More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

A New Look at Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom Park

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

I know it’s going to be a great week on the Disney Parks Blog when I get to start by posting a new Fantasyland update. Today I’m happy to share new details on the Storybook Circus area that’s planned as part of the new Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom Park.

Rendering of Storybook Circus as Part of the New Fantasyland Update at Magic Kingdom Park

With all the updates we’ve done on the “royal” side of the Fantasyland expansion – Beast’s Castle, Maurice’s Cottage and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid – the plans for Storybook Circus seemed to be a bit more mysterious. Until now.

Storybook Circus will be based on our animated film, “Dumbo.” Here, Casey Jr., the famous locomotive from the movie, has rolled into town and brought the grand Storybook Circus with him. The area will be filled with colorful circus tents and nods to the famous film. For example, guests – especially little ones – are welcome to cool down with Casey Jr., who can be found near the train station, getting splashed by playful circus animals.

Just past Casey Jr., guests will encounter big-top circus tents that lead to a “double” version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Also, in the tradition of classic air shows, Barnstormer will take on a new look and theme, becoming a spiraling stunt plane built by The Great Goofini.

What do you think? Will you be there when the circus comes to town?


  • I will be there

    • 🙂

  • Surprised with all the magic in Mary Poppins, that there has never been a ride based on that movie. Everyone I’ve ever asked, fantasized about getting on the merry-go-round and the horses going for their own trek, instead of round and round as on a carosel. Wish the imagineers would put their thinking caps on that one. 🙂

  • Will Casey Jr only be a statue rather than a train ride like Disneyland?

    • It’s the centerpiece to a children’s circus-themed water play area.

  • Jennifer,

    Since they are now adding the Dumbo circus theme to the park, will Disney be releasing the Dumbo movie on DVD as well at the same time? That would be awesome if they did. My grandson is in love with the Dumbo movie and watches it at my house. I have in it VHS from when my kids were young.

    • Looks like we’re actually releasing Dumbo on blu-ray in September. You can actually pre-order the DVD now:

  • I know this is about the “new” Fantasyland, but I have wondered why the Indy cars were never retooled as the characters from the movie “Cars”. Could you imagine the fun you would have watching your child driving Lightening or Tow-Mater!

    Come on Imagineers, rethink a ride that never seemed to fit anyway!

  • planning a trip at the beginning of December 2011. Will any of this be finished for us to see. Like many, I miss 20,000 Leagues too. Part of my first Disney experience as a kid.

  • Do you have any idea what will be shut down this coming Nov? We were thinking about coming then, but perhaps we will tweak the dates depending on this. Please share what you know, and thanks!

    • No word on what (if anything) will be shut in November. Please know that whenever an attraction goes down, Disney actually takes a very careful measurement to make sure guests have enough other attractions and entertainment to choose from to make up for a closure.

  • The Walt Disney Company is great Me and my girls have been twice and every time the are so good with my youngest she is handycaped and everyone is so wonderful to her when will all the rentavations be done so we can plan are next trip there she just love The Little Mermaid she goes around and sings apart of your world all the time we have to make a trip when all is done

  • I hope some it will be ready soon. I’m coming for my birthday in September!!!

  • Where is Mickey and Minnie’s Houses? Will they still be there?

  • ^ in response to Antoinette’s comment above, to my knowledge, they have no plans of including Mickey or Minnie’s house in the remodel, and the originals have already been leveled. I’m sorry :/ but you never truly know with Disney! Maybe someday they’ll be back…

  • it would be nice to see more of the characters walking around the park like back when i was a kid (in the 1980’s).

  • I don’t like that the old Dumbo ride will be “moved”. I know you all are all inspired by this whole circus stuff, but changing part of my childhood memories and other people’s as well is disappointing. So many things in life change, and Disney is a magical place that takes me back to my childhood. I do like changes like the addition of the pirate makeover; couldn’t you all do a mermaid makeover as well? Or, bring back and re-create the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, complete with real mermaid actresses or some real sea life?

  • This looks amazing! I have a 3 and 4 year old who have been to WDW 3 times(from MI) and they are really looking forward to our next trip (Dec 2012). My 3-year-old’s fave ride ever is Dumbo. They also LOVE Beauty and the Beast. Any word on the “Be Our Guest” Restaurant yet? I keep checking back all the time for more details.

    • No new details yet. I haven’t heard yet what will be on the menu. Keep checking back!

  • Hi Jennifer is the Mad Tea Party open and will it be open in October as it was closed last October and I really missed it. Really looking forward to the double Dumbo ride !!!

    • Amanda, all of our attractions close periodically for routine maintenance and updating. I do believe that the Tea Cups are currently open.

  • Ariel’s Grotto was built in the area where 20,000 Leagues used to be. I have a lot of memories there and always hope that it would be re-opened, but maybe as an Ariel adventure since that is what is there now. Any hope that is what is going to happen? I viewed the video for the CA Park and the Ariel attraction there looks like our Nemo attraction in EPCOT.

  • I was just there at the beginning of this month, the area where all the construction is going on is huge. If you go on the dumbo ride during the day you could see a lot of what’s going on over that giant wall they have up.

  • We have been listening to an audiobook called “Fascinating Walt Dinsey” My 14 y/o dd is excited that Walt’s idea of a circus is making a comeback :). We can’t wait for the new expansion to be opened and are hoping that we can dine at Be Our Guest for dd’s 16th Bday dinner 🙂

    • Sounds great!

  • Will you be able to access the new rides with a wheelchair. Love what they did with aladins magic carpet and how easy it is to get on haunt mansion, everest and thunder mountain. Hope they look at this when building the new area.

  • Does this mean that the Barnstormer is closed now? We are going to be there in 2 weeks and this was my daughters favorite thing

    • Barnstormer closed temporarily to make way for these new additions. New things your daughter may enjoy on your upcoming trip are very cool, interactive changes at the Haunted Mansion, and a new Mickey Mouse meet-and-greet experience at the front of the park.

  • Can’t wait! Everytime we visit Magic Kingdom and see the construction it just gets more exciting.

  • what is the “new princess section” you mentioned? I cant wait to take my girls back here in 2013! We have a timeshare in Orlando.

    • I could try to explain, but that would be a VERY long reply! Here are our past stories on the princess section. Enchanted Tales with Belle (; Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ( and Beast’s Castle (

  • Hi Jennifer! great blog but I was wondering if you knew anything about the imagineering that went into this, any new technologies that may be present in the new addition? My dream is to become an imagineer one day, I hope it comes true 🙂

    • That’s a great dream to have. I don’t have many details on the technology that went into this section, as it’s currently under construction. If you’re interested in Imagineering, take a look at this VERY COOL behind-the-scenes video of changes at Haunted Mansion:

  • Any news on whether the Storybook Land Canal Boats will be a part of this? That’s one of my favorite parts of Disneyland.

  • I know that when walt first opened Disneyland there was a circus in Fantasyland. I hope you can look into that history and bring it back in the Big top! that would be just grand! =]

  • Trying to get a sense of the geography–Any comparisons with the County Fair map?
    If Goofini/Barnstomer is still in the same place, looks like that squeezes the Dumbo rides in pretty close to Tomorrowland Speedway, just off the bottom right corner of the picture.

    (And btw, whatever happened to the big Pixie Hollow Tree that was in the first drawings, way off in the distance?
    Was that dropped with the other character houses, or has that just not been announced yet since it would’ve had a later opening?)

  • While I think the additions to Fantasy land are wonderful, my 3 boys are really starting to feel left out. It would be so wonderful if Disney would try to include the boys a bit more, I know that the princess theme is the bread and butter, but with my youngest now being 8 they are getting burnt out very fast. We love toy story mania, and the additions to the star wars ride was nice, but is there anything coming for them?

    • Depending on how old all of your sons are, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that is planned for Fantasyland is supposed to be pretty thrilling, from what I’ve heard so far.

      If your kids are into pirates, you may want to look into the Pirates League over in Adventureland. They do awesome pirate makeovers for guests of all ages: I can’t wait to take my son when he’s old enough.

      Since your kids are age 8+, if they have an interest in Disney history, they may enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the park, too. Also, if you wanted to try something new at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Wild Africa Trek is amazing and is targeted to older kids and adults. It’s worth saving for!

  • if you look closely at the small blue tent its tilted slightly and looks to be supported from the center and not the sides like the othere, looks like a Wave Swinger to me. Perhaps we are getting a circus themed clone of the Silly Symphony Swings.

  • Hmmmm. The smaller blue tent top actually looks like a carousel. Is Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in the plans to be relocated also?

  • I agree, Antoinette! My four year old niece LOVED walking through Micky and Minnie’s houses…and I loved when they were decorated for Christmas! Meeting Mickey backstage at the theater is very cool, but touring their houses was really magical for kids. Sad that they are gone.

  • Disney parks and resorts are going to have a Major Presence at D23. My bet is that you are going to get way more information about the fantasy land expansion more. I would expect to hear much more details before August 19th.

  • My 8 year old niece was very disappointed when we visited Magic Kingdom last month that Mickey and Minnie’s houses were no where to be found. Are there any plans with the renovation to bring back these classics? Showing wisdom beyond her years, my niece went on to say “don’t they know that Disney all started with the mouse, how can they take away his house”.

    • I’m sorry she was disappointed. Did you have time to visit his new meet-and-greet area in Town Square? It’s themed as a backstage magic show dressing room – very cute. I have no information on if Mickey and Minnie will move anywhere when the new Fantasyland debuts.

  • I have planned our trip from the UK for October 2012 – i am sooo hoping most of the new area will be completed by then!

  • The land looks very fun, but I still hold out hope for a fun dark ride in those huge tents. Perhaps Pete’s Silly Sideshow?

  • I want a real Casey Jr Circus Train ride like in California 🙁

  • As much as I’m looking forward to storybook circus. I believe the imagineers are missing a huge opportunity here. What better to have in storybook circus than the storybookland canal boats!! Have the imagineers give me a call and I’ll hash it out with them

  • Looks amazing! Can’t wait. I love how Florida has so much space that you can do this expansion.

    • Me too. Between this area and the whole new “princess” section, it’s really going to be HUGE.

  • I wish they would do this expansion at Disneyland.
    I wouldn’t mind losing Toontown for a bigger and better Fantasyland.

  • Hey Jennifer, can you give us some updates about Snow White’s village and the mine coaster? 🙂

    • I’ll see what I can dig up. (This may take a while).

  • I’m cautiously optimistic about this area. I still would like to have more info on the “mystery” area that seems to take up half of the entire land. I hope it’s only a mystery to us and that at least someone has a plan for those 4 tents I see…
    I just know that my little ones will love easier access to Dumbo, and enjoy the splash area that was missed when Ariel’s Grotto left.

  • So happy, I love the Dumbo movie! When will the Dumbo attraction close if it has not already? I will be arriving at the parks in a week.

    • It is still in operation. I have no date yet as to when it will move.

  • Looks awesome!

  • I haven’t been paying really close attention to these plans…is the current Dumbo ride being moved/dismantled?

    • Not yet, but it will be moved at some point.

  • When will this be finished? We’re coming to DW in September!

  • Looks great. The kids will love the splash area on hot days like today!

  • What’s going to be in all of the tents on the left side of the pic?

    • It’s still a mystery!

  • Thanks for the update Jennifer! I plan to be there the first day to welcome Casey Jr.! 🙂

  • i think if dumbo really will have the water underneath, that would be AMAZING! i’d also love to see a roof on the mad hatter’s tea party similar to the glass roof in paris.

    • Did you notice the direction the elephants are facing? They’ll be coming at you as you walk into the attraction.

  • What is giong to be in the “tents”
    will meet and greets be put back in there?? I would love to have Goofy there. maybe a circus type show in the big one.

  • Looks fantastic…are we talking about an opening in the autumn of 2012?

    • The Fantasyland expansion will open in phases – no specific timetable has been set for different attractions yet.

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