Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The New Fantasyland Revisited

Update:  8/7/12:  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. 

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. 

Today, after months of speculation, we are finally finding out what The New Fantasyland is going to officially entail.

When The New Fantasyland was announced, around 18 months ago, it was an exciting time.  After years of having the 20,000 Leagues closed and gone, Disney was finally going to build something new and innovative in that vacant spot.

When the announcement was first made, the most exciting things that were mentioned were the addition of The Little Mermaid attraction and The Be Our Guest Restaurant, both items were things that were sorely needed in this theme park.

Although, when the news of an expansion of Fantasyland first broke, there was a lot of concern that the New Fantasyland was going to revolve mainly around girly aspects...especially since the majority of the other enhancements announced involved meet and greets with princesses.  Gender neutral attractions were few and far between.

Apparently, even Disney had a few concerns because in August of last year, the news came out that they were looking at the plans and making changes, specifically with the Pixie Hollow area and the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty meet and greet areas.

Which brings us back to today.  Tonight, we officially have word about what changes are taking place in the newest version of the land of Fantasy.

First things first, the Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction and the Be Our Guest Restaurant are still a go.  Both are still happening and are currently being built as we speak.  In addition to these, we have official word that guests will get to experience Enchanted Tales With Belle (a play and greet experience), Gaston's Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts in the Beauty and the Beast section.  These are things we knew about before, but it's nice to know that they are indeed coming as well and what they will officially be called.   

Buy you want to know what's new, right?

Well, new to the expansion (and something that has been rumored for quite a while now) is the addition of The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  This experience will take guests on mixture of an indoor and outdoor roller coaster with trains that will sway back and forth, be accompanied by music from the film and will feature animated figures of Snow White and those lovable Dwarfs.

Personally, this experience is something that I'm super excited about.  The concept art looks gorgeous and I love the details that have come out so far.  I especially love the fact that the cars are going to move with and respond to the track, really be intuitive, much like Dinosaur does, but more than likely on a MUCH smaller scale. 

I know I was one who was a little concerned about the fact that in the previous version of The New Fantasyland, there was really only 1 new attraction being built.  And while technically, this new attraction is merely a "switch" (more on why I say that in a minute) this experience is going to be a huge plussing of the area overall.  This roller coaster will be a major enhancement, and in my eyes, is a much better use of land then the previous play and greet areas that were originally announced.  (Though, had the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty play and greet areas been built, I'm sure they would have been lovely too.)   

Now, on to why this new Seven Dwarf Mine Train is considered by some to be a switch.  The rumors are indeed true...Snow White's Scary Adventure is going to be no more.  In it's place, the Princess Fairytale Hall will be built instead.  This area is going to be a royal court area where guests can greet princesses such as Cinderella, Aurora, Rapunzel, and Tiana, in addition to a few others, I'd presume.

While it's sad to see an original attraction go and it will be missed, this attraction just hasn't stood the test of time, one could say.  The effects were quite cheesy (no where near their Disneyland counterpart) and it also lost quite a bit of appeal when it saw it's refurb changing it up a bit to make it a little less scary.

And of course, the princesses will need a place to meet their fans, so I can understand why Disney would be choosing to remove Snow White's Scary Adventures and including this meet and greet area here.  

As far as the Dueling Dumbo area, yes, that is indeed still coming too.  The area has been dubbed as Storybook Circus and guests will still be able to experience games and interactive surprises while waiting to take their ride with that flying pachyderm.

Barnstormer will also be seeing a change, but our lovable pal Goofy will still be a part of the action.  The theme will still revolve around the circus, like reported earlier but the attraction will now be called The Great Goofini, therefore fitting in with the Storybook Circus theme.  

In all, I think today's announcement is a good one.  I think it's a step in the right direction for Fantasyland and I am now extremely anxious for when the New Fantasyland opens up and am super excited for Fall 2012, when Disney is saying the New Fantasyland is expected to be done.

But enough about me...what do you all think?  Is this a good update to the plans?  Would you have rather have seen the Old New Fantasyland plans come to fruition?  Or would you have rather have seen something different all together?  Make sure to let me know in the comments section!


Anonymous said...

what happened to pixie hollow?

Gator Chris said...

It sounds like good news to me. Certainly more exciting than the original announcement.

Unknown said...

Pixie Hollow is dead. It was killed very early on when things were being reconsidered. It was actually one of the first things to go.

Guests will be able to see Tink and her friends at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival. After that, it's up in the air of where she may go. For more info on that, stay tuned to the blog. I have some details for Sunday.

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I think these are some great announcements! I am really excited about the Mine train - that's what we needed is another good coaster!