It took major star power and two ceremonies to officially open the newest area of the Magic Kingdom. Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus were dedicated in a special ribbon cutting ceremony and then a larger celebration was held on the stage at Cinderella Castle. The star of “Once Upon a Time” kicked off the “happily ever after” at the grand opening. Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White on the hit ABC-TV drama, joined pop star Jordin Sparks and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs in ceremonies filled with favorite Disney characters, daytime fireworks and timeless melodies from classic Disney films.
“Walt Disney once promised that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world,” Staggs said. “New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt’s promise. We’re thrilled to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover new worlds featuring iconic Disney characters and stories in ways that are more imaginative, more interactive and more immersive than ever before.”
Earlier in the morning there was a smaller ceremony where the New Fantasyland section was dedicated by Tom Staggs with Sparks and Goodwin doing the official honors of cutting the ribbon.
Guests visiting the Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland find themselves immersed in a small town where the Circus has just rolled in off the train tracks to set up its show. So far we have a two-ring circus full of flying elephants, daring airplane stuntmen, a sideshow, and a big top souvenir stand… so it should be no surprise that clowns will be part of the milieu. The clowns will be joined by the Silly Saxtet, a new musical group at the Magic Kingdom, with a playlist of circus favorites with a unique twist.
The Storybook Circus Giggle Gang is set to debut with the official opening of New Fantasyland later this week. According to the Disney Parks Blog the troop of clowns includes a variety of training and experiences, including some from the prestigious Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.
Storybook Circus was the first area of the expanded Fantasyland area to open a few attractions at the Magic Kingdom. The backstory for the area is that a small circus has come to the small midwest town of Carolwood Park. Over the last few weeks, many of the final details have been added, but the land wasn’t completely open yet.
It’s still not completely open, but yesterday they opened Big Top Souvenirs and the new Fastpass distribution tent for the land. All that remains now is a little landscaping and Pete’s Silly Sideshow, the character meet and greet for the land.
When Imagineering originally wanted to redo the Toontown Fair area, the numbers folk at the park asked that they keep the large tent store since it’s one of the best performing stores per square foot in the park. So the imagineers compromised, give us the budget to really make the tent themed to a circus and we’ll redo our plans for the area to keep the tents.
Workers are all over the Magic Kingdom working on projects large and small. Changes are coming at such a rapid pace these days, it’s hard to keep pace with what’s new. Still, I have to try. Some of these pictures are a few days old, but I think they’re exciting anyway, and if you haven’t seen them, they’re new to you, right?. I’ve got almost 50 photos to share in this week’s photo update. We’ll cover New Fantasyland, Rapunzel’s Village, Tinker bell and more!
Today we’re going to get started with some of the final touches coming to Storybook Circus as the land races closer to opening. Make sure you scroll down to the end for a special treat you won’t want to miss. (Note: you can click on the image to see it larger, but you’ll have to click on the link to the full size image on that page to see it in the largest size I uploaded.)
The new Marquee for Storybook Circus is almost done. Looks nice too. Not quite as elaborate as the original concept art showed, but it fits in well with the rest of the area.
We’re back from the Magic Kingdom with another photo update. We check in on the progress around New Fantasyland, spot a number of new refurbishments going on in and around the park, and look at a few outstanding maintenance issues. Once again, based on the feedback from the last update, we are again using Google+ Hangout to record this video. It’s best viewed on full screen:
If you want to take a closer look at any of those photos, you can view them on our Google+ photo album.
Below the cut is a video Disney World created to inform its cast members about the Storybook Circus and New Fantasyland expansion. It contains some amazing footage from the other side of the construction walls and inside the rides and restaurants.