Friday, February 11, 2011

Magical Blogorail: Fantasyland Expansion

Welcome to those of you joining us from Meet the Magic. This is the 3rd stop on the Magical Blogorail.

The Growing Up Disney family discusses the Fantasyland expansion
and what we are looking forward to most.

Amy: When I first learned that Walt Disney World was going to expand Fantasyland, I thought, “Wow. That’s perfect for my daughter. She’ll be just the right age when it’s complete. So glad they were going to all that trouble just for my Disney baby.” Well, of course, the expansion isn’t just for my kiddo, although I still like to think it is. Once the work is complete, we’ll gladly welcome all to enjoy our newly updated land.

Seriously, I am excited to see how the Fantasyland expansion turns out. The plans have changed since the original announcement, and even though I love the Princesses, I agree with backing off on the super girlie concept. Here’s an article from the Orlando Sentinel outlining the latest plans.

One thing I love is the expanded Dumbo attraction. Hooray! Tink has visited WDW twice now and has yet to ride Dumbo. Please don’t throw things at your computer screen. We just couldn’t get there early enough to get ahead of the lines and that queue area just looked too difficult with a toddler. The new plans for Dumbo call for two towers of twirling pachyderms and a queue full of games to entertain young guests. I can’t wait to take Tink’s picture on her first ride, pigtails swinging with the breeze and a big grin. Her little sister should be able to share that first ride too. Double hooray! Glad Uncle Chris and I both have good cameras.

While I am sad to hear a classic like Snow White’s Scary Adventures is closing, I like that the parks are continually changing and look forward to the new attraction replacing it. Princess Fairytale Hall is sure to be popular with my girls. Tink already knows the names of several princesses but has yet to see any of their movies. Here’s hoping that Disney comes up with an improved queue concept here as well. Standing in line for characters with small kids is not much fun. Hence, I mostly have pictures of Tink with characters she met at breakfasts.

Two “thrill” rides will be a part of the new Fantasyland. As a roller coaster fan myself, I look forward to taking the girls on these entry-level kicks. First, the existing Goofy’s Barnstormer is being re-themed and for a kid’s ride, that thing is fun. Second, a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction has been recently announced. This indoor coaster will include cars swinging from a looping overhead track. Sounds like a good time to me!

Actually, all of the plans in the new Fantasyland sound like fun but what I am most looking forward to is having a whole new world to explore with my kids. And we’ll invite the rest of the Growing Up Disney family along for the adventure too.

DisneyDad: I must admit Fantasyland is usually where you go through to get to Liberty Square. The Mickey Mouse Revue left years ago and while the current Mickey’s Philharmagic is quite good, it’s more Donald than Mickey. Mr. Toad is gone and Snow White’s Adventure has closed and Peter Pan’s Flight is always covered over with guests waiting in line. I loved walking through Cinderella Castle, the murals there are wonderful, but that is blocked off and instead of shopping for medieval gear or artwork it is covered with little girls waiting to get into the Bibbity-Bobbity-Boutique. I still enjoy watching what is now called “Prince Charming Regal Carrousel” as it’s a good part of history built in 1917 with handcrafted horses even though I haven’t ridden it in years. It’s a Small World is still one of my favorite Fantasyland rides if you don’t mind humming or singing to yourself the rest of the day…♬It’s a Small World after all… ♬It’s a Small World after all…♬ It’s a Small World after all… ♬it’s a Small Small World!♬ (Sorry about that. You’ll be singing it all day now without getting to go through the ride. )

I haven’t been to Mickey’s Toon Town Fair in a while either, but on our last trip I got to show Tink where Mickey Mouse’s house is found. We got to see Mickey’s house! This will be the only time Tink will get to see this as the new expansion will replace most of Toon Town Fair. So where will Mickey and Minnie live?

Fantasyland is being expanded. Originally it what I heard sounded like it was going to be a big place for Disney’s many Fairies and Princesses to hang out. Boys would stay away in droves. I think the Imagineers realized that too and made some changes to their published plans. The two attractions I will look forward to seeing the most will be Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be less “Scary Adventures” and more “Heigh Ho” dwarfs. It should be enough to get many boys past all the Princess “stuff”. Described as “moderately intense” it will feature an indoor ride system that will swing back and forth along a twisting track while set to music from Snow White so expect a lot of “Heigh Ho” while you ride this one.

Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid is rumored to have a $100 million budget so it should be a fantastic experience. Of course I love the Little Mermaid movie even though it had a very sad ending. (Hey remember I’m the Dad. King Triton lost his daughter in the end!) The ride will feature the Omnimover ride system like The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride at EPCOT. It will feature animatronics and what I expect will be some fantastic effects all themed to The Little Mermaid. I expect here you’ll hear a lot of Sebastian singing my favorite “Under the Sea “as you ride in your clamshell.

One other attraction that should draw a lot of attention is the Be Our Guest Restaurant. It will be a 550 seat restaurant that will change from counter service during the day to a table service restaurant at night with a different menu. It should draw a lot of hungry “Dwarfs” and “Princesses” into the Beast’s Castle. This could turn out to be my favorite new attraction as good food is always appreciated.

Ridge:  With the changes happening at WDW to expand Fantasyland and having seen several incarnations of Toon Town, I can say I am excited to see what is on the horizon. I miss the days of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, maybe just because it was so long ago and I was young; the nostalgia of it all makes me wish for days gone by. Since that area has been closed and took up such a large amount of space I am glad to see it used and Toon Town getting a facelift.

One thing I have heard about is the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, a dark coaster ride. It’s been a while since a new dark coaster ride has been introduced and since I am a fan of coasters this should be fun. I understand that the mine cars are supposed to be able to move independently from the track. The ride is to be set to music for a little added bit of awesomeness. It's supposed to be a new one of a kind ride system. I am thinking ride vehicles that ride on track but have a hydraulic system to move the cars around independent of the direction of travel. I am thinking the Dinosaur ride vehicle. Or Indiana Jones if you are in Disneyland.

Also the multiple themed areas for the princesses sounds like quite an undertaking. I can't wait to see my niece's reaction when she gets older and she can walk into the Castle of the Beast or go Under the Sea with Ariel. She will get to ride Dueling Dumbos! I am not so interested in these lands for myself other than seeing the detail and care in bringing these areas to life.

Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Pursuing the Magic.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

2nd Stop ~Meet the Magic
5th Stop ~ Days in the Park
Final Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog


  1. I am happy that the original concept of the expansion plan has changed a bit. My son would not be excited about spending time surrounded by princesses! :-) My two girls will be in all their glory, and I can't wait to see how it all looks when it is completed!

  2. New rides, new places to get your grub on? What's not to love about this expansion!


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