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jan 21 2011

Walt Disney World's 'largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history' is in the works

Disney's plans call for a second Dumbo ride, a new indoor roller coaster, and an overall expansion and revamped design that will nearly double the size of the Orlando theme park's Fantasyland section.

Earlier this week, Disney announced it was tweaking the Magic Kingdom renovation first made public in the fall of 2009. To make room for the new features, the Mickey's Toontown Fair attraction will close in early February, and the Snow White's Scary Adventures ride will also shut down, though no announcements have been made as to when.

Disney enthusiasts are known to dislike change -- especially when the changes involve their favorite rides -- and from a glance of the comments at the Disney blog, many park-goers are sad to see Snow White get the boot. As BT's article featuring two expert "Disney Dweebs" noted, however, Fantasyland and all the Disney theme parks have always been works in progress:

Fantasyland in Orlando has changed over the years as well. The Snow White ride originally had no Snow White--you were supposed to experience the story from her perspective. Not everyone appreciated the concept, and the Imagineers eventually placed a Snow White figure in the opening scene. Fans of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride wrote letters, held "toad-in" protest rallies, and wore green T-shirts saying Ask Me Why Mickey Is Killing Mr. Toad, but that didn't stop the ride from closing in 1998 to make way for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. There are tributes to Toad inside the new ride: As you're cruising along in a "hunny pot" through Owl's house, look for two paintings. There's one of Toad handing over the deed to Owl, and another of Winnie standing next to Toad's friend Mole.

It's unlikely there will be Mr. Toad-type protests in the near future, especially because Snow White isn't being entirely killed off. The new Fantasyland roller coaster has a Snow White theme, though it's White's friends who are the center of attention. The ride is called The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the Disney blog states:

The coaster will feature a first-of-its kind ride system with a train of ride vehicles that swing back and forth as they whisk along the track. The journey will be accompanied by music from the classic Disney film and animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs.

Another big change is the introduction of a second Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. This old-school ride, which isn't much different from simple carousel-type rides in small-town fairs, only kids sit in Dumbo rather than rocket ships or helicopters, always seems to have huge lines, so a second carousel will hopefully ease wait times.

Other plans include an indoor Little Mermaid ride, the Beast castle, which will house the Be Our Guest Restaurant, a new look for the Goofy Barnstormer roller coaster, and of course some new retail areas. Construction will occur in phases, and most if not all of the projects should be ready for guests to enjoy by 2013.

MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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