Revamped Fantasyland opens for business at Disney World in Florida

Thu Dec 6, 2012 5:27pm EST
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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Walt Disney World marked the grand opening on Thursday of a new Fantasyland at its Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, where patrons won't have to wait very long to see exhibits and alcoholic beverages will be offered for the first time.

Disney World said the opening capped the largest expansion in the park's 41-year history, doubling the size of Fantasyland and offering two new rides.

"Fantasyland is the most popular land in the most popular theme park in the world," Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said. "It makes perfect sense that this is where we would look to expand the guest experience."

Disney declined to reveal the cost of the expansion, widely reported to be about $425 million, and company officials would not provide specifics on projected increased patronage and revenue.

Beer and wine will be available with dinner inside the park's new Be Our Guest restaurant. It is the first time alcohol is being served at the Magic Kingdom, but unlike other parks at Disney World, hard liquor will not be sold.

The new Fantasyland, which expanded from 10 acres to 21, takes over space previously devoted to "Mickey's ToonTown Fair," which closed in 2011 to make way for the expansion, and the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction which lasted from 1971 to 1994.

Fantasyland also incorporates an unspecified amount of previously unused space, but Prunty said she was unable to specify how much land had actually been added.

The new rides that feature Disney cartoon characters include one called the "Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid" and another dubbed "The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train," which remains under construction with an opening expected in 2014.   Continued...

Singer Jordin Sparks performs with one of the Seven Dwarfs during the grand opening ceremony for Walt Disney World's new Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Florida December 6, 2012. REUTERS/Scott Audette