Storybook Circus Soft Opening Update

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
A new poster lays out current and future attractions, stores, and dining coming to Storybook Circus. I love that Humphrey the Bear is there. I wonder if he’s replaced The Three Little Pigs who were featured on previous posters.

Took a few days of vacation last week, but returned just in time for the Magic Kingdom to do a soft opening of the first small portion of the New Fantasyland expansion on Tuesday. Storybook Circus opened half of the relocated Dumbo – The Flying Elephant. The Barnstormer returned with its new Great Goofini theme, and the Fantasyland Train Station returned with new restrooms and a tribute to Walt’s past.

This portion of Storybook Circus was not supposed to open until March 24th or so. But hotel occupancy forecasts that revised the Spring Break crowd expectations upwards forced Disney to race ahead and open the attractions 12 days early. I must say that every cast member was up to the task and very helpful. Details are obviously still being worked out in a few places, but signs of fore-thought were abundant too. All in all a great effort and result from Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom.

There are so many great details, I took a ton of photos and still didn’t capture but a fraction. You may have already seen a few in my post made live from the park yesterday. I’m not sure how many parts this post will have, but I know it will be more than one. So let’s get to it.

Here is a sort of overview of what I saw today, we’ll come back in and fill in the gaps in future posts.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
The first sign guests got that today would be different, was a new guidemap with an old image of Dumbo on the cover.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Inside, the map reflects the soft opened area of the New Fantasyland expansion. They even show only one side of Dumbo being open. However, #35 has a caveat.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
That caveat is that it’s coming soon. Also interesting is that #32 description is the same as when it was at it’s old location. You’re really flying over Carolwood Park, Fantasyland is over there somewhere by the castle. It’s as separated from Fantasyland in look, location, and style as the old Toontown Fair was. So you could argue that the description should change.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Once you found your way to the back of the park, you were greeted by, yes, walls. Welcome to wall-land. Guests were also treated to upclose views of some on-going construction work.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
On your way in, you pass a refreshment stand with Ice Cream treats, popcorn, and sodas. Note this location. It was the only location in Storybook Circus serving food. That may change as they experiment with traffic flows and construction needs.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Modeling the new costumes for Storybook Circus. Not so sure about the white socks and undershirts here. They look like Circus ushers or band members. I kept expecting a parade to break out somewhere. But overall, I like the look. Just needs some guidelines to take care of the rough spots.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
When cast members weren’t around to give directions, there were a few signs like this one up around the area.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
The first think you need to know about Dumbo is that there is water! Hooray! You’ll also notice there is a lot more detail on the Dumbo vehicles, not to mention the baroque look of the interior section of the spinner. Oh yeah, it also spins in the other direction than the old Dumbo.


Getting our first up close view of the new restrooms. Very nice that they’ve been moved to this end of the land.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
But even nicer is the huge tribute to Walt Disney’s personal backyard railroad the Carolwood Pacific. You’ll find lots of references to Carolwood Park around the train station and even throughout the rest of Storybook Circus. The backstory is that the circus is in town and set up in Carolwood Park.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Even the stroller parking signs have a ‘Carolwood Park’ insignia. Nice detail.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Speaking of detail you see animal footprints throughout the land. Notice the peanuts near the elephant tracks. Easy set of tracks appears to lead to a different attraction or store.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
The entrance to The Barnstormer looks amazing. Not sure about that location for the height stick. Queues wavered between 30 and 60 minutes all afternoon. However, the line did move steadily and there was plenty to see in the queue. Observant eyes will remember the pants and socks from the old Goofy’s Barnstormer ride. Those are just some of the many tributes placed in the queue of this attraction. Kevin Yee will have a field day.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Here are a few more excellent details. When unscrambled, the back of the marquee says “Wiseacre Farms” which was the old name for the location of Goofy’s Barnstormer.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
You might also notice a familiar three circle shape on the ticket booth. Yep it’s a Hidden Mickey.

Storybook Circus - New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Before we go today, one quick look at the construction going on elsewhere in Fantasyland. A long way to go on the second Dumbo spinner, big walls are going up for the Mine Train coaster and rock work continues (still) around Beast’s Castle.

Thanks for reading this far. Plenty more to come from Storybook Circus over the next few days.

What do you think about the newest area of the Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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16 Responses to Storybook Circus Soft Opening Update

  1. DisneyFan says:

    A comment about the costume guidelines: As a female, I’m not sure what the guidelines are for men wearing undershirts, but as far as I know, white shirts are allowed in the rest of Fantasyland. It does look different when some people aren’t wearing them, but white goes better than, say, red or black.

    Also, it’s a rule for us in Fantasyland that if you wear shorts, you have to wear white socks with your black shoes. That’s not to say they won’t change the guidelines for Storybook Circus, but right now, that’s the rule.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of the capri pants. Overall, the outfit is very cute, and the capris will be nice in the summer, but so far I have not heard of a longer pants option for winter. There were some mornings last winter where we were outside at 7:45am and it was the low 30s. I hope they come up with something to cover our legs!

  2. Moonliner says:

    The feel of cotton between the polyester and the skin feels better, so I don’t blame them for wearing undershirts and don’t find any problems with it.

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  5. MSR says:

    Are they planning to implement Fastpass on Goofini? The entrance signage with separate “standby” and “time to fly” entrances would lead one to believe yes. Which of course would be pointless on an attraction like this with only 650-700 pph capacity (during 2 train operation).

    • John Frost says:

      Both The Barnstormer and Dumbo have queues capable of handling Fastpass. There is a sign for FP on Dumbo (under the clock with the feather).

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  8. J.D. says:

    I, too, love Humphrey and hope he has some sort of presence in the park other than just on the poster. I think it’s great that Disney is getting many of the obsure characters out to the public. If they develop Humphrey as a walk-around character I just might try to stuff him in my suitcase and take him home.

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