Disney’s huge expansion of Fantasyland was too girly as first envisioned – too princessy – so Disney threw in a bit of testosterone. In an expansion update announced yesterday, the princess angle still figures prominently in Disney’s plans, however, so boys may still prefer Adventureland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. The new-and-improved Fantasyland comes with two new rides and opens in phases starting in late 2012.
Changes from the originally announced plan (read earlier FAQOrlando article) include A) the removal of Tinkerbell’s Pixie Hollow (she’s banished to Disney Hollywood Studios), B) moving some of the princesses to smaller digs that they must now share, and C) closing a traditional ride that has been part of the park since opening day: Snow White’s Scary Adventures. As reported earlier, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will also lose their homes next month.
Once completed the new Fantasyland will have, according to Disney:
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid: Riders travel with Ariel and her friends “above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the classic film.” Disney bills this as a major new attraction.
- The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: At first glance, this appears to be Thunder Mountain Railroad in mine cars, but Disney promises a new technology that allows the tracks to swing back and forth a bit, making the ride feel unstable. Theming it to Snow White is a stroke of genius since the movie’s theme is A) still remembered fondly, and B) never going to get older than it is now. With a new Snow White ride, it also justifies the closure of her Scary Adventures.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant: It’s the same ride children have loved for almost 40 years but A) relocated near the soon-to-be-removed Mickey Mouse house, and B) duplicated so that two separate rides can handle twice as many excited six-year olds.
- The Great Goofini: Returning guests will know this as the Barnstormer currently in the soon-to-be-extinct Mickey’s Toontown Fair. In the new incarnation, the same ride will be slightly rethemed. This section, which includes Dumbo, will be called Storybook Circus and have a (duh) circus theme.
The other stuff
- The castle home of Beast from Beauty and the Beast: Placed a lot closer to Belle’s home than it exists in the movie, the castle provides the backdrop for a new restaurant and recreates rooms seen in the film. Unlike other Disney restaurants, this one is supposed to offer fast-food dining during the day (counter service?) but full-service dining at night. And yes, it’s too early to make an advanced reservation.
- Princess Fairytale Hall: Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Tiana (Princess and the Frog), and Rapunzel will greet guests in their new home.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle: Disney’s Belle tells stories to smaller children.