If you’ve been to the Magic Kingdom recently, you might have noticed some changes happening behind the castle, in Fantasyland.
In a press conference this week, Walt Disney World unveiled more concrete plans for the renovations, along with some artist renderings of what the completed project will look like.
Take a gander at this:
Pretty awesome, right? The new additions are scheduled to open in phases, beginning in late 2012.
Among the main changes, the grotto where Ariel formerly met with guests is being turned into a new attraction, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves, against the backdrop of songs from the movie. It doesn’t say how they’ll be doing that, but I’m hoping for an appearance from Sebastian (love him!).
From what I understand, also among the first to open will be the addition of the castle of Beast, across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. This will serve as the setting for Be Our Guest Restaurant. With seating for 550, this dining experience will feature an elegant ballroom, gallery and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. It will offer a quick service style of dining by day and a full table service dinner in the evening. No word on the menu offerings, yet.
Nearby in Belle’s Village, guests will find the rousing Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
Outside of the village will be Belle’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. Guests start in Maurice’s workshop where a magical mirror is the gateway to Beast’s library. There, they meet Belle and Lumiere, and share in an interactive re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”
As the multi-phase project reaches completion, guests will also be able to enjoy the following additions to the Magic Kingdom:
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is an indoor coaster that will utilize a first-of-its-kind ride system that allows the ride vehicles to swing back and forth, responding to the twists and turns of the track. The ride will be set to the music of the film, so while the coaster is themed to a mine ride, I’m guessing it won’t be all that scary. You can check out the artist rendering of it below.
The current Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction will make way for the Princess Fairytale Hall. Meet Disney princesses such as Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Rapunzel in their new home, an elegant royal court.
The Dumbo attraction is getting moved over to where Mickey’s Toontown Fair once stood, and it’s being expanded. The new bigtop, Storybook Circus, will house two of the carousels that make up the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride.
Finally, next to Storybook Circus, the classic coaster, Barnstormer will get a makeover that features Goofy as The Great Goofini. Still loads of fun for all ages.
All told, the entire project should be completely open by 2013, according to sources.
What do you think? Are you feeling any excitement for any of these attractions or restaurants?
[All artist renderings courtesy and copyright Walt Disney World]
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