Fantasyland

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Fantasyland
CastleFantasyland2.jpg
Cinderella Castle towering above the Prince Charming Regal Carrosel. Photo by Theme Park Tourist
Magic Kingdom
Theme Fantasyland
Opening date October 1, 1971
Number of Attractions Sixteen

Fantasyland is a land inside the Magic Kingdom.

History

When Fantasyland was originally being designed for Walt Disney World, Imagineers initially decided that they did not want to simply make a recreation of Disneyland’s dark rides. Instead, they wanted to replace the Disneyland dark rides (Snow White’s Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) with new attractions based on different movies [1]. To do this, Imagineers came up with three new proposals for attractions- one based on Sleeping Beauty, one based on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and one based on Marry Poppins [2]. Due to the additional cost involved and guest expectations it was eventually decided to recreate the Disneyland dark rides in the Magic Kingdom. According to Jim Hill, when Roy O. Disney about the plans for the new attractions he said:

"Why are we reinventing the wheel? We already have three rides in Southern California that people love. Let's try and save some money here by replicating those dark rides and then sending them to Central Florida." [1]

Fantasyland opened along with the rest of the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971. Unlike the other lands of the Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland took its inspiration from the Disney movies themselves. The opening day attractions in Fantasyland were: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Mad Tea Party, Snow White’s Adventures, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel, the Mickey Mouse Revue, "it's a small world" and the Skyway to Tomorrowland [3]. Within the next month, Peter Pan's Flight and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage would also open [4], giving Fantasyland an astounding ten attractions by late 1971 [5]. Unlike Disneyland’s Fantasyland, which had more of a whimsical theme, the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland took a lot of inspiration from the European villages where many of the Disney stories were originally written [6].

A look down one of Fantasyland's walkways. Photo by Harshlight

Fantasyland remained largely unchanged until 1980 when the Mickey Mouse Revue was closed and eventually moved to the new Tokyo Disneyland [7]. The Fantasyland Theater which had housed the revue remained unused until 1987 when the attraction, Magic Journeys moved in. Magic Journeys was a 3D show which allowed guests to see “the world through the eyes of a child”. The film had previously been shown in Epcot, Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland before finally making its way to The Magic Kingdom [8].

In the early 1990s, Fantasyland underwent a series of changes. In 1993, Magic Journeys was closed and replaced with The Legend of the Lion King. The new attraction used puppets, animation and special effects to tell the story of Disney's The Lion King [9]. Further change came to the land in 1994, when the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage was closed[10]. Although the exact reason for the attraction's closure remains unclear, 20,000 Leagues was not closed due to lack of popularity. Instead it may have been closed because the ride was not handicap accessible, broke down frequently, had a small max capacity, and cost a lot to maintain. After the ride had closed, the lagoon which housed the attraction remained empty until 2001 [10]. Also in 1994, Snow White's Adventures was redesigned to be more like the film it was based on [11]. When Snow White's Adventures reopened it was renamed Snow White's Scary Adventures. The reason for the name change was that the attraction had often scared younger children and the Imagineers felt that some warning was necessary [11].

Another opening day attraction closed in 1998, when Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was removed [12]. Disney thought that a more well-known character would be better suited for the large building that housed the attraction [13]. The ride was still popular however, and when news of the attractions closure spread, a “Save Toad” campaign was started [14]. Despite the campaign Mr. Toad's Wild Ride closed on September 7, 1998 [12]. The attraction was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which opened in 1999. Also in 1999, the Skyway to Tomorrowland was closed [15]. The closure of the attraction came after a Disney World employee was killed while cleaning a platform on the attraction, although Disney said that the accidental death had nothing to do with the ride closing [16], the Skyway would never open again.

The former location of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage finally began to change in 2001. A new attraction, Ariel's Grotto (a little Mermaid meet and greet) opened in the 20,000 Leagues queue area [17]. Then, in 2002 the Fantasyland Theater was once again changed. The Legend of the Lion King was closed and removed from the theater [18], thus paving the way for a new attraction to open. The new attraction that was designed for the Fantasyland Theater, was a 3D show named Mickey's PhilharMagic. The film features Donald Duck traveling through many famous Disney movies looking for Mickey’s “Sorcerers Hat” (which he of course used without permission). Songs and characters from classic Disney movies also appeared in the show, including characters from: Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Peter Pan, and Aladdin. Also getting a new attraction was the former 20,000 League Lagoon, which was transformed in 2005 into Pooh's Playful Spot [19]. The new attraction was an outdoor play area for children which eventually closed in 2010 [19]. Also in 2010, another minor change came when Cinderella’s Golden Carousel was renamed the Prince Charming Regal Carousel, although the ride remained the same [20].

Fantasyland Expansion

Beast's Castle was added to Fantasyland in 2012. Photo by Harshlight

In September of 2009, Disney announced that a major expansion would be taking place in Fantasyland. The proposed expansion, which would double the size of the land, was to include [21]:

  • A Little Mermaid themed dark ride.
  • A second Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction, with an interactive circus tent.
  • A meet and greet that would allow guests to " share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty’s birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast’s castle library."
  • A Tinker Bell meet and greet inside the world of Pixie Hollow [22].

In August of 2010, Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs confirmed that Disney was revising their plans for the Fantasyland expansion. Although much of the expansion was originally geared towards girls, Staggs said that Disney was looking for ways to broaden its appeal. In January 2011, Disney announced that the expansion would now include a Storybook Circus area, which along with the aforementioned Dumbo attraction, would also include a re-themed Barnstormer, Pete's Silly Sideshow and Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station [23]. Disney also announced that the princess meet and greets would be combined into one attraction known as Princess Fairytale Hall [24]. The new meet and greet location would replace Snow White's Scary Adventures, which closed on May 31, 2012 [25]. Finally, in January 2011 Disney announced that they would be creating a new attraction for the Fantasyland Expansion called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train [23].

On March 12, 2012, the first phase of Storybook Circus opened consisting of The Barnstormer Featuring Goofy as the Great Goofini and one of the two Dumbo attractions [26]. This section of the Fantasyland is housed where Mickey’s Toontown Fair was formally located. In July of 2012, the second Dumbo attraction (as well as its interactive queue) and the Casey Jr. Splash 'n' Soak Station opened to the public [27].Finally, on October 4, 2012, Storybook Circus was completed with the addition of Pete's Silly Sideshow and Big Top Souvenirs [28].

On December 6, 2012, the rest of the Fantasyland Expansion (besides the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) opened to the public [29]. New Fantasyland features the attractions: Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Ariel's Grotto, as well as Gaston's Tavern and The Be Our Guest restaurant (which is located inside the newly constructed Beast’s Castle). Finally, on May 28, 2014 the final piece of the Fantasyland Expansion, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train officially opened to the public [30]. Although not a part of "New Fantasyland", on March 12, 2013 a new Tangled section of Fantasyland opened between it's a small world and the Haunted Mansion [31]. This new area houses bathrooms, charging stations and places to sit, including an area with a tranquil waterfall. The elaborate bathrooms sit below the tower that Rapunzel is trapped inside at the beginning of Tangled.

Attractions

Dumbo the Flying Elephant can be found in the Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel- Ride along to classic Disney music on this 90 seat carousel. Originally built in 1917, the Carousel is the oldest ride on Disney property. This attraction was known as Cinderella's Golden Carousel from 1971 until 2010.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant- Soar high above Fantasyland with Dumbo on this kid friendly ride. Inspired by the movie of the same name, Dumbo is a hub and spoke attraction.

"it's a small world"- This boat ride allows guests to take a cruise with kids from around the world while listening to the classic Disney song, “it's a small world”.

Mad Tea Party- This ride allows guests to spin along in tea cups as they celebrate their unbirthday. The Mad Tea Party is based on the 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland and located near Tomorrowland.

Mickey's PhilharMagic- Join Mickey, Donald, Ariel, Aladdin and others in this 3D musical show. On Mickey's Philharmagic guests can sit back and relax as Donald Duck travels through various Disney movies trying to recover Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat.

Peter Pan's Flight- This classic dark ride attraction allows guests to join Peter Pan as they fly high over London and into Neverland to fight the evil Captain Hook. Along the way guests meet Wendy, Tinkerbell, Mr. Smee and others on their adventure.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- This attraction allows guests to board a honey pot and take a journey through the Hundred-Acre Woods with Pooh and Friends.

Walt Disney World Railroad- This ride lets guests take a steam powered train around Walt Disney World with stops at Main Street USA, Frontierland, and Fantasyland.

The Barnstormer Featuring Goofy as the Great Goofini- This mild roller coaster is a re-themed version of the Barnstormer attraction. Located in Storybook Circus, the attraction opened in March 2012.

Ariel's Grotto- A Little Mermaid meet-and-greet and outdoor water play area. This attraction closed in 2010 but reopened as part of the Fantasyland Expansion.

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid- This dark ride takes guests through the story of the Little Mermaid. Guests board clam shaped ride vehicles to head "under the sea" with Ariel.

Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station- This outdoor water play area is perfect for young kinds. Located in Storybook Circus, Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station is based on the 1941 Disney movie Dumbo.

Enchanted Tales with Belle- This meet and greet opportunity allows guests to enter the Beast's library to help Belle and her friends recreate the story of Beauty and the Beast.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train-- This family roller coaster takes guests whizzing though the Seven Dwarfs' diamond mine. Based on the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Princess Fairytale Hall- This meet and greet location allows guests to meet their favorite princesses. Anna, Elsa, Cinderella and Rapunzel can all be found here.

Pete's Silly Sideshow- This meet and greet location allows guests to meet Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy in their circus outfits.

Past Attractions

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride operated in Fantasyland from 1971 until 1998

Pooh's Playful Spot- Pooh's Playful Spot was an outdoor playground for little kids. Based on the popular Winnie the Pooh cartoons and movies, this attraction opened in 2005 and closed in 2010.

Snow White's Scary Adventures- Snow White’s Scary Adventures was a dark ride based on the 1941 Disney movie Snow White. The attraction allowed guests to ride along through the story of Snow White. Snow White’s Scary Adventures opened with the park in 1971 and closed in May 31, 2012.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride- This dark ride was based on the 1955 Disney movie the Wind and the Willows. On this attraction guests road along with Mr. Toad on a crazy, jerky ride through London. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride opened with the park in 1971 and closed September 8, 1998.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage- This opening day attraction allowed guests to submerge in the Pacific Ocean and view the deep sea with Captain Nemo and his crew. The attraction took up about ¼ of Fantasyland, and closed October 14, 1994. It was based on the 1952 live-action Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The Skyway to Tomorrowland- The Skyway allowed guests to travel from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland via gondola lift. The attraction opened with the park in 1971 and closed on November 10, 1999.

Mickey Mouse Revue- Located in the Fantasyland Theater, this Audio Animatronic show featured dozens of Disney characters as they performed classic songs. The Mickey Mouse Revue opened with the park in 1971 and closed in September 1980.

Magic Journeys- Magic Journeys was a 3D show located in the Fantasyland Theater. The show showed guests the world through the eyes of a child. The attraction opened December 1, 1987 and closed December 1, 1993.

The Legend of the Lion King- The Legend of the Lion King was a musical show that opened on June 15, 1994 and closed February 23, 2002. The show was housed in the Fantasyland Theater. The show used puppetry, animation and special effects to tell the story of Disney's 1992 movie The Lion King.

Dining

Cinderella's Royal Table- A table service restaurant located within Cinderella Castle. For breakfast guests can attend the "Once Upon a Time Character Breakfast", with Cinderella and other Disney Princesses. Cinderella's Royal Table also offers a character lunch and a themed dinner, which features the Fairy Godmother who helps celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other special events.

Pinocchio Village Haus- Located near “it’s a small world”, this counter service restaurant specializes in Italian food including, pizza, spaghetti and sandwiches.

The Friar's Nook- Located by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, this counter service restaurant sells chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and beverages.

Storybook Treats- Located next to The Friar's Nook, Storybook Treat serves various ice cream products.

Cheshire Cafe- Located near the Mad Tea Party, the Cheshire Cafe sells frozen lemonade, ice coffee and snacks.

Be Our Guest Restaurant- Located inside of Beast's Castle, this magical dining experiences gives guests a taste of France inside the Magic Kingdom. Be Our Guest Restaurant is a counter service restaurant during lunch and a table service restaurant during dinner.

Gaston's Tavern- Located within the Fantasyland expansion, Gaston's Tavern is a quick service restaurant. Based on the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, guests can choose from a selection of snacks that include pork shanks and cinnamon rolls.

Prince Eric's Village Market- Located across from Under the Sea: Voyage of the Little Mermaid, this snack location sells fresh fruits, vegetables, and lemonade.

Shopping

Castle Couture- Located across from Cinderella's Castle, Castle Couture allows Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique guests get their portrait taken. The Castle Couture also takes family portraits.

Fantasy Faire- Located just outside of the Mickey's Philharmagic exit, Fantasy Faire sells Philharmagic and Disney World merchandise. The shop can be entered without seeing the attraction.

Hundred Acre Goods- Located just outside of the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh exit, Hundred Acre Goods sells Pooh merchandise.

Seven Dwarf's Mine- Located next to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the Seven Dwarf's Mine sells Snow White merchandise, costumes and sleepwear.

Sir Mickey's- Located next to Cinderella's Castle, Sir Mickey's sells all kinds of Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World merchandise.

Entertainment

Main Street Philharmonic at Storybook Circus- The Main Street Philharmonic, the Magic Kingdom's resident marching band, performs in Storybook Circus at select times during the afternoon. For exact times Click Here.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • "La Fontaine de Cendrillon" (or Fountain of Cinderella) a bronze statue of Cinderella can be found in the center Fantasyland. This fountain is known as "Rags to Riches" because if guests stand (or kneel) in front of Cinderella and look at the painted mural behind on the castle wall, a painted image of a crown appears to be sitting on top of the princess' head. Although an adult may have to get low to see it, this was designed intentionally so that when children look at the fountain, they can clearly see the crowned princess.
  • The opening day attractions in Fantasyland were, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, it's a small world, Snow White's Adventures, The Mad Tea Party, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, The Mickey Mouse Revue and Cinderella's Golden Carousel.
  • The Sword in the Stone Ceremony used to take place several times each day in front of Cinderella's Golden Carousel. Presided over by Merlin the Magician, a child was chosen from the audience to remove Excalibur (the magical sword) from the stone. He or she was then appointed "temporary ruler of the realm”.
  • The Storybook Circus part of Fantasyland can trace its roots back to Walt Disney himself. Walt loved circuses, and there were different plans for a circus in Disneyland dating all the way back to the 1950s.
  • A Pinocchio themed store named the Gepetto Shop was originally planned for Fantasyland.
  • New Fantasyland is home to a new DVC stand. The stand is housed inside a small kiosk called H. Goff Cartography. The name of the DVC stand is a reference to Imagineer Harper Goff [32].
  • Atop the kiosk is a weather vain which features the squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The squid is a reference to the fact that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was once located where the DVC kiosk stands today [32]

References

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