Skip

It's (going to be) a (not quite as) small world
September 12, 2009 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Today at the D23 Expo (a huge exposition for hardcore Disney fans), Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo announced a huge expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World. The Disney fan community had been buzzing about this since blueprints for the makeover were leaked to the web two months ago. With the official announcement came this artist's conception of the makeover, as well as artwork for the new Little Mermaid dark ride (which is also being built at Disney's California Adventure, although with a different facade). This is the largest expansion in the 33 year history of the Magic Kingdom, and is Disney's answer to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening at the competing Universal Studios theme park in 2010. In addition to the changes at the Magic Kingdom, Disney also announced a new 3D update to the aging Star Tours ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Despite all of the new changes, the monorail will remain unaffected.
posted by Lokheed (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Whew! The project breaks ground next year, so they won't close down Fantasyland before the wife's and my trip in December.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:29 PM on September 12, 2009


a huge expansion of Fantasyland

I thought that already happened years ago, during 2000 - 2008.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:31 PM on September 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Meh. It looks like most of the work they're doing is just filling in the gaping wound left when they decided that the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride wasn't worth maintaining, so it's hardly an expansion.

Bet the bean-counters are wishing they hadn't left the lagoon in disrepair for ten years and then filled it in.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:45 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This strikes me as a risky gamble at this point in economic time. Does the Mouse assume that domestic tourism will be recovered by the time this is finished?

Besides, they just made an expensive new acquisition. Are they that flush?
posted by Joe Beese at 4:47 PM on September 12, 2009


What they need to do is BRING BACK MISTER TOAD'S WILD RIDE. Especially the part at the end where you DIE AND GO TO HELL.

Given their new interest in horror, you'd think they'd be cool with this.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:49 PM on September 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


It looks like most of the work they're doing is just filling in the gaping wound left when they decided that the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride wasn't worth maintaining, so it's hardly an expansion.

Actually, they are in fact expanding back into what was previously unused or non-public areas behind the park. They are also bulldozing virtually all of the current Mickey's Toontown Fair area. The only thing that will survive is the Barnstormer kiddie coaster, and that will likely be rethemed to be Dumbo related. (If you look, you will see that the Dumbo ride is moving over there, with a second Dumbo spinner next to it and a brand new air conditioned big top tent for the line).
posted by Lokheed at 4:53 PM on September 12, 2009


Actually, they are in fact expanding back into what was previously unused or non-public areas behind the park

Where? It really doesn't look like that from the plans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:07 PM on September 12, 2009


I love those blueprints for the almost clinical way in which they present various locations as if they were standard architectural features like "office" and "kitchen:"

POOH MEET & GREET
AREA RESTROOMS
TEA CUPS
CASTLE ENTRY WALL
CHEESE COASTER
MERCH

Christopher Alexander, eat your heart out.
posted by grouse at 5:11 PM on September 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


STAR TOURS IS FINE AS IT IS.

Seriously, we don't need CGI-Lucas wankery over a perfectly good ride.
posted by SansPoint at 5:19 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


CHEESE COASTER

NOM how GREEBLE CRUNCH many GRUFFLE NOM NOM tickets!? CHOMP
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:19 PM on September 12, 2009


I won't be there again until November '10, but I haven't seen FantasyLand yet anyway so I guess I'm just typing this so you all will know I WILL BE THERE IN NOVEMBER 2010.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2009


It's being built over an ancient Indian burial ground!
posted by cazoo at 5:30 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


CAN YOU PAINT WITH ALL THE COLORS OF THE WIND!!!
posted by wheelieman at 5:36 PM on September 12, 2009


"aging Star Tours"

So they're installing animatronic versions of Abe Vigoda and the Golden Girls?
posted by mecran01 at 5:36 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Star Tours needs an update
posted by wheelieman at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2009


My husband is at d23 right now! It's like my worlds are colliding!
posted by Biblio at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2009


The announcements are up on YouTube now: Fantasyland announcement with lots more concept art, and Star Tours announcement with bonus Vader and stormtroopers.

This overlay of blueprints onto the satellite view gives a better idea of the new layout - looks like they are taking over some space which is currently unused, but it's within the railroad which runs around the park.

Park profits are down, but due to lower consumer spending, rather than lower attendance. Judging by the popularity of all thing princessy, it might not be that much of a gamble, and it won't be open till 2013.
posted by penguinliz at 5:38 PM on September 12, 2009


I WILL BE THERE IN NOVEMBER 2010

My son and I are there just about every Saturday. (Long story, autistic boy, loves Snow White.) By all means look us up. We can do an Orlando meetup!
posted by Lokheed at 7:36 PM on September 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, Lockheed. I don't know if it's the mood I'm in or what, but your comment made my eyes a little moist.
posted by hifiparasol at 8:11 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, "Lokheed."
posted by hifiparasol at 8:11 PM on September 12, 2009


Yay for Florida resident passes, Lokheed? I went so many times as a kid, now not going for two to three years seems like an eternity.
posted by that girl at 8:36 PM on September 12, 2009


The new Fantasyland doesn't seem to include anything from a movie more recent than 1991?

While this was the absolute state-of-the-art while I was in first grade, it doesn't seem all that special now that I'm 25 (and still kind of wanting to go to DisneyWorld, quite frankly, just because it's something I've been wanting for so long that it seems silly not to indulge myself whenever I get a chance, but I think they should at least make sort of an effort, for me and for the younger generation).
posted by mayhap at 8:39 PM on September 12, 2009


What they need to do is BRING BACK MISTER TOAD'S WILD RIDE.

I was heading out of Epcot, with not-yet-valid Fastpass tickets for that car ride, so I went to the end of the 3h long line and found a group of 3 (surprisingly hard) to offer my tickets to. People don't even begin to understand what you're doing when you give away spare Fastpass tickets, it's weird.

Just as I was about to leave, I heard some worker, sounding completely desperate as she tried to keep the people in line comparatively content, offering free immediate tickets to anyone who knew what ride used to be in the Winnie-the-Pooh location. I waited a while because I do not particularly like the car ride, but no one had a clue, and the woman was apparently not allowed to ask a new question until *someone* got the old one right. She was so incredibly grateful that I answered it correctly and she could move on to questions that, say, first time visitors would have a chance at.

Since then I have missed Mr. Toad's Wild Ride even more.
posted by jeather at 8:49 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just rode Mr. Toad's Wild Ride last weekend (in Disneyland)! For the first time! Our 4 year old son was scared of it, as he's scared of all the so-called "dark rides". I have to admit I'm unfamiliar with Mr. Toad as a character--I thought it had to do with the Frog and Toad children's books but I was mistaken.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:20 PM on September 12, 2009


Mr. Toad's from The Wind in the Willows, and appeared in Disney form in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 10:18 PM on September 12, 2009


I already read the novel.
posted by Artw at 11:46 PM on September 12, 2009


"Storytelling is the DNA of Disney dreams

I think I have discovered the phoniest phrase in the world.
posted by JHarris at 1:54 AM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also:
Meet Tinker Bell and her friends in the magical world of Pixie Hollow.

If any of you are writers out there, all I can suggest is that you absolutely refuse any content sales or licensing deals with Disney, or else decades after you're dead there'll be a lame-ass 3D cartoon holovid of it floating around, displacing your memory in the minds of kids in the cultural mindspace for an age to follow.

Also, they're mining their direct-to-TV/DVD properties for theme park rides now?
posted by JHarris at 2:00 AM on September 13, 2009


Also, they're mining their direct-to-TV/DVD properties for theme park rides now?

It's not a RIDE it's an ATTRACTION
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 2:57 AM on September 13, 2009


My favorite princess does not have flippers, and I resent your long-entrenched culture of piscine favoritism, Disney.
posted by XQUZMYFUR at 7:57 AM on September 13, 2009


Meet Tinker Bell and her friends in the magical world of Pixie Hollow.

Heh. My daughter *loves* CGI Tinkerbell. I have seen the DVD what seems like several hundred times now. It's actually pretty solid compared with the cheapquels of the 90s, or even many of their actual features during the dark days (Aladdin, you piece of shit, I am looking at you). We're actually kind of looking forwards to the next one being released next month.
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM on September 13, 2009


At the moment she's all about Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning though. I'd actually rate it over Mermaids I and II.
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on September 13, 2009


The new Fantasyland doesn't seem to include anything from a movie more recent than 1991?

While this was the absolute state-of-the-art while I was in first grade, it doesn't seem all that special now that I'm 25 (and still kind of wanting to go to DisneyWorld, quite frankly, just because it's something I've been wanting for so long that it seems silly not to indulge myself whenever I get a chance, but I think they should at least make sort of an effort, for me and for the younger generation).


No need to apologize, despite the general level of snark on Mefi and the internet about Disney, the parks can still be plenty of fun. The attention to detail and immersive atmosphere is a cut above theme parks like Six Flags. It is possible to enjoy them as an adult without feeling like you have to also become a Mouseketeer.

While Fantasyland may not contain as many newer characters, rest assured, every character from every successful Disney property is represented somewhere. Disney definitely doesn't waste opportunities to make use of their popular characters. Almost every character that doesn't have a ride or attraction based on them still make appearances in various locations around the parks.

Feel free to Mefi-mail me if you'd like some suggestions for resources that go easy on the Disney kool-aid.

On-topic, I think the Fantasyland expansion could be good. There has been a turn-around at the parks since Eisner left the company. I was especially pleased when they removed the ridiculous Mickey arm from Spaceship Earth at Epcot, although I'm not sure it's possible to return Epcot to the World's Fair style that it used to embody. It's simply much easier to draw people to a park that has thrill rides.

Imagineer Rebirth offers a lot of opinions and insights regarding such things. They haven't yet posted a comment on this news, but I think it will be interesting to see what they have to say.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:15 AM on September 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was especially pleased when they removed the ridiculous Mickey arm from Spaceship Earth at Epcot

I never realized that was there. Awful.
posted by grouse at 12:01 PM on September 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just here to say that I love Mickey Mouse.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:17 PM on September 13, 2009


The giant Mickey arm wasn't half so bad as the anniversary cake-stle. At least that only lasted 15 months.
posted by penguinliz at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2009


There's also a big stupid wizard hat at Disney Studios that stands in front of the Chinese Theater.

Supposedly it was built to block visibility of the theater because of some sort of copyright issue regarding the photographical representation of the theater.

I photoshopped this as a mockery of all that awful crap.
posted by Fleebnork at 1:54 PM on September 13, 2009


Er... copyright issue or just stupid corporate crap. No one is quite sure of the actual reason for the hat.

Wish I could edit my post
posted by Fleebnork at 2:01 PM on September 13, 2009


« Older Explore the most beautiful, most repulsive city in...   |   Neil Peart Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post