Walt Disney World is currently undergoing an enormous Fantasyland expansion, which will broaden the park’s already massive appeal and incorporate new attractions and elements that guests can enjoy.
As part of the expansion, Mickey’s Toontown Fair closed in February 2011 to make room for the changes that would be coming. Mickey Mouse and the Princesses, however, found a new home at the Town Square Theater located on Main Street, U.S.A. The new, permanent home of Magician Mickey debuted in April 2011, and invites guests to take photographs and obtain autographs with the Mouse himself. The Disney Princesses also have their own, temporary meet-and-greet house here, until their new digs in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle are complete. A FASTPASS option was also added to Mickey’s meet-and-greet.
Another attraction that will close to make room for the Fantasyland expansion is Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Despite the uproar that the upcoming closure of the attraction has caused, Walt Disney World will continue to honor Snow White in the Seven Dwarves Mine Trainattraction. This roller coaster ride will feature a swinging track and engage guests on a ride through the diamond mine to find the dwarves and Snow White herself. The ride will also feature music from the classic film.
As the Fantasyland expansion progresses, a new castle recently began construction –Beast’s castle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The castle will reside atop a brand new themed eatery called “Be Our Guest,” which will seat up to 550 patrons that will serve quick-service lunches by day and transform into a full service restaurant for dinner. Just outside the castle, guests can visit Belle’s village, including the home of Maurice, her father, as well as Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
One of the unique aspects of Beast’s Castle will be the Disney Imagineers’ use of forced perspective. Forced perspective means that the castle will be designed to appear larger than it actually is. With this technique, Imagineers manipulate the size and scale of the building based on the angles it will be viewed from, creating an optical illusion unlike any other.
Additionally, the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride will be expanded to include two carousels. In the same area, dubbed Storybook Circus, the queue for Dumbo will include circus themed fun and excitement for kids and families alike.
Finally, work continues on Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, which will replace Ariel’s Grotto in Fantasyland. The previous attraction was a character experience, but the new ride will immerse guests in Ariel’s world the way only Disney magic can.
The Fantasyland expansion at Walt Disney World will start opening in phases, with all work expected to be complete sometime in 2013.