16 May 2011 by By Dewayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel
The expanded Dumbo ride will have a covered queue area out of the Florida sun. (Walt Disney Co. / May 16, 2011)
Although this weekend's Destination D: Walt Disney World's 40th event, produced by Disney's D23 fan club, concentrated on Disney World past and present, there was a recap about the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland expansion during a Sunday session..
Chris Beatty, Walt Disney Imagineering's creative director for the expanion, shared details, renderings and photos, including an overhead of the area.
- The new wall that divides Cinderella Castle from the rest of Fantasyland will run through where the Dumbo ride currently sits. It will look old. "It will look like it's always been there," Beatty said.
- The new dark ride called Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid is designed so that passengers will feel they've stepped into the storyline. They'll hear "Poor Unfortunate Souls" in Ursual's lair and "Part of Your World" in Ariel's Grotto. The area will be more green than current Fantasyland. "Water and trees and slopes are extremely important" in the look, Beatty said.
- The Be Our Guest restaurant will seat 550 diners in three distinct areas. The main room, the ballroom, will hold 300 people, plus rooms representing Beast's art gallery and his west wing, which will have a "forboding feeling," Beatty said.
Also at BOG, "it's going to snow all year round, which will be great for Orlando," he said.
- "It's all about Gaston" is how Beatty described Gaston's Tavern. Out front: A statue of Gaston, provided by Gaston. Inside: Gaston's chair, portrait, etc., and lots of stuff made out of antlers.
- Beatty predicted that Enchanted Tales with Belle will be "the sleeper attraction of the expansion," and called it an example of how Disney is rethinking how guests meet characters. "We want to give you a 40-minute immersive experience," he said.
- The doubled Dumbo ride will get a new color scheme, doing away with pastels in favor of a 1940s feel to reflect the colors in the film. The centerpiece of the ride(s) is restyled and eight panels around the bottom will tell the Dumbo story.
- What we've been calling the Great Goofini (the modified Barnstormer) will get a new station. The renderings were marked as "Barnstormer starring Goofy as the Great Goofini," but that may not be up-to-date.
Guests will be going to work in the mines with the Seven Dwarfs in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It sounds like a two-life-hill roller coaster with a dark ride in the middle. As previously announced, each car of the train will flop side-to-side. Imagineers have tried the vehicle and its motion on the back of a truck in Anaheim. "It's extremely comfortable," Beatty said.
Snow White will be making a cameo appearance, he said.
Beatty said they had adjusted to the initial reaction to the Fantasyland expansion — that it seemed awfully girly. During his presentation, masculine characters did have an increased role: Maurice's cottage at Enchanted Tales With Belle, it's Beast's castle, not Belle's, it's Prince Eric's castle, not Ariel's. And girls will certainly be outnumbered by those dwarfs, whose ride was billed as a "family experience."
New Fantasyland elements should start appearing in the theme park next year. GO BACK