The long-rumored Fantasyland expansion / addition has been confirmed at the D23 Expo during the Disney Parks & Resorts presentation. Imagineers did not want to comment specifically on the leaked blueprint but it appears that, more or less, all of what was rumored is coming true.
The Fantasyland expansion will begin construction in early 2010 and all except Pixie Hollow will complete in 2012 with Pixie Hollow to follow in 2013.
Included in the new additions are The Little Mermaid dark ride Ariel’s Adventure, a Beauty and the Beast restaurant, elaborate princess meet and greets, and a double Dumbo that will have an interactive covered area rather than a queue for those waiting to ride.
Mickey’s Toontown Fair will be completely replaced as part of the Fantasyland addition, replaced by the new Dumbo ride/area and Pixie Hollow. The meet-and-greets for Mickey Mouse and his friends will be moved elsewhere in the park, though Imagineers declined to comment on the plans just yet.
The current west side of Fantasyland that includes Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s a Small World among other rides will remain the same as it is now and will not be receiving a makeover.
Imagineers say that while there are a lot of new princess elements being added to Fantasyland, they will be incredibly interactive and immersive and should appeal to boys as well as girls.
The new area of Fantasyland will be filled with trees and appear much more lush and shady than the current area.
The new construction will not affect the existing Fantasyland and there will be no major closures. Pooh’s Playful Spot may be disappearing as part of the project. The Little Mermaid ride will be taking the spot formerly occupied by the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction.
Here is the concept art for the Fantasyland addition that was displayed to the packed audience…
Princess meet-and-greets will be elaborately themed and will serve as much more than just acting as a place to take a picture. Interactive elements and small shows will entertain guests:
Beauty and the Beast’s castle will serve as a meet-and-greet, interactive walkthrough exhibit, and turn into a full-service nighttime restaurant. Scenes to be included will be similar to those found in the Animation area of Disney’s California Adventure, with the Beast’s library and wilting rose among others, but will be enhanced:
The interior ride portion of Ariel’s Adventure will be nearly identical to the attraction being built at Disney’s California Adventure. However, the exterior will be themed very differently to fit in with the Fantasyland environment rather than DCA’s Boardwalk area:
The Dumbo area of the Fantasyland addition will be huge, encompassing much of the existing Toontown. It will include two Dumbo carousels and a circus-themed interactive waiting area to ride. There will no longer be a long, hot queue:
Pixie Hollow, coming in 2013, will allow guests to greet the Disney Fairies in their own elaborate environment:
A full video of today’s Disney Parks and Resorts reveal of the Fantasyland addition will be available soon so keep checking back.