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Disney Parks Blog Live Chat: Walt Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty to Talk New Fantasyland Nov. 9

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Each week, we hear from our readers how excited they are to learn more about the expansion of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. This week, we’re proud to announce that the Disney Parks Blog will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering to bring you a live chat with Walt Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Chris is one of many Imagineers who have been tasked with taking favorite Disney films, such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid,” and transforming them into immersive experiences that will thrill guests when New Fantasyland debuts late next year.

Get to know Chris and his work by taking a look back at this video clip provided by Walt Disney Imagineering, in which he discusses the construction of one of the area’s coming attractions, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.

You can submit your questions for Chris now in the “Comments” section below, or ask questions in real time during Wednesday’s chat.


  • Will there be an event to celebrate the opening of each individual attraction or area?

  • Do you have any suggestions for college students who want to create magic for Disney as well? Thanks!

  • Hello! I know that you’re very kindly volunteering your time today to answer questions about the Fantasyland expansion, but I wonder if I might take you off-topic slightly? Imagineering seems to be freer right now than it has in years to create new wonders for the parks, and I was wondering if EPCOT’s Future World might be soon to receive some! Lately it seems that Disney is more aware of EPCOT’s importance to people – there’s been a surprising (and welcome) amount of merchandise and reference made to classic attractions – and many are wondering if it might herald an effort to restore the park’s original, more inspirational and whimsical tone. Perhaps even to the extent of restoring an attraction or two (I’m looking at you, Imagination)?

    Thank you very much for your time… I know it’s a wild tangent, but how often do you get the chance to ask an Imagineer a question? 🙂 Thanks again!

  • Many of the questions have already been answered:
    Question 3, Robert: Pixie Hollow will not be happening. It has effectively been replaced with the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train

    Question 9, Laura: Having ridden the equivalent attraction at DCA I can tell you that The Little Mermaid will be a grander scale than The Seas with Nemos and Friends. It will be driven by several animatronics and recognizable music from the movie.

    Question 12, Sasha: Rumor has it that one of the two Dumbo spinners will open in its new location in February. This would indicate that the Storybook Circusland would be open at that time. I would expect Under the Sea: Voyage of the Little Mermaid and The Be Our Guest Restaurant to open in late 2012 with the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train opening in late 2013, early 2014.

    Question 15, Lisa/Question 22, Jeffrey: Most of the expansion is on unused space, the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea area, and Mickey’s Toontown Fair area. All of that has been removed. Additionally, Snow White’s Scary Adventures will be replaced with a princess meet and greet.

    Question 18, Catie:At the D23 Expo, the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train was described as being the next step in Disney Coasters between The Great Goofini (the rethemed Barnstormer) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

    Question 24, Trinity: The original announcement in 2009 has changed. There will no longer be cottages for Aurora or Cinderella, nor will there be a Pixie Hollow (at least it hasn’t been announced). The plans have changed to include an expanded Storybook Circus, the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, and the Fantasyland Fair Princess Meet and Greet.

    Question 26, Judy: Yes, but presumably as a food or merchandise location, not a ride like Disneyland.

    Question 32, Lauren: It sounds like Dumbo, The Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train will all have Fastpass.

    Question 35 and 36, Chris: The Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train attractions will probably be classified as D-Ticket attractions.

    Question 42, Janet: Yes, there will be a playground in Storybook Circus

    I hope this helps.

    I also have a question of my own for Chris:
    Chris, what can you tell us about the new pathway changes between Fantasyland and Liberty Square? Will this lead to queue and ride enhancements to Peter Pan’s Flight?

    Co-Host of the WDW Fan Boys Podcast

  • I have quite a few questions regarding the Fantasyland expansion:

    1) What is going to be built on the site of the former Fantasyland Skyway station?

    2) Which specific princesses are going to appear in the Princess Fairytale Hall? When will it open? And will the princesses be accompanied by their respective co-stars (princes, sidekicks, villains, etc.) for meet-and-greets in there?

    4) Which of the two giant tents in the Storybook Circus is going to house Pete’s Silly Sideshow and which one will house Big Top Souvenirs? When will they open and can you share more details about them?

    5) What will become of the current princess room in the Town Square Theater on Main Street after the princesses vacate that location and move into their new Fantasyland homes? What characters will replace the princesses at the Theater?

  • #16 – Beth
    “gray stuff”?

    #29 – Corina
    Is Disneyland Paris an option initially?

  • The sketches are absolutely incredible what a dream to get to work on such a great project. It is so well thought out. It really transports you to the storybook world. I have two questions.

    1. What was the most inspiring part of developing the expansion? What part thrilled you that it made it to the final version?

    2. What is one thing you wish you could have included, that didn’t make it to the final version?

  • I read somewhere that part of the expansion, I believe Storybook Circus, will be open early 2012. I know many have asked about the timeline for the project, so I’m tagging on to ask…is this true and if so, what exactly is early 2012? Any chance we’re talking really early 2012 as in January? 🙂

  • I would really love to learn more about each section of the new Fantasyland.. I would really like to hear a lot of details about Storybook Circus and Belle’s Village.. Maurice’s Cottage.. just everything, along with the new Snow White mine coaster. I also really want to learn more about the Imagineers and what they do. I really want to become one when I grow up. Thank you so much for having the chat! I can’t wait for tomorrow 🙂

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