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Walt Disney World talks New Fantasyland, debuts new castle projection show

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At a press event Tuesday night, Walt Disney World announced more details about the New Fantasyland expansion, which will double the size of the existing land. The announcement had a mix of previously-announced features and new additions.

New Fantasyland has undergone some changes in the last year and a half. Image Disney.

Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Worldwide President of Operations Al Weiss talks about what's coming at parks around the world. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

As previously announced, an anchor of the land will be the new attraction Under the Sea: The Journey of the Little Mermaid. This new attraction, a copy of the one being installed at Disney California Adventure park, is under construction on the former site of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon.

Under the Sea: The Journey of The Little Mermaid is under construction on both coasts, at Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Image Disney.

Also previously announced, Beast's Castle will feature the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which will change between "good food fast" during the day and table service in the evening. Nearby, Belle's Village will feature Gaston's Tavern, the Bonjour gift shop, and Belle's Cottage; the latter will be a replica of Maurice and Belle's cottage, from which a magic mirror will grant you access to the Beast's Library where you will enjoy Enchanted Storytelling with Belle.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster will take guests on a rollicking ride through the dwarfs' mine. Image Disney.

Eric Jacobson talks about the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster coming to Walt Disney World. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

In the originally-announced expansion, you would have found Cinderella's chateau and Aurora's cottage nearby, but the princess meet-and-greets have been merged with all of the other princesses into the Princess Fairy Tale Hall, which will be a large-scale themed meet-and-greet location where Snow White's Scary Adventures is currently located. On the site previously assigned to the princesses, a Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster will provide guests with a chance to ride through the workplace of Snow White's little men. The coaster will feature new technology that allows the mine cars to rock in a controlled fashion from side to side as the mine cars did in the original movie.

Guests will wait in a circus-themed queue-less waiting area. Image Disney.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant will, as previously planned, be relocated to the current site of Mickey's Toontown Fair with two ride spinners to double its capacity. While details of the "queue-less waiting system" are still not complete, guests will be able to play in a big top-themed atmosphere while awaiting their turn to ride an elephant.

Near Dumbo, The Great Goofini stars Goofy as a flying acrobatic pilot flying over the circus in a re-themed Goofy's Barnstormer roller coaster.

The storybook circus-themed area will be the first to come online, with the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast-themed areas also opening to guests in 2012. The Seven Dwarfs-themed coaster will open in 2013, and the Princess Fairy Tale Hall may also push into 2013.

Alan Bruun talks about the new The Magic, The Memories, and You castle projection show. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

At the same time, Disney first described, then debuted the The Magic, The Memories, and You projection show on Cinderella Castle. The show will debut on the facade of "it's a small world" at Disneyland Park next week.

In the show, the castle becomes a canvas as well as part of the show. In addition to the display of 500 guest photos taken earlier in the day, the amazing show effects include castle turrets spinning, the castle turning into a chalk drawing of itself, and -- most spectacularly -- a turret becoming a rocket ship and taking off.

Whether it proves enough of an attraction to boost attendance is a huge questions mark, but the show is very impressive, and will be a great addition to the park's nighttime lineup.

We'll have some video of the show going up soon.

The press event continues today at sea, as Disney will christen the Disney Dream this morning and then set sail for two days to give the media a chance to experience all of the new innovations aboard the ship. I'll have more to report over the next couple of days.

Mark Goldhaber

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Updated 01-19-2011 at 08:58 AM by AVP

Walt Disney World , Parks , Disney Parks & Resorts , Featured , USAT