Earlier today, the official Disney Parks Blog held an informal live chat with Chris Beatty, Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, to discuss with online guests the ongoing development of the New Fantasyland Expansion at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the largest single expansion in the park’s history.
Unfortunately the end result wasn’t as promising as one might have hoped, with questions often answered in ways that conflict with previous announcements or seemingly dodged altogether.
In addressing the first question as to whether the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster would be along the lines of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or if it will be child-friendly. Although politically correct, Beatty’s response was that ‘being that it’s Magic Kingdom, we want all of our guests to enjoy our attractions, so this will definitely be a family coaster that everyone can enjoy together.’ While this is of course the case, Big Thunder is also in the Magic Kingdom, so essentially the question was just not answered. The real answer, as defined by Imagineering in the past, is that this new coaster would lay between The Great Goofini (Barnstormer) and Big Thunder, having two lifts, where as the former attractions have 1 and 3 lifts respectively.
Another case in point just happened to be the following question in which Beatty was asked regarding a timeline as to when the New Fantasyland Expansion and its attractions would open to the guests. While Beatty answered it would open in phases beginning in in fall of 2012, previous announcements have pointed to at least some of the Storybook Circus area to open in early/spring 2012.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster seemed to be the reoccurring theme with Beatty attributing the vehicles to be the most technically advanced aspect of the New Fantasyland Expansion. Arguably enough, however, one guest did ask a leading question about Lumiere, who was mentioned at the Disney Parks and Resorts panel at D23 Expo as being a ‘life size’ audio animatronic (living character initiative), but Beatty deflected, noting a separate Disney Parks blog entry exploring Lumiere is on the way.
In addition to a large amount of trees and foliage and sitting areas to enhance the atmosphere of the Fantasyland Forest, Beatty also noted the strong presence and usage of water: ‘We’ve added lots of water! Water also tells an integral part of the story, from the Beast Castle, underneath the bridge you’ll cross, past the front of The Little Mermaid and all the way to Dumbo.’
Below is a gallery of some of the concept art that was shared during the chat:
Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade” will light up the streets of Magic Kingdom, headlining a season of after-dark excitement coming to Walt Disney World Resort in summer 2010. Beginning June 6 and continuing through Aug. 14, “Summer Nightastic!” will light up the night with shimmering, shining Disney magic in Walt Disney World theme parks.
Here’s a look at what’s in store: Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade” returns with its joyous sights and sounds. The parade will feature new floats and characters appearing for the first time at the Magic Kingdom. Returning from Disneyland Resort and marking its first appearance in Florida since 2001, the cherished parade will be led by Tinker Bell waving from the basket of a magical balloon aboard a new float. Pinocchio and Snow White also join the fun this summer aboard bright new floats. Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade” is set for its summer-long nighttime premiere June 6 at Magic Kingdom. “Summer Nightastic!” also means music! Guests wanting to “trip the light fantastic” to sizzling summer sounds will find high energy DJ music at “Rock N’ Glow Dance Party” in the courtyard of Rock ‘n’ Roller CoasterStarring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At Epcot, the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series returns (June 12-July 31) with bands playing musical tributes to artists who filled summers gone by with musical magic. What could be more summery than fireworks on a star-studded night? Magic Kingdom will treat guests to “Summer Nightastic Fireworks Spectacular,” filling the night sky with vivid colors and brilliant visual effects while whimsical music fills the air.
Guests are now able to picture themselves (or other loved ones) on their very own refillable Disney Gift Card. The cards are available both online at the Disney Store and in person at Exposition Hall at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
There appears to be no additional charge for the customization.
Be aware that there are a few supplemental terms and conditions which are viewable online after uploading the photo (but prior to purchasing). They appear to be fairly non-restrictive, but do include the warning that DisneyStore.com can replace the personalized Disney Gift Card with a more generic one if they find the image to be in violation of the terms.
Platinum-selling band Paramore poses April 24, 2010 at the Magic Kingdom as daytime fireworks are shot over Cinderella Castle in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Franklin, Tenn.-based rock band — (L-R): Taylor York, Zac Farro, Hayley Williams, Josh Farro and Jeremy Davis — is performing a two-night engagement at the Walt Disney World “Grad Nite,” a private, after-hours event held annually for high school seniors. Williams, the lead singer of Paramore, also is featured on the B.o.B., single, “Airplanes,” which debuted in April 2010 at number 12 on the “Billboard” Hot 100 chart. (Todd Anderson, photographer)
Up until now, we’ve been holding back releasing what we knew regarding the dates for the 2010 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party nights at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom because we were awaiting confirmation on dates beyond October 3.
The wait has ended (almost). The dates we have been given are as follows:
September 3, 8, 14, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 30
October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31
As always, dates are subject to change at any time. We have no additional information regarding pricing and ticket availability as of yet, but we expect tickets to go on sale May 1, 2010.
We will update this article as additional information becomes available.
Update 4/9: According to an image Disney has released promoting the event, the first date of the party will be September 14, after the Night of Joy. There are indicators that other dates may have changed. This makes Sept 14, Nov 1 and Oct 3 as dates so far released through official Disney channels.
Update 4/10: Dates have been matched to those offered to Disney authorized travel agents (which had since changed since originally posted).
The Walt Disney World Resort reports that its previously announced ‘Summer Nightastic!‘ program which features the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade will begin on June 6 and run through August 14.
Actress Eva La Rue (right), star of the CBS series “CSI: Miami,” and her daughter Kaya (left), age 8, pose March 1, 2010 with Minnie Mouse at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Prior to joining the cast of “CSI: Miami,” La Rue appeared on the ABC Daytime drama “All My Children.” (Gene Duncan, photographer)
Video: Ceremony at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Officially Establishes Twinning of Theme Park with Swindon, UK
Swindon in the United Kingdom was officially honored at Walt Disney World when the plaque marking the twinning of the Wiltshire town with the popular Florida resort was unveiled at the famous Magic Kingdom. The twinning ceremony, which was attended by The Mayor of Swindon (Cllr David Wren), TV presenter and competition judge Angellica Bell, Duncan Wardle, VP Creative Inc, Walt Disney World, the creator of the winning Swindon nomination Rebecca Warren and her family. A plaque marking the twinning will take pride of place in the UK pavilion at Epcot throughout 2010 for visitors to see.
Video courtesy of the Walt Disney World resort.