Fantasyland Forrest coming to Disney World
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 22:10
The world’s most popular vacation destination is about to become a bit more spectacular. The Walt Disney World Resort has consistently been at the very top of the world’s most visited amusement destinations. While its lead among its competitors in the Orlando area, including SeaWorld and Universal Studios, is still substantial, the latter’s recent addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has generated significant buzz and increased attendance. While Disney knows that this small event is nothing to worry about, they have nonetheless responded with a bang.
On Dec. 6, 2012, Disney World will officially open a major addition to its Magic Kingdom Park, the single most-attended theme park in the world. The project, known as the Fantasyland Forest, is a massive expansion of arguably the most popular section of the park: Fantasyland. Occupying much of the land that previously covered the site of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction, the new area will immerse guests in the realm of Disney’s most popular and iconic fairy tales.
The highlight of the area is arguably the dark new ride Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, which is housed in a replica of Prince Eric’s castle. The ride’s omnimover system (similar to that of The Haunted Mansion) will take guests right into the most iconic scenes of the classic 1989 Disney film.
Fantasyland Forest will also feature an area drawing on the 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast.” While this section is not home to a ride, guests will still be able to enter the world of the film, with locations such as Belle’s Cottage, Gaston’s Tavern and the Beast’s Castle. The latter is arguably the highlight of the section, as it contains a table service restaurant in which diners will be able to sit in various locations around the castle, including the famous ballroom.
Unfortunately, the expansion has called for the demolition of the classic Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction (which can still be enjoyed at the Disneyland Resort). On the bright side, however, this attraction is to be replaced by a themed children’s roller coaster called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which has fantastic special effects.
The expanded Fantasyland also includes Storybook Circus, a re-theming of the former Mickey’s Toontown Fair. Catering more toward younger guests, the area is headlined by The Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini, a children’s roller coaster and the iconic and newly expanded Dumbo: The Flying Elephant.
Not to be overshadowed by the Magic Kingdom, Epcot will open its re-designed version of the park’s very first thrill attraction, Test Track, on the very same day. Details on the refurbishment are scarce, but from concept art released it appears that the ride will be getting a much more modern look. It is surely not to be missed.
While most of these additions to Disney World are scheduled to officially open on Dec. 6, Disney has been known to hold soft openings for rides, wherein the rides may be open weeks ahead of time but are subject to closure at any time before the official opening.