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Update: Fantasyland Expansion at Magic Kingdom Park

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Ariel's Grotto
As we’ve shared here on the blog, work is beginning on the expansion of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. And as the transformation begins, there are some updates you should know about.

Beginning April 12, Ariel’s Grotto, Scuttle’s Landing snack location and Pooh’s Playful Spot will be closing. You’ll still be able to find several of your favorite Disney Characters in some other locations and continue to experience other favorite Fantasyland attractions โ€“- in their normal locations. Ariel will continue to be seen in the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade and SpectroMagic Parade at Magic Kingdom Park as well as at the Voyage of The Little Mermaid attraction at Disneyโ€™s Hollywood Studios. Ariel will have a new grotto greeting location and ride-through attraction called Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid as part of the Fantasyland expansion scheduled for 2013. We’ll post any new updates on the expansion project on the blog.


  • It sure would have been nice that they would have thought about this before they removed 2000 leagues under the sea! this would have saved time to change and update….

  • Thomas – Thanks for the updates – keep them coming and some more prototype pics would be cool too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The beautiful thing is that there is always something new along with the nostalgic favorites at Disney. Otherwise, people wouldn’t go back year after year. While I’ll miss Mickey’s house, I know that Belle’s castle will be magical and Mickey’s new home on Main Street will be great too! CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

  • I’m not as sad about poohs playful spot as I am about ariels grotto. I had a feeling that playful spot was only temporary, but the grotto was one of the only places you could meet ariel. But I can’t wait for the expansions. It will be hard to get used to memorizing the new park though. But Disney knows wat there doin and it will be magical!

  • Close Pooh’s playful spot? Boo! That’s always our first stop in WDW to get little kid aclimated to theme park atmosphere.

  • So sad to see the grotto go. We just visited in November and it was both of my kids favorite spot. We also had a great time playing in Pooh’s little house. The water spots at both of these were great, because it was such a hot day we were there; the kids cooled off and we got to sit and relax. Can’t wait to see what else they build though.

  • I have a four year old daughter who will be turning five on April 29th, she is having an Ariel themed birthday party and we will be visiting in October is there anywhere we can do photos and get autographs with Ariel?

  • To those worried about missing meeting Ariel, we were so excited to find her at the Akershus Princess Dining in Norway at EPCOT. I’m not sure if she is always at that meal, but the surprise meeting was the highlight of the meal for me and my daughter.

  • I think its great you are bringing back another submarine ride, we have missed the 20,000 leagues under the sea adventure..We will be there in Aug 2010 and are looking forward to being back at WDW!!

  • I’ve been following the news on many Disney fan sites and am so happy to hear about the expansion. Now WDW can have a fantasyland that we can be proud of and no more bottleneck in front of It’s a Small World. I only hope that to counter the heavy ” fairy factor” that there is something in development for the boys…..like maybe a villain volcano like journey to the center of the earth at Tokyo Seas! When you view aerial photos , there is still lots of room to expand .

  • I know that all Disney Park fans share the same bittersweet feelings about this closing… although I for one never cared for Ariel’s Grotto or Pooh’s thoughtful spot. I much preferred the 20,000 Leagues ride. I was more than a little jealous that Disneyland’s equivalent escaped the junk pile and actually received a resurgence due to the Nemo theming. My daughters did enjoy Ariel’s Grotto (back when they were in the single digit ages), though they’re now too old to admit it, so it will be interesting to see their reactions.

    I do wish that the Park fans had more input into what attractions came and what went. I know that there are many that would prefer that the Park would NEVER change (and from a purely fiscal standpoint I know that could never happen), but rides like Mr. Toad and 20K Leagues deserved a better remembrance than simply disappearing. Change is inevitable, but it would be nice if there was a building, kiosk, etc that was devote to rides and attractions that had gone away- so that kids of all ages could better appreciate WDW’s bygone days. There’s a lot of Walt’s legacy in regard to his high standard of excellence that is missing from much of what the Parks are these days. It doesn’t keep me from going back time and again- we’ll be back there for our 10th trip this May- but I find myself more than a bit wistful of the attractions I remember as a kid.

  • This is great that they are making this a ride again, remember the captain Nemo submarine ride?

  • We will be there in June. Will there be anyway we could meet Ariel? She was the one princess we didn’t see last year. It was our main reason to go to MK again for my 4 year old daughter.

  • My family will truly miss Pooh’s playful Spot. Our kids also always loved it there. It was always amazing to see how well toddlers and pre-schoolers could “share” time at the table in Pooh’s house, without us parents having to get involved. I’m sure Disney will include this “type” of attraction in the refurb, but it will never be the same for our memories. I’d love to get one of those honeypots for my backyard.

  • I love Mickey Mouse and WDW!!! I have seen so many changes at the MK, I remember the sky lift. I miss 20,000 leagues under the sea the most too! I don’t mind the changes because everytime I go to the parks there is something new! Just last year alone I went 6 times total of 15 days!! I will never be bored of this place! I am a like a little kid when it comes to Disney!! Can’t wait for the new additions!!

  • To those asking about Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s A Small World, etc. – from everything I’ve read, this part of Fantasyland will remain untouched. What looks to be changed is, of course, Ariel’s Grotto will go, Toon Town, Pooh’s Playful Spot and Dumbo’s Flying Circus. I know that Dumbo’s move will cause some growing pains, but from what I’ve seen, it’s move and expansion will make it easier on parents with a shaded queue and two rides as opposed to one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I called just last week and was assured that nothing would be closed for our trip in May!!

  • Even though Fantasyland will be lacking a bit for the next few years I am SO GLAD Disney is doing this! Not only was Fantasyland becoming overly crowded with a need for more attractions and space, but the theme-ing was lacking as compared to Fantasyland at Disneyland in Cali. I think this update and expansion will be WONDERFUL!! AND so happy about the Be Our Guest restaurant….much needed sit-down dining that is desirable at the MK! Great, great job Imagineers!

  • Mr. Smith, My wife Tracy has reminded me how we always take a picture of our daughter Brianna every time we went to Disney (about once every two years), sitting on one of those ducks in the playground area down in Mickey’s Playland. She is now 10 yrs old, and we have several pictures of her from the age of one up until 2008. Tracy and I would love to know if we could purchase that duck, if it will no longer be in use by the park?

  • hi, we are heading to disneyworld in august, will there be anything else closed at that time. My 6 yr old daughter really loves Goofy’s barnstormer, and still hopes it will be open .

  • My daughter is so bummed about this, we for different reasons, were never able to get Ariel’s autograph the past trips, but I’m hoping she will at least be at Akershus when we are there (albeit without a tail).

    I think MK is pretty boy-heavy now, I like the Fantasyland expansion idea, for each princess to have her own ‘area’! Very exciting, and gives me an excuse to return again in 2013!

  • Just wondering, does this mean that rides such as Winnie the Pooh and Small World will not be open? Because last time I visited Disney the Small World ride was closed due to improvements, and when I go in July this year I was hoping to see it again! Please let me know!

  • NEW FANTASYLAND???? oh say it aint so!!!! I like the MK and Fantasy land the way it is. Of course, I still miss “If you had wings” an obscure little ride in the MK so I guess I just don’t do change well.

  • We were just there last month and my son loved the Pooh play area. Were hoping to let him play there again next month. ๐Ÿ™ Is it going to reopen?

  • Aw – we’re taking my daughter for her 5th birthday in 2011 and she’s been talking for MONTHS already about meeting Ariel. I hope there will be some other chance to meet her, like a character meal or something… I understand, just not sure SHE will. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Will Pooh’s Playful spot be gone for good or is going to re-open after the construction?

  • Aww…I have some wonderful memories of my now-5-year-old toddling around Pooh’s Playful Spot as he was just learning to walk. I agree with Nancy; it was a nice little place to escape to.

  • We are going in September, the Grotto was a nice place for my son to cool off in the water, bummer. At least there won’t be all that wasted space, looking forward to the new Fantasyland.

  • Will older kids and adults who have no desire to meet the princesses be able to tour or explore the locations where the princesses will be? I know many a people don’t want to wait in line to meet Cinderella, but can they still go into the Tremaine House? Or Aurora’s cottage?

  • I’m glad my daughter got to enjoy Poohโ€™s Playful Spot two weeks ago. I got some great photos and video of her enjoying the area. Looking forward to the new additions and our next trip!

  • Is Goofy’s Barnstormer still open at this time? If so when is it expected to close? We are coming at the beginning of December and were wondering…already planning the return trip AFTER the new Fantasyland opens…but My daughter wanted to try it again after being scared a few years back.

  • Sorry – I haven’t been keeping up with the Fantasyland expansion. We were just at WDW in March and noticed they had already started working. Will this remodel also close Toontown temporarily? Can’t wait to see everything when its done!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m sad they’re closing down Pooh’s Playful Spot. That play area was a nice break for those of us with little ones. When we went last year, we loved being able to sit down and take a break while the kids were able to run free and play instead of being stuck in a stroller most of the day. Are they getting rid of it all together or making another play place somewhere else?

  • I’m taking my 3 yr old neice to WDW on 5-13 and we’ll coming home on 5-21. Is there any chance that pooh’s playful spot will be opened during that time at all. If it’s not going to be open could you tell me where the next nearest childs playground area is? Thank you.

  • Mixed feelings on this, of course. It will be sad for a while until the awesomeness of the new Fantasyland is here. We’ve had good luck seeing Ariel at the Princess Breakfast in Norway and at the Castle, too for anyone who is clamoring for a one on one with the Mermaid!

  • This is a real bummer. Having a first trip to Disney ever this November with my family and a friend’s family. My friend’s daughter is in love with Ariel (her favorite Disney Princess) and was so looking forward to visiting Ariel’s Grotto. :o( I understand things have to close to make way for the new improved but still sad.

  • I am so disappointed with this news. I checked Wednesday with guest services and they had assured me that it was not to close this year. The only thing my granddaughter asked to do on our June trip was to see Ariel and of course I promised to take her to the grotto.

  • NEW fantasy land??? It isnt going to change TOO much is it?? oh i hope they dont mess with my small world or peter pans flight. I couldn’t do without them and i dont think i’d much like them changed either. The new ride for the little mermaid is exciting though! I saw a feturette about it on the bonus disk of the Little Mermaid. I wonder if it will be simmilar.

  • Is the new ride that you are talking about the same one as the ‘Little Mermaid’ Ride that was tossed out? That would be so cool if they would build that!!!

  • Heck I’m still mourning the loss of 20,000 leagues under the sea.. that was AWESOME

  • What should we expect when we travel to WDW in November? A bunch of wooden walls? Can we still get to the WP Honey Pot ride? We will miss Playful Spot, my daughter loved it.

  • I was just wondering if Disney will be doing anything to give the young boys/princes/pirates their share of the magic? It’s seems a little girl heavy there now.

  • Always sad to see things close and the MK not look perfect, but what is on the horizon is exciting!

  • I’m gonna miss meeting Ariel!!! It was always fun talking with her…and bye-bye Pooh’s Playful Spot! Not going to miss you. Sad/Excitment that we’re (somewhat) getting closer to the full expansion!!!

  • Thanks for the update, Thomas. I love that you’re keeping us informed on how the Fantasyland Expansion is progressing.

    Any word yet on a closing date for Toontown Fair?

    • Thanks, Paul. Construction in this area is scheduled to begin in early 2011.

  • Yay for the new Fantasyland! Is it 2013 yet? ยบoยบ

  • One of my favorite snacks in the Magic Kingdom is at Scuttle’s Landing– the Sweet Cream Cheese Filled Pretzel. Fortunately, it was added to the menu at the Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland not too long ago, so I won’t have to go without. Hooray!

  • Is there a chance that any of the props might be available from the closed areas? I have two great pics of my daughters from those spots from our trip in ’08 and it would be really cool to have something from there.

    • Need to check on that, Judson.

  • Just in time for my trip three days later. ๐Ÿ™ That’s OK. My daughter is only 9 months old and doesn’t know who Ariel is…yet!

  • I guess this is when it begins to get sad! ๐Ÿ™ Attractions and locations closing for the construction of the NEW Fantastyland….boo! But – I am SURE it is all going to be worth it in the end!!!! WOO HOO!!! Can’t wait!!!

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