I will be the first to admit it. When the Disney Company announced the plans for the expansion of Fantasyland I was not happy. Not only did the expansion mean more Princesses, it also meant the demise of my beloved Mickey’s Country Fair. How was I going to break the news to my son that his first stop in Magic Kingdom would no longer exist? Did the executive team at Disney forget that Walt said “It all started with a mouse”? He didn’t say it all started with Princesses. Sure, Princesses meant more money…I knew that simply from the amount of Princess items were on the market, but at the time I was the mom of a boy and couldn’t grasp the appeal. Fast forward a few years and I am now the mom of a beautiful little girl as well and, as is our tradition, we planned her 3rd birthday at Walt Disney World which also happened to be the same week Disney planned to open the New Fantasyland.
From the moment we passed through walls, I knew instantly I was wrong, so wrong. Belle’s Village simply took my breath away with the stream and waterfall, Maurice’s garden, Gaston’s Tavern and fountain. It was all so exquisitely done. Passing into the Little Mermaid area and into the queue for Under the Sea, the details continue. From the sounds of the ocean, the underwater grottos that you pass through in line, the real sea shells embedded in the pathways to the fun little blue crab game you play to pass time in line, you get the feeling you were transported to a watery world far from Belle’s France.
Finally, there is Storybook Circus, the new home of Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Goofy’s Barnstormer rollercoaster. No more waiting in the center of the pathway, waiting in the hot sun to ride Dumbo. Follow the peanut-embedded path into the Big Top where you receive a pager and sit and wait in air-conditioned comfort for your turn to fly while the kids play on the circus-inspired playground. And did I mention that they added a second set of flying elephants so your wait is shorter than before. Outside there is another area to cool off…the Circus Train splash pad, by far the best in all of Walt Disney World. Spitting camels, squirting monkeys and spraying elephants, oh my!!
So yes, after experiencing New Fantasyland for myself, I have to admit, I was wrong. Although I still miss Mickey and Minnie’s country homes and all the fun things to discover inside them, New Fantasyland is a fabulous expansion that is a much better fit to the existing theming with great new technology and fabulous details and we found we spent far more time here than we ever did in the County Fair.