New Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Expansion Plans Announced; Snow White Closure Confirmed; Hi-Res Concept Art

The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history is underway, a project that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland and deliver a new home for Ariel, new ways to interact with favorite Disney princesses, an exciting new family coaster, a double dose of Dumbo and more.

Scheduled to open in phases beginning in late 2012, the new Fantasyland will immerse guests in Disney stories as never before. Among the highlights planned:

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First Element of Fantasyland Expansion Makes On-Stage Debut

'Beauty and the Beast'-inspired snack cart at Magic KingdomIf you’re wondering why this new snack cart at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World looks more like it was crafted by ‘crazy old Maurice’ rather than Walt Disney Imagineers, it’s because it will eventually find its home just beyond that blue wall, inside Gaston’s Village as part of the park’s Fantasyland Expansion project.

The Walt Disney World Resort recently announced that its Toontown Country Fair will be closed permanently as of February 12, 2011 to continue work on the expansion which involves the relocation and doubling of the Dumbo attraction into that area. The only remaining attractions will be the train station and Goofy’s Barnstormer, re-themed to the area.

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WDW Refurb Update: Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh Closure in October thru Mid-November

The official Walt Disney World website has updated its operational calendar to include a closure for The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom from October 25 through November 14.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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Tokyo Disneyland Announces Opening Date for ‘Mickey’s PhilharMagic’

Mickey's PhilharMagic at Tokyo Disneyland © DisneyThe Tokyo Disneyland Resort has announced that Mickey’s PhilHarmagic, its 43rd attraction, will open to the public on January 24, 2011.

At a cost of about $65 million US, the 4D attraction’s theatre will seat up to 454 guests per show as they thrill to the exciting adventures of Donald Duck as he finds himself face to face with many of the characters from Walt Disney’s animated classics.

The attraction, which will be located in Fantasyland, is connected to its corresponding gift shop, Harmony Faire.

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WDW Refurb Update: Extended Closure for ‘it’s a small world’ — Are Disney Characters Being Added?

Thanks to a tip, we have learned that ‘it’s a small world’ at the Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has been scheduled for an extended refurbishment beginning August 1 and ending October 22. The refurbishment is listed on the official Walt Disney World website daily view for those dates and a call to the Resort did confirm the closure.

We’re sure in time that more about the details of the refurbishment will come to light, but until then, one can only speculate. With the addition of Disney characters at first Hong Kong Disneyland and then Disneyland in 2009, could the Magic Kingdom be far behind?

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Character Changes Coming to Disney World for April/May 2010: Ariel’s Grotto Closes, Lotso Arrives

Prince Eric with Ariel during a Pirate and Princess Party at the Magic Kingdom in 2007Although most character meet & greets at the Walt Disney World Resort are fairly standard from day to day, there are a couple of times per year when there are significant changes. These changes usually occur in April/May and September/October. In 2010, these changes are further complicated by the closure of Toontown and the Fantasyland expansion in the Magic Kingdom. Since we’re already getting into April, it’s time to take a look at some of the expected upcoming changes.

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D23 Anniversary Event: Steven Clark Talks D23 Expo, New Upcoming Events and WDI Drops Bombshells

Last night, Disney’s D23 held a private after-hours event for members who attended its (slightly early) first anniversary party in which most of the existing Fantasyland was turned into a bounty of attractions, unique character meet and greet experiences and dessert party.

Aside from the party, there were two key events. The first of which was a buffet style dinner inside the Diamond Horseshoe in which D23 head Steven Clark offered a presentation concerning the first anniversary of the first official community for Disney fans.

Marvel section at Disney Store Times Square Introduced by Walt Disney World ambassador Clay Shoemaker, Clark talked about his own personal experience as a fan prior to joining the company, attending an event in the early 90s in which many Disney legends (past, present and future) were in attendance and presented upcoming projects from The Walt Disney Company. He spoke of meeting Walt Disney Studios archivist Dave Smith whom he had recognized from Dave’s column in Disney Channel magazine. He spoke fondly of Smith’s warmth and how Smith had offered him a private tour of the Studios in Burbank. Clark recalled how he had encountered a custodian with a fanny pack at the Studios and watched as a squirrel ran up the custodian’s leg, took food out of the fanny pack and ran off, appearing to gesture a thank you along the way. It was then, Clark notes, he knew he ‘was at Disney.’ Clark then led the room in a toast saluting D23 and its members and both of their successes. He introduced several key members of the D23 group that were in attendance (and a couple that were not) and spoke of their contributions to the success of the club and the expo.

(more…)

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First Look: 3D Sculpture of Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland (Update)

Note: Updates in bold.

Months before the official announcement, we were one of the first to share the blueprints for the new Magic Kingdom Fantasyland with you. Today we are thrilled to be able to show you this image we acquired of an actual sculpted model of the Fantasyland redo.

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Sylvania to Sponsor Disneyland’s ‘it’s a small world;’ New Marquee in Early 2010

'it's a small world' presented by Sylvania“We are thrilled to be associated with such an icon of the Disney experience. At SYLVANIA, we are creating ways to see the world in a new light. Our association with ‘it’s a small world’ is a perfect fit for our own vision,” said Rick Leaman, president and CEO of the Siemens lighting unit, OSRAM SYLVANIA.

“‘it’s a small world’ is a celebration of the hope we all share for peace on Earth,” said Walt Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, who is the creative lead for Disneyland. “It’s an illuminating global message, so it’s fitting that this classic attraction should be sponsored by a company that literally helps illuminate the world.”

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‘Blueprint’ Surfaces of (Big Gulp) Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland Makeover – It’s Huge.

A big tip o’ the ears to our lovely friends at the Disney Report who have obtained and posted a very highly detailed blueprint of a long rumored upgrade to Fantasyland (now removed). Personally, I don’t take too much stock in rumors and I think I have a talent for knowing what’s likely and what’s not and while I would never believe anyone if they told me what this design foretells, it does have some key elements that I’ve been ‘aware’ of myself. Most notably the fact that something big was coming to the Magic Kingdom alas the upper crust felt the park was being neglected so they started to shift focus to it, that the Little Mermaid was coming to Magic Kingdom (reportedly one of the conditions of being able to bring it to Disney’s California Adventure was to be able to replicate it in the Magic Kingdom to reduce costs) and that it (and/or something big) was finally going over the huge plot of land that once was the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (and now hidden by lots of trees).

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