LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In pixie-dusted ceremonies filled with favorite Disney characters, daytime fireworks and timeless melodies from classic Disney films, New Fantasyland grand opened Dec. 6, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort.
“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 Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs. “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.”
The largest expansion in the 41-year history of the 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 that doubles the size of the existing Fantasyland, the sprawling new area lies just beyond the existing Fantasyland in the shadows of Cinderella Castle.
New Fantasyland consists 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. Here’s just a sampling of the new enchanted areas now open in New Fantasyland:
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Guests riding in clamshells travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against the musical backdrop of beloved songs from the film. Before the experience, the fun is whimsical and interactive in the queue area under Prince Eric’s Castle. After the attraction and below the seaside cliffs, guests can meet the princess herself in Ariel’s Grotto.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle. In a faroff French village, an enchanted mirror becomes the gateway to a new kind of storytelling experience. Through props, costumes and other interaction, guests step right into the story of “Beauty and the Beast” – meeting Belle, Madame Wardrobe and Lumiere, and sharing in a lively re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”
- Be Our Guest Restaurant features a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, delicate Rose Gallery and mysterious “West Wing” of the Beast’s Castle. The magnificent space offers “great food fast” lunch service by day and full-service table dining at night. Both experiences — fittingly for the story of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” — feature French-inspired cuisine.
- Gaston’s Tavern welcomes guests to a comfy French lodge done in homage to — Gaston himself. The menu of this casual restaurant includes LeFou’s Brew, named for Gaston’s sidekick and a cooling concoction sure to satisfy any thirst.
- Dumbo, the Flying Elephant - a Fantasyland icon -has doubled in size. Two Dumbos – one going clockwise and other counterclockwise – take guests circling above Storybook Circus in ride vehicles they maneuver themselves. The two Dumbos are connected to an indoor “big top” allowing guests to enjoy circus-themed activities while awaiting their ride time with the lovable pachyderm.
- Aboard The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini,it’s family-style coaster fun as guests dip and soar daredevil-style above the circus grounds. Ride vehicles follow the twisting, turning coaster “flight” of stuntman Goofy.
- Beloved Disney characters as aspiring circus stars are on hand to meet their adoring fans in Pete’s Silly Sideshow. Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Donald Duck are decked out in their big top finest to await their big break – and pose for photos with Magic Kingdom guests in the process.
There’s even more in store as the expansion of New Fantasyland continues:
- Princess Fairytale Hall (2013) will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom. To open in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, the regal space will provide the perfect setting for meeting Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana and the other Disney princesses.
- The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (spring 2014) will take Magic Kingdom 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.
In a week of other milestones, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet opened in a new re-imagined version of the iconic Epcot attraction.
A new collaboration between Chevrolet Design and the creative team of Walt Disney Imagineering, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet puts guests in the designer’s seat for a multisensory experience as they create their own virtual concept vehicle before boarding a “SimCar” to race through a thrilling series of hills, hairpin turns and straightaways. The attraction zooms in on how meticulous vehicle design influences top performance on the open road and lets guests see how their virtual cars would perform.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Guests who roll over to Downtown Disney West Side starting this month can experience the hottest trend in boutique bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. During a Splitsville media preview Friday, Dec 7, 2012, guests donned concierge-delivered bowling shoes and noshed on sushi and filet mignon sliders as they honed their games with strikes and spares.
The hip, retro-style bowling venue is the largest in the bowling brand’s fleet and the only two-level location, with 30 lanes and more than 50,000 square feet of entertainment space. The family-friendly Splitsville also features billiards, live entertainment, a balcony bar with sweeping views and upscale dining that includes a children’s menu of treats. Splitsville opens Dec. 19 to guests.
Beyond New Fantasyland, Splitsville and Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, also in Disney’s spotlight was:
- “Celebrate the Magic” New Castle Projection Show at Magic Kingdom Park – Music, stunning imagery and special effects transform Cinderella Castle and the surrounding hub during a dazzling display that pays tribute to Disney artistry and storytelling. Tinker Bell soars and weaves among the castle turrets, Alice beckons guests down the rabbit hole and beloved characters like Dumbo and Simba come to life during the show.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – An eerie grotto and mysterious pirate skull lead to an epic ship-to-ship battle via state-of-the-art technology at this new experience in Soundstage 4 near Pixar Place. Disney guests are immersed in the high drama and swashbuckling adventure of the four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
- Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort - New-age pampering amid turn-of-the-century Victorian elegance is in store for guests of Senses – A Disney spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Newly remodeled and now owned and operated by Disney, the spa opens Dec. 17 and combines elegance with modern touches, plus a dash of Disney whimsy.