New Fantasyland Review: Storybook Circus
The Fantasyland Expansion project at Walt Disney World was completed this year. New Fantasyland, as it is sometimes referred to, is being touted as the most significant addition to the Disney World Resort in years and the biggest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom. These claims are true if you look at the entire project as one cohesive expansion. But New Fantasyland was rolled out in several stages over the course of more than two years. I covered all of New Fantasyland at a high level in my 2014 trip report. But I also wanted to review the individual components of the project and see how they add up. So I’ll be doing that here in the New Fantasyland Review.
The Storybook Circus was the first element of New Fantasyland to open to the public in 2012. It is essentially a retheme of what used to be called Mickey’s Toon Town Fair. The old land started as a temporary area intended to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday. It opened as Mickey’s Birthdayland in June of 1988. The land was intended to close after a year or so. But as frequently happens with “temporary” changes at Disney World, Mickey’s Birthdayland stuck around for a while.
Because it could not perpetually be Mickey’s 60th birthday, the land was renamed Mickey’s Starland in 1990 and renamed again to Mickey’s Toyland in 1995. In 1996, the land was closed and reopened as Mickey’s Toontown Fair for the 25th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom. The story behind the land was that Mickey and friends vacationed at a country fair. Guests could visit their vacation homes. There were a lot of little details behind the new land. Everything tied together. There may not have been a lot to do at the Toontown Fair, but there was a lot of story behind it.
In 2011, the Toontown Fair closed and the area was once again rethemed. In 2012, it opened as the Storybook Circus. Let’s take a look at what changed.
First of all, Mickey and Minnie’s houses were removed. Mickey’s house was basically an elaborate queue for a meet and greet with the Big Cheese. With his vacation house demolished, Mickey moved to the front of the park. Now he hosts a magic show-themed meet and greet at the Town Square Theater on Main Street.
Minnie’s house was a modest walk-through attraction with lots of interactive features kids could play with. Minnie’s kitchen was especially fascinating. Kids could open the freezer which was actually cold. It contained a gallon of cheese chip ice cream. If they turned a knob on the oven, a cake baked in record time. Push a button on the microwave and popcorn popped.
Next: Flying Elephants