You may remember a post I did back in December about the Fantasyland expansion. In it, a cast member explained that the Little Mermaid, as well as certain other parts of the expansion, would be open by early summer. I surmised that given that Disney never opens an attraction during the busy season, the Little Mermaid might open as early as May, much as they did with other attractions such as Toy Story Midway Mania and the refurbished Star Tours. Well, sadly, that's wrong. I was wrong. The cast member looking very official in front of the Fantasyland wall--he was wrong too.
Some of you may know that I was lucky enough to tag along with a blogger friend of mine who knows some Imagineers last week. I'd love to tell you that I have the inside scoop on when Fantasyland is opening (wink), but the truth is, all you have to do is look over the walls the next time you're riding the new Dumbo to know the answer. By the way, not to digress too much, but the new Dumbo is incredible, so much more than just a "ride," it's truly a work of art. When you look over the walls and into the project, you realize that the expansion has a long way to go.
The issue is that there's really no way to easily get guests into completed areas of the expansion. If you look at these pictures, you can imagine the crowd control issues that would arise if an attraction was open in the midst of all this construction. This wasn't an issue with Storybook Circus, since you already had effective ways for guests to enter and exit the area. So even though the Little Mermaid is basically complete inside, getting guests over to the attraction in a safe manner is impossible, at least for now. Originally we were told that the expansion would open in sections. Now it's being widely reported that it will open all at once, when it's completed.
When you look at these pictures or see the expansion in person, you get little hints of what's to come. If Storybook Circus is any indication, the effort, detail, and story that goes into the expansion will make it one of the most extraordinary parts of any Disney park. We're just going to have to wait a little longer than we originally hoped. For now, if you're visiting Walt Disney World in the near future, go to Storybook Circus and really let it sink in. There's art right in front of you, in the tiniest details. Go and enjoy. There's lots more to come.
Want a really detailed look at Storybook Circus? You can read more about it here.