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Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Through the Imagineering Lens

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Ever wonder how Disney develops new attractions and experiences for its theme parks and resorts? Today, Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Bruce Vaughn, chief creative officer, Walt Disney Imagineering, took us on a behind-the-scenes look at the creative design process for the Magic Kingdom Park New Fantasyland expansion at Walt Disney World Resort.

When Imagineers start building a new park or a land, they first create a detailed scale model to help visualize what the project will look like when it’s complete. Models like the one in this Magic Kingdom Park New Fantasyland flythrough video are not only works of art, but they’re also an invaluable tool that helps Imagineers visualize sight lines, analyze guest traffic patterns and get an overall sense of the design and aesthetics.

Some of the attractions and restaurants coming to New Fantasyland that you saw in that video include:

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid where guests will get to experience what it’s like to go under the sea with Ariel and her friends.
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle where families and children will have the opportunity to meet Belle with a whole new degree of interactivity and personalization.
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant, complete with an interactive queue under the Big Top and not one but two Dumbo attractions.
  • Be Our Guest restaurant Guests can dine in three separate dining rooms in the Beast’s castle. The main dining room is the Ballroom, where Belle and Beast had their first dance, in the West Wing or in the Castle Galley during lunch hours.
  • Gaston’s Tavern, a place where guests can dine in splendor and pay tribute to the manliest of men…Gaston himself!

Tom also gave D23 Expo attendees even more detail around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train where guests will take a journey through the diamond mine of the Seven Dwarfs in a new ride system designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. The ride system allows each mine car to swing back and forth individually as the train twists and turns along the track. But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself.


  • Hi, I was wondering, are they expanding the park somehow to fit all of this in? Will we be able to enter the sleeping beauty castle? And lastly, what items are we losing to the re-build of fantasy land? Some us Disney enthusiasts were sad to lose some of our favorite things over the years. Like 20,000 leagues and so forth.

  • Anyway you could give us a list of what attractions (aside from Snow white) and restaurant areas will be permanently closed for the expansion? Based on what comments I’ve read, I’m sure a lot of people would really like to know what’s going and what’s staying.
    I’m so excited to see the new changes and have already begun planning for my next trip so I can see these changes.

  • Does anyone know if WDW is going to do anything with the old River Country and Discovery Island property?

  • I just got back from Disney World and as always had a great time! I can’t wait to see all the new additions when i go back in 2 years. I was with people/kids that had never been there and i was very upset to see that Toon Town was closed down. I wanted to take them to Mickey’s & Minnie’s houses so bad. Is Mickey and Minnie’s houses coming back?? That would horrible if it doesn’t.

  • Is the Beauty and the Beast are and Gaston’s taking the place of the Pinocchio Restaurant area? Or is it further back towards the new Castle? If they take out the Pinocchio, I’ll be sad.

  • Because of this new ride will Snow Whites scary adventures be closed? I hope not it would be cool to have both!

  • Can’t wait for the “new Fantasyland” to be complete. We’re AP Holders and are fortunate to see the expansion bit by bit every few weeks. A BIG N-O NO to alcohol anywhere in MK. Walt would not be happy about that change. Numberous WDW guests can’t seem to control themselves around alcohol and drink to excess. The “Drunk-Around-the-World” and “Country Crawl” t-shirts worn at EPCOT events are perfect examples. Let’s keep MK dry for all us “kids”.
    Paul in Seminole

  • So what happens to the current Snow White ride? I’ve heard from other people that it’s closing?

  • How will the new Fantasyland expansion effect the roping off of Fantasyland during the fireworks?

  • Looks like a lot of fun for the whole family. Can’t wait, but I definitely think you should keep the alcohol out of MK. It’s the only wholesome park left just like Walt intended it to be.

  • This looks fantastic. I can’t wait

  • Awesome! video of Seven Dwarfs Mine ride! I can’t wait to ride it when it’s finished building!

    • Me, too!

  • This looks great. Some of the views when the cars are outside should be cool new perspectives.

  • Wow! This looks awesome!! I am hoping part of it will be done next October when my hubby and I visit WDW next!! 🙂

  • WDW is a stunning 47 square miles in size! Disneyland is a wonderful but small parking lot sized amusement park. I love both! But do treat yourself to WDW.

    It’s a resort. Disneyland/DCA is a day trip.

  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction looks wonderful! It looks as zippy and fun as my favorite: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Can I get my FastPass now? 😉

  • It seems that every year just gets better and better. We were just there in mid July and could see all the progress behind the scenes. Disney World is by far the best place on earth. Being a Vacation Club member since 1999 has enhanced our experience at Disney and I highly recommend becoming a member. You will never regret it. The magic lives on.

  • Will the tavern serve alcoholic beverages – a first for the Magic Kingdom park?

    • No word on this…

  • I was wondering if the mine ride is going to be fast like big thunder railroad, and have drops like splash mountain?

  • Is there anything in the Disneyworld with a Tangled theme in the works?

    • We have an excellent character “play and greet” at Magic Kingdom Park.

  • If you like Disneyland you’re gonna be amazed at how big Disney WORLD is! I’m wicked excited for you!

  • Ooh I can’t wait to come back again!!

  • Do we have any dates on when some of these attractions/expansion will be complete? My family is traveling to WDW in Oct. 2012 and would like to know if any will be complete. Than

    • No specific dates yet, but the Fantasyland expansion is supposed to begin opening in phases starting in late 2012.

  • MAN! I cannot wait for all of this to be done. I didn’t even know about the dwarfs coaster. Absolutely awesome! This is going to make Fantasyland a main attraction once again. COOLNESS!

  • I hope we’ll get more details on the Storybook Circus soon as well, especially for Pete’s Silly Sideshow and Big Top Souvenirs.

    • I’ll update you as soon as I can.

  • We’re Disneyland regulars but still haven’t ventured out East to Disney World. But watching these videos, I am SO excited for our planned 2013 trip to Florida. I can’t WAIT to see the new additions to Fantasyland! I understand a lot of it will be done by then. So exciting.

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