New Fantasyland 2012

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Solving the Mystery Surrounding the Rapunzel Tower in New Fantasyland: April 2013 Edition

Published April 12, 2013 by Disneyways.com

The beautiful new Rapunzel tower and restrooms have been revealed to us in New Fantasyland. It sounds crazy to say it but this facility is really a great new addition to the park and is becoming an attraction in itself.

If you aren’t familiar with the subject, please click HERE to read archived Disneyways posts. You’ll want to scroll all the way down and begin with the last post to read them in chronological order.

Recently I stumbled across some new information and thought you might be interested in reading it. I would love to hear your thoughts.

The following has been re-posted from JimHillMedia.com, and the opinions expressed belong soley to Jim Hill.

My Disney Experience delays are having a domino effect on several Magic Kingdom projects

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” This oft-quoted line from Robert Burns’ 1785 poem applies to an awful lot of aspects of modern day life. But none more so than the work that’s recently been done in & around WDW’s Magic Kingdom Park.

Take — for example — that “Tangled” -themed rest area that recently came online in Fantasyland. Even before this elaborately themed set of bathrooms were officially open to the public, some of the Mouse’s more vocal online critics were using this pair of potties as an excuse to once again go after Team Disney Orlando. Complaining about how ridiculous / wasteful it was for The Walt Disney Company to devote this much time, money and effort to theming a set of restrooms.

But here’s the thing: You know that area off to the left of the Rapunzel restrooms? Just past the “D-Zone” with its 6 charging stations where WDW Guests can now recharge their Droids, iPhones and other electronic devices for free? Did you notice that walkway alongside the garden that kind of leads to nowhere?

Which features this beauty spot where Rapunzel’s tower is in the background and a small waterfall is in the foreground?

Doesn’t it strike you odd that the Imagineers would go to all the trouble of creating such a pleasing visual in a part of the Magic Kingdom where few Guests would ever venture? If you spent all of this time & money creating such a beautiful “Tangled” -themed backdrop, wouldn’t you then at some point actually want to use it?

Well, that was the original plan, folks. This exact spot was where WDW visitors were supposed to go if they wanted to have their pictures taken with Rapunzel & Flynn Rider. Until Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom became too popular and then the My Disney Experience program fell behind schedule. Which is what causes the Imagineers to deviate from their original plans for this portion of that theme park.

Because — make no mistake, people — The Walt Disney Company knows all too well how popular the “Tangled” characters are with the public these days. Going strictly by retail sales, Rapunzel is the most popular Disney Princess to be introduced in decades (She’s right up there — from a merch point of view — with The Little Mermaid . And Ariel dolls been consistent sellers with little girls for almost a quarter of a century now). Which is why — in the late Summer / early Fall of 2011 — when word came down from Disney’s corporate headquarters that Rapunzel & Flynn Rider were going to have to vacate Fairytale Garden (You know? That elaborately themed character meet-and-greet area located just to the right of Cinderella Castle) so that Princess Merida of Pixar’s “Brave ” could then move in in the Spring of 2012 … Well, that caused some real consternation both at WDI as well as inside of WDW’s Character Department.

Interesting side note: That whole Scottish Highlands-retheming of the Fairytale Garden area (along with those three Audio Animatronic bear cubs) was paid for by Walt Disney Studios as part of the Company’s worldwide effort to promote the June 2012 theatrical release of Pixar’s “Brave.”

Anyway … Getting back to today’s story now … Given how popular Rapunzel & Flynn Rider were with Disney World visitors (More importantly, given that a family bathroom was already in the works for that quiet corner of the Magic Kingdom which the long defunct Fantasyland Skyway Station had been previously operated out of), a plan was put in motion to create WDW’s first-ever character-based restroom with an appropriately themed meet-and-greet area just off to the side. Blueprints were drawn up. Budgets were approved. Contracts were signed. Everything was good to go …

Meanwhile, the people who were prepping the My Disney Experience / MagicBands program for the theme parks realized that there were going to be a certain number of Guests every day in the Parks who weren’t going to have their Smart Phones or Droids with them OR were going to leave these electronic devices at home or back in their hotel rooms. Which meant that if these WDW visitors were looking to modify any of the ride times and/or dining reservations that they’d previously made, these people were then going to have to have access to some sort of My Disney Experience kiosk which would allow them to then make modifications to these reservations.

So the plan (at least far as the Magic Kingdom was concerned) was that there’d be initially be two sets of these kiosks built. One would be located towards the front of that theme park in the Town Square area of Main Street, U.S.A. While the other would be built deep inside of that theme park. To be specific, inside of the then-vacant Crow’s Nest storefront that Kodak used to operate in Adventureland just past Pirates of the Caribbean.

But then Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom debuted in February of 2012. And given how wildly popular this new interactive role-playing game quickly proved to be with WDW visitors, the managers of that theme park immediately decided that they needed a second interactive role-playing game to take some of the heat off of Sorcerers (More to the point, cut down on the number of 5-and-10-person-deep lines which were popping up all around the Park. Where Guests were patiently standing with their Sorcerer Key Card & Spell Cards in hand, waiting for their chance to do battle with various Disney Villains).

Which is why the “A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas” interactive role-playing game was brought online. The only problem with this MK-based project was … Well, just as Disney World Guests needed a specific place inside of that theme park to go in order to sign up to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, get issued their first set of Spell Cards and their Sorcerer Key (which — in this case — was inside of the Old Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A. as well as behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square), “A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas” was also going to need a headquarters / base-of-operations. Which Magic Kingdom managers eventually decided would be built inside of the Crow’s Nest.

And once that decision was made, the dominos began to fall all over that theme park. Since the Crow’s Nest was no longer available to house those My Disney Experience kiosks that WDW felt had to be located deep inside of that theme park … Given that an area where people could line up had already been designed into the site plan for the “Tangled” rest area, Magic Kingdom managers decided to move the location of those deep-in-the-park My Disney Experience kiosks over to this corner of Fantasyland. So they ordered that the necessary electrical & interactive terminal changes be made to the Rapunzel restrooms construction plans.

The only problem with doing that was now Magic Kingdom managers were concerned that if they had two lines going back in this corner of that theme park (i.e. one for Guests looking to change ride times & dinner reservations, while the other line was for people looking to get their photographs taken with Rapunzel & Flynn Rider), someone might then get confused and accidentally get on the wrong line. Which might then lead to a bad Guest experience. Which is something that Disney World always tries to avoid at all costs.

So — to prevent this from happening — Magic Kingdom managers decided to put the idea of having a Rapunzel & Flynn Rider meet-n-greet as part of this theme park’s “Tangled” -themed rest area on hold for a while. At least until the My Disney Experience program was up & running and WDW Officials could then gauge how many Guests were actually going to need access to interactive kiosks in order to make changes to their previously booked ride times and/or dining reservations.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Now never mind that the Imagineers had already planned to plant a colorful garden alongside the area where WDW Guests were supposed to stand & wait for their chance to meet-n-greet with Rapunzel & Flynn Rider. Or that — in order to help people pass the time as they stood in line — WDI had plans to hide Pascal statues all over that garden so these Disney World visitors could then search for this tiny chameleon while they waited.

Mind you, even though the Rapunzel & Flynn Rider meet-n-greet was now on hold, the Imagineers still went ahead with the construction of that garden and its “Hidden Pascal” decorative program. All with the hope that Magic Kingdom managers might eventually change their minds about this planned character greeting area for Fantasyland. And if they did, then all of the necessary supporting elements for a successful queue area for the Rapunzel & Flynn Rider meet-n-greet would already be in place.

Confused yet? Wait. It gets better. Because the in-park launch of My Disney Experience is now running months behind schedule, Magic Kingdom managers have now decided to put off their plans to install any of those interactive kiosks where Guests could then go to change their ride times and/or dinner reservations. But since this corner of Fantasyland is now wired to support computers and other electrical devices … Well, they didn’t want all of that wiring to go to waste. Which is why WDW officials turned this portion of the “Tangled” rest area into a “D-Zone.” Where — thanks to the 6 charging stations — Disney World visitors can now recharge their electronic devices for free.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Now please keep in mind that this “D-Zone” will only remain in place until the My Disney Experience program finally gets in gear again. And once that happens, these free charging stations will then be replaced by those now-delayed interactive kiosks.

And speaking of delays … Since My Disney Experience / MagicBands is now running behind schedule, WDW officials have now decided to push back the construction of some of those new Scene Ones which were supposed to be installed around the Magic Kingdom to help handle all of the Guests who will now waiting in longer lines for their chance to experience these newly enhanced Fast Pass Plus attractions. Which is why those bathrooms next to Peter Pan’s Flight (which were supposed to be demolished just as soon as the Rapunzel rest area opened to then make room for a newly expanded queue for this super-popular Fantasyland dark ride) are still standing. Mouse House managers just don’t want to proceed with this particular construction project until My Disney Experience / MagicBands is officially up and running.

Which — given that ” … the best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men gang aft agley” (FYI: That’s the way Burns — the proud Scott — originally wrote this line in his poem. The “often go astray” translation only came about when this poem was eventually Anglicized) — could be a while yet.

Solving the Mystery around Rapunzel’s Tower Rising Up out of New Fantasyland: February 2013 Rumors Edition

Published February 8, 2013 by Disneyways.com

UPDATED!
Click here to see the March 9th Grand opening video of the Rapunzel Tower’s big reveal!

We have 2 new rumors to share with you today regarding Rapunzel’s tower!

If you haven’t heard about the tower, you may want to start by checking out these two links first, to see photos and get more information:

The latest rumors indicate the tower WILL  be home to a new meet and greet area for Rapunzel, despite earlier indications that we would be seeing Rapunzel in the new Princess Fairytale Hall, which is yet to be completed.

The second, and perhaps most exciting new rumor is that the Rapunzel area will open in just a few days – on February 25th – at the Magic Kingdom, and that it will connect Small World and the Haunted Mansion. It won’t be long before we will know if this rumor is true!

What are your thoughts? Do you have any new information to share?

Solving the Mystery Surrounding the Rapunzel Tower in New Fantasyland: January 2013 Edition

Published January 13, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Updated March 2013! Click HERE to see a video of the grand opening of the Rapunzel Tower!

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January 10, 2013 I had a chance to check on the progress of the Rapunzel tower. The photos above are from my visit that day.

Attempting to Solve the Mystery of the Rapunzel Tower rising from New Fantasyland has been fun.  The latest from our Disneyways sources have speculated that besides bathrooms, we will see charging stations for our cell phones, ECV’s, as well as a gift shop. The entire area is being built up very fast, which leads me to believe the other bit of gossip I heard, that the area is expected to completed this spring.

DaMouse.com has posted some wonderful, detailed pictures. Click this link to see what is going on behind the construction wall.

Just for fun, I thought you might like to see this picture of the Rapunzel meet and greet area in Disneyland – California. Photo credit mintcrocodile.blogspot.com

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Please share your thoughts and any information you have heard about this area! We’d love to hear from you. Have a magical day!

Solving the Mystery surrounding the Rapunzel Tower in New Fantasyland…

Published December 13, 2012 by Disneyways.com

UPDATE ADDED MARCH 8TH 2013! Click here to see photos of the new tower!

Disney fans who have been to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World recently have noticed something new rising out of New Fantasyland. Located next to the “It’s a Small World” attraction, right where the old Fantasyland Skyway ride was, an adorable tower can be seen from Fantasyland, Frontierland and even from the Haunted Mansion cue. This addition comes as somewhat of a surprise to Disney fans as Rapunzel’s tower and village was never included in any concept art of New Fantasyland released by Disney. It all seems so mysterious because details have been hard to come by.

We are now able to see for ourselves, because the tower is peeping up from behind Imagineer construction walls. Despite the rumors, there will not be a meet and greet in this spot. Rapunzel will be found in the new Princess Fairytale Hall (where Snow White’s Scary Adventures use to be) when it opens in 2013. Therefore the tower area does not need to be a meet and greet because we will already have Princess Fairytale Hall for that purpose. In case you haven’t seen them, here are some of the beautiful concept drawings released by Disney of the new Princess Fairytale Hall scheduled to open in 2013.

fairytale hall princesses fairytale hall fairytalesign princess fairytale hall photos

So why the tower?  Believe it or not Disney sources say this is where they will be placing new BATHROOMS. It seems so funny now that we know the truth doesn’t it?  It actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it.  When nature calls, and the kids have to “go” – this tower will be like a beacon in the night – letting us know that relief is not too far away. The new facility will include increased handicapped and family bathrooms, and is meant to replace the current bathrooms in the area by the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction. With those older bathrooms gone,  my thoughts are that they will add an expanded interactive queue for Peter Pan, sort of like  the one Winnie the Pooh has (only Pan themed of course!)  Imagineers are also planning to expand the walkways to help with traffic flow between Fantasyland and Liberty Square on those crowded days. Having a meet and greet here would actually crowd the area with folks waiting to meet princesses. I hope this helps explain things – let me know if you have heard or seen any new information that I am missing!  Personally, my thoughts are that maybe Disney doesn’t believe it’s very magical to brag about new bathrooms, so we are going to have to keep each other in the know on this one as things develop. Have a magical evening!

Tower 1 Tower 2 tower from frontier land tower from haunted mansion cue

Video by Daniel Andersson and edited by Jeff Lange from MouseSteps.com

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l1nCjXt77A

Top 5 Things You Won’t Want to Miss in New Fantasyland

Published December 11, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Enchanted Tales With Belle. Meet and greet with Belle like never before when you actually get to help stage a short play for her. If you’re like me you will marvel at the AMAZING animatronics of Lumiere and Madame Wardrobe.  You even get a walk through of Maurice’s cottage from “Beauty and the Beast.”

Be Our Guest Restaurant. French cuisine has arrived beneath the Beast’s Castle. Lunch is quick service with no reservation required. Reservations are needed for dinner, when guests can order wine and beer with their meals for the first time in Magic Kingdom history. Click here to see a whole lot more – including a photo of “the grey stuff!”

Gaston’s statue and fountain. A tribute to the man, they myth the legend. A plaque reads: “Tribute to Gaston. An extravagantly generous gift to the humble people of my village. From me, Gaston.” Nearby: Gaston’s Tavern, a tiny eatery that serves up savory pork shanks and warm cinnamon buns that are bigger then your fist!  Despite its name, Gaston’s Tavern does not serve alcohol. Here is a video.

Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid. This mild-mannered ride is great for princesses young and old.  You will not want to miss the virtual way that you are actually submerged under water while staying completely dry! One showstopping room features 128 aquatic animatronics in action. Click here for more on this attraction.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant. This attraction was transported to Fantasyland’s new Storybook Circus area, and DOUBLED. Yep there are two Dumbo rides now. You won’t want ot miss the fantastic new gift shop that smells like heaven. Throw in an air-conditioned cue that doubles as a playground – as well as pagers that blink when it’s your turn to ride – and you’ve got a fantastic addition to the New Fanatsyland line up!

So what do you think? What would be in your top 5 list of New Fantasyland fun not to be missed? Photos are ©Disney Parks Blog

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Local Orlando News Station Covers New Fantasyland

Published December 2, 2012 by Disneyways.com

Click here to see the Fantasyland tour from a local Orlando news station!

Schedule For Opening Day of New Fantasyland Dec. 6th

Published December 1, 2012 by Disneyways.com

New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World will officially open to the public on Thursday, December 6th. A few changes have been made to hours of operation for some of the attractions in preparation for the grand opening.

On December 5th:
The Magic Kingdom will be open from 9:00am – 7:00pm, with Wishes being shown at 6:00pm.

The Enchanted Forest area of Fantasyland will not be open to guests that day, but the Storybook Circus area will be open from 9:00am – 3:00pm.

Goofy can take a break from always getting electrocuted – because Mickey’s PhilharMagic will also be closed that day.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel will be open from 9:00am – 6:00pm. Watch for me in the giant honey pot.

On December 6th:
TheMagic Kingdom will open at 8:00am for Extra Magic Hours for resort guests and at 9:00am for the general public.

Both the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus will be open from 8:00am – park close.

Be Our Guest Restaurant will be closed all day (but when you say the name of the place…that seems ironic!)

A grand opening ceremony will take place at 10:00am on the Castle Forecourt Stage. I can’t wait for that!

The park closes at 7:00 both nights for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Things are always subject to change without notice so please be sure to pick up a daily Times Guide when you get to the park to verify that these times are still correct.

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