Fantasyland: Then & Now

Hi everyone! I thought I’d write on one of my favorite lands at Disneyland. It’s usually my first destination when entering the park. That land is Fantasyland! In Fantasyland, you’ll find yourself right at the heart of some of the most beloved Disney stories such as Peter Pan, Snow White, and Alice in Wonderland. As you enter the land, you walk on the bridge right into Sleeping Beauty’s castle as if you’re being transported into another world. Once you’re inside, it feels as if you are. It’s no doubt one of the most popular lands inside Disneyland. Since the park’s opening in 1955, Fantasyland has gone through some major changes.

The original Fantasyland theme, shown in the photo below, had a Medieval feel to it.

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(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Walt Disney’s original vision for Fantasyland was to build a fairy tale village-like land but as Disneyland’s budget began to increase, Walt had to stick with the Medieval theme. In 1983 was when “The New Fantasyland” was revealed. The new theme for Fantasyland was the village theme that Walt had dreamed of. “The New Fantasyland” opened to the public on May 25th, 1983. Here’s what it looks like today:

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(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The original set up of Fantasyland caused so much traffic because too many attractions were too close together. King Arthur’s Carrousel was placed not too far from the entrance of Fantasyland. With it being right in the middle of the entrances to the Snow White and Peter Pan attractions, it would get very crowded. While guests were entering and leaving the park, there were also long lines for Peter Pan and Snow White. In the photo below, you could see just how crowded it got.

fantasyland

(Photo: matterhorn1959.com)

In the graphic below, provided by imagineeringdisney.com, shows the original locations of the attractions that took place before 1983.

new-fantasyland-comparison_map_1_lg

In today’s design of Fantasyland, Peter Pan’s flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures (renamed this in 1983), Alice in Wonderland, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride still remain in the same location today. The Fantasyland Theatre is now where Pinocchio’s Daring Journey sits. The Pirate Ship and Skull Rock were removed and Dumbo the Flying Elephant took that spot. King Arthur’s Carrousel moved further back (pretty much where Mad Tea Party used to sit) and the Mad Tea Party moved across from Alice in Wonderland. This graphic shows Skyway but that closed in 1994.

Here’s some facts about the attractions in Fantasyland:

Peter Pan’s flight – During the 1983 changes, Imagineers created a London style theme to the building and added a tall clock tower that reminds guests of the film. Here’s what it used to look like below and the following picture is what it looks like today:

(Photo: gorillasdontblog.blogspot.com)

imagineering-disney_new-fantasyland_peter-pan-2(Photo: imagineeringdisney.com)

Snow White’s Scary Adventure – Originally named Snow White’s Adventure, the ride did not have Snow White appear before 1983. The point was to have riders experience the adventure through the eyes of Snow White. You were riding as if you were her. Guests probably did not understand why she was not in the attraction, so she was added years later, along with new scenes and effects. Now when you ride it, it’s as if you’re walking into the story instead of seeing it through Snow White’s point of view.

(Photo: dailynews.com)

Here’s what it looks like today, notice how you can see the Evil Queen pulling the curtains looking out into the park. That was one of the newest additions.

snow-white

(Photo: couponingtodisney.com)

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – This attraction was not an original opening day attraction. In fact, what once stood there was the Fantasyland Theater. It opened in 1955 as the Mickey Mouse Club Theater. In 1964, it changed to the Fantasyland Theater. Inside the theater, you could watch animated Disney short films. During the expansion of the new Fantasyland, it closed in 1981 and in 1983, we got Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.

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(Photo: d23.com)

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(Photo: mouseinfo.com)

Alice in Wonderland – To my knowledge, nothing on the outside of this attraction has changed. I could be wrong. But the ride inside has definitely gone through changes. Similar to Snow White’s attraction, guests were to ride as if they were in Alice’s point of view prior 1983. Again, guests didn’t understand that so Alice was inserted into some scenes in 1983. Now when you ride it, it’s as if you’re following the story. Below is how you see Alice in Wonderland today. Some of the Alice in Wonderland attraction sits on top of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, that’s why the caterpillars (the vehicle you ride in) take you up outside when returning back to the loading area.

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 I hope you enjoyed this post! I didn’t cover all of the attractions in Fantasyland but I would love to hear what your favorite is in Fantasyland! 🙂

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