| ORLANDO, Fla.
ORLANDO, Fla. Dec 6 Walt Disney World marked
the grand opening on Thursday of a new Fantasyland at its Magic
Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, where patrons won't have to
wait very long to see exhibits and alcoholic beverages will be
offered for the first time.
Disney World said the opening capped the largest expansion
in the park's 41-year history, doubling the size of Fantasyland
and offering two new rides.
"Fantasyland is the most popular land in the most popular
theme park in the world," Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.
"It makes perfect sense that this is where we would look to
expand the guest experience."
Disney declined to reveal the cost of the expansion, widely
reported to be about $425 million, and company officials would
not provide specifics on projected increased patronage and
Beer and wine will be available with dinner inside the
park's new Be Our Guest restaurant. It is the first time alcohol
is being served at the Magic Kingdom, but unlike other parks at
Disney World, hard liquor will not be sold.
The new Fantasyland, which expanded from 10 acres to 21,
takes over space previously devoted to "Mickey's ToonTown Fair,"
which closed in 2011 to make way for the expansion, and the
"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction which lasted from 1971
Fantasyland also incorporates an unspecified amount of
previously unused space, but Prunty said she was unable to
specify how much land had actually been added.
The new rides that feature Disney cartoon characters include
one called the "Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid" and
another dubbed "The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train," which remains
under construction with an opening expected in 2014.
A duplicate "Dumbo, the Flying Elephant" ride was added to
reduce previously long wait times at the iconic attraction
popular with families with young children.
The line for Dumbo now includes a playroom for children aged
2-12 where they can burn off energy while awaiting their turn.
"It's more relaxing than keeping the kids standing in line
and trying to keep them entertained," said Tim Dixon, 41, of
Like other visitors, he held a pager that would signal his
family when it was time for them to board the Dumbo ride.
The queue for the Little Mermaid ride snakes through a
decorated indoor space shielded from the hot Florida sun and
ends in an efficient constantly moving, conveyor belt-style