Fantasyland Plans Are Changing, Says Disney Parks Chairman

Fantasyland Expansion Concept Art

According to an Orlando Sentinel interview, the rumors that Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and team are redrawing the plans for Disney World’s Fantasyland Expansion are true.

Disney World is coming under heavy scrutiny as neighboring Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure continues to draw record-breaking crowds to the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which appeals strongly to both boys and girls. With original Fantasyland plans incorporating three distinct princess meet-and-greet attractions and with the two major additions — a restaurant and brand new ride — both princess-related, speculation has been growing that perhaps Disney’s been leaving the little boys out of the equation.

“We took a hard look at it amongst a number of us and said, ‘Can we make the appeal broader? Can we make it even better?’” said Staggs. And while he also mentions that much of the originally projected blueprints for Fantasyland will still go forward, the changes are “improving it on the margin.”

“One of the things that I thought the early design did fantastically was delivered on that princess experience. And that does tend to skew towards girls. … We’ve kept that intact — not exactly, necessarily, the way it was presented, but that appeal is there,” Staggs said. “I think we’ve added some things that aren’t just princess-focused, and that’s a good positive.”

Staggs also mentions in the interview that planners are considering the appeal of “aspirational rides,” which incorporate thrills or tension, and how they can be blended into the plans as well. However, the Fantasyland project should still be completed on time in 2012 and 2013.


4 responses to “Fantasyland Plans Are Changing, Says Disney Parks Chairman

  • I think some need to get over the fact that fantasyland appeals to young girls. Go to Hollywood Studios where it is Star Wars, Indiana Jones ect that appeals to young boys. Some will just never be happy…

  • I was so excited about the new fantasy land. Now, I am disappointed. As the previous comment said, there is so much for the boys. Disney created all these princesses, now they need the attractions to go with it. There are plenty of meet and greets but not many rides etc.. I hope they still dedicate alot of it to princesses and fairies. I was just there and was planning another short trip when fantasy land is done. But now, I am worried that it won’t be as great as I thought.

  • Sarah — Great point that Hollywood Studios has a lot to appeal to boys!

    Cathy — My thinking is that there will still be quite a significant dedication to princesses and fairies, but that they’re “re-branding” a bit to appeal to boys as well. Looking forward to seeing the outcome!

  • The reason Universal’s new Harry Potter attraction is doing so well isn’t just that it appeals to both genders, but that it is a marvelously well crafted experience, fully immersive, with an exciting thrill ride as payoff. It is designed to provide a great experience for children and adults, even those adults travelling without kids. I love Disney, and there is nowhere on Earth that does better at giving out the “warm, fuzzies”, but unless they endeavor to create attractions equally as impressive, I think they will continue to see more families gravitating towards Universal, especially if the kids are five or older. Just as an idea…an Aladdin ride would fit in well in Fantasyland, especially one involving more drama than the magic carpets in Adventureland. If it used technology similar to that found at Spiderman and Harry Potter, it would be easy to incorporate an Aladdin based storyline into an attraction that was both exciting and true to the Disney spirit. Importing the Alice in Wonderland and Roger Rabbit rides from Anaheim might be a good boost, just don’t add more kiddie rides alone.

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