Yesterday morning, Walt Disney World soft opened the first phase of the New Fantasyland expansion just in time to meet the heavy crowds arriving to the Magic Kingdom for the spring break season. Despite the extremely busy park, fans who showed up to experience the new Storybook Circus were delighted to find a high-quality, highly-immersive, relaxing, inviting, and completely enjoyable new land, a welcome replacement of the colorful chaos of Mickey’s Toontown Fair.
Though the entirety of Storybook Circus is not yet open, this first phase offers much promise for the future of not only the rest of the land but also the rest of the New Fantasyland expansion, opening in many more phases through 2014. The attention to detail and carefully-planned themes featured throughout what has been seen of Storybook Circus so far has excited even jaded Disney fans who were previously ambivalent toward the Toontown replacement. And even with only three former attractions now reopened – Dumbo, The Barnstormer, and the Fantasyland Train Station – the new area does nothing short of impress.
Just what is so special about Storybook Circus? Take a look at highlights of the partially-opened land as well as an unedited walkthrough in the two videos below.
Video: Storybook Circus highlights including Dumbo, The Barnstormer, and Fantasyland Train Station
Video: Full Storybook Circus walkthrough on opening day of phase one
Storybook Circus is still surrounded by construction walls, as is much of the New Fantasyland expansion. The path to the circus begins by the Mad Tea Party and continues down a winding road of red and green temporary walls while work continues. But even amidst the construction, the details shine through.
Video: Dumbo lights up at night with multi-colored fountains in Storybook Circus
Though Dumbo isn’t the only attraction open in this first phase of Storybook Circus, it is the most visually appealing. Don’t miss our closer look at the new Dumbo.
Video: The Barnstormer featuring The Great Goofini in Storybook Circus
Storybook Circus is far from complete. Disney has yet to reveal the contents of its many large circus tents, including the indoor Dumbo interactive queue, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and whatever Humphrey the Bear will be offering. There will surely be meet-and-greets, merchandise, and food available when it’s all complete.
But even this first phase of Storybook Circus was enough to excite those looking forward to New Fantasyland, offering a glimpse at the level of detailed work that Imagineers have been creating for the biggest Magic Kingdom expansion ever. Everything that was wrong about Mickey’s Toontown Fair is now right with Storybook Circus and guests of the theme park have a new relaxing and immersive environment to enjoy while Disney continues to create new magic in the years to come.
More photos of Storybook Circus, phase one, at the Magic Kingdom: