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Fantasyland 2.0 Disney’s Magic Kingdom makeover


The world’s busiest theme park has just got a little bit bigger following the unveiling of a multi- million (or almost half a billion!) dollar expansion of Fantasyland, the heart of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. Like much of what Disney does, writes Paul Ruben, it is marked by compelling storytelling and incredible attention to detail


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his, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom’s 41-year history, will nearly double the size of Fantasyland by the time it is finished in 2014. Opening in phases, a major portion was unveiled amidst much fanfare in early December. The Magic Kingdom is the most heavily-attended theme park in the world, with more than 17 million visits made annually. New Fantasyland, which lies beyond the existing Fantasyland in the shadows of Cinderella Castle, is sure to boost attendance yet further. Here guests are invited into classic storybook worlds where elephants fly and castles touch the sky. Built at a reported cost of $425 million, New Fantasyland features new rides and attractions,


dining, shopping, character interactions and more, laid out amid waterfalls, grottoes, arched bridges, forests and circus big tops. “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,” notes Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs. ”New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt’s promise.” Comprised of the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus areas, the new land not only doubles Fantasyland in size, it also triples the number of Magic Kingdom castles. The park’s iconic Cinderella Castle is now joined by the distant ramparts of Beast’s Castle and the stately Prince Eric’s Castle. Here’s a closer look at what lies in store:


The entrance to the Be Our Guest restaurant, with Cinderella Castle in the the background


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Enchanted Forest Located inside the Enchanted Forest, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid is a major dark ride where guests travel in clamshells with Ariel and her friends on an exciting undersea adventure, featuring music and song from the Little Mermaid films. The fairytale charm and splendour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is brought to life in the Be Our Guest restaurant nestled underneath the Beast’s Castle. Here diners can enjoy French-inspired, quick- service lunch by day or full-service table dining in the evening, in an elegant ballroom setting. There’s no missing Belle’s Village, a small collection of buildings anchored by a bronze statue of Gaston and LeFou. At Gaston’s Tavern guests can raise a goblet of LeFou’s Brew, a frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with passion


FEBRUARY 2013


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