New Fantasyland Ignites 2-Year Makeover at Walt Disney World

By: Susan Clary

ADD TO FAVORITES
'Limited Time Magic' promises 52 weeks of musical shows in 2013. Epcot celebrates Black History Month with pieces from the Kinsey Collection. And the Seven Dwarves (and some helpful construction crews) are hard at work on a new roller coaster.

When Walt Disney World opened more than 40 years ago in Lake Buena Vista just outside Orlando, the Dapper Dans, the enormously popular and talented barbershop quartet, became a mainstay on Main Street.

Guests could get a haircut in a working barbershop and enjoy vocal harmony from the 1940s such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" or "Lida Rose." The Disney melody included "Zip A Dee Do Da," "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "When You Wish Upon A Star."

In 2013, the Dapper Dans will proclaim themselves the “original boy band,” singing songs from One Direction, *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys along with their traditional music.

It’s all part of Disney’s “Limited Time Magic,” which promises 52 individual weeks of limited time shows, merchandise and food along with the resurfacing of “classic” Disney favorites all year.

“We are planning many surprises throughout the year to make memories that will last a lifetime,” said Meg Crofton, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts President.

It’s part of a number of new promotions and theme park expansions on Disney’s list in the coming two years. The most ambitious of these is the continuation of the opening of the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom.

In 2013, Walt Disney World will open the Princess Fairytale Hall, replacing Snow White’s Scary Adventures, which closed in May 2012. The hall will provide a permanent home in a castle-like setting for Disney’s princesses where visitors can meet them and have their photo taken. 

In case you are having trouble naming the fictional female heroines, they are: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana and Rapunzel. In July 2013, the newest princess, Brave’s Merida, will have her princess coronation.

Though Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are absent from New Fantasyland for the moment, an ambitious new roller coaster, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, will open in 2014.

The unique musical coaster will combine two ride styles: a roller coaster that sways from side-to-side, and a typical Disney ride that features audio animatronics, said Tom Staggs, Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman.

The coaster construction area is hidden behind a large wall in New Fantasyland, but the Seven Dwarfs offer visitors a sneak peak through a “crack” in a wooden door. The Dwarfs can be heard singing amid sounds of hammering and banging. Through the crack, visitors can watch construction workers putting together the giant multi-level ride.

In addition to Limited Time Magic and the New Fantasyland expansion:

The second weekend in January 2013, Disney will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of its Disney Marathon, which draws 65,000 runners from around the world. The marathon weekend and festival will feature a new Mickey Mouse Medal, celebrity runners, and new experiences for new and experienced runners along the 26.2-mile route that weaves through Disney parks.

In February 2013, with a kickoff during Black History Month, Epcot will showcase more than 40 pieces of art, artifacts, books, sculptures and manuscripts that document the triumphs and struggles of African Americans from 1632 to present from The Kinsey Collection. The Kinsey Collection will make its home at the American Heritage Gallery inside the park.

In collaboration with director James Cameron, a new Avatar-theme land is planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment have partnered for the expansion. Construction will begin in 2013.

Highlights of Limited Time Magic Promotions for 2013

True Love: Disney will celebrate romance during the week of Valentine’s Day in February 2013. Disney princes join their princesses to meet park guests in special settings, prix fixe menus turn up at select restaurants, and Valentine collectibles will be offered for the week.

Independence Week: Disney salutes America with red, white and blue through the week of Independence Day, July 4, 2013, with a fireworks party. Mickey Mouse appears in his patriotic finest and guests will find special USA shirts, ear hats and other limited-edition souvenirs.

Pirate Week: A special week celebrating everything Capt. Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean is scheduled with a buccaneer bash including pirate bands, pirate meet-and-greets and more.

Long Lost Friends Week: Lost friends week will highlight lesser-known Disney characters including Flik, Clarabelle Cow, Remy, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Disney guests will have the chance to vote online for which characters they want to see come out of the shadows and highlighted during this week.

Unleash the Villains: Friday the 13th in September will be a special “Limited Magic Day” at Disney. Hollywood Studios will remain open until the 13th Hour (1 a.m.). Maleficent, Capt. Hook, Jafar and other Disney villains will host a dance party, complete with limited-edition collectibles and nighttime mischief.

Golden Horseshoe Revue: The fabled Frontierland show returns to California's Disneyland for one month in 2013 with potential plans for Walt Disney World to showcase the dancing, corny jokes and Vaudeville-type show that was among Walt Disney’s favorites.

How can you find out about Limited Time Magic in advance? Disney will announce its various promotions via the Walt Disney World website, Disney Parks blog and Facebook and Twitter pages adding to the “element of surprise.”

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