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Storybook Circus Fantasyland Expansion Soft Opens Today


The much anticipated first phase of the Fantasyland Expansion began soft openings today in the Magic Kingdom. Phase I consists of the brand new Dumbo, the rethemed Goofy's Barnstormer into the Great Goofini, and the reopening of the Fantasyland Train Station!

Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus

Soft openings mean the attractions have not officially opened and may be open or closed depending on imagineers and Disney. This is the period to make sure everything is working correctly and the Cast Member's training is fine tuned. The area may be open during park hours, or only during portions of the day; one attraction may be open and the other closed.

There has been so much interest and hype about the Fantasyland Expansion, not to mention we've been hearing about it for 2 years, that I wondered what my reaction would be.

Despite how crowded the area was, including waits of over 1 hour for both Dumbo and Goofy I was able to walk around and look at the themeing. It is amazing! The attention to detail is everything I expect from Imagineers and it did not disappoint.

.... from the trash cans, to the Cast Member Costumes, to the peanuts and animal prints in the pavement to the nod to Carolwood at the Train Station - it was all great.

Here are just a few of the photos I captured today. Many more to come in the future.


Fantasyland Expansion Dumbo

Fantasyland Expansion Dumbo

Fantasyland Expansion Dumbo

Fantasyland Expansion Dumbo

Fantasyland Expansion Dumbo


Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus

Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus


Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus


Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus

Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus

Fantasyland Expansion Storybook Circus

Go take a look for yourself and let me know what you think. If Phase I is any indication of the rest of the expansion, families will love it!!! Keep in mind this is a small area that is can be very congested.

Coming later in the season will be the interactive queue for Dumbo, the 2 tents, one a merchandise area and one a themed character meet and greet. There is also the Be Our Guest Restaurant, Belle's Village and Gaston's Tavern, Prince Erik's Castle which will house the Little Mermaid ride (identical inside to Disney California Adventure) and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Be sure to also check out Jack Spence's blog on the new area!

For more on the Fantasyland Expansion check out the official Disney Press Releases!

The previous post in this blog was Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Opens.

The next post in this blog is Magic Kingdom Maps reflect New Fantasyland.

Comments (34)

Thanks for the great pictures. We are excited to visit the the new storybook circus in 51 days! Does it have a delayed morning opening time in the off-season as with the old Toon Town or does it open with the rest of the Magic Kingdom? It was always a bummer having to wait until late morning to ride Goofy's barnstormer--one of my young boys to ride one of their favorite rides!


So excited!! My 9th trip to the House of Mouse will set off in exaclty 26 days as my husband, children and I begin our drive down the East Coast. This is our first time driving so we are extremely excited for this trip!


My family and I will be heading to Disney in 48days, there are 12 of us coming, the barnstormers ride, is this ride for kids only? There is no one in our group younger than 28 but it looks like a fun rollercoaster. Do you have to have children with you in order to ride?

Deb: Adults are more than welcome to ride with or without kids. I did the Barnstormer and had a blast. Just keep in mind it is about 65 seconds in length.

gena yates:

VERY CUTE AND COLORFUL !!! BUT...... WHERE IS TIMOTHY THE MOUSE !!! BOO HOO !! My oldest ( now 13 ) loved Dumbo (and trains) when he was little . He got such a kick out of the mouse and he loved looking at the "gears" and the spinning "beavers" in the gears. We'd have to split up, usually leaving me waiting in that tremendous Dumbo line so he could ride 2 times !! I am sooo excited about the fantasy land expansion , but to me, the old ride was more intriging even if it wasn't as colorful !!
Maybe the second ride will built like the old one !! ??

Do you know what they will do with Mickey and minni's houses ?? i think they should be in the DHS park !! Thanks for the blog, great pics. !! Gena

Deb: The new Dumbo is beautiful and the water feature adds so much to the attractions (especially at night). To my knowledge Mickey and Minnie's homes are no more.


Thanks for great pictures! I'm happy that these two rides will be open for annual trip in May. My 7 yr old son has missed them! Do you know if the height limit is the same now for the new Goofy Barnstormer as it was before? (I also have a 3 yr old who may be tall enough to ride!) Thanks.

DEB: Barnstormer height minimum is 35".


Thank you for sharing the new photos we are so excited to go there in May. I have a question is May 13-20 still a low period for DIsney World? WE usually go this week when it is the high crowd level.

Denise K:

We will be leaving in 58 days for another great time at Disney. Thanks for sharing these photos, I am excited to see all the new changes.

Lauren :

I have my fingers crossed that Be Our Guest will be open by the end of September. Do you know if they do a soft opening of the restaurants? If so, is this something you can typically make reservations for?

Deb: The only soft opening of restaurants I am aware of are possibly counter-service opening earlier and unannounced.


Thanks for the pics and review!

As excited as I am to see this new area which looks lovely, I felt a bit sad looking at the area around the Barnstormer - thinking of Mickey's and Minnie's houses and Donald's boat and how we won't see them when we're there in April. Can you tell what's in their place or is that part still under construction? And did Disney ever say if they would relocate those houses to somewhere else? My teen girls are old enough to understand these changes but how do you explain their disappearances to small children who are old enough to realize they're missing? :(

All Ears: To my knowledge the houses are not being relocated, sad I agree. I saw one of the mail boxes in an exhibit in California last year so I doubt we will see them again in Fl.

Not sure what of the new Fantasyland is in the place of the houses.


I thought I read somewhere that Dumbo would have 2 carousels. Did I miss read this, or are there two?


Deb: There will be 2 Dumbos. The 2nd one will have parts of the old Dumbo and will open later this year or early next year.

TJ Mahan:

Awesome tribute to the Carolwood & Pacific at the train depot!


My family and I were st MK today! We waited only 10 min for the goofy ride! All 3 of my kids loved it! And agreed the detail in this new area is amazing! Can't wait for the entire section to be opened! We will have to wait for our next trip to Disney!

Andrea S.:

I am so excited to see this in person...we are going to be there the end of August/beginning of
September. I have been anticipating the opening of the New Fantasyland since we first learned about it a couple of years ago, I am really excited that it is finally coming to life :).


Going to WDW is 17 days! DS (9) loves Goofy's Barnstormer. I really hope that it is open when we are there. Cannot wait to see the new expansion and all the other areas. So excited!!!!


Looks very cool!!!!!! Can't wait to go on my birthday .


Thanks for the photos, so nice to see the reference to Walt's Carolwood Pacific Railroad! Can't wait to see it all for myself.

Cindy Nagel:

So, what's in the spot where Mickey and Minnie's house was?

DEB: I don't know exactly what is in that location. I'll try to find out.

Debra Heath:

Deb: Thanks for the update!! Good pictures!! Can't wait till September 8-16 to see everything that is open then. I have my fingers crossed Be Our Guest will be open then.


You know, the cast member's uniforms look a little odd here. Either they need different shorts or the tops need to be toned down, but there's a definite jarring when looking between the two. Still, I like the tops. They're so delightfully gaudy.

All in all, I like what I see a lot. Both the US resorts look like they're really beefing things up and both look exceptional. It's really, really nice.

DEB: Every one of the Cast Members I spoke with LOVES the new costumes. They said there were very comfortable and cool!


Looks amazing! I got 'Mouse Bumps' just looking at it! Cannot wait to experience it with my 3yo in August!

Is there any indication when more of the Fantasyland Expansion might open? 'Late 2012' is vague (probably on purpose) but just wondering if we dare dream that more of the expansion might be open for our trips in August and November?

DEB: You know Disney - dream away :) I am GUESSING that in November Belle's area will be open.


Thanks for the update!! We are visiting in June and can't wait to see the new Fantasyland and stay at the new Art of Animation Resort!!

George :

I'm heading down to WDW in April with my son...can't wait to see all the new things.


AllEars: Wish I had an answer for you. My guess is late 2012 or early 2013. The inside of the attraction is just like the one in Disney California Adventure so it isn't like starting from scratch. That said, the exterior and possibly the queue area will be much more elaborate.


Have there been any changes to Goofy's Barnstormer, or is it the same ride as before in the same location?

AllEars: Same ride, same location, same ride vehicles (just painted different) just different queue area and different theming.

scott proctor:

What is the timeline for additional sections of Fantasyland to open later this year...?? We are planning a trip down late Sept or Oct., but we don't want to come unless more of the expansion is completed and open.

AllEars: WDW is not providing specific dates for future openings. We keep hearing fall for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. My GUESS is that the entire Beauty and the Beast Section (Be Our Guest Restaurant, Maurice’s Cottage, Belle's Meet and Greet, and Gaston’s Tavern) will open about the same time.

More information: http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/walt_disney_world/magic_kingdom/fantasyland_expansion/

Ann-Marie MacRae:

so excited about going in October - taking my parents for the first time and hope that there is a loads more of it open


Hi we are going to my favourite place in the world!!! WDW at end of October for 2 weeks until the 9th November & will be staying in a Nemo family suite @ Art of Animation resort. What are the attractions & restaurants etc that will be open by the in Fantasyland?? Thanks

AllEars: Disney has not released any specific dates for future openings. They are stating fall for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. My GUESS is that the entire Beauty and the Beast Section (Be Our Guest Restaurant, Maurice’s Cottage, Belle's Meet and Greet, and Gaston’s Tavern) will open about the same time.


is there anything where dumbo used to be or is it just open now??

AllEars: The area where Dumbo used to be is being regraded and will be part of the full expansion once it is all open. It will be near the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Belle's area.


Is it a small area because there's still a lot fenced off, or is this area always going to feel a bit small?

AllEars: It is small because of all the construction walls. It will not be a small area once it fully opens.

Aubrey Cooper:

I saw Humphrey Bear and Pete on the Storybook Circus poster. Any indication what their role is in this land? I <3 Humphrey Bear!!!

AllEars: No idea at this time about Humphrey or Pete.


EXCELLENT Hidden Mickey!!! Can't wait to see where else the Imagineers snuck them in!!!

Jen Sanders:

Looks like its coming along nicely!! Looking forward to seeing the progress when I visit in August. Thanks for the great photos and updates!!


Thanks for the great pictures. I can't wait to visit this new area myself!

Tricia J.:

So much fun to see these pics! My family and I can't wait to get to WDW to see it in person!!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 12, 2012 7:31 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Opens.

The next post in this blog is Magic Kingdom Maps reflect New Fantasyland.

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