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

in Disney, Entertainment, Magic Kingdom, Theme Parks, 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.


  1. Avatar

    Kelly Z.

    Ricky — was the barnstormer just rethemed or was it relocated as well?

    1. Avatar

      Ricky Brigante

      The Barnstormer is in the same place it always has been, but has been re-themed.

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    Thanks for these photos. I’m going in September; can’t wait!

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    josh darkensins

    Must resist……. looking at ….. pictures …. must …keep it …. a surprise for when i go there myself … must …………………. damn it i looked, couldn’t help myself, and on of these may or may not be my wallpaper right now .

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    Humphrey the Bear reference! My excitement level just went up 10000000000 from it’s already high standing!

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    Clay Matthews

    Looks amazing so far! The new Dumbo looks absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for getting these to us so fast!

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    I know I must’ve missed something, but what exactly is the “story” of Storybook Circus? There are definitely two distinct parts: the rustic and the colorful circus aesthetics. I think to the unseasoned park guest a barn and old-looking train station would feel out of place in a Circus-themed environment. I guess I’m just a bit confused at the whole story. How does Goofy, Pete, and apparently Humphrey tie in with the circus?

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    The whole story behind it is that the circus has come to Caroltown (the name of the train station, and nod to Walt’s train he had in his backyard). Dumbo is meant to be the star of the show, which is why it is a shiny and brightly colored, while the Barnstormer is the stunt guy who does the dangerous things, that’s why the Barnstormer is not at new looking as Dumbo.

  8. Avatar

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