LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 14, 2012— Walt Disney World Resort offered more than 150 community leaders a glimpse at the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history today. Local executives and dignitaries toured New Fantasyland, experienced its attractions and witnessed the economic boon it has created for Central Florida.
“There is no better way to celebrate this landmark occasion than by sharing New Fantasyland with our Central Florida friends and neighbors,” said Meg Crofton, president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France. “Not only is this magical, story-filled land a milestone for Walt Disney World, it’s a boost for local jobs and businesses, and it offers families yet another reason to visit Central Florida.”
The expansion, which doubles the size of the most popular land in the most popular theme park in the world, has created jobs and economic opportunity for the region. Since building began in 2010, New Fantasyland has generated 700 construction jobs, some among minority- and women-owned businesses. And when it’s complete in 2014, it will have added another 800 operational jobs, ranging from attractions hosts and skilled mechanical jobs to management positions.
“Walt Disney World is an integral part of the fabric of Central Florida, so it’s rewarding to help build this unique feature of the Magic Kingdom from the ground up,” said Brian Butler of JCB Construction, a minority-owned underground utility and site development firm based in Orlando. “Because of this project, we were also able to retain many valuable employees.”
In celebrating the upcoming grand opening of New Fantasyland with the community, today’s event also included a $55,000 donation to the Orange County Library System. The donation honors Disney Princess Belle’s love of reading and 1955, the year the first Fantasyland opened at the Disneyland Resort.
Today’s event follows a sneak peek on Nov. 10 for members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Dozens of the community’s kids were treated to experiences in the Enchanted Forest, including:
- Enchanted Tales with Belle: An adventure that takes guests from Maurice’s workshop through a magic mirror to the Beast’s library where they interact with Belle and Lumiere.
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid: An attraction that enables guests to explore Ariel’s world by combining the classic Disney “dark ride” experience with technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. Adventurers will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface as they share Ariel’s adventure through a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score.
- Be Our Guest Restaurant: With its elegant ballroom, rose gallery and mysterious “West Wing,” this engaging dining experience brings guests into the enchanted world of the Beast’s castle. The 550-seat restaurant will offer fast casual service during the day and elegant table-service dining at night.
Following a soft opening on Nov. 19, New Fantasyland will officially open on Dec. 6. Several new attractions have already opened, including a second carousel and an interactive queue at the beloved Dumbo, the Flying Elephant attraction, the family-friendly Barnstormer Coaster featuring the Great Goofini, the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station water play area and the Fantasyland Train Station. The expansion will be completed with the opening of the Princess Fairytale Hall in 2013 and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014.