My daughter was upset about the potential tear down of Mickey and Minnie's houses but excited about the new Little Mermaid attraction. I wonder if they will still have a Mickey meet and greet somewhere?

And a Be Our Guest restaurant? We'll have to plan a meet there someday for sure! :)

Jennifer said...

Overall, I think it is great, but I'm sad that they might get rid of Pooh's playful spot in favor of a meet and greet. My kids love that area and its a great place for the kids to blow of steam with free play while adults relax in the shade. If they get rid of Toon Town too, that gets rid of two of the playgrounds and those are really nice for the very little kids. Tom Sawyer Island is about all that would be left for that kind of option and its really geared to older kids. :(

Paula said...

I'm happy to hear of the expansion...particularly the new ride and new dining options. But I'm a bit disappointed by the preoccupation with princesses. What about the little boys? Seems like Fantasyland will be geared much more toward girls. I hope that Mickey and Minnie and Friends will continue to be as accessible elsewhere in the park.