Magic Kingdom and Fantasyland


The folks over at Walt-Disney World have made an announcement last weekend that is sure to get the theme park world buzzing. Fantasyland, the “land” in Magic Kingdom that is home to famous attractions such as Dumbo and It’s A Small World, is going to be doubled in size in what will be the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. The project will be open in two phases, with the first opening in 2012 and the second coming by 2013. The main purpose and thrust of the expansion and renovation is to feature mini-lands which will be themed to four key movies where the kids can meet and greet with the princess and associated characters from those movies. This will include Beauty & The Beast, Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. The Beauty & The Beast area will also feature two new eateries: Gaston’s Tavern (who is a real highlight of the movie) and a large 552-seat Be Out Guests restaurant. Of great interest to The Beast is the announcement of a new Little Mermaid Dark Ride which they promise will be a ride you won’t want to miss. 

This is great news on multiple levels. First, Magic Kingdom, regardless of the larger sister parks at Walt-Disney World, is still the standard by which all other parks must be judged. It is nice to see some real attention come to an expansion on the most important “land” in the park (I do believe Fantasyland is the most important land, even though The Haunted Mansion is in Liberty Square and POTC is in Adventureland. Second, the concept of visiting the princesses within their own world is dead-on Disney. The whole point of a Disney trip is to enter a magical world where reality stops at the entrance gate. In this way, the guest is able to be immersed in the experience even more as they will meet the princesses in the environment from the movies. I’m not really into the princess thing (although my daughter will be very soon) but this exciting even to me! Third, I’m all about dark rides and Disney has some of the best. The addition of the Little Mermaid dark ride will, I hope, add even more support for the argument that the Magic Kingdom is the greatest single theme park in the world. 

Finally, a word should be mentioned as to the timing of this announcement. With the WWOHP just around the corner at Islands of Adventure, is this Disney’s way of letting Universal have a year or two of excitement only to overshadow it by two years of new stuff at Magic Kingdom? All I know for sure is that there is a lot of exciting things going on in the theme park world and will be there every step of way. Join the Journey! 

Take a look at this cool video of the Fantasyland announcement. 

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