By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

The Fantasyland Expansion at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

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(See this for an update on the material below, which is now out of date!)

Walt Disney World is expanding Fantasyland in two phases, scheduled for opening in 2012 and 2013.

Most notably in the first phase, a new major attraction, themed around The Little Mermaid, is expected to open in 2012. 

The highlight of the 2013 expansion will be Pixie Hollow, an opportunity to have fun with Tinker Bell and her friends.

These will be major enhancements to the Magic Kingdom–the largest additions for more than 20 years.  They will be particularly attractive to girls fascinated by Disney’s princesses, fairies, Ariel, or all of these!

Families of such daughters planning a visit, and not sure if this will be their only visit to Disney World, might wish to delay their trip until these attractions open, if they think their kids will continue this fascination. 

That said, opening dates are estimates, and Disney World will be a wonderful visit even without these new items.  Rather than delay, some families might be better off thinking about two shorter trips–one focused on the current Walt Disney World, and Harry Potter, and a second later trip to enjoy the Fantasyland additions.


Disney World Fantasyland ExpansionThink of the expansion as having five major components.  Two have been noted above–the new Little Mermaid ride, and Pixie Hollow.  The other three are

  • Belle’s Castle, including a new restaurant–Be Our Guest restaurant, which will be counter service at lunch but table service at dinner
  • New opportunities to meet the other princesses–e.g. Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella–in a new, more playful setting
  • A relocation and expansion of Dumbo.  Two Dumbos are planned, in a new circus-themed area that will also include elements of Disney’s NextGen project (See this for more on on NextGen at Walt Disney World.)

All but Pixie Hollow are currently aimed at a 2012 opening.

These new experiences will be built in spaces north and west of the current Fantasyland, including where Toontown Fair is currently located.


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1 sharon { 07.02.10 at 1:00 am }

Hi! GREAT STUFF! Hey I wanted to add the parks have strollers that can be rented–and if you have a child who can squeeze into one, you should budget for stroller rental (much easier than lugging a huge one on and off the bus)—AND I learned at the end of our trip–you can rent them for more than one day–at a DISCOUNT. You also don’t have to wait in line for the stroller the next day, so it saves time and money to rent-ahead.
THANKS so much for all the great info!!

2 Dave { 07.02.10 at 7:26 am }

Thanks Sharon!!

3 JoAnn { 02.03.11 at 1:45 pm }

After just returning from a trip to WDW I read the article with interest. I have a 3 year old grandaughter and a 6 year old grandson. We waited in long lines to see Tinkerbell (her favorite) and had to trek to Hollywood Studios to see McQueen and Mater (his favorites). My question is just this. Why are they only doing the expansion of Radiator Springs in Disneyland and not in WDW? they are paying so much attention to girls and not much to boys and this is tragic. Sure, he loves the roller coaster, but Epcot does not have much for them and Hollywood Studios now has the Pixar parade and McQueen and Mater are buried in the back and not even mentioned on the map nor do they participate any longer in the parade. You wait in long lines to ride the race cars in Magic Kingdom and the line for Test track is huge. With the Cars 2 Movie coming out and the money they have made on Cars merchandise, I would think Disney and Pixar would have finally learned their lesson. I guess I was wrong.

4 Dave { 02.03.11 at 3:02 pm }

JoAnn–see this for an update on the expansion plans: They are now a little less girl-oriented. Got you on the rest of your points–I’m sure though that Cars 2 will make Mater and McQueen more prominent at the Studios soon–and am sorry it was not in time for your visit!

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