First look inside Storybook Circus as Walt Disney World opens first part of New Fantasyland with Dumbo, Barnstormer

in Disney, Entertainment, Walt Disney World

This morning without prior announcement Walt Disney World opened the first phase of the New Fantasyland expansion in a soft opening of part of Storybook Circus. The land that is replacing Mickey’s Toontown Fair isn’t complete yet, but the Barnstormer has reopened starring the Great Goofini, along with half of the double Dumbo (the newer carousel – with water!), and the Fantasyland Train Station.

The new Magic Kingdom area is slated to fully open later this year or early 2013, but in the meantime these select areas will be available for theme park guests to enjoy. Not yet open are Pete’s Silly Sideshow, the second half of the double Dumbo, the indoor interactive Dumbo queue / big top tent, or any other indoor areas. Construction walls currently prevent guests from entering those areas still in development.

UPDATE (3/13/12): Yesterday through last night I wandered the highly-detailed Storybook Circus, returning with plenty of high-resolution photos and lots of video to show off the impressive new land. Don’t miss our new in-depth photo and video tour of Storybook Circus and a closer look at the new Dumbo ride, including its dazzling multi-colored LED water fountains.

But let’s take a look at what is open today. Consider this a teaser for what’s to come as New Fantasyland is slowly unveiled at the Magic Kingdom. (We’ll be taking a closer look at the new area very soon, so keep checking back.)

Below are pictures gathered from Twitter users who reported the opening of the new area and were there when Storybook Circus made its first-ever debut this morning.

On the way in, guests are greeted by a temporary “come one, come all” Storybook Circus sign:

(Photo by @BanksLee)

Prior to opening, Cast Members in their new Storybook Circus costumes lined the entrance:

(Photo by @CapnDanny)

Inside, though the indoor Dumbo queue is not yet being used, the ride is available via this circus-themed entrance:

(Photo by @craigory24)

The colorful new Dumbo carousel has water elements surrounding its base:

(Photo by @CapnDanny)

A closer look at the new Dumbo:

(Photo by @craigory24)

The Barnstormer has reopened with a new circus theme, featuring the Great Goofini:

(Photos by @CapnDanny)

(Photo by @BanksLee)

Video: First-person ride on the Barnstormer in Storybook Circus

(Video by @CapnDanny. More photos from throughout Storybook Circus are on CapnDanny’s web site.)

Storybook Circus offers plenty of fun details, like peanut shells embedded into the ground near Dumbo:

(Photo by @BanksLee)

The Fantasyland Train Station has also gotten an extreme makeover, matching the detail level found throughout Storybook Circus:

Much of the area is still off limits while Disney continues construction:

(Photo by @CapnDanny)

Those planning to head to the Magic Kingdom, should note that this is technically a soft opening of Storybook Circus so the whole area could once again be closed at any time, though it does currently appear on the park map. Moreover, spring break season is here and today the Magic Kingdom is incredibly crowded. Here’s a peek at the crowds waiting to enter the park this morning:

When the crowds subside, we’ll have a closer look at all the details and surprises found throughout the new Storybook Circus – or at least the parts that have opened. In the meantime, it seems the (soft) opening of the first part of the New Fantasyland expansion is a successful one, drawing excited fans, big crowds, and offering a new look and life to the former Toontown area.

Many months still separate the openings of many more attractions that are part of the whole New Fantasyland expansion and if the excitement for Storybook Circus is any indication, the Magic Kingdom is going get even more popular as the highly-detailed new areas are all is unveiled.

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