Disney World’s Expanded Fantasyland Scheduled to Open Dec. 6
By Claudette Covey
December 02, 2012 9:43 PM
The grand opening for Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland is set for Dec. 6. The expansion is the largest in the company’s history and is nearly doubling the size of Fantasyland from 11 to 21 acres. Storybook Circus, which is part of the expansion, opened earlier this year.
“Fantasyland is a place where a very special kind of memory is made, where children just old enough to understand the moment come in contact with princesses and heroes and meet their most beloved friends,” said Meg Crofton, president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. “We are excited about sharing our treasured stories in new ways and giving guests the opportunity to interact with their favorite characters like never before.”
Visitors will be able totravel with Ariel and her friends through their adventures above and below the waves against a musical backdrop of songs from the film at Under the Sea -- Journey of the Little Mermaid.The new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney “dark ride” with technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. Visitors will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface. Once under the sea, guests will become immersed in The Little Mermaid story, sharing Ariel’s adventure through a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score. The fun continues at Ariel’s Grotto, a meet-and-greet with the mermaid heroine.
The castle of the Beast stands majestically upon a hill across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. The Be Our Guest Restaurant will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery and mysterious West Wing of the castle. With seating for 550, the facility will offer “great food fast” service by day and full-service table dining in the evening. Nearby in Belle’s Village, guests will find the Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
Just outside the village is Maurice’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. The adventure begins in Maurice’s workshop, where an enchanted mirror is the doorway to a captivating new kind of storytelling experience. Guests will be transported to the Beast’s library to meet Belle and Lumiere, and share in a lively, interactive re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”
Beyond 2012, there’s more in store for Fantasyland guests. Located in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, Princess Fairytale Hall will be the new home for visiting royalty in the Magic Kingdom. The castle-like entrance will feature stone walls and stained glass windows, opening up into a large gallery -- an airy space with a high ceiling, where portraits of the Disney princesses adorn the walls. When it’s time for their audience with a princess, guests will proceed to elegantly finished rooms to meet Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses, such as Tiana and Rapunzel (2013).
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will take guests on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” The roller coaster will feature a first-of-its-kind ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth, responding to every twist and turn of the track. The journey will be accompanied by music from the classic Disney film and animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs (2014).
Storybook Circus, which is now open, includes a water play area, gift shop, character-greeting location, roller coaster and revamped Dumbo ride that now has an indoor queue lounge. Guests receive a pager that holds their place in line. Children have a playground and adults have comfy seating while they wait.