In a detailed article at Inside the Magic.net, Ricky Brigante has revealed the schedule for the phased opening of the new Fantasyland. According to imagineer Scott Mallwitz, the entirety of the new expansion will not be open to the public for about 2.5 years, with the final phase (the dwarven mine coaster) opening in 2013.
According to Mallwitz, Fantasyland will open on the following schedule:
Early 2012 - Part of Storybook Circus
- the new double Dumbo ride
- the Great Goofini coaster
- Fantasyland Train Station
- Casey Jr. water playground
This phase of the opening is a priority – Dumbo’s popularity is well established, and concerns have already surfaced online about the closure of the existing ride for any amount of time. It is not a surprise that Disney wants to re-open the popular attraction as quickly as possible. Not only that, but the promised interactive area inside the central “loading” tent between the Dumbo rides will draw families, and the Casey Jr. Water playground will attract families with young children. By opening this area first, Disney hopes to ease the difficult crowd flow created by Fantasyland construction being added to standard closure and repair of rides and attractions. Furthermore, having the Fantasyland train station back on line is also a priority. With the train stop restored on that side of the park, it will be more likely that a more normal crowd distribution will return to the Magic Kingdom.
Late 2012 -
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid & Ariel meet & greet
- Be Our Guest restaurant
- Beauty and the Beast village
- Belle storytime show
- Cinderella Castle wall
This area represents the portion of the New Fantasyland originally planned on the 2009 model. It will reveal the theming behind the new section – a venture outside the walls of the fantasy Medieval castle compound of Cinderella castle. The Castle Wall, with its towers designed to compliment Cinderella castle, will represent an exit from the castle and allow guests to venture into a fairytale forest. Mallwitz promises lush woodland theming with shade, rest areas, and lots of water features. Journey of the Little Mermaid will unveil a major new ride, attracting guests of all ages to the new area. Disney is hoping that Belle’s storytime, with its spectacular special effects and interactive Lumiere, may rival Olivander’s Wand Shope. And, of course, the Be our Guest restaurant provides another desperately needed table service option along with the new counter service and shopping opportunities in the village. It seems likely that this phase will also return the princesses to Fantasyland in their new location.
Early 2013 -
- Remaining half of Storybook Circus
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow
The remainder of Storybook circus is not quite as critical to crowd flow concerns, so it can be phased in later. The primary attraction here (unless something special is brewing in the tents still remaining from ToonTown) is a new character meet, replacing the lost opportunities to see the fab 5 at ToonTown. Pete’s Silly Sideshow will feature new iterations of the beloved Disney favorites as “international” characters – Inside the Magic mentions Donald as a snake charmer. Although the new costumes will certainly be fun, the idea of the Disney staples as part of a sideshow – even a silly one – seems a bit odd to anyone who knows the history of carnival sideshows. Daisy as Little Egypt…anyone…anyone?
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster
And last, but not least, the final new E-Ticket, a late addition to the New Fantasyland will come online. Although the timing is no doubt largely due to the late introduction of the idea, the fact that the coaster will open last is actually brilliant. A year after the main portion of Fantasyland opens, just as the excitement of the new area is beginning to level out, a new ride will be introduced, bringing crowds flocking back to Fantasyland.
For the rest of the interview, including great video and images, take a look at Inside the Magic.net for the original article.
What are you looking forward to in Fantasyland? Is there an area that you’ll plan your vacation to be sure you visit?