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Walt Disney World unveils the new 'new Fantasyland' plans

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Published: January 18, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Walt Disney World today announces its next version of its next version of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.

After announcing plans in 2009 for (let's face it) its response to Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Disney's changed the new Fantasyland attraction line-up to broaden the land's appeal beyond Disney Princesses.

The Pixie Hollow character greeting area is gone, as are separate themed areas for Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Instead, all the princesses will be gathered in the "Princess Fairytale Hall," which will take the place of Snow White's Scary Adventures.

Snow White and her dwarfs aren't being evicted however. Disney's chosen to go ahead and actually build what might be the most-suggested ride in theme park history: The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, an indoor family coaster themed to Disney's first feature-length animated film.

Concept art courtesy Disney

The "Beauty and the Beast"-themed Be Our Guest restaurant remains, as does the circus-themed section featuring an expanded Dumbo ride (*and the Little Mermaid ride). Goofy's Barnstormer be retained from the soon-to-close Mickey's Toontown, as expected, but be renamed "The Great Goofini," to keep with the circus theme of this part of the new development.

What do you think? Is the de-emphasis on the princesses a plus, or minus, for your family? Is the addition of an indoor family roller coaster enough to make you think about a visit, if you weren't before?

Readers' Opinions

From Scott Marlow on January 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM
It wasn't on my must ride list everytime, but I will definitely miss the current Snow White attraction. I can't wait however for the new restaurant, always love trying new eateries at Disney!
From 173.168.56.202 on January 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM
I hope the lines for the princesses and pixies are not as long as they were before. It sounds like the new area will be fun.
From Nick Dakuginow on January 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sounds awesome, a welcome addition roller coaster for Walt Disney World.

EDIT: Perhaps I jumped ahead of myself there, I read that the ride vehicles will swing back and forth with each turn of the track. Hmm... I was thinking along the lines of an indoor Big Thunder Mountain, but doesn't look like that's the case.

From 76.24.173.128 on January 18, 2011 at 2:01 PM
I just heard about this about an hour ago, and i was sad that toontown was closes, but i had no idea they were just "re-theming" it. The barnstormer was my first roller coaster, and i didn't want that to be my last ride ever on it. I'm excited for the new roller coaster "The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train" so i can take my 4 year old cousin on it when she goes for the first time.
From Tim W on January 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM
I have to say thank you sooo much Disney. I'm glad that pixie hollow will not be in existance, and somewhat glad that Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty will not have thier own exclusive, girl centric meet and greets. I truly think the changes are great for the land. I'm excited about the new snow white coaster. And I'm so happy that the Ariel ride remains, and the Beuaty and the Beast restaurant. I would have liked to have seen one more ride, or show added, but I am thrilled with the revised plans.
From Nick Markham on January 18, 2011 at 3:01 PM
What about the Little Mermaid ride like that in DCA?
From 174.130.47.97 on January 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM
Does anyone know when this will be complete?
From 68.63.38.33 on January 18, 2011 at 3:13 PM
Their response to harry potter is a mine train coaster? Don't be afraid to invest some money Disney! I hope they pull off a real response by the end of the year.
From Robert Niles on January 18, 2011 at 3:32 PM
I don't think Disney can respond to Harry Potter with any single project. Disney needs to bring a variety of top-quality new attractions across its parks to make the entire destination even more attractive in comparison with Universal and Potter.

This version of Fantasyland represents an improvement over the previous plans, and certainly over what Disney has now. So that will help Disney. Theme parks are a "what have you done for me lately?" business.

From Robert Niles on January 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM
Yes, Nick, neglected to mention in the story, but the Little Mermaid ride is still go for this version.
From Manny Barron on January 18, 2011 at 3:54 PM
A family mine train coaster themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Sounds great. I imagine that the scope of this ride won't be big but should still be something nice to ride. This is excellent news as this now features two new rides for all of us not into meet-and-greets. More info on this new ride would be nice. Kinda weird to see the old Snow White ride go, but the concensus will mostly be that it was time for it to go.
From TH Creative on January 18, 2011 at 4:25 PM
I am humbled. I expressed doubt on this site regarding the Snow White Mine Train attraction. I was the big fat skeptic who now has egg on his face.

Sigh.

This is why I should never leave the jungle.

From Joseph Catlett on January 18, 2011 at 4:32 PM
I don't know. I'm still rather unimpressed by what Disney is throwing out there for the Fantasyland redo. My wife and I have been going to Disney theme park for our entire lives, and even though we love them, we have never, and I stress, NEVER been more blown away than when we went to Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal last year. The attention to detail and true sense of place is truly a game changer in the industry. What Disneyworld just announced just seems so uninspired and lazy to say the least. Potter got us to take a special trip to Florida, this simply is not. The mouse can do so much better. Maybe they'll surprise me, but I don't see it happening here.
From Daniel Etcheberry on January 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM
The dwarfs coaster is a great idea; the current Snow White ride is pretty bad.

If only they brought back the submarines it would be a perfect Fantasyland.

From Anthony Murphy on January 18, 2011 at 5:59 PM
I think its a plus, but I also feel that getting rid of Snow White's Scary Adventures is a big minus with WDW pretty much gutting out all the "dark rides" that make Fantasyland so lovely. Thank goodness Disneyland did not follow suit. If I am left with just the dreadful (yes dreadful) Peter Pan, that would be a sad day.

I would have also liked to have seen one of the walthough princess attractions stay, perhaps Belle. It would be something that could, in some way, go head to head with Olivander's.

Then again, who would have thought that Fantasyland, of all lands, would have the most roller coasters!?!?!


I will say one thing about IOA's Harry Potter: it really is not any different than Fantasyland Expansion. No offense to WWOHP which is what EXACTLY IOA needed and was able to really capture the imagination usually found only at Disney, but in all honesty, the only additions to WWOHP was the dark ride and stores. All the rest of WWOHP was already there as Dueling Dragons, Enchanted Unicorn, and Enchanted Oak. MK is getting a brand new Dark Ride, Resturant,and Roller Coaster. Sounds about even to me!

From Carrie Hood on January 18, 2011 at 5:58 PM
I'm with Daniel, I want the Submarines back!
Then again I don't even hide the fact I'm a total Disney purist.

I'm not sure how I feel yet about this, Snow White is a classic ride which Disney himself designed and had put into the park. It's also one of the last great "opening attractions" left in Magic Kingdom. I also can't help but have this sinking feeling this "Mine Train Ride" is going to be nothing but an Indoor wild mouse coaster. The "Rocking back and forth" part is pushing me into thinking that however I hope they put a LOT more into it then just that and music. There are better options or they could even custom design a ride system similar to what USO did with Mummy. I'd like to have high hopes but I just can't manage to get myself excited about it yet. So I'll just wait on judgment until more info is available.

I still don't get why their taking away and not just adding, Disney has the space. That still confuses me.

From 70.51.238.83 on January 18, 2011 at 5:59 PM
sounds like Disney is STARTING to ramp things up, which is good. With all the new ride technologies available, why not a real flight simulator ride to revamp Peter Pan?
From Amianne Moore on January 18, 2011 at 6:15 PM
I was really looking forward to having Pixie Hollow, as well as the separate areas for the princesses. Meeting Aurora on her 16th birthday and getting to see the Tremaine house would have been great! There is so much within Magic Kingdom to appeal to boys already, such as Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland, that is seems a shame that the girls couldn't have a land of their own. It just seems kind of watered down now, although I am happy they are going to put in another new attraction besides The Little Mermaid, which sounds alot like a retheming of Nemo and Friends in Epcot. The minetrain sounds like it could be fun, as long as it isn't geared too young. I doubt many will miss the current Snow White ride, altho' I will have to get over there to ride it one last time! I hope that they will find a place to put the Pixies...they are great, have seemed to be extremely popular (lines are usually never less than 60 minutes any time I have been there). Maybe they can put them in Hollywood Studios somewhere?
From Robert Niles on January 18, 2011 at 6:19 PM
I can't blame Disney for deciding to close the current Snow White ride in favor of the Seven Dwarfs Mine. Why? Imagine this scenario: A guest walks up to a cast member and asks:

"Where's the Snow White ride?"

Can you see the possibility for confusion? Better to go with one Snow White ride in Fantasyland, and make it the one with the latest technology and (I hope) engaging storytelling.

I wouldn't get too caught up with what Walt did and did not do in the parks. I suspect that if you brought Walt back for a day, showing him the latest technology available to theme parks, he'd likely order half the parks torn down for immediate rehab and redevelopment. The man loved his tech toys and would be challenging his employees to use them to tell stories in new and more engaging ways.

So... they should.

From 68.63.38.33 on January 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM
A coaster is better than meet and greets, but it looks too much like Frontierland. We already have a mine train in BTM. At least pixie hallow and the houses had a fantasy element, the concept art was beautiful. I feel as if they stripped away the color from the vegetation. This new coaster looks rushed and cheap. I know Imagineers are capable of more. I know the execs have the money. I say give the public what it wants, innovation, creativity, not an e-ticket, but a super e-ticket.

Now an attraction like Space Fantasy The Ride in Universal Japan is quite an effort. Check it out.

From James Rao on January 18, 2011 at 8:25 PM
I think the renderings and announced plans look and sound amazing. I have no complaints.

The Mine Train coaster is supposed to have state of the art tech behind it, and from the pictures the layout appears to be nothing like a wild mouse. My guess is it will be a custom design, unique and perfect for all ages.

The Little Mermaid dark ride was already at the top of my list of things to do, as was the Be Our Guest restaurant. I am glad they are still in the plans.

My kids are are getting a bit too old for Dumbo, but you can bet I will check out this newfangled version of the tired old midway spinner, even if it is only to see the queue-less ride system in action. Queue-less rides are the wave of the future, and Dueling Dumbos is going to set a new standard.

As for the Goofy coaster...meh. Poor Goofy! All he ever gets is a re-theme. Schucks. Still the ride is a fine starter coaster, so it is worth keeping. No harm, no foul.

The new Princess meet-n-greet area seems like a winner for those who are into that sort of thing. And lets face it, the Snow White dark ride was a bit of a dog anyway - I'd rather have the coaster in this case.

One more note, the landscaping and scenery in the renderings look simply breathtaking. If WDI pulls it off as pictured we are all in for quite a treat.

Now, going into what have you done for me lately mode... when is the big "Disney is fixing the Dance Club Yeti" announcement going to be made?

From 192.251.125.40 on January 18, 2011 at 7:10 PM
While updating Fantasyland is nice for the families with small children, Disney should be concentrating on updating rides that will be bringing in the teens and the young adults and adults. People with small children will always take there little ones to Disney, it's a right of passage. Time to do away with Ton Sawyers Island and Swiss family Robinson and add some additional thrill rides.
From 97.103.176.168 on January 18, 2011 at 9:07 PM
The Snow White coaster look huge from the artwork released with this announcement! In comparison to what they planned before for that same location I definitely feel like this is an upgrade.

Personally I feel disappointed in the non- Dumbo circus section of the old ToonTown. Nothing specific is listed in the announcement, and it is hard to tell in the artwork if there are any attractions back there- so are we just going to be left with those old tents from ToonTown Fair? Yuk. I'd rather see Pixie Hollow built then keep those silly old tents (that coming from a 30 something yr. old MALE). Hopefully that section can/ will be further expanded and better themed in years to come. Otherwise the project looks great.

From 97.103.176.168 on January 18, 2011 at 9:13 PM
In addition to my post above I have one more thing to add...

BOOOOO to Disney for their rendering of the roof on the Mad Tea Party. On the concept art they show it as an all new, BEAUTIFUL, whimsical roof (similar to the one at DLP). However Disney just finished rehabbing Mad Tea Party, and no such roof was installed. I am sure it sounds silly... but I am really disappointed. It also makes me wonder what other things will get cut back on this project.

From Tony Perkins on January 18, 2011 at 9:24 PM
This still does not compete with Harry Potter at all. Worse yet they're actually getting rid of a classic dark ride in Snow White... when there's no reason for MK to remove an attraction (even doubly so when there are so many other attractions worse than Snow White) as there's soooo much room available in MK. It was the same issue with Toad leaving to make room for Pooh. We should have had both. We should have the mine coaster plus the classic dark ride. Sorry, Disney, but this plan doesn't make me want to travel cross country to visit you. If anything it just makes me not want to visit even more since you're removing a classic. Oh well, still have the Disneyland Resort in SoCal which is getting better and better.
From Amanda Jenkins on January 18, 2011 at 10:44 PM
I think this is a vast improvement from the previous plans. Granted, I would like to see more brand new rides instead of a second Dumbo and retheme for Goofy. But, I am sure it will look amazing. Persoanlly, I am glad to see the Pixie Hollow idea leave. Now if we could just make a few adjustments in Tomorrowland, *ahem* Stitch I'm talking to you, then we would really have something to be excited about.
From 98.21.96.110 on January 19, 2011 at 12:08 AM
This sounds awesome to me. A much more exciting plan for me to look forward to. I'm glad that they revamped the plans and added the family coaster. I will miss they old Snow White attraction, but hopefully the new ride will be worth the trade off...... maybe they will put a new dark ride into the Fantasyland area in the future. I am very excited and happy about the revamped plans though.... Yay Disneyworld!!
From 98.21.96.110 on January 19, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Someone said..... "Their response to harry potter is a mine train coaster?"

Will they still be doing the Little Mermaid Ride and revamping the Dumbos? I hope..... (I think they are)

If we get two brand new rides, Little Mermaid and The mine train..... that is already more new rides than Harry Potter Land (the hypogryth and Dragon Challenge are not new..... just like The great Goofini will not be new).

I think that as far as appealing to a family and people who are interested in more theme oriented rides and attractions, they have a plan that will make a lot of people want to come see what they've got. It's great that the land will have some appeal to boys and girls this way.

Really, if Universal investing money into their park gets Disney to react this way, then it's a win win for themepark fans! Both parks will probably have a lot of business! I know I want to go see the new Fantasyland even more now!

From 98.21.96.110 on January 19, 2011 at 12:37 AM
To the people who miss the submarines..... I miss them too!! .

Maybe Disney World can use the submarines in a new attraction in the Animal Kingdom park sometime in the future. I think Animal Kingdom could use another nice ride, and it would be nice to see the submarines be used again.... like how they found use for them in the CA parks with the Nemo ride. Maybe they can do something animal themed and use them at Animal Kingdom!

I am happier now with the new announced Fantasyland plans than I was with the massive ammount of meet and greets before. We got another ride!!

From Joshua Counsil on January 19, 2011 at 1:12 AM
It seems like small potatoes compared to Harry Potter, but it may surprise us; The Little Mermaid could be spectacular. For now, though, I remain somewhat sceptical.
From Rob P on January 19, 2011 at 3:32 AM
The Great Goofini ?
Is that the best the imagineers could come up with for the re-branding of Goofy's Barnstormer ?
Is this an indication of the level of interest here ? I sincerely hope not.
The introduction of the Seven Dwarfs dark ride will be universally welcomed but it's the little things ( no pun intended ) that make the difference. Like,as a previous poster mentioned, the roofing on Mad Tea Party being constructed with no thought or theme.
I'm all in favour of this expansion but it needs to be sympathetically done.
I'm sure it will all turn out fine but names are important and the Goofini idea is ..well.....goofy.
From 94.173.9.23 on January 19, 2011 at 4:20 AM
This is Disney for gods sake. They need to start ramping up development over the whole resort rather than just focus on one area. This would be fine if they were building a $300,000,000 dollar attraction in Epcot, or a Carsland elsewhere or.. just something! I can't see a revamped Fantasyland competing with Universal's juggernaught that is Harry P.

C'mon Mickey - get your finger out! Your doing it well in Anaheim, lets see some Orlando action...

From Anthony Murphy on January 19, 2011 at 9:25 AM
As for the submarine ride, its not as great as you remember them to be! I too missed them. This year, I went on the Nemo Submarines at Disneyland. Very cramped and looking out of a itty bitty hole to see fish on strings? No thanks!
From Rod Whitenack on January 19, 2011 at 10:28 AM
I think Robert is correct about how Walt would feel about using the latest technology in his attractions, and Disney must move forward as much as it looks back to its history. When I was a kid, I saw Snow White's Scary Adventures as a junior version of my favorite attraction, the Haunted Mansion, and it gave me something spooky to love in Fantasy Land. I just hope that before they dismantle the ride and scatter its parts to collectors or store them in a private warehouse that they send in a professional video crew to document the ride as best as they can so we can look back in years to come and see what it was like. The ride is too dark for YouTube videos. It needs a professional cinematographer to properly light it.
From Thomas Caselli on January 19, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Who cares about Harry Potter? Universal will always be second fiddle to Disney. Disney is now doing alot at Walt Disney World. A lot of people will be thrilled when it is all done, me included. There will always be negative people out there. They probably wouldn't be happy no matter what Disney did. If they don't like what is being done, they can go somewhere else. It won't hurt Disney at all.
From 64.8.46.4 on January 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM
I'm a long time Disney supporter. I have never had any interest in going to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because I'm not a Harry Potter fan. The only reason it's as popular as it is is because Harry Potter is so wildly popular. I think Universal adding this to their line up just brings them up closer to Disney's level a notch. Disney has always been excellent at paying attention to detail (Tower of Terror, anyone?) and it's one of the reasons I love them so much. I have no doubt the new attraction will be a hit.

Now, as for the toning down of Disney princesses, I can't say I'm thrilled about that personally because they're one of my favorite parts of everything Disney. However, it does make great sense. One of my husbands complaints about WDW has always been that he thinks it's more for girls than boys. While I've always disagreed, maybe this will make him (and other skeptics) think twice about that from now on!

From David L. on January 19, 2011 at 3:28 PM
Sounds Amazing!
This will definitely be far better the Harry Potter world, (Unless the Forbidden Journey ends up being just as good as Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain combined as i have not made it to IOA to see potter yet). I really look forward to see how the 7 dwarfs turn out with the new ride system. I just wonder what the remaining circus tents will be used for. I'm very glad there there is still plenty of room for expansion for many attractions.
From 97.103.176.168 on January 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM
I just want to throw an idea out to some hard core Disney fans...

It is o.k. to enjoy going to other themeparks.

Visiting Universal's wonderful Potter-land, or loving the laid back atmosphere and beautiful animals of SeaWorld doesn't change your Disney experience at all. You can love them all! Ultimately when themeparks compete for our attention and build new and innovative attractions, we ALL win! This new and improved Fantasyland is an example of that.

I also can't wait to see what Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld do next!

From 71.56.0.125 on January 19, 2011 at 7:45 PM
David L: I just got back from Harry Potter and it is incredible...the ride is awesome...rode it 13 times at least. It was incredible. I also rode Pirates of Caribbean and Spash Mountain and they are great but different completely. Hard to compare them. But, Harry Potter will not disappoint you. The cue line for Harry Potter is a sight to behold by itself.

I have been going to Orlando annually since I was 2 and am 37 now. I go to all the theme parks (except Sea World - have issues with Orcas and dolphins in captivity) Disney and Universal.

I saw there was some construction going on in Magic Kingdom.They have it gated off near the tea cups. Look forward to seeing the new changes, BUT the lines are going to be crazy at first - ugh!

From 98.21.96.110 on January 19, 2011 at 8:19 PM
Someone said "I just want to throw an idea out to some hard core Disney fans...
It is o.k. to enjoy going to other themeparks."

Same could be said for the hardcore Harry Potter Universal fans. The story is about Disney's new Fantasyland, yet Harry Potter is mentioned in so many posts (It's like ants at a picnic!..... lol).
It's funny how we get passionate about Disney and Universal on here the way some people do about Sports teams! It is okay to like more than one though, I agree.....lol.
I am excited to see the new Disney Fantasyland, I really think the drawings are look nice. I'm glad that the competition between Universal and Disney may help keep both companies striving to stimulate thier audiences to keep us interested and give us new things.

From Carlo Guardascione on January 19, 2011 at 10:53 PM
There's only one word that can MAYBE rival Harry Potter and that is: PIXAR.

And it's not any one movie from Pixar, it's the whole suite of films. The entire land should be themed after that Pixar movies: Toy Story, Nemo, Cars, Incredibles. That would have people talking and get them excited about visiting the park again.

I like what they have proposed but it does seem like they're holding back a bit. New breath needs to be given to Imagineering.

From 69.231.230.175 on January 20, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Wow, 55 years of theme park experience, innovation, magic and entertainment and this is the best they can come up with? Now to be honest Florida's Magic Kingdom doesn't really fall in my top list since I grew up with Disneyland out here in the west coast.

But You've got to be kidding me that this is the absolute best they can come up with? Especially for the room and the caliber that this park has.

It's one thing to keep with the brand, but at this point, it seems to me that they are relying too much on this and not even try to come up with something more original and groundbreaking.

Giving up the submarines for a dwarf family friendly coaster doesn't do much to appeal the crowds that seek the Wizarding World of HP. I just don't see how this will be the thing that is going to fill the park with the masses. Is it a wonder why slapping together a budget conscious entertainment attraction didn't work at DCA? Have they not learned? By far I think this was such a typical Disney error, even though they do have time and money to redeem themselves here and totally, and I mean totally blow the mind. Unfortunately the big wigs aren't thinking innovation. I think their reaction into simply building something for the sake competition is really evident here and no, if I had my choice I think I'd choose Harry Potter over a Dwarf mine ride and a double Dumbo combo wonder. What's crazy is that I don't even care about HP, never seen the movies, but just from reading about the technology and the fact that they made the place look the real deal is enough to warrant my interest. Missed opportunity indeed. Seems the Eisner era isn't really dead after all.

From TROY DAVIDSON on January 20, 2011 at 9:52 AM
Is it just me, but, according to the drawings the "Beauty and the Beast" castle is sitting up high above a formed rock mountian. Why not build a dark ride inside the "mountian" (bobsleds?) and we can tour the Beast castle, enjoying some anamatronic characters singing "Be our Guest" Then the beast can bust in mad, roaring, and we can blast off on the ride to get away.(kind of like the Mummy ride at Univesal) Then show Belle finding the rose petals falling, and then in the ballroom they are dancing together and all the characters can change back to their human form. The entire Circus theme to me sounds very generic. I think a dark ride that tells the story of Cinderella would be very appealing. The mice could sing and sew her dress and we could ride in pumpkin coach convertables. The Snow White mine ride sounds cool, but, I'm not convinced it will be pleasing to the eye and improve the Fanastyland sky scape. Well, at this point anything Disney can do will improve the park. Hopefully the Studios and Animal Kingdom will get some love ($$$) as well.
From 173.66.204.173 on January 20, 2011 at 10:07 AM
I will echo what has been said above: PLEASE bring back a submarine ride!!!! I loved the 20,000 Leagues ride. So many themes they could use that are more modern. don't really care, just bring back a sub ride!

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