LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Of Magic Kingdom lands, it is the fairest of all, inviting Walt Disney World guests into classic storybook worlds where elephants fly and castles touch the sky, where a beauty meets a beast and a mermaid plays under the sea.
As it opens for Disney guests, New Fantasyland is Once Upon a Time come true.
Representing the largest expansion in the 41-year history of Magic Kingdom, New Fantasyland features attractions, dining, shopping, character interactions, recreation and more – laid out fairy tale-style amid waterfalls, grottoes, arched bridges, forests and circus big tops. A multiyear expansion project, New Fantasyland lies just beyond the existing Fantasyland in the shadows of Cinderella Castle.
“Walt Disney once promised that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. ”New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt’s promise. We’re thrilled to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover new worlds featuring iconic Disney characters and stories in ways that are more imaginative, more interactive and more immersive than ever before.”
New Fantasyland is comprised of the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus areas. Walt Disney Imagineers brought to life beloved Disney stories and magical places, putting guests in the middle of Disney classics and new favorites – and making memories to last a lifetime.
Guests are transported to a faroff French village to spend time with Belle and play a part in her story, they hop aboard a clamshell to venture deep into the undersea world of Ariel, take a rollicking coaster ride to barnstorm with the Great Goofini or spin through the sky with everyone’s favorite pachyderm – Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.
Kids can take a cooling break among the circus wagons at the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station where monkeys, elephants and camels squirt water and even Casey Jr. spouts clouds of mist. Shopping delights await at Bonjour! Village Gifts and Big Top Souvenirs. When the hungries hit, guests will be able to choose everything from on-the-go eats washed down with LeFou’s Brew — a signature drink, at the quick-service Gaston’s Tavern — to elegant ballroom dining at Be Our Guest restaurant, nestled under the stars in Beast’s Castle.
Not only does Fantasyland double in size, Magic Kingdom castles triple. Across the skyline of the most popular theme park in the world, the iconic Cinderella Castle is now joined by the distant ramparts of Beast’s Castle while stately Prince Eric’s Castle looms above the grottoed entrance to Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.
It was Walt Disney himself who said “Fantasyland is dedicated to the young at heart and to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.” The fantasy Walt spoke of is reality in New Fantasyland.
Here’s a closer look at all the New Fantasyland has in store:
Behind the castle walls lies the Enchanted Forest section, transporting New Fantasyland guests past the walls and inside their favorite stories.
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major attraction where guests riding in clamshells travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the film. Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney indoor attraction with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a magical journey through beautifully rendered scenes from the film. Adventurers will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface. Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along.
- Across a stone gargoyle bridge from Ariel’s new home, the castle of the Beast stands majestically upon a hill transporting Magic Kingdom diners into the splendor, elegance and fairy tale charm of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” To bring the classic story to life, the Be Our Guest Restaurant features a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, delicate Rose Gallery and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. Out tall arched windows in the ballroom, there are views to the French countryside where a light “snow” falls. With seating for 550, the magnificent Be Our Guest Restaurant offers French-inspired, quick-service lunch by day and full-service table dining in the evening.
- Just outside the village is Maurice’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. The adventure follows a winding stone pathway to 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. Through props and costumes (courtesy of Madame Wardrobe), guests step right into the story of “Beauty and the Beast” and share in a lively, interactive re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”
- Shoppers will delight at the merchandise finds at Bonjour! Village Gifts. Or come face-to-mermaid at Ariel’s Grotto where, beneath the seaside cliffs, Ariel visits with her human friends perched atop her seashell pedestal. There’s no missing Belle’s Village, a small collection of buildings anchored by a bronze statue depicting Gaston in a hero’s pose with sidekick LeFou at his feet. At Gaston’s Tavern – a comfy French lodge done in trophies to hunting and other manly pursuits of Gaston – guests will be able to raise a goblet of LeFou’s Brew, a no-sugar-added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam.
It’s big fun under the Big Top in the Storybook Circus section from the tips of circus tents to the peanut shells embedded in walkways. It can only mean one thing: the circus is in town! From shopping at Big Top Souvenirs to frolicking in the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station water play area, there’s plenty more in store.
- Twice as big and twice as fun, Dumbo, the Flying Elephant has doubled in size with two Dumbos – one going clockwise, the other counterclockwise. Fantasyland’s iconic attraction features shiny new red and gold colors (inspired by ’50s- and ’60s-era tin toys), beautiful newly-created signature illustrations from Disney animators and a new water feature circling the base of both attractions. The two Dumbos are connected to an air-conditioned “big top” area allowing guests to immerse themselves in circus lore in a series of fun, interactive expeiences while awaiting a spin with the famous pachyderm. Each guest gets a circus ticket pager that notifies them when their elephant is waiting. It’s also a FASTPASS attraction for guests electing to go straight to their flight with Dumbo.
- Aboard The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini, it’s family-style coaster fun as guests dip and soar daredevil-style above the circus grounds. The circus’ stuntman, The Great Goofini, presents one of his most daring stunts – aerial acrobatics that follow a twisting, turning coaster “flight.” Just like a stunt plane – right, Goofy?
- Set in one of the tents in Storybook Circus, Pete’s Silly Sideshow invites guests to meet some familiar-looking circus hopefuls awaiting their big break. Pete’s Silly Sideshow shines the spotlight on Minnie Magnifique (Minnie Mouse as a circus star), Madame Daisy Fortuna (Daisy Duck as a fortune teller), The Great Goofini (Goofy as a stunt pilot) and The Astounding Donaldo (Donald Duck as a snake charmer). Bring your cameras and autograph books.
- Trains are so much a part of circus history that it’s fitting to have a train station right in the midst of Storybook Circus. The Fantasyland Train Station pays homage to both the elegant train travel of America’s past — and the passion Walt Disney had for trains. Sharp-eyed guests will notice a Casey Jr. – inspired weather vane and Carolwood Park sign, with “Fair Weather Place” — a nod to “Fair Weather Route,” Walt Disney’s tag line for the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, the steam engine Walt had running through his backyard. The station is serviced by a passenger train encircling the Magic Kingdom, powered by an antique steam engine.
Beyond 2012, there’s even more in store for New Fantasyland guests:
- Located in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, Princess Fairytale Hall will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom. The castle-like entrance will feature walls of stone 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 chambers 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 family-style 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 Seven Dwarfs (2014).
About Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous, nearly 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation destination featuring four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom); two water adventure parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon); 35 resort hotels (25 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, includes seven Disney Vacation Club resort properties); 81 holes of golf on five courses; two full-service spas; Disney’s Wedding Pavilion; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex. Walt Disney World Resort is also included in vacation packages ofDisney Cruise Line. Located at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 20 miles southwest of Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971. Open daily, year-round.