“Here is a land of imagination, hopes and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart, to those who believe that when you wish upon a star your dreams do come true.” – Walt Disney
While some may view Fantasyland as a mecca for toddlers and pre-schoolers take some time to explore this land and you’ll find it is so much more. Fantasyland is the epicenter of Walt Disney World. This area pays tribute to where it all began – the classic Disney fairy tales. You may not find any high speed roller coasters here but the magic and enchantment appeals to all ages. It is timeless.
Cinderella Castle (not Cinderella’s Castle – this is actually the name of the castle so officially no ‘s) is the gateway to Fantasyland. The design of the castle was based on many different castles located throughout France, Bavaria, Spain and Poland. However unlike those castles there is not one brick or stone that makes up this structure. Our castle is made up of plaster, fiberglass, concrete and steel. Standing at 189 feet tall this is a classic use of “forced perspective”, an effect that makes an object seem larger than it really is. You’ll find forced perspective used in many buildings and tall attractions throughout Walt Disney World. Cinderella Castle can withstand hurricane force winds up to 110 mph. Be sure to take some time to walk through the castle instead of around it. You’ll be treated to the beautiful hand laid glass murals that tell the story of Cinderella. Fun Fact: If you are in the park at closing time stick around for a bit to witness the castle’s “kiss goodnight” – I won’t spoil the surprise but it’s a special experience and worth the wait.
Once you are on the other side of the castle you have entered Fantasyland – a medieval land that could be straight out of a story book. Tea cups spin, elephants fly and pirate ships soar. You’ll find two different styles here that work very well together. The area around it’s a small world and Peter Pan resemble a German village while the area towards the carousel resembles a medieval fair. The background music in this land is a mixture of classic songs from the fairy tales as well as Bavarian and Renaissance harmonies.
At the center of Fantasyland is the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. This carrousel dates back to 1917 and has 90 beautifully adorned horses. Keep an eye out for the horse with the gold ribbon on its tail – that’s Cinderella’s.
Find the Fountain of Cinderella. If you stand in front of her statue and curtsey or bow you will see the crown in the mural appear to move over her head.
The Carolwood Railroad was a small scale steam engine Walt built for his backyard in California. It’s only fitting that the new Fantasyland Railroad Station be named Carolwood Park as a tribute to Walt’s love of trains.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid now occupies the area that was once 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. You can find an imprint of the Nautilus, the submarine from the previous attraction, in the rock in the queue area.
The numbers on the carriages on Casey Jr. represent the years the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom opened.
The beloved Mr Toad’s Wild Ride closed in 1998 and was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. As a nod to its previous resident you can find a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl on the left as you enter the flood scene. Fun Fact: You can also find Mr Toad’s tombstone outside the Haunted Mansion in the pet cemetery.
One of the iconic attractions in all of Walt Disney World is it’s a small world (by the way, the official way to spell this attraction’s name is with all small letters – no capitalization – and it is trademarked as such). This attraction debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York at the UNICEF pavilion. Walt personally oversaw the development of this ride from the music to the dolls’ design. Each doll is completely identical in shape representing that it is a small world. This attraction was originally known as Children of the World during its development but was renamed after the legendary Sherman Brothers rewrote the theme song and it was titled it’s a small world. It truly is the “happiest cruise that ever sailed”.
The New Fantasyland which opened in 2012 is the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom. With additions such as an enchanted forest, Storybook Circus, Beast’s castle and mine train ride (coming in 2014) we now have a whole new area of the Magic Kingdom to explore!
It’s the stories and imagineering that makes Walt Disney World so special. My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a travel professional with Travel with the Magic. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 20 times and I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. Email me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook for tips, tricks and information on all things Disney!