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Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Expansion Plans Leaked

Someone at Disney has leaked what appears to be very real blueprints laying out all the new ‘attractions’ planned for an expanded Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. This plan matches what I’ve heard from other sources. My gut tells me it’s not something fan created and is actually from the halls of WDI in Glendale. Now the question is, has all this been approved for construction? If so we should start seeing bulldozers pushing dirt as soon as October. I won’t believe any of this is true until we do.


So what will the expanded area consist of? It remakes everything from where the current Little Mermaid meet and greet is, moves Dumbo, and goes back to the service road all the way across to the existing Toon Town Fair tents. The only attraction that will remain from the existing Toon Town is Goofy’s Barnstormer. Dumbo will now be located across from the Barnstormer and will be expanded to two spinners doubling the capacity of that popular attraction.

The rest of the expansion is dedicated almost entirely to the Pixie’s and Princesses that has become the marketing and merchandising focus of the Walt Disney Company the last few years. There are three new meet and greets Pixie Hollow is expanded, Cinderella gets a larger meet and greet, Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) also gets a spot. I think calling a meet and greet an attraction is a bit of a stretch, but there are ways to expand the experience and elevate it to attraction level. Let’s hope that’s in the budget.

Ariel, the Little Mermaid has a meet and greet too, but she also gets a whole new attraction (essentially a clone of what is now under construction in California). It looks like Belle gets a meet and greet and a new “Be Our Guest” restaurant. At one time there was a Dinner Theatre restaurant by that name planned for Disneyland Paris, I wonder if they’re reviving that concept. That’s certainly something the Magic Kingdom has been lacking and I can see the long lines forming now for reservations.

What’s missing from the earlier rumors? One more roller coaster for the area. There was supposed to be a Snow White Mine Ride. Although I’m glad they’re not building that if it meant removal of the existing Snow White attraction. Perhaps Goofy’s Barnstormer will get rethemed to the Mine Ride.

My thoughts on this plan? It’s exactly what I would expect Disney World to come up with as an answer to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Disney is essentially writing off the tween boys and focusing all their attention on the girls with the idea that moms and their daughters control the vacation purse strings.

There’s only so much you can tell from a blueprint (assuming this is the final version). But I like what I see if that’s Disney’s choice. I would have liked to see a bit more balance and, perhaps, a new C or D ticket as well. I’m also curious to see if the rest of Fantasyland gets a retheming as well.

So assuming that this is the real thing. What are your thoughts?

56 thoughts on “Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Expansion Plans Leaked”

  1. Very interesting….I guess where my only real concern comes in is when they DO focus mainly on the girls…I have two boys, and I don’t ever want them to say, “I don’t want to do Fantasyland,” or “Can we skip this part?”

    Because as they are getting older, they will want to start to pick and choose. Well…maybe that’s just part of growing up “at” Disney World? Maybe the family will just have to start splitting up as the kids progress into the teenage years…

    I don’t mind them revamping things as long as it keeps a Disney feel and doesn’t turn into a marketing gimmick type of thing. I hope that makes sense!

  2. Now this is an exciting rumor! I cannot imagine how long such an expansion would take to complete – and Disney certainly couldn’t shut down Fantasyland…just a lot of ropes and screens for a while. The last time I remember that was the Magic Carpet project. Like you, I would have liked to have seen another C or D ride on the plans, but doubling up Dumbo will be fantastic.

    The expansion of any part of the Kingdom always makes me most curious about the adaptation of ‘backstage’ to the new addition – as a former castmember, I find that the most fascinating!

    Thanks for the info!

  3. I am not a big fan of the whole “meet and greet” concept and believe it’s being pushed down our throats a bit. I think Fantasyland was due for a makeover, and that I am excited about. Our 4 yo daughter will be thrilled and I think there is some great potential here. I sensed this “land” has been slipping in popularity as of late so this will help reverse that trend, I am sure.

  4. I would find it hard to believe that they would be removing Mickey and Minnie’s houses as so many young children go to Disney to, “See where Mickey lives.”

    I disagree Jeffery, without the “meet and greet” stations and chrarcter meals, Diseny just doesn;t have the same “magic” for the children. I know my kids always have autograph books in hand and absolutely love meeting the characters – it is their favorite part of our trips there.

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  6. It’s not just “tween boys” that will be going to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s boys and girls, men and women of all ages – just like those who go to Disney! [Hence why the current movie is breaking almost every box office record! That’s not just the work of tween boys, haha].

  7. You can spend roughly the same amount of time standing in line for a number of Meet-n-Greets that you do standing in line for real attractions, a comparison that’s never balanced out much for me.

    Looking at the blueprint map and reading the article, there’s a potential for 10 M-n-G’s or more, in this new area. Do I really want to spend 3 hours in Fantasyland standing in the hot sun waiting with my kids to get an autograph from a costumed cast member? I do I want to spend that time riding the rides or enjoying a meal?

    I remember a few years ago we went to the MK and my wife and daughter stopped at the Barber Shop on Main Street to get her hair Tinker-fied while my son and I went to ride some rides. It was almost 2, 2-1/2 hours later before they got out and met us – that was 2-1/2 hours of riding and experiencing the park time wasted. Not that she didn’t enjoy it, but a lot of the “extras” like haircuts and meet-n-greets take up so much time, there’s little time for the real attractions. And that’s what I pay my money for.

    I just hope there are real attractions attached to these new areas, even on the level of the Mickey/Minnie houses (which are cleverly built and themed, and fun to explore) and not just overly decorated Meet-n-Greets…

  8. I, too, really dislike the time sink of Meet-n-Greets. My daughter (just turned 9), though, loves them (and loves Mickey’s House, too). It galls me to stand in a lengthy line just to get an autograph and some Disney photos snapped, and (by park admission) pay for the privilege, but the kids do love to actually contact the characters this way.

    I dislike this much real estate being take up this way by M&Gs … but the current Princess/Pixie M&G at WDW is pretty shoddy show, so …

    As you can tell, I’m conflicted in this.

    It’s good to see Beauty & the Beast (or Belle, at least) getting some love here. While I wasn’t much of a fan of Toon Town Fair, my daughter (again) liked it, and will be sad to see the boat go (at least that’s how it looks).

    There are a few other intriguing items here: “Nextgen Interactive Queue” for Dumbo? “Attractions” for both Belle and Aurora (separate from the M&G)?

    Overall, I think it’s a good thing (it is, at least, investment), with the possibility of redefining some of that space to rides later on, if the M&G plans don’t pan out. It will also open up that whole area in Fantasy Land, and give it a much more expansive feel, which I think is a good thing (esp. since there will still be traffic pulled toward the back by Dumbo).

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  10. Can anyone who’s watched more of these construction/change plans get implemented at WDW give us an idea how long this would take to complete and how much of the existing Fantasyland would be closed off during that time? It looks like some of it could remain open, like the carousel, the currently-existing dark rides and the Tea Party in Fantasyland and maybe Barnstormer in Toontown (assuming no retheming or changes there) but would even those rides be too close to the major changes needed to remove/relocate the existing single Dumbo spinner and construct all of the new attractions and other buildings to remain open?

    I mean, look how long the changes to the TTA and Space Mountain are taking, and that’s just two rides. It would seem like changes on this kind of scale would be a major disruption and would put a lot of stress on the rest of the park. (As in, the lines will be silly long in the rest of the MK because all the people who would have been in the closed portions of Fantasyland and Toontown will be at other attractions instead.)

  11. The toontown tents definitely need a makeover, I can agree with that. I like that those plans show what look to be better meet-n-greet areas. But where are Minnie & Mickey?

    The other thing that makes me sad (and that will crush my 6yo dau) is that the Pooh playground is gone, replaced by the Cinderella meet-n-greet. My daughter loves Cinderella, but she also loves that playground. Technically yes she is supposedly too old for it, but she is developmentally delayed due to her autism and doesn’t know that. :) We are seasonal passholders and “pooh park” is a must-visit every time we go to Magic Kingdom.

    There are so few “decompression” areas at the parks that you can rest for a few minutes and just be without there being a line, or a crazy activity going on. That park is an oasis, especially for a child with a sensory disorder.

    I’m sure many parents will applaud the doubling of the capacity of Dumbo, and the making of Fantasy to not feel so tiny.

  12. TickledPinkRabbit

    I agree with the previous posters – it seems to be a lot of space taken up by meet and greets. I’m curious to know what the “attractions” would be for the princesses. The Cinderella attraction looks like it’s shaped like two theatres – so maybe that one is a show – they all appear to be too small to be rides? I have to say I’m disappointed as well about the lack of a roller coaster. Seems like that would draw in crowds of all ages regardless of the theme.

  13. I have posted my 2¢ on my blog as well, but a consolidated version is:

    It is about time for the Magic Kingdom to get a bit of a refresher. This is certainly in line with what is going on with updates and expansions in California and Fantasyland is a great place to expand the presence of the “Princesses”.

    I think the meet and greet style of character experience needs some serious work, but I am also glad the plan includes real attractions as well.

    Do I think this is genuine? I certainly hope it is, but in the meantime it sure is fun to speculate about the development.

  14. I would like the buildings in fantasyland to stay basically the same but with a facelift, they have such a perfect isney storybook look to them, and I love the whimsy in fantasyland, I would hate for them to ruin the look like they did in tomorrowland IMO. I too have no interest in the meet and greets but would love to see more quality rides! I am there all the time so will keep an eye and see if anything starts happening. ;)

  15. That’s the name of the attraction being built in Anaheim. It’s generally assumed that if The Little Mermaid is build in the MK the DHS show would go away.

  16. I think it is great for WDW, but LOUSY for DCA. I wish that the Disneyland 2nd Park could have a couple of original attractions. Starting with Soarin, then Toy Story Mania. Now Little Mermaid? How long until they build Carsland at Hollywood Studios? ugh.

    But yea, great for Magic Kingdom, fun stuff. Neat ground plan.

  17. Oh, I totally think it’s a hoax! Plus, they can’t take my Toon Town and replace it with two Dumbos! I don’t even like one Dumbo.

  18. Even if it is not true, it would make some sense. I have noticed in my recent visits to the Magic Kingdom over the past few years that Fantasyland has been extremely crowded while the rest of the park has been much less crowded in comparison (hour wait for Peter Pan vs. 30min or less for Pirates of the Caribbean just for an example). Even the doubling of the Dumbo ride makes sense when you see how long the line is for that currently. I think that it would be a much better idea to add more(read ‘different’) themed rides instead of dedicated meet & greets(seemed to work fine when they would just appear around the park when I was a kid). If the plans are remotely true it may ease the wait/crowding of Fantasyland but I don’t think it will help the park overall. My visit last month will probably be my last, it just seems that the park’s quality/value has been going down a lot…even my daughter(7) said she’d much rather go to Islands of Adventure or Hollywood Studios instead.

  19. At first I was excited about such a large expansion. It’s always nice to see the Disney parks add more things.

    But no more Mickey’s House? Donald’s Boat? Minnie’s House? To me, that is the sort of stuff that is quiniessentinal Disney. The princess stuff is just a little too much tied into marketing.

    The extensive meet and greet stuff seems like WDW Management’s quick answer to expand the park on the cheap. Sure, you have the Mermaid dark ride for the Imagineering big time attraction, but from the look of the blueprint it sure seems it’s a lot of expansion on the cheap.

    Another recent cheap addition to the park was Stitch’s Supersonic stage Celebration. That show lasted all of 6 weeks. Disney park guests were smart enough to shun that “attraction” to at least show that they won’t blindly go after any new thing. I wonder if today’s cynical guests might have a similar reaction to see a refurbishment basically entirely dedicated to the big cash cow that is the Princess/Fairy stuff.

    Someone else posted further up that the money you spend to get in the door goes toward real attractions. Well said. As the price to get in the door moves toward the $100 mark, do a bunch of meet and greets really justify that sort of dollar amount? Especially considering that a meet and greet is nothing more than a cheap set and a Cast Member making $7/hr.

  20. I do feel that Fantasy Land needs a face lift. It is the most crowded, cluttered area and once you are past the castle it is kind of a thematic let down. I hope they plan to uplift all of Fantasy Land with more magical touches and details. I hate meet and greets and my kids have limited interest. To me these are like road blocks certainly not attractions. I am also amazed that they are eliminating Minnie and Mickey and Donald! I don’t personally love Toontown, but the little ones love it! My youngest loves the interactive nature of Minnie’s house and Donald’s Boat. I also love Goofy’s barnstormer as it is a great “first” coaster. As a Mom I am not very crazy about the Princess role model for girls, and I am quite interested in vacation fun for my sons. A restaurant for Belle sounds good, but the plans sound pretty light on actual attractions. So I have mixed feelings. If this is Disney’s answer to Harry Potter they must be crazy.

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  23. I think Fantasyland is Fine like it is … but If your must add a Couple Princess attractions thats fine. but dont Leave the guys out And….Eliminating Toontown? i dont think so Mabey Expand It . but dont take it out. and the Dumbo thing is Hilarious theyre not going to Change that .. the Mermaid attraction is the only thing That makes sense . That Probally is going to happen eventually but the rest of this is Not Likely

  24. The Pooh Playground still exists on the blueprint as well… actually, if you look, the expansion takes place around the current fantasy land. I work at Disney and can bet they will build around fantasy land… keeping it open. They will build the second Dumbo in the new location… when everything begins to open, they will close the old dumbo and relocate it to the second location so it will never close. For all of you complaining about waiting in MG lines when you could be on rides… isn’t it all about making magic for your children? you’ll see more rides when they grow up. Let them enjoy it.

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  27. I am the mother of an 11 year old girl. She has zero interest in these plans , I have shown them to her and her comment is , “Harry Potter is way cooler than that. Princess stuff is for little kids.” She is absolutely hanging on the edge of her seat for wwohp as are her friends. I mention Disney to them just to guage reaction and it is “thats ok , but HP is gonna be off the chain”. These comments are coming from eleven year old girls that do beauty pageants as a hobby. I hope Disney does not go overboard with this because the girls love Potter too. There are plenty of female characters in HP for the girls to become just as obsessed with as boys and they do.They dont like the wizards of waverly place either, they call it a cheap HP ripoff, and they have read all seven of those huge books. I just thought I would share the reactions ive heard from real kids of the age group this is supposed to be appealing to.

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  30. Let me start: LunaFan, tell your daughter that Harry Potter is a rip off of “The Worst Witch”. Anyway, to the topic. This is truly, TRULY idiotic if they follow through. I mean…. ToonTown is one of the only places for M&G now of a non “oh look, we bumped into a character” type. They have completely girled up fantasy land with this. Pixie Hollow is horrible in all shapes and forms, and they are gonna compromise ToonTown for a fad of straight-to-DVD Disney flicks? Great planning. Why the Hel are they moving Dumbo and modernizing it? It’s great as is! The B&B restaurant is long overdue and I am glad to see that. As far as the Little Mermaid ride goes, that is a CLASSIC Disney flick that has always needed more then a stage show.

  31. More rides are needed. Disney needs to takes note of DisneySea in Tokyo. Talk about an imaginative park. Ariel’s Lagoon would be perfect for Fantasyland. Added attractions like Mysterious Island – Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20000 Leagues under the Sea. Could add to the park’s character. Additionally, an Indiana Jones Temple of Doom and a Pirate Land need to be added to Adventureland. Walt Disney was a man with a vision. He put it on the line and the result was people responded. Disney management needs to be dreamers, true imagineers. We need E attractions. We need to capture young men and girls, but also entertain the adults who grew up loving Disney.

  32. There are two ways to look at this. Either we’re getting a new Ariel attraction and Belle restaurant with a lot of stuff thrown in because they can… Or… we’re getting a highly themed Fantasyland Expansion that is the vision Disney has for the future of its parks.

  33. Disney should look at adding more rides along with these new attractions. A huge ferris wheel in Dumbo’s new Circus area would be great. If they could also add a swinging pirate ship (like Davie Jones’ ship) in Adventure Land or other rides with these new plans, it could appeal to more younger boys as well. Magic Kingdom is long due for a complete over haul. I think they should review revising each Land, or at least clean it up a bit.

  34. Not yet. Disney will often use different companies for different phases and areas of a project. But it’s probably a safe bet whomever it is, they’ll be hiring. So that’s good for Central Florida.

  35. Ack. Just say no the the Ferris Wheel in the Magic Kingdom. For that matter, just say no to any attraction you can find at your local county fair. A vacation at the mouse is a chance to get away from all that stuff.

  36. It’s very exiciting that disney will have some new areas to look at for the next time I visit, however I do agree with all of the people who believe there needs to be more rides or attractions within this expansion. and as John mentioned on the last post, disney need to stay away from the thing which are found in every county fair around the country.

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  38. Just got home from Disney tonight. My children are young so we spent much time in Fantasyland. We saw lots and lots of engineer types walking around, and architectural drawings being poured over, near Snow White’s ride. Looks like it isn’t a hoax. As for M&G — there is no doubt kids LOVE them. When I was a kid and you just had to happen upon a character if you were lucky — that was the saddest part of my trip — didn’t get to see enough characters and not the ones I wanted to see. Whether we want to spend time that way or not, meet and greets are important to the kids. An

  39. This is not a hoax and it is the real plan. It was announced at the D23 Expo on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. This was reported in the Orlando Sentinal with this exact drawing and an artist’s rendering. So this is currently the plan they are going with.

    Also let me say to a previous post that HP is NOT a rip-off of “the worst witch”. I’ve seen both and they are not related. I don’t even know why you could compare the two.

    As for this plan of Fantasyland. I think of Walt was alive today he would probably not like all of the ideas. Since Eisner left it seems that Disney has started to go downhill. They need another visionary that’s going to take charge and try new radical things. This is not radical and looks more like an investors idea to capitalize on a quick fad. It’s like what they did with Pleasure Island. It was a place for young adults to enjoy a type of Disney magic that they ruined and closed down club by club. They need to change their ways from trying to capitalize on the kids and go back to a full FAMILY oriented vision for ALL kids age 1-99 just like Walt himself had in mind. And I’m sorry to say, but this new plan is NOT in line with that.

  40. I think the addition to Fantasyland is brilliant. I have been going to Disney parks world-wide for over 40 years. In all that time, Disney has always been “right on” with their renovations and changes. The ONLY exception that I can think of is when they gutted “Journey Into Imagination” and started over with that Imagination Institute thing. Example: In 1986-1987, they completely renovated Fantasyland at Disneyland. It is simply SPECTACULAR. NO ONE said “Oh, I sure wish the old Fantasyland would come back.” From what I can tell, this will be “Meet and Greet” on steroids! There will be a kind of little “show” associated with each encounter, including little bits of MAGIC (Cinderella’s ragged dress changes to a ball gown before your very eyes, etc.) So friends, don’t get so anxious! There WILL be things for boys to do (Villians will roam the area, etc.) There will be no waiting in the hot sun.

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