During yesterday’s “What’s New, What’s Next” presentation, Walt Disney World offered additional details and dates for the New Fantasyland expansion currently under construction at the Magic Kingdom. New artwork and construction photos were shared as well as a timeline for a few attractions set to open this year.
Video: New Fantasyland dates and details revealed during “What’s New, What’s Next” 2012
Walt Disney World president Meg Crofton updated the known New Fantasyland timeline during the presentation at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, as follows:
December 6, 2012 - Official Grand Opening (Updated 8/7/12):
Crofton then brought Imagineer Chris Beatty to the stage to reveal additional details about the ongoing New Fantasyland project.
Most notably, new artwork was shared for Princess Fairy Tale Hall, one of the few aspects of New Fantasyland that very little is known about. Replacing Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Princess Fairy Tale Hall will be the “permanent home” for all of Disney’s princesses as a “castle setting.”
It has never been included in any timelines for the announced opening dates of parts of New Fantasyland. Beatty said it will be open “when we are done with the expansion,” insinuating that it will be one of the last elements to open, though Snow White’s Scary Adventures will have its last day of operation on May 31, 2012.
But Snow White will not remain absent from the Magic Kingdom, not only appearing in Princess Fairy Tale Hall but also with a new ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Beatty showed two images from the same angle, one concept art and the other a recent construction photo showing the scale of the roller coaster.
As he mentioned during Thursday’s New Fantasyland construction tour, the brown steel currently seen in the park shows the height of the ride track and the grey steel shows the height of the land that will be built up around the track. But the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train won’t open until 2014.
Enchanted Tales will Belle is taking shape in the Beauty and the Beast area as the future home of an elaborate meet-and-greet with Belle.
The Be Our Guest restaurant most prominently features a forced perspective Beast’s Castle high atop “sharp and angular” rocky mountains, currently forming in New Fantasyland. A new look inside the restaurant focused on elaborate chandeliers recently installed in the dining room inspired by the iconic ballroom scene in “Beauty and the Beast.”
Gaston’s Tavern, Bonjour Village Gifts, and an elaborate statue of Gaston and LeFou were given a closer look in the presentation as well, opening with the Be Our Guest restaurant and Enchanted Tales by the end of 2012.
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid features Prince Eric’s castle as its main facade, though guests will enter through a waterside grotto underneath. Though that castle is only seen briefly in “The Little Mermaid” it will still be a striking addition to the Magic Kingdom. And as a tribute to the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction that formerly occupied that space, Imagineers are carving a small Nautilus submarine hidden in the rock work.
Dumbo’s indoor, air-conditioned queue for both of its mirror-image carousels will be opening in July 2012.
New artwork was revealed for the Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station, currently being installed inside Storybook Circus. Like the rest of Dumbo, it’s set to open in July, featuring plenty of train cars filled with circus animals.
Though the next areas of Storybook Circus will open in just a couple months, it won’t be until near the end of this year that the first major areas of New Fantasyland will be revealed, those inspired by the classic Disney animated films “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid.” Those will be enjoyed throughout 2013 as the largest Magic Kingdom expansion grows closer to wrapping up in 2014.