Disney World Immersive Expansion Opens This Week

Disney WorldFlorida’s Walt Disney World is about to open a new, re-imagined Fantasyland. The iconic park had been in operation for years to the thrill of vacationers of all ages and needed a facelift. More than a fresh coat of paint and upgraded technology, Disney is adding a popular immersive element to the experience.

“The Magic Kingdom is the iconic place at Walt Disney World and Fantasyland is the favorite land,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in the U.S. and France in a Fox News report. “It’s the heart of the Magic Kingdom and we’re absolutely doubling the size of it, so I think that’s major in our guests’ minds.”


New Fantasyland has had some attractions up and running for weeks during a soft opening where cast members test their operation. Along the way, those experiencing new features and attractions have been engaged and drawn into each correlating story, every step of the way.

Enchanted Tales With Belle
A new attraction, Enchanted Tales with Belle, is an interactive experience (as opposed to a “ride”) that begins with an enchanted mirror transporting guests from Belle’s house to Beast’s library where Belle and Lumière invite guests to become part of a lively retelling of the “tale as old as time.”

Unique here is that groups are small and many are invited to participate in the experience that brings guests up close and personal with live action characters from “Beauty and the Beast.” This is not a passive, sit-around-and-watch attraction.Disney WorldUnder the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid
Also new is the musical attraction Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid where guests enter Prince Eric’s castle, board a giant clamshell and enjoy high-energy songs and effects that take them inside scenes from the animated Disney film “The Little Mermaid.”

Similar to Haunted Mansion in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the ride transports guests on clamshell-style vehicles using the Omnimover ride system introduced by Disney Imagineers in the 1960s. The ride takes guests through a series of scenes, first taking them to the bottom of the ocean, bringing us up to speed on Ariel’s journey from her father’s undersea kingdom then on to meeting Prince Eric.

Disney WorldBe Our Guest Restaurant
Cinderella’s Castle has some competition now with the opening of Beast’s Castle. In the middle of Beast’s Castle are three dining rooms that make up the new Be Our Guest Restaurant.

A West Wing features an enchanted rose, the Rose Gallery has twirling, larger-than-life figures of Belle and Beast and the Ballroom features an elegant domed ceiling, twinkling chandeliers and views of softly falling snow.

Inspired by Disney’s animated feature “Dumbo,” the Storybook Circus park within a park features a country fair feel with colorful big-top tents and attractions.

The Barnstormer takes the Great Goofini on a stunt plane ride high above Storybook Circus. As the story goes, Goofy has goofed his way into the role of a circus stunt pilot, The Great Goofini. In the tradition of classic air shows, The Great Goofini takes you away on a spiraling stunt plane adventure. Your twisting, turning, daredevil, roller coaster “flight” takes you high above the grounds of Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland.

A new Dumbo The Flying Elephant ride is twice the size of the old one and features a circus-themed play area offering recreation and relaxation for guests as they wait for their turn – with two rotating squadrons of airborne pachyderms! Inspired by the title character from the 1941 Disney animated motion picture, this popular attraction lets you fly with Dumbo.

Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station is a circus-themed water play area where guests can enjoy cooling refreshment and squirt each other. Interactive water features include Casey Jr., who lets off billows of cooling “steam” along with monkeys, elephants and camels that spray water.

disney worldPete’s Silly Sideshow is the place for guests to meet Disney circus stars who are excited to show off their special talents. Located inside one of the big-top tents, guests can meet Minnie Magnifique (Minnie Mouse as a circus performer), Madame Daisy Fortuna (Daisy Duck as a fortuneteller), The Great Goofini (Goofy as a daredevil stunt pilot) and The Astounding Donaldo (Donald Duck as a snake charmer).

Opening this week, that’s not the end of Fantasyland expansion. Doubling the size of the park, two other major attractions are underway, due to open in 2013 and 2014.

In the center of Fantasyland, Princess Fairytale Hall, opening in 2013, will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows opening into a large gallery where portraits of the Disney princesses cover the walls. Guests will move to elegantly finished rooms, meeting Disney princesses Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Rapunzel.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, opening in 2014, will take guests on a musical coaster ride into a mine via a first-of-its-kind ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth, based on the classic Disney film and animated figures of “Snow White and the Dwarfs.”

See more in this preview video:




[Photo Credit- Disney Parks and Resorts]


Disney begins construction on a new ship in Pappenburg Germany

At a ceremony in Pappenburg, Germany this week, Disney Cruise Lines marked another milestone in the expansion of it’s fleet of magical cruise ships.

Assisted by Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, Minnie Mouse presided over the keel laying ceremony at they Meyer-Werft shipyard where new Disney Fantasy, twin to recently launched Disney Dream will be constructed.

The keel laying ceremony is a significant milestone in the ship building process when the first block, or section of the ship, is lowered into the building dock and a coin is placed under the keel for good fortune.

Not to be a twin sister to Disney Dream, new Fantasy will have many of the same features but also some new design elements and guest experiences that will give the ship a unique identity all her own. Different from Disney Dream sailing 3 and 4-night sailings, the new Disney Fantasy will sail week-long itineraries. Both will sail from Florida’s Port Canaveral where guests can easily add on a stay at Walt Disney World either before or after sailing.

“Disney begins construction on a new ship in Pappenburg Germany” is not the only news about Disney. The company that represents quality family entertainment world-wide is also embracing social media as we see in this video.


Mickey’s Toontown Fair to close at Disney World

When you travel to visit Mickey this spring, you won’t find him in his house. Walt Disney World has announced that the Mickey’s Toontown Fair area of the park will close after Feb. 11, 2011.

mickey toontown fair to close at Walt Disney WorldThe area features the side-by-side houses of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Goofy’s Barnstormer – a kiddie coaster, Donald’s Boat – a playground for toddlers, and a large character greeting area where guests can meet Mickey and Minnie, Tinker Bell and her fairy friends, and several Disney princesses.

Mickey’s Toontown Fair is being closed as part of Disney’s grand plans for the largest Walt Disney World expansion ever. Princess castles, restaurants, and a new ride based on The Little Mermaid are being added to Fantasyland.

The construction is set to be completed in 2013.

Mickey’s Toontown Fair opened as a new “land” at Walt Disney World in 1988, when it was called Mickey’s Birthdayland in celebration of the Mouse’s 60th birthday.

Many Disney enthusiasts dislike the cartoon theming of the area and say that it doesn’t fit in with the rest of Walt Disney World. But the land in the northeast corner of the Magic Kingdom has proven popular with families.

The Disney Parks Blog says that Disney World guests will still be able to meet their favorite characters after Toontown Fair closes. Mickey, Minnie and the Disney Princesses will greet guests in a building in the Magic Kingdom’s Town Square. Tinker Bell will move to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and her fairy friends will flutter over to Epcot.

Minnie Mouse molester convicted

John William Moyer, a 60-year-old visitor to Walt Disney World probably won’t be welcome at the theme park any longer. The Cressona, Pennsylvania resident was convicted of feeling up Minnie Mouse (yes, there are people inside those suits). Moyer claimed he was innocent, and his son vouched for him, saying that his father would never touch a woman inappropriately.

Meanwhile, the victim reveals, according to an Associated Press report, that “she had to do everything possible to keep Moyer’s hands off her breasts.”

Moyer was nailed for misdemeanor battery. His punishment includes 180 days probation, 50 hours of community service and to write an apology to the victim. He’s also on the hook for $1,000 in court costs and may have to submit to a mental evaluation.

Apparently, nobody told Moyer that he could ogle all the boobs he wants over at Splash Mountain, where the ladies can’t seem (to be bothered to) keep their shirts on.