More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

Earlier today, we celebrated a milestone event at the Walt Disney World Resort as we took guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle and officially welcomed them to New Fantasyland. It was a star-studded morning with Ginnifer Goodwin from ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” American Idol’s Jordin Sparks and Mickey Mouse helping us do the honors as we marked the grand opening of the largest expansion project in Magic Kingdom Park history.

Tom Staggs With Ginnifer Goodwin and Mickey Mouse at the New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

New Fantasyland gives guests the chance to step into the worlds of some of our most beloved animated films of all time, including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. That’s why it was so exciting to have Disney Animation legends Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, Jo Anne Worley, Ron Clements and John Musker on hand for the ceremony, as well.

This expansion represents countless hours of work by thousands of Imagineers and cast members, who together are taking Disney storytelling to a whole new level. The results are spectacular and a true testament to the talent of this extraordinary team.

New Fantasyland Grand Opening Celebration at Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney once said that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world. That was a promise he made to all of our guests. At the same time, he was charging all of us at Disney Parks to stay true to our legacy of creating experiences that bring our characters and stories to life, helping friends and families make memories that last a lifetime.

I think it’s clear from the stunning work that has gone into every aspect of New Fantasyland that there is still plenty of imagination left in our world.


  • When we were last at Disney (9/11)the information posted on the construction barriers seemed to indicate that they were bringing back the old submarine ride. Is this the new Under the Sea ride, or is it going to be an entirely different ride, or was the idea scrapped altogether? We are going to be there this upcoming May and we are very excited to see the new Fantasyland.

  • We will be there in 18 days and can’t wait. We celebrated our daughter’s first birthday there and now we will celebrate her 18th birthday! Looking forward to seeing all the new and exciting additions!

  • Simply can’t wait to visit! Thank you Disney, for staying true to Uncle Walt’s promise. He is surely smiling today, he would be so proud of all of you!

  • We are heading to WDW in 8 days. Celebrating our sons 6th Birthday. Very excited and can not wait to eat at Be Out Guest Restaurant! Everything looks amazing.

  • I experienced New Fantasyland earlier this week. Be Our Guest was wonderful, both for its setting and theme, as well as its food. Truly the best restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. The surroundings for Little Mermaid are beautiful and the ride is a solid addition to the rosters of Fantasyland.

    Like Disney, I like to look forward to the future. Mr. Staggs, over 1 year ago you posted on the blog that plans for Downtown Disney in Florida would be announced soon, yet nothing has been announced.s
    Since Pleasure Island effectively closed in September 2008 with no replacement yet, any updates on future plans for this location?

    • Matthew – As you probably saw, last week we announced that Splitsville Luxury Lanes will open at Downtown Disney soon. And while we have not made any more announcements regarding Downtown Disney just yet, we look forward to sharing more details in the future.

  • I cannot express how wonderful it was to visit during October and be able to be part of one of the Dress Rehearsals. I even got to take part in Tales with Belle. It was also very exciting to experience Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. This land was vastly thought through and I cannot wait to eat in Be Our Guest and see how the Mine Train Roller Coaster comes out. 😀

  • My family are very anixous about going to see the new Fantasyland. We’re going over the 4th of July,2013. We’ll be celebrating my daughter’s 13th birthday. My daughter and I were happy to see that one of the stars from Once Upon A Time was at the Grand-opening. Especially, since we’re huge fans of the show.

  • That is soo exciting, but i am very sad too. Many memories of old fantasy land have been lost, but new shall arise. That dragon is pretty cool! i am excited to say this is my tenth visit to Disney, and a great way to make this memory

  • It all looks very impressive Tom, congratulations on this achievement.

    On the subject of the future, I’m really hoping that they Imagineers have some plans and exciting new attractions in store for the original Disneyland in California. Hopefully there will be some Disneyland specific announcements at the next year’s D23 Expo. There have been some interesting rumors lately…

  • We were there last week for the preview period and LOVED it! My wife’s favorite was Tales with Belle. Our daughter loves the Barn Burner at the circus. I loved the atmosphere of the “Be Our Guest” restaurant. Of course, we all loved The Little Mermaid. Great job all! New Fantasyland is downright magical!

    • Thank you all for your comments – I love hearing about your interest and excitement surrounding New Fantasyland! I’m glad that some of you have already had the chance to experience it. After years of development and construction, it is immensely gratifying for our entire team to see guests start to enjoy this great new land!

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