New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom: Disney Parks History

 Disney Parks History

New Fantasyland Opening 2012 Concept Art Magic Kingdom Disney World

New Fantasyland reimagined the most iconic land at the most visited theme park on the planet with new attractions that perfectly complimented what was already there, bringing to life new and classic stories in new ways.

But it was not an easy road to get to the New Fantasyland that we now get to enjoy at the Magic Kingdom, and even the initially announced concept presented to the public would not be the one that we got to see.

Welcome to Disney Parks History and today we are taking you through the history of New Fantasyland, the major expansion that came to the classic land at the Magic Kingdom in 2012. Check out the full series here.

This land was developed and announced in 2009 as a replacement to the back half of Fantasyland, occupied by Dumbo and the remains of the long-closed opening day attraction 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

It was planned to add one major attraction to the land and several elaborate meet and greet experiences into the park.

New Fantasyland Concept Art Original Version Disney World Magic Kingdom

The idea is that a new castle wall would separate the original Fantasyland as a medieval fair taking place in the castle courtyard, with New Fantasyland being the villages of the people beyond the royal gates.

Be Our Guest Entrance New Fantasyland Magic Kingdom Disney World

You would be able to pass through Belle's Village with her cottage giving way to an elaborate meet and greet experience relocating Storytelling With Belle to an inside location accompanied by multiple preshows and audio-animatronics known as Enchanted Tales With Belle. An elaborate new dining experience would also open known as Be Our Guest taking place in Beast's Castle which would tower over the mini-land.

Next to it, you would find an elaborate Cinderella meet and greet taking place in her old home from the original film, now recreated in the shadow of her castle.

In the back of the land, you entered the kingdom of Princess Ariel and Prince Eric, where you followed their story from start to finish in a new dark ride, Under The Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, which would also include a permanent meet and greet location for Ariel, who had been displaced by the construction of this land.

Also located in the land was an elaborate Pixie Hollow themed area based on the Tinkerbelle films set to replace the tents of Toontown.

The land also would have created permanent meet and greet locations for Aurora and Snow White at the park.

Dumbo, which was then located in the middle of the proposed construction area would also be relocated in the former location of Toontown with two ride systems and an elaborate play area in the queue line, with a reutilized Barnstormer next door making for a mini circus area.

The rest of Fantasyland would be preserved, with Mad Tea Party, It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's Philharmagic, and Snow White's Scary Adventures all being untouched by the proposed changes.

New Fantasyland Construction From Dumbo Magic Kingdom Disney World

This proposal was almost immediately criticized for its lack of rides, with only one entirely new ride coming to the park in a massive expansion. The criticism was strong enough that the plans would actually be changed before construction.

New Fantasyland Final Concept Art Magic Kingdom Disney World

All of the elaborate meet and greet experiences except that of Beauty and the Beast were removed to be replaced by a Snow White themed roller coaster that became the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Dumbo Storybook Circus Fantasyland Magic Kingdom Disney World

It was decided the tents of Toontown would stay to form a much larger circus-themed area, canceling the Pixie Hollow area. The dueling Dumbos would still be located in this area alongside a rethemed Barnstormer.

As Snow White was getting an attraction for the 21st century, her original attraction, Snow White's Scary Adventures would be replaced by a simple interchangeable princess meet and greet.

Tangled Bathrooms Fantasyland Magic Kingdom Disney World

An elaborate Tangled themed bathroom would also come replacing the old Fantasyland Skyway station that had sat dormant for years. It reutilized the area in a way that made something as simple as restrooms magical.

Enchanted Tales With Belle Entrance Sign Fantasyland Disney World

This was an instance where criticism improved plans for an upcoming Disney Parks addition. While Enchanted Tales With Belle is an amazing Disney experience, it is incredibly low capacity, limiting its appeal. Having a land of several of these experiences would make the land really only appeal to small children, who are more likely to participate in an interactive meet and greet.

First Drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Magic Kingdom Disney World

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ended up becoming one of the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom, giving the park another roller coaster, and an additional highly-themed ride as a tribute to the first Disney animated movie.

Entrance Under The Seay Journey of the Little Mermaid Magic Kingdom Disney World

Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid also gave the park a tribute to the film that revitalized Disney animation to the high standard of pop culture it still holds today. It also made for a perfect replacement for the nautical ride that previously held its location. While initially a few scenes were criticized, mostly for unrealistic depictions of Ariel's hair, it was revised in a much-improved way.

The only main drawback of the revised plan was the loss of opening day ride Snow White's Scary Adventures, which while a fun ride, could never draw the crowds that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train did even when it first opened.

Tangled Tower Fantasyland Magic Kingdom Disney World

New Fantasyland remains a beloved part of the Magic Kingdom, and it is difficult to imagine the park without it today. Disney kept the best parts of their original plan but listened to fan criticism to improve upon it and make for a land that would appeal to all who come to the Magic Kingdom, not just the children. It will continue to be a beloved part of Walt Disney World for years to come.