Author: Ken Pilcher
Published On: Mar 12 2012
WALT DISNEY WORLD, Fla. - Dumbo the flying elephant is once again flying over Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, but in a far different location. And he's flying in a different direction.
Just before 11 a.m. Monday, Walt Disney World cast members welcomed the first guests into an area of the much larger Fantasyland expansion. About half of the Storybook Circus soft-opened, meaning guests can be turned away at any time while operational kinks are worked out.
The original Dumbo attraction is being refurbished and relocated to Storybook Circus. It will still spin counter-clockwise as it has for decades, allowing the two Dumbos to "duel."
The small Barnstormer roller coaster also reopened, now featuring a theme with daredevil performer "The Great Goofini."
A brand new Fantasyland train station also welcomed guests for the first time Monday. Still to come in Storybook Circus: a Casey Junior water play area, a new shop and a meet-and-greet area.
The other new section of the expansion, Fantasyland Forest, is expected to open later this year, featuring a Little Mermaid ride inside Prince Eric's Castle, Belle's home and village, Gaston's Tavern and the "Be our Guest" restaurant inside the Beast's Castle.
"Snow White's Scary Adventures" will close May 31 to make way for the "Princess Fairytale Hall."
The final piece of the Fantasyland expansion, the "Seven Dwarfs Maine Train" coaster, is not expected to open until late 2013 or early 2014.
The Fantasyland expansion is the largest expansion Disney has done since additions to Tomorrowland in the mid-70s.