Since I first wrote about the 2012 Fantasyland expansion Disney World has released more information about the upcoming changes to the park. Construction has officially begun, but now that the expansion is becoming reality, we’re learning that not all of the original plans for the new Fantasyland will come to fruition.
The Orlando Sentinel has the latest details about the transformation currently happening right now in the Magic Kingdom. While the expansion still revolves around the Disney Princess theme, their section won’t be as elaborate as originally planned. Instead of Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White, Belle, and Ariel each getting their own home, some of the princesses are going to share living space.
Snow White, Belle, and Ariel still get some attractions based on their movies (details to follow), but now rather than visitors coming upon separate areas wherein they can dance with Cinderella and Aurora respectively, the two blonde princesses will be located in the same area. They will be joined by some of the other animated princesses and heroines in the “Princess Fairytale Hall,” which is replacing “Snow White’s Scary Adventure.”
Don’t feel too bad for Disney’s first movie; its original ride might be seeing its last days, but as part of the expansion the park’s debuting the brand new indoor roller coaster “The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.” I’m glad the dwarves are getting attention here; I’ve had enough with the princesses, so it’s good to focus on the frankly more interesting characters from “Snow White.”
While all of the princesses will make appearances in their fairytale hall, Belle and Ariel are still retaining some new attractions based around their movies. Plans for “Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid” remain untouched, another indoor ride with singing machinery that’s a direct copy of the version currently open at Disneyland.
The plans for the attraction inspired by “Beauty and the Beast,” one of Disney’s most lauded films, are also virtually the same. Beast’s castle will join the ranks of other Disney palaces scraping the Orlando sideline, and other structures from the film such as Maurice’s cottage and restaurants using “Be Our Guest” and Gaston’s tavern themes will round out the project.
Also unchanged are plans to create a new area with a circus theme. The expanded “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” ride with its queue-less waiting system still has its new home under the big-top. The recent announcements, however, reveal that Dumbo and co. will be joined by “The Great Goofini” performing what I can only assume are comical magic tricks that will frequently backfire, and a retooled “Barnstormer” roller coaster. The entire area will be named “Storybook Circus.”
Scrapped entirely is the proposed “Pixie Hollow” section. I suppose Tinker Bell and her friends, despite their healthy success in the direct-to-DVD market, don’t draw enough crowds to justify an entire section of Fantasyland.
That, or Disney World realized that although its brands for girls are popular in merchandising, having the Fantasyland expansion revolve almost entirely around them won’t be quite as lucrative. Fans of the fairies shouldn’t fear; a meet-and-greet section for the pixies will be added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Perhaps the most significant change, however, is the date. Despite the already-commenced construction on the expansion, the Disney Parks blog now announces that most of the new attractions aren’t expected to open until 2013. Construction’s being completed in phases, however, so some rides might open before then. Stay tuned; as soon as any new information becomes available I will post it here.