February 2012: The massive Fantasyland expansion in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will add acres to the park and new rides, adventures, and atmosphere – but not without taking another victim: Snow White’s Scary Adventures, an original ride dating back to the park’s opening, closes forever on May 31, 2012. There are good reasons for the closing, but it but it leaves an emotional hole. Many visitors fondly remember the ride and view Snow White’s demise like the death of Great-Aunt Myrtle: You seldom visited her; she wasn’t your favorite relative; yet her passing makes you feel a bit sad about the unfair changes life hands out. Why, you wonder, can’t they expand and keep the old rides that you usually ignore?
In Snow’s place will be Princess Fairytale Hall, a fancy name for the meet-and-greet location of Disney’s princesses. Since the ride’s building sits just beyond Cinderella’s Castle in Fantasyland, it’s a good place for the princesses to greet incoming guests and pose for photos before starry-eyed girls move on to see Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Ariel (Little Mermaid) and Snow White (in new digs near the dwarf’s mine). An opening date for those areas has not yet been released.
However, part of the new Fantasyland will open as Snow White fades out. Storybook Circus – located where Toontown Fair closed last year – will open “in late March.” New rides generally have “soft openings,” which means they open sporadically for a while to work the kinks out and give Disney employees time to figure out what they’re doing. The Dumbo ride – originally behind the castle – will be moved to this area with a second Dumbo ride debuting beside it, essentially doubling capacity on a ride that took forever to load and unload. A kid’s coaster, the Great Goofini (originally Goofy’s Barnstormer) will also open/reopen.
Finally, one of three railroad stations will reopen. The old Toontown Fair stop – one of three for the circle trip that surrounds Magic Kingdom – will reopen as a link to Storybook Circus. Since Toontown’s shutdown, train guests have seen only tall wooden fences plastered with “coming soon” posters.
And on an unrelated note, SeaWorld announced a date for the opening of Turtle Trek, it’s 3-D, virtual presentation that leads into a major encounter with the elusive sea dwellers: April 27, 2012.