Fantasyland Changes

This photo was taken from the roof of the Contemporary Resort. It’s a really cool photo because it shows the size comparison between Cinderella Castle and the new castle rising up in the Fantasyland Forest expansion area. Basically, there is no comparison.

The Fantasyland Forest expansion seems like it’ll be a good fit for the Florida park. If all goes according to plan this expansion will not only add more square feet to the most popular land (in the most popular park) it will also add much needed shade! While the utilidors are undeniably cool (and functional) they’ve made it nearly impossible to plant any substantial vegetation. That’s why, for much of this park’s history, Fantasyland has been a sea of concrete.

Not anymore! If the artwork Disney has been releasing is accurate the new Fantasyland will be heavily wooded. This photo, while slightly dated, should give you an idea of the sheer size of the new Fantasyland footprint. It’s huge.

Part of the recent updates and refurbishments has been the removal of the Swiss Chalet (former Fantasyland Skyway building) – it is slated to become the site of new bathrooms. While Fantasyland certainly needs new bathrooms I see a problem with tearing this building down. The chalet was placed at this specific spot to help hide the Haunted Mansion show building (see photo below). Once the chalet is torn down will the trees be enough to cover this corner? Will the future bathrooms be tall enough (and well-themed enough) to hide the giant dark ride?

Are you aware that the current bathrooms (across from the Skyway, next to Peter Pan) will become part of the newest NextGen queue? That’s the rumor, anyway. Similarly to how Winnie the Pooh and the Haunted Mansion now have fun diversions to standing in long lines… so will Peter Pan’s Flight. It’s rumored that Pirates of the Caribbean will be next.

Speaking of queues… remember when ridiculously long lines weren’t a problem at Walt Disney World? Part of the “problem” may be due to the park’s soaring popularity. Another factor may be the public’s changing interests (when was the last time Country Bear Jamboree and Hall of Presidents played to a full house?). After all, you have to agree, today’s theme park attendees seem to prefer a 4-minute intense experience over a 20-30 minute show.

Maybe the current trend for shorter rides lends itself to the longer lines. How many 25-minute attractions could you experience in one day if all the lines were an hour long? Conversely, how many 4-minute attractions could you ride with similar waits? Better yet: at nearly $100 per day how many attractions do you think Disney owes you?

I tend to think Disney is doing it to themselves. Is it possible the shorter rides have the longer lines because the average theme park guest expects no less than 10-12 rides per day?

Some Imagineer’s swear this all started with the removal of the ticket books. When guests paid for a book full of tickets they felt a certain need to use them all. While the all-day passport lets guests ride whatever they want (as many times as they want) people tend to stick mostly to the D- and E-ticket attractions. The vehicles on Main Street, the Swiss Family Treehouse, and similar attractions really aren’t pulling people off walk-ways and out of other lines anymore. There’s no longer a feeling of “I paid for these B-tickets and we’re going to use them!”.

Thoughts?

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