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Fantasyland Expansion Begins with Groundbreaking at Magic Kingdom Park

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Experiences

Fantasyland Expansion
A quick update…Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has officially broken ground for what will be the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom Theme Park – Fantasyland.

Just look at the images from the 1/4 inch dimensional model… it’ll be remarkable when completed. There will be four Disney classic-inspired areas or neighborhoods to explore. And one of the most unique offerings in those neighborhoods will be new interactive Storybook adventures with your favorite Disney princesses.
Fantasyland Expansion
And parents take note…Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a beloved MK Attraction, will take center stage on its own new mini land with the addition of a second attraction. You’ll be invited to take part in a series of interactive experiences inside an air-conditioned three-ring circus tent. Of course, there’s much more to the expansion, but we wanted to share news of the groundbreaking with you first. Check the blog for future updates.

The expansion project is scheduled to be completed in 2013.


  • P.S. I agree with most of you who would choose Snow White over Aurora 🙂

  • No new rollercoaster…just Goofy’s Barnstormer gonna be re-themed. It will prolly be closed along with All of Mickey’s Toontown Fair. The characters will prolly be placed elsewhere. We like to catch the characters during meals instead. Let them come to us rather than wait in a long line 🙂

  • I’ve been going to WDW since I was really little and I am now almost 15. I found out about the fantasyland expansion as soon as it was announced while I was at WDW in September of this past year. I am so excited about it and by the time they finish it I’ll be old enough to get a job as a character actor like I’ve always dreamed.

  • hi! we are going to the “world” this december! can anyone tell me if the new expansion will affect any part of fantasyland?? we have a 4 year old princess who is SUPER excited about going to her “princy castle” for christmas! i hope she won’t be disappointed by any closings! i know they will only enhance the park, but, closings make for sad little princes and princesses.
    🙁 if anyone can help me, it would be apprecited! thanks in advance!

  • Can’t wait to see the chages. hopefully they will keep true to the tradition of the ride!

  • I am so excited for this it will be amazing but the first thing i saw was the hidden mickey!!! love that!!!!

  • We are so excited about the expansion. Ever since the Little Mermaid was released on DVD, with the virtual Little Mermaid ride we have been hoping the powers that be would actually bring it to life. Fantasy Land needs a bit of an update. Like it or not the Princesses and Fairies are super popular. I don’t think that is going to change. Disney is give the people, and all the little princesses out there what they want.

  • Sooooo glad they’re adding a second dumbo ride!!!!!!!!! love the ride but not the lines hopefully this will cut down on wait time!

  • Another coaster? GREAT!

  • Justice, there are reasons why free-roaming characters have become all but a thing of the past.

    In the old days, when they would roam on their own without escorts, they’d get mobbed like crazy and become more likely to recieve endless abuse from guests, especially young kids who took delight in tormenting the poor characters by punching them in the chest, kicking them in the rear, etc.

    By having some structured meet-and-greets (they still place characters in appropriately-themed areas/environments), it actually gives guests places where they are actually GUARANTEED to see their favorite characters and have a decent amount of one-on-one time with them, get pictures with them, etc.

    And to those who think there’ll be nothing for boys, well…

    1) The parks already have things that appeal heavily to boys elsewhere on the WDW property.

    2) The villains and male characters from the respective films being represented in the Fantasyland expansion are supposedly going to come out for meet-and-greets in the area. You never know.

    And in regards to the new offerings being added…

    1) Not everything has to be an E-Ticket. And not everything has to be a ride.

    2) A lot of guests that come to WDW may have never been to DL. So, IMO, that’s very good reason to have the Little Mermaid at WDW as well, to allow them to be able to experience it.

    Overall, let’s be thankful that we’re even getting this expansion in the first place. The Magic Kingdom has needed something as grand and ambitious as this for a LONG time.

  • I wish they would do some more things for BOYS!!! I don’t have any girls but we take our boys there every other year!! We are not into Princesses but love the character meets. Can they consider something for boys also in this huge expansion? I am sure it will be really nice when it is done but they do have other people who go there other then girls!!!

  • Just hate that Toontown will be gone!! We will miss Mickey’s house – we need to remember “that it was all started with a mouse” not a princess!!!!

  • Daniel from KY I will be at the D23 party as well!! Can’t wait, I am hoping a lot of these questions will be answered there, since they say they will be talking about the expansion.

  • Awesome.

    I can’t believe some people are complaining about a huge huge upgrade to this area.

    Thanks Disney for doing this.

  • I certainly think that the atmosphere of this new area is a step in the right direction, however, I am very disappointed with the lack of new attractions. Instead of adding high quality attractions, it appears that all this new expansion will give us is a bunch of Meet n Greets, a dueling dumbo, an elaborate restaurant and a cloned E-Ticket.

    Meet n Greets are certainly not necessary. Long before Toon Town Fair or any other Meet n Greets, Disney characters roamed their specific land. They did not need to have a structure to go in because they fit their respective lands. And in those lands they were able to INTERACT with guests. Sadly, the interaction factor is very limited when their is a 2 hour line for a picture with Cinderella. It is a waste of estate to have a huge building for something that could be done in the sidewalk.

    And Little Mermaid is very disappointing Disney. I am sorry, but if I live here on the West Coast, you WANT to make me come there to the East. However if all you are doing is bringing over the exact same items that we have here in California, what’s the point? What ever happened to each park being original? I wish that this expansion included rides about Mary Poppins or Beauty and the Beast or even Sleeping Beauty but certainly not a clone from Disney’s California Adventure. Do you think taking what Disney’s California is getting as a highlight of their expansion is a smart idea? Will it make DCA seem more special?

    I think the dense forest is great, but I feel the content is all wrong. It should have been more about the attractions, less about the Meet n Greets.

  • On the whole, I’m looking forward to the Fantasyland Forest expansion, but I do have to echo other sentiments here that it’s more than a little overkill with the princesses.

    What I’m most disappointed in is that, with all this never-before-seen expansion and the incredible amount of money being sunk into it, we are getting only one new ride. One. And it’s not even unique; it’s a clone of a ride going in at DCA.

    The rags-to-riches Cinderella attraction sounds intriguing, and I’m thrilled to have the new dining option(s) at Beast’s Castle, but I’d much rather have a new, unique E-Ticket and a couple of C or D-Ticket dark rides to bring new, exciting, and repeatable experiences to the Magic Kingdom than more meet and greet opportunities.

    The new Dumbo area sounds interesting, but it will be so odd not to have Dumbo where it has always been. My internal park map, I’m sure, will always have Dumbo right there in the middle of the park.

  • I am going next week is there anything closed yet?

  • I am with so many other people here….what are the closures? My kids love Fantasyland! (me too)

  • I can’t wait to see it finished! Although I’m a little sad that they gonna get rid of Toontown Fair, I have to say that it’s far from my favorite land in MK… I’m happy with the double-dumbos; I used to be a Cast Member at Disneyland Paris, working at Dumbo/Mad Hatter/Snow White/Carousel/Pinocchio(I know, we don’t have it here)and Dumbo is hard to work at. Childs are crying, parents are impatient and cast members are waiting to be bumped to another attraction. You’ll see, Fantasyland will become a better place; even though there will not be an attraction for boys. They should think about changing Goofy’s ride to Casey Junior, the train from Dumbo. They have that in Paris and kids, especially boys, love it!

    Marcia; my son would love to have a Cars-themed raceway in Tomorrowland! What a great idea! I hope somebody from WDW is reading all of this!

    Can’t wait to be back, hopefully before the work begins, in 74 days! 😉

  • Ed from NH thank you for answering Kimberly’s question…that is great news…and a relief.

  • why does cinderella need a chateau? she already has the castle. what about snow white? she is the ORIGINAL disney princess. and yet she has been snubbed in this expansion. i must say, that in all of our meetings with the princesses, snow white is always most kind and aurora is always most boring. but honestly, i think this is a glaring error and hope that it is fixed before this expansion is complete. the snow white ride is not truly about snow white. that ride is about the (fantastic) evil queen. snow white deserves her own space too!

    how great would a dwarves’ cottage have been? then, you could meet snow white and 2-3 dwarves. fantastic!

    and while i’m excited about two dumbos, there is something to be said about riding dumbo overlooking fantasyland. that is magic. now, it will be hidden away near the back.

  • Very excited to see the changes!!! However, it would be nice to see more attractions geared towards boys, as I too have only boys… Marci – great idea about a Cars themed Speedway. It would be great to see more Cars themed attractions as it is such a popular movie! Looking forward to our next visit:)

  • Sounds great.

  • I am SO excited about this!!! My daughter is going to be ecstatic about all the new princess attractions. I wish Disney would do some more for boys though…it would be great to have the Speedway re-themed to Cars.

  • Just curious, but we are getting married November of 2011 and are planning a MK photo shoot, will this be off limits at that time???

  • Kimberly from KY all those things will remain the expansion is going over where 20,000 leagues under the sea was,the only things that are being replaced are toontown and Ariels Grotto, and she is getting her own section in the expansion.

  • We are going in October and I want to know what closings to expect from this if any? Does anyone know what rides will be closed in October due to this expansion? Is the Barnstormer being eliminated? I have heard that. Please let me know what will be closed. Some things are a very important part of our trips and I really don’t want to be in the dark until we get there. It is better to be prepared. Thanks.

  • more reasons to come back in 2015!

  • Awesome – can’t wait! This time tomorrow I’ll be in the Magic Kingdom and getting ready for Friday night’s Fantasyland focused D23 Anniversary event.

  • Corinne, unfortunately that isn’t a new roller coaster. It’s Goofy’s Barnstormer, which will be re-themed to fit in with Dumbo’s circus.

    Colleen, from what I understand, the construction won’t impact that area. Pooh, Snow White, Philharmagic, Peter Pan, and Small World won’t be part of the construction.

    Dumbo, Ariel’s Grotto, the former location of 20,000 Leagues, and Mickey’s Toon Town Fair is the location that will be redone.

  • Ok… this is all great but what about peter pan’s flight, its a small world, snow white’s adventure, and pooh’s ride….am I missing something are they going to be GONE…that would be HORRIBLE…all these years there and they still hold so much magic in them….they are great…they just can’t shut them down.

  • I have one regret about this change. It seems like this would be good opportunity to expand the Tommorow Land Speed Way. If you’ve been to the Magic Kingdom in Califonia and ridden Autopia, you would know exactly what I mean.
    I really like the two seperate Dumbos, ths is a far better capacity change than making two rows per elephant like on the Aladdin Carpet ride and the ride in Dinoland.

  • I agree – it would be nice to have a section more devoted to boys since I only have boys. I know the princesses are a big thing, but boys just aren’t really into that. My boys would love to have something more geared towards them! I am always excited, though, about new things going on at Disney World!

  • Just got back from a weekend trip and forgot just how small the current Fantasyland really is. This is a much needed expansion. Looking forward to seeing everything completed.

    If I’m looking at the model correct it appears that the Barnstormer will remain, but is being re-puropsed. Any word yet as to the theme? I assume that with it’s close proximity to the re-imagined Dumbo that it will have a simular theme, possibly somthing to do with Casey Jr.?

  • I love the concept of what is going to happen, but I feel that Snow White would have been a much better princess to honor in this expansion than Aurora. Honestly, the movie Snow White won and Oscar and there would be lots of fun things that could be done with her and the Dwarves. Sleeping Beauty is a real snooze of a movie and who cares if she slept through her birthday?

  • I am super excited about this! We are heading to Disney in 2 weeks, but will definitely head back for this! Can’t wait!

  • mickey and minnie will be moved to exhibition hall(i think thats what it is called) on main street. i had read cinderella will be in her house where they will have mini 15 min sessions where cinderella will transform from rags to her gown in front of you somehow…it will some sort of live performance.I believe similar things will happen at the other princesses houses as well

  • I want expansions to Adventureland and/or Frontierland please!

  • I can’t wait to see all of the changes, but I too am wondering how this will effect our visits for the next couple of years..

  • Will it still have Peter Pans flight?

  • We are planning a trip this Oct. but it looks like we will be heading back in 2013!! Exciting!

  • I’m hoping that the deal with Marvel brings more boy stuff into Walt Disney World, the overabundance of Princess stuff is why my boys are starting to show more interest in whats happening at Universal then Disney.

  • How soon do we find out when the closure takes effect??? My family and I will be at MK March 26!!

  • @Jason – you make a very good point – and it relates to what was asking about character meets, as well. Where WILL Mickey and Minnie be?
    Are they being ousted in favour of more Princess stuff too?…

  • I want to know why Cinderella will be at her former home of the Tremaine’s (from what I have heard from fellow entertainment CM’s).
    Surely with that lovely big Castle she has named after her, she doesn’t need to be doing meets in the old house with her wicked family who live there?…
    Wouldn’t it better to move the Cinderella meets to the Fairytale Garden – which is part of the Castle grounds, and have the Tremaines move from the Fairytale Garden to their house?
    Also, will there be anywhere to meet the Princesses any more without having to pay for a meal, or do silly crafting?
    We don’t have kids, as many people, and would still want to meet them all. But wit the Hall of Fame gone, who wants to sit and make cards with 5 year olds in order to see Aurora?! Not me!
    I think some of these logistical questions need to be thought out for the die-hard fans, otherwise I think a lot of people will be put off. How long will it be before you realise nobody wants the hassle, and give up the whole “make a card for Aurora” thing and just have normal meets anyway?…
    The fans know what they want. Expansion yes, messing with character meets, no.

  • I love all things Disney – especially the disney parks. I think it is such a shame that you cant fit Mickey and Minnies’ houses in the expansion – such a waste to get rid of them – i know they were popular. Thats perhaps the most disappointing thing for me…and why do we need more princess stuff? It would have been good if you could have had a section for boys too – perhaps a peter pan section or villains section – or have a prince meet and greet too, rather thatn just the princesses. Boy want to have some magical fun too you know!
    The dumbo expansion is a great idea though.

  • I’m excited for another roller coaster!

  • What kind of closures can we expect from this in the near future (or, at least, this year)? Should I start preparing my family now for the possibility of Fantasyland closures on upcoming trips?

  • I first visisted WDW in 1972 and not again until 2001. I’ve been back every year since 2001. I’ve noticed some of the changes that have taken place but this one will be extra magical to watch! Thank you Disney!

  • Looks like so much fun! I am very excited to see that it appears Dumbo will now fly over water at WDW as he does at Disneyland. So cool!

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