From the Disney Parks Blog:
As many of you know, we’re in the midst of the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, which will nearly double the size of Fantasyland. And we’re thrilled about the expansion because it’ll allow us to tell our treasured stories in new ways and give you the opportunity to interact with some of our beloved characters like never before. Today, we’d like to give you a first glimpse of the progress we’re making in bringing these stories to life and a look at some of the art will be sharing with the media later tonight.
First, work is already well underway on many of the experiences we’ve already told you about, so let’s start with Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid. In this attraction, Ariel and all her friends will entertain you in a ride-through adventure featuring favorite songs from the popular animated feature.
Not too far from Ariel’s new home, construction is underway on Beast’s castle which will stand majestically upon a hill. You will cross over a stone bridge as you arrive at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Set in the halls of the Beast’s Castle, this location will seat up to 550 guests and offer “great food fast” service by day and full table service dining in the evening. Just outside the restaurant, you will also be able to explore Belle’s Village, which includes Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
Nearby at Belle’s cottage, a magical mirror is the doorway to a captivating new kind of experience, where Belle, Lumiere and guests participate in a lively re-telling of the “tale as old as time.” In Enchanted Tales with Belle, the adventure begins at Maurice’s cottage, where you’ll step through an enchanted mirror that magically transports you to Beast’s library for an interactive storytelling session with Belle.
Just across the way is the brand new Storybook Circus, where we’re doubling the fun by adding another carousel to Dumbo the Flying Elephant. While you wait to board this Fantasyland favorite, you’ll have a chance to join the circus and step inside the Big Top for fun-filled interactive experiences for kids of all ages. Alongside Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the existing Barnstormer is getting a new look as well, featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini. This exciting attraction will take you on a twisting, turning, daredevil, roller coaster “flight” high above the circus fun.
As with any project of this scale, we’ve also continued to look for additional ways to surprise and delight our guests and I think you’ll be pleased. One opportunity we’re especially excited about is the chance to tell Snow White’s story in a fresh new way. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will take you on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” The coaster will feature a first-of-its kind ride system with a train of ride vehicles that swing back and forth as they whisk along the track. The journey will be accompanied by music from the classic Disney film and animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs.
Our other Disney princesses will also be getting a new home (actually, they prefer to call it a castle) in the all new Princess Fairytale Hall. Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses, such as Tiana and Rapunzel, will greet you in an elegant royal court at the location where Snow White’s Scary Adventures is today. This new experience will be in place of some of the earlier plans we shared regarding opportunities to interact with your favorite princesses.
And Tinker Bell and her fairy friends will be joining the cast at Epcot where they will have special roles bringing the flora and fauna to life during the Flower and Garden Festival.
The New Fantasyland will be constructed in phases with most new experiences open by 2013. We look forward to sharing more with you as our work progresses.