The World That Never Was: New Fantasyland

With 2012 underway, most Walt Disney World lovers are excited about getting a taste of the new Fantasyland, and despite it being a very public announcement in 2009, the plans have changed over time and things that were on the drawing board less than 2 years ago have been scratched from the list to make way for, what Disney Imagineers considered better attractions for the new Fantasyland, but lets back up and focus on what could have been at the new Fantasyland.

In 2009, Disney introduced the D23 Expo in Anaheim. It was a way to get people excited about the years to come in all aspects of the Disney business. One of the biggest announcements from that first D23 Expo was a changing of the guard at Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland. In fact, not only were they upgrading Fantasyland, but they were expanding it by getting rid of Mickey’s ToonTown Fair, a poor man’s version of Disneyland’s ToonTown. The area, which had been renamed and redesigned several times (remember Mickey’s Birthdayland?) was finally going away to expand the area everybody first thinks of when they think of a Disney Park, Fantasyland.

The list of new attractions and upgrades was plentiful, including a bigger area for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, which would see the attraction double in size, an area completely themed to Beauty and the Beast, which also includes a brand new sit-down restaurant (my favorite announcement), and several distinct areas to meet Princesses including a newly expanded Pixie Hollow.

By the time the 2011’s D23 Expo came around, the plans for the new Fantasyland changed, including the addition of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train roller coaster. Unfortunately, because of the roller coaster addition, some other plans had to be nixed. Several meet and greet areas including Cinderella’s Chateau and Aurora’s Cottage as well as Pixie Hollow had been cut from the plans.

The original plans for Cinderella were at her Chateau where guests would either be knighted (boys) or help her change into her ball gown and dance with her (girls). Much like the Chateau, Aurora’s Cottage would see the same hands on experience with meeting Sleeping Beauty as well as the fairies, where guests would make birthday cards for Aurora and greet her for a surprise birthday party. Pixie Hollow was to be gigantic in stature so guests in Fantasyland would feel as though they had been shrunk to fairy size and you would have the chance to talk and meet Tinkerbell and all of her pixie friends.

Now, after all of that being announced, I can see why Imagineering has opted out of these particular attractions as they all fit a very specific niche, young girls. With other additions like the new Little Mermaid dark ride and the Beauty and the Beast themed area, there is already so much for young girls to take part in, but what about the young boys or maybe the few of us that are only children at heart instead of stature? That’s where Disney took a step back and restarted on the plans. The new Seven Dwarves Mine Train roller coaster will be replacing Snow White’s Scary Adventures so that Walt Disney’s first full length animated feature can still be represented at Disney World.

However, no need to fear for those of you who love Princess stories as Disney Imagineers still understand the need for princesses in the Magic Kingdom. Disney has also has plans for Princess Fairytale Hall which will indeed be the one-stop meet and greet for all things Disney Princess. And for those who will miss Pixie Hollow, fear not as Disney also has you covered. Just beyond the crossing into Adventureland from Main Street U.S.A. is Tinkerbell’s Magical Nook where you can get your picture taken with Tinkerbell and all of her friends.

Sure, Fantasyland will still have the tea cups, carrousel, Peter Pan’s flight, and It’s a Small World, which could all be for both boys and girls, but I feel strongly that Disney made the right decision in their redesign of Fantasyland to include the Seven Dwarves Mine Train instead of having so many Princess meet and greet areas.

How do you feel about the new Fantasyland expansion? Are you excited about the roller coaster or would you prefer the plans to have several houses where meet and greets take place? 2012 will be an exciting year at the Magic Kingdom and with things slowly opening, it will be great to see all of the pieces finally coming together.

Josh Taylor

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Posted on January 4, 2012, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

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