Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World has been undergoing the largest expansion in it's 40 year history, which will allow Fantasyland to double it's size by the year 2014. The project will open in phases with the first phase recently opening on March 12th. DLuminations visited the park and was able to experience the opening of Storybook Circus, which is taking the place of Mickey's Toontown Fair. Though still surrounded by construction walls this is a welcome addition to the Magic Kingdom.
The backstory of Storybook Circus has a circus pulling up to the new train station. From the train station you can follow animal footprints in the walkway to the attractions. Two sets of elephant prints, a mother and her baby, will lead you to the entrance of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Storybook Circus is set in Carolwood Park. Disney enthusiasts may recognize the name, it pays homage to Carolwood Pacific the railroad Walt Disney built in the backyard of his home in the 1950's.
At this time only three existing attractions are running, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Barnstormer coaster and the Fantasyland Train Station with the rest of the attractions opening later this year. Dumbo was always one of MK's most popular attractions, when the project is complete there will be a pair of Dumbo rides side by side. Dumbo now features story panels, a new soundtrack and multi colored water fountains. The Barnstormer is basically a reboot of its previous incarnation with added elements to fit the circus theme. Eventually a Casey Jr. water play area, Pete's Silly Sideshow, a gift shop and a character meet and greet location will open. New colorful costumes have been created for the castmembers, these resemble something a carnival barker might wear and the trash receptacles have been made to fit into the circus theme.
The "Royal" side of Fantasyland is expected to open in late 2013 or early 2014. Once complete this section will include attractions based on classic Disney animated features including:
A Beauty and the Beast themed area that will include the Be our Guest restaurant, Gaston's Tavern, Belle's Cottage and Maurice's workshop.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster that will take riders through the story of Snow White. This attraction will feature ride vehicles that swing back and forth.
The Princess Fairytale Hall will serve as a meet and greet location for Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana and Rapunzel. This will take over the spot that now houses Snow Whites Scary Adventure which closes May 13th.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid will be a dark ride identical to the attraction that opened in California Adventure back in 2011.
Seeing the progress so far we are very impressed and are looking forward to the completion of the project more than ever. If you visit WDW in the near future be sure and visit Storybook Circus which is located just past the Mad Tea Party spinning tea cup attraction.