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TheStreet Open House

Grand Celebration Opens New Fantasyland, Largest Expansion Ever At Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The star of "Once Upon a Time" kicked off the "happily ever after" at the grand opening Thursday of New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.  Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White on the hit ABC-TV drama, joined pop star Jordin Sparks and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs in ceremonies filled with favorite Disney characters, daytime fireworks and timeless melodies from classic Disney films.

" Walt Disney once promised that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world," Staggs said. "New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt's promise. We're thrilled to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover new worlds featuring iconic Disney characters and stories in ways that are more imaginative, more interactive and more immersive than ever before."

New Fantasyland features attractions, dining, shopping, character interactions, recreation and more – laid out fairy tale-style amid waterfalls, grottoes, arched bridges, forests and circus big tops. A multiyear expansion project that doubles the size of the existing Fantasyland, the sprawling new area lies just beyond the existing Fantasyland in the shadows of Cinderella Castle.

New Fantasyland consists of the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus areas. Walt Disney Imagineers brought to life beloved Disney stories and magical places, putting guests in the middle of Disney classics and new favorites – and making memories to last a lifetime. Here's just a sampling of the new enchanted areas now open in New Fantasyland:

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Guests riding in clamshells travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against the musical backdrop of beloved songs from the film. Before the experience, the fun is whimsical and interactive in the queue area under Prince Eric's Castle. After the attraction and below the seaside cliffs, guests can meet the princess herself in Ariel's Grotto.
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle. In a faroff French village, an enchanted mirror becomes the gateway to a new kind of storytelling experience. Through props, costumes and other interaction, guests step right into the story of "Beauty and the Beast" – meeting Belle and Lumiere and sharing in a lively re-telling of the "tale as old as time."
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant features a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, delicate Rose Gallery and mysterious "West Wing" of the Beast's Castle. The magnificent space offers "great food fast" lunch service by day and full-service table dining at night. Both experiences -- fittingly for the story of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" -- feature French-inspired cuisine.
  • Gaston's Tavern welcomes guests to a comfy French lodge done in homage to -- Gaston himself. The menu of this casual restaurant includes LeFou's Brew, named for Gaston's sidekick and a cooling concoction sure to satisfy any thirst.
  • Dumbo, the Flying Elephant – a Fantasyland icon – has doubled in size. Two Dumbos – one going clockwise and other counterclockwise – take guests circling above Storybook Circus in ride vehicles they maneuver themselves. The two Dumbos are connected to an indoor "big top" allowing guests to enjoy  circus-themed activities while awaiting their ride time with the lovable pachyderm.
  • Aboard The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini, it's family-style coaster fun as guests dip and soar daredevil-style above the circus grounds. Ride vehicles follow the twisting, turning coaster "flight" of stuntman Goofy.
  • Beloved Disney characters as aspiring circus stars are on hand to meet their adoring fans in Pete's Silly Sideshow. Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Donald Duck are decked out in their big top finest to await their big break – and pose for photos with Magic Kingdom guests in the process.

There's even more in store as the expansion of New Fantasyland continues:

  • Princess Fairytale Hall (2013) will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom. To open in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, the regal space will provide the perfect setting for meeting Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana and the other Disney princesses.
  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (2014) will take Magic Kingdom guests on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine "where a million diamonds shine." The family-style coaster will feature a first-of-its-kind ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth.

Later Thursday, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet was scheduled to rev up its engines in a new re-imagined version of the Epcot attraction that focuses on guests designing their dream wheels, then putting their design to the test. And on Friday, a media preview was scheduled for Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney West Side. The bowling, dining and entertainment complex is slated to open for guests later in December.

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