Casey Jr. has come to town, and the Dumbo rides are now dueling with Timothy Q. Mouse watching over in Storybook Circus, part of the Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom. Along with the two larger attractions, a number of smaller details and further work behind the scenes has been taking place in the last few months.
The second Dumbo spinner is open, along with the interactive queue area, which is housed in the large tent between the two rides. Guests in the standby line can get a pager and wait their turn while relaxing in the air conditioning. Kids can enjoy the various interactive elements and playground style equipment as well. FASTPASS is also available, but guests will need to head over to Mickey’s Philarmagic on the other side of Fantasyland to get one. A few of the machines currently used for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh were converted for use for Dumbo. It is expected that the new version of FASTPASS currently being developed does not need paper tickets, and so the machines are only temporary.
Also open is the Casey Jr. Splash & Soak Station, a water play area featuring the locomotive and several circus cars with animated animals. Water jets, sprinklers, misters, and the animals squirting water will delight little ones who need to burn off some energy and cool off. A small stand nearby sells towels, sunscreen and other items.
Over the walls, progress can be seen on the Beauty and the Beast area as well as the Little Mermaid ride. New trees have been planted throughout the area, and more and more details in the rockwork and other scenery pieces have been added. Some of the areas behind the walls seem near completion, receiving detail work like landscaping and walkway installation, while other spots still show concrete, steel and plenty of work to be done.
One of those spots behind the walls is the massive steel and concrete structure for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster, expected to be the last major part of the expansion to open sometime in 2014. The large crane, which is visible from many areas of the park, can often be seen moving steel pieces into place throughout the day. Some sources are saying that the majority of the heavy lifting is done, and that this large crane may be on its way out of the park soon.
Just behind Prince Regal’s Carousel, concrete work has been moving along. Sections were replaced and elevated by about a foot to match the new height around the new castle walls currently being constructed. As of this past week, the concrete work around the carousel looks to be complete, and the walls directly behind it are now gone, freeing up extra room for the summer crowds.
Unrelated to the main part of the Fantasyland expansion, a new pathway and restrooms are being built between it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion. The new pathway will run on the opposite side The Yankee Trader shop, and open up the bottleneck on that side of Fantasyland. The former Fantasyland station of the Skyway has been completely removed, and new restrooms are being constructed in the area. Landscaping, including new planters and a water feature, are also expected. Once the new restrooms open, it is also rumored that the old restrooms located across the area between Peter Pan’s Flight and Columbia Harbour House will be converted into an interactive queue for Peter Pan’s Flight.
Also in Fantasyland, part of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh queue has been converted to a permanent meet-and-greet area for Pooh and friends. Currently, Tigger joins Winnie the Pooh to greet guests from 11:15 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
It is fun to watch the progress made each trip to the Magic Kingdom, from the opening of new areas to the small details being added. A majority of the expansion is scheduled to be open by the end of 2012, with the Seven Dwarfs mine train ride currently scheduled to open in 2014.
Fantasyland expansion – photo gallery
Click any image to view it full-screen. When the full-screen image is open, click to the right or use the right arrow on your keyboard to advance through the gallery. If several thumbnails are missing, try reloading this page in your browser.
[sws_author_bio user=”nepalostparks” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Bill” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]