Every photo has a story.
Curious about Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland Expansion, set to open in limited amounts this year? Planning a trip to Disney and don’t know what to expect with the new Fantasyland? I searched the Disney Parks Blog for current information and teamed up with photographer/vacation planner Bob Angelo at Everything Walt Disney World to give you a current look at the construction and examine what you can expect from the new Fantasyland. Bob, making us all green with envy, just got back from photographing “One More Disney Day,” and he got a prime look at all the goings-on over at the Magic Kingdom.
In the attraction Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid, Ariel and friends will take you on a ride-through journey featuring popular songs from the animated movie.
Near Ariel’s new home, Beast’s Castle will stand majestically high upon a hill. As you cross over a stone bridge, you will have arrived at the Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Dining here, you’ll feel like you’re in the halls of Beast’s Castle. This restaurant will seat up to 550 guests at a time, providing plenty of room for Disney Pirates and Princesses, with fast food service by day and full table service dining at night. I can just imagine my window view of Cinderella castle this minute. Right outside the restaurant, you can explore Belle’s Village, which includes Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts. Disney has a long history of intricately themed gift shops, so there is no doubt these stores will probably be packed with pint-sized shoppers and their Visa-carrying parents.
Nearby at Belle’s Cottage, crossing through a magical mirror leads you to an experience where Belle, Lumiere and guests participate in a lively re-telling of the “tale as old as time.” In Enchanted Tales with Belle, your adventure begins at Maurice’s Cottage, where stepping through an enchanted mirror transports you to Beast’s Library for an interactive storytelling session with Belle. It sounds like your Disney Prince or Princess will be entertained by many of Beauty’s characters in a more interactive form than guests have previously experienced at any of the parks.
Nearby is Storybook Circus, where Disney has doubled the fun by adding a second carousel to Dumbo the Flying Elephant. While you wait to board this childhood favorite, you have a chance to join the circus and step inside The Big Top for interactive fun. Alongside Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the old Goofy’s Barnstormer will be updated, now featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini. This new Goofy attraction will take you on a roller coaster adventure high above the circus. Lots of Disney fans were glad to see Goofy coming to Fantasyland after the closure of Toontown.
Our occasional “Photographic Mouze about the World”, Bob Angelo noted in describing his updated expansion pictures, “It’s no surprise that this area is getting lots of attention since a significant portion of it, including the new Fantasyland Train Station, one side of Dumbo, and the Great Goofini are to open at the end of March. Disney hasn’t announced an exact date for ‘end of March’ as of yet. In the photo above, you see that one of the big tops has been covered by a tent, whereas two weeks ago, they were both still uncovered.”
Snow White’s story will now be told in a fresh new way. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will take you on a music-filled ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” The roller coaster will feature a true first – a ride system that has roller coaster enthusiasts buzzing with excitement. On the Mine Train, the ride vehicles will swing back and forth as they breeze along the track. The music? Songs from the classic Disney film. Look for animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs.
Other Disney Princess will also be getting a new home in the all new Princess Fairytale Hall, located in what was formerly Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Now Scary Adventures has been making small children cry for years, but many adults will be sad to see it go. (I’m one – I liked it!) Disney Princesses Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Rapunzel will now greet you in an elegant royal court setting. Disney has previously released other plans for the Princesses and their involvement with the Fantasyland expansion, but these are the current plans they have posted on the Disney Parks Blog.
So are you ready for the new Fantasyland expansion? While I don’t predict that it will have the crazy three-hour wait times that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened to, I have no doubt that lines will be long and high expectations of eager vacationers will be easily met. I think the new Fantasyland will be a beautiful addition to an already sparking theme park.
What does this mean for you, if you’re planning a vacation around the time of the opening of all the rides later in 2012? Now, I’m no vacation expert, and the Disney trips I plan are my own (and some friends,) but you will certainly have long wait times for new experiences. You guessed that already. You probably won’t get to do everything at the Magic Kingdom in one day. I think to ride every ride and see every show, given the lines I predict, in all my Mouzy wisdom, will take up to two days, especially if you go during a holiday, when every little Disney Princess will be out of school and eager for a Princess Meet and Greet. You had better take along some snacks to stand in those lines, but I think the wait will be worth it. It’s rare Disney puts out a bad theme park product, although you will be waiting in long lines to experience it. I’ve read that some Disney Moms are trying to extend their vacations by one or two days to fit it all in. It’s definitely exciting, even for Disney purists like me who remember the park from shortly after the opening.
Do you think you will need an extra day to see it all?
Given that my own kids are ages 11 to 14 and lost interest in Princesses long ago, we’ll be hoping for shorter lines in other lands throughout the park. However, I’ll definitely be popping over to pick up Fastpasses to the Mine Train.
A big thanks goes to Bob Angelo for his uodated photos. Bob is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations. He is also one of the co-hosts of the popular Mouse Chat podcast, and writes over at Everything Walt Disney World. You can find him on Facebook, email him at Bob@pixievacations.com or call him at 407-810-2528 for all your Disney travel needs. Tell him Mouze Kateerz sent ya!
Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and we hope to eventually see you in the Snow White Fastpass line!
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