Tag Archives: fantasyland
You may have a heard a little about a big announcement last week. At an Investors Conference Tom Staggs hinted at big changes in the Disney parks. One that has set the Disney community abuzz is the following:
“… we are currently developing an innovative system that will, in essence, create a version of FASTPASS for their entire Disney vacations. Guests will be able to reserve times for their favorite attractions and character interactions… secure seats at our shows and spectaculars…make dining reservations… and pre-book many other favorite guest experiences – all before even leaving their house.”
“…a version of FASTPASS for their entire Disney vacations.” WOW. Unfortunately, this piece of news* seems to be as well-received as the initial plans for a Fantasyland expansion that was heavy on the Character Meet N Greets.
*It’s important to note that little detail was provided so there is much speculation on what this means with little concrete detail. I’ve see every opinion ranging from this being a VIP option which requires an additional cost to hypotheses that guests would be limited to reserving only a couple of attractions per day on their trip.
I’m lukewarm at best and opposed at worst. I’m a planner, exactly the type of person this new option seems ideal for, and I’m not on board which doesn’t seem to bode well.
Let’s talk about why I’m not lying awake at night so excited about this new option that I cannot sleep.
I don’t want to lie awake at night. Anyone who has been at the computer or dialing Disney Dining at the 180 day mark to get a coveted reservation knows how stressful the process can be. First, there’s the advance planning to figure out which park you’ll be in on which day. Selecting a restaurant that fits in with that plan follows soon after. Then there is the “backup” plan which means a second and third choice of restaurant or times if you cannot get your prized ADR. Will I need to be at my computer at 6am 180 days before my vacation to get an early FastPass time for Toy Story Mania? Will I need to have two, three, four versions of my touring plan to account for all the combinations that can occur if I don’t get the planned time for one of my attractions? Does the success of my trip hinge on the stars aligning to be able to get FastPasses that match my preferred touring plan?
Flexibility. I have small children so even though a touring plan is critical to a successful Walt Disney World vacation, flexibility is even more critical. If one of my kids has a mini-meltdown and needs some extra time to relax in the shade with a snack, will I miss my opportunity to ride Big Thunder Mountain without having to brave the standby line? And if I do miss my FastPass reservation and have to wait 45 minutes in the standby line because Big Thunder Mountain is a must-do for my son, will there be a domino effect and I will I miss my FastPass windows for my other attractions and shows?
Forget that I have small children and need flexibility, a vacation should be flexible and unhurried to some degree. I don’t want it to feel like my everyday life when I’m rushing from meeting to meeting at work or from preschool pickup to dentist appointment to play date without a chance to take a breath.
What if my stepson decides to join us at the last minute? Not a big deal because we have room in our DVC unit but now I may not be able to get him a FastPass for the same timeframes the rest of the family has. Does this mean either he cannot join us on the rides or do we have to “throw away” our reserved FastPasses that I secured six months ago so we can be together as a family?
Longer Standby Lines and Less FastPasses for the non-Planners? Not everyone is a planner and not everyone is aware of all that is involved in a Walt Disney World trip until they arrive and then it is too late. If FastPasses can be issued before you even set foot in the park, I can only assume this means longer standby lines and less FastPasses being distributed in the parks since the overall capacity of the rides is not being increased. This does not seem like a magical experience for non-planners or guests whose plans simply change. If it rains on the day I plan to visit Magic Kingdom and we regroup and decide to visit the following day, I don’t relish the idea of having to wait in longer lines because I don’t have FastPasses in hand when I pass through the turnstiles. I like my odds now where I the same chance of getting a FastPass as any other guest in the parks at the same time.
The bottom line for me is everything in moderation. Planning is good but extreme planning for what is supposed to be relaxed family time is too much of a good thing. Disney is the leader in creating an outstanding customer experience so I trust my concerns will be alleviated and a couple of years from now I’ll look back at this article and wonder what I was ever worried about. At least, I hope so.
- Disney World Quick Tips – Get The Most Out Of Fast Pass (chipandco.com)
- Affordable Disney Vacations: The Kim Possible Adventure at Epcot (chipandco.com)
Just days after revealing a new FastPass option for Mickey Mouse meet-and-greets at the Magic Kingdom, Chip and Co. has the scoop on a yet-to-be announced addition to Disney’s popular FastPass (FP) service.
No longer will guests have to wait in the long lines to get a FastPass to their favorite attractions. To help reduce the long lines guests may face waiting to get a FP ticket, Walt Disney World will offer a Fast Pass option for obtaining a Fast Pass. You heard it here first – soon you will be able to stand in a line to get a Fast Pass for a Fast Pass!
When asked about the program, a Disney Cast Member, who will remain Anonymouse said, “I’ve never heard of it, wait who are you again?”
Although Disney has yet to confirm its existence, Chip and Co. has heard the Fast Pass service will be called the “FastPass for FastPass,” or “FP 4 FP” – because abbreviations with numbers always sound more cutting edge and cooler.
These “FP 4 FP” tickets provide a one-hour window when guests can return and stand in another special Fast Pass line to score their actual FP ticket. Once that regular FP window opens, guests can finally enter the FP line to the attraction.
Disney anticipates that “FP 4 FP” will help manage lines and prove popular with guests for whom waiting in line is an essential part of the Disney magic. By offering “FP 4 FP,” guests will be able to spend more time in different lines, thus adding variety to a Walt Disney World vacation.
“FP 4 FP” will also allow guests to spend more time enjoying other Magic Kingdom experiences – such as souvenir shopping and eating Mickey ice cream bars – instead of the attractions themselves.
Chip and Co. asked some Disney fans what they thought of “FP 4 FP.”
Disney blogger Dana Howze, who logs long internet hours, said, “Sounds cool – but when can I get online FastPasses?”
Disney runner Jennifer Dreispul Lissak had other concerns. “What I really want to know is how do I get a FastPass for the corrals at the Walt Disney World marathon?
Some random guy named Chip had this to say, “42, wait what we talking bout”?
No firm date has been set for the implementation of “FP 4 FP,” but Chip and Company expects it to be some time soon after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter relocates to the new Fantasyland expansion.
Chip and Co. would be interested in hearing in what you think of “FP 4 FP.” Or what you think about the FastPass for meeting Mickey Mouse Disney has actually announced or Tom Staggs’ announcement about Disney’s long-term plans to allow guests to reserve ride times at home.
Remember, with a Chip and Co. Scoop – you heard it here first. (And maybe only here.)
Hey, there, Mouse fans. It’s Anonymouse again, keeping my Ears to to the ground for the latest rumors.
Ever since Magic Kingdom’s The Enchanted Tiki Room caught fire on Jan. 12, Disney fans have been hopeful that the unexpected refurbishment meant that Walt Disney World might consider returning the attraction to its former glory.
That fire, which started in the attic, damaged the Audio-Animatronics Iago1 (the first of two Iagos) and Zazu. They were the added stars of “Under New Management,” the show update that placed ironic storyline over the classic attraction. Many fans wanted to torch the additions long before the Tiki Room accident.
Jokes quickly spread – dare I say like wildfire? – throughout the Disney community that the fire was a sign that the Tiki gods finally had enough of Iago driving away guests from the attraction.
Well, rumors are heating up that the fire sparked the demise of “Under New Management.”
Some Disney fan sites previously reported The Enchanted Tiki Room was scheduled to re-open March 27, 2011. Now that re-opening date is set for June 1, a down time of 5 ½ months. Mistake in posting the March date or Disney’s decision to undertake a more extensive refurbishment?
So far, changes to the Tiki Room include the removal of pre-show elements added during the “Under New Management” update, such as the toucans William and Morris. Combined with the later re-opening date and these changes have sent speculations flying.
Disney bird-watchers are hoping for one of two outcomes. One, the Tiki room will return to the original concept – with less snark and more heart – and Tropical Serenade days. Two, Tiki Room refurb will offers something new, providing Adventureland with a little something to balance the focus on the Fantasyland expansion.
No one seems to wantto return. Aside from perhaps Disney management, in a classic case of over-identification, and they’re not squawking.
One last tasty morsel: I hear burned Audio-Animatronics taste a bit like Cajun chicken. (Just kidding, I’m a vegetarian. For those kinds of tidbits, you’ll have to ask Chip.)
- Disney Confidential – Enchanted Tiki Room Catches on Fire! (chipandco.com)
Disney fans are generally excited about the Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom, what with its increase in size and the addition of new attractions. There’s even been some rejoicing about changes to the original princess- and fairy-dusted plans.
But not all news about Walt Disney World has been magical. Along with the announcement for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a kiddie coaster, Disney slipped in the news that Snow White’s Scary Adventures will be closed. The classic dark ride, part of the park since 1971, will close some time during the Fantasyland expansion, probably in 2011 or 2012.at
I’m not quite sure how I feel about the removal of Snow White’s Scary Adventures (SWSA). As a die-hard Disney fan, my heart is torn by two different sentiments.
There are classics that represent the best of Disney, reasons why people fall in love with Disney in the first place. Or as Walt Disney said, “I love the nostalgic myself. I hope we never lose some of the things of the past.”
Then there’s my craving for the new, the innovative, the immersive – a reaction again reflected in Walt’s: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Snow White, a Disney Classic Film Turned Disneyland Original Attraction
My first instinct, then, is to lament the closing of SWSA as an end of a Disney era. The dark ride was a 1955 Disneyland original, something the Magic Kingdom brought over to honor Walt’s influence and imagination.
SWSA is based on Disney’s first feature-length animated film, certainly an accomplishment deserving a substantial presence in Disney parks. After all, the Walt Disney Company may have “started with a mouse,” but it was the success of “Disney’s Folly” that cemented Walt’s presence in Hollywood. And it’s Snow White, not the beloved dwarfs, who had the first film audience in tears. Shouldn’t she be the star of her own attraction?
Snow White’s Scary Adventures, a Dark Ride Turned Lighter
But I can’t quite convince myself I’m truly sad to see SWSA leave the Magic Kingdom. My consolation isn’t entirely because Seven Dwarfs Mine Train seems like a fun kiddie coaster. Or that its surrounding area promises to please Snow White fans.
The truth is, that while I’m sad to see the idea of SWSA leave, I’m not sad to see the ride in its current state come to an end. The first time I rode SWSA it was closer to Walt’s original vision. Snow White didn’t appear in the ride, and the focus was on the Queen/Wicked Witch. Guests took up Snow White’s point of view in an almost nightmarish version of the film’s narrative.
In that version, we became Snow White and experienced some of her heart-raising adventures. It was a dark ride, in all senses of the word, and much scarier. Especially for young children. But it was also true to Disney’s animated feature, which has its own terrifying moments. And I loved it.
Walt Disney World redesigned the ride in 1994. Among the many changes was the incorporation of Snow White into its scenes, with guests looking on at our heroine’s experiences. The redesign comforts and reassures young guests because they see Snow White.
In this more straightforward retelling, a great deal of immersiveness central to SWSA has been removed. It’s a safer ride for young guests, but one less interesting, less challenging. And I loved it a bit less.
Why Shouldn’t Snow White’s Scary Adventures be Scary?
More than that, though. SWSA’s redesign lost some of ride’s focus and appeal for many guests, including me. It lacks the clever narrative realized by Imagineering that I’ve come to expect from a Disney attraction.
But even the “new” version is still too scary for many young children, as Lisa Battista notes in Rides to Miss with Little Mr or Miss. Still, I can’t help thinking that a return to a darker, less young-child friendly concept of SWSA, one with updated technology, could be a good thing.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will act as a bridge between the “my first coaster” Goofy’s Barnstormer (to be renamed The Great Goofini). Couldn’t or shouldn’t SWSA be an entry-level ride to the mild scares of Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean? In the re-Imagineering of Fantasyland, isn’t there room for some thrills and chills beyond that of the coaster or thrill ride?
Snow White’s Scary Adventures: A Tale of Two Hearts
In examining my ambivalence to SWSA, I find myself mourning the future loss of the ride that is no longer what it was, nor is it what I want to it to be. I’m nostalgic for the attraction as I first experienced it, not as it is today.
So I’m looking forward to seeing the new Fantasyland even as it means the end of SWSA. Still, my heart tugs, ever so slightly, at the loss. Maybe I would rather have this version of SWSA at Walt Disney World than not have one at all?
Perhaps it’s a tale of my two hearts, then. I look forward to the Imagineers’ new ideas and experiencing Disney’s ability to continually re-invent its parks. But I can’t help wondering if the cost of such re-invention is some of that nostalgia Walt also valued so highly.
Photo credits: Josh McConnell, flickr, Creative Commons License (Entrance, apple, true love’s kiss); Loren Javier, flickr, Creative Commons License (Magic Mirror).
- Disney Confidential: Fantasyland Expansion – Say Good-bye to Snow White! (chipandco.com)
- What we know about the Disneyworld Fantasyland Expansion (chipandco.com)
As of this Friday, February 11th, Mickey’s Toontown Fair will officially be closed for business. While Toontown originally opened as Mickey’s Birthdayland in 1988, celebrating the 60th birthday of our favorite mouse, it was renamed Mickey’s Starland first, then switched to Toontown as we know it in 1996.
We know the Barnstormer will be renamed The Great Goofini, but essentially, the ride will still be the same. Everything else, however, is history.
Mickey and Minnie’s Country Houses are now a thing of the past. Their adorable country homes, including Minnie’s “working” microwave, painting room, and flower pots are gone. Mickey’s mouse checkers, Pluto’s dog bed, and Mouse-eared antenna tv will all be gone, probably stored in the Utilidors somewhere underneath the Magic Kingdom, along with other pieces of Disney past.
I think Mickey’s Toontown Fair may have been one of the most overlooked places in the Magic Kingdom, which is truly a shame. The details never cease to amaze me. For example, in Mickey’s house, his front table had a stack of mail, letters to him addressed from Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Ariel. There are several books between the two houses, all with great reads, including Famous Mice in History at Minnie’s house. Almost anything you can think of is mouse-shaped, from mailboxes to mirrors, keys to ping pong paddles.
Mickey’s Toontown Fair was a gem of Imagineering creativity and will truly be missed.
Jenn resides with her husband, 1 year old son, and 2 bratty dogs in a suburb of Washington, D.C. She also hosts her own blog, the Disney Babies Blog, where she shares her experiences, tips, and ramblings about traveling the parks with a baby. In her non-Disney life, Jenn is often found running, practicing yoga, or playing the clarinet in the military.
- Review: Walt Disney World Notescast Guide 3.0 (chipandco.com)