Saturday, September 12, 2009

Endor Express Evolves! (Double Feature: Fantasyland's Fantastic Expansion)

"Star Tours?!? What are you doing here? This is a combat zone, it's restricted! Ease off on your main thrusters."

At long last Disney Hollywood Studios has confirmed a revamp of Star Tours (their motion simulator based off the Star Wars movies-though if you're actually interested in my blog you probably already knew that). While I do love Star Tours, it's out of date. It's been out of date for a while. In fact (in large part due to my age) I don't really remember a time when it didn't feel a bit out of date. Not much as been confirmed about the upcoming Star Tours II 3D other than that it will open (or re-open I suppose) in 2011 and feature 3-D effects. I'm sure we'll be enjoying some high def goodness as well. Also judging by the trailer there will be pod racing involved (a quick shout out to all my fellow Episode I fans out there! All three of you are reading this I'm sure).

Rumors of an updated Star Tours have been out there pretty much ever since "The Phantom Menace" came out, but didn't go far past mere rumors. That is until word got out over the past year or so that Lucas was filming for the new incarnation of the beloved Studios attraction. Judging by how increasingly popular Star Wars Weekends are at the Studios every year, I've been anticipating this announcement for some time now. I am very excited to hear more.

Questions that come to mind: Will Rex the Pee-Wee Herman droid still (poorly) pilot the StarSpeeder? Will it take place in any sort of continuity (or just span the entire Star Wars series)? Will Cast Members keep saying stale lines like "May the force be with you, because I sure won't!" (probably)?

I guess we'll have to wait and see!


Check these pictures out! (click here and here!)

It's official! Fantasyland in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is to be expanded and completely refurbished by 2013. This is going to be the largest expansion to occur in the Magic Kingdom to date. From what I hear Mickey's Toontown Fair (besides Goofy's Barnstormer) will be taken out entirely to make room (you know that area you forgot was even in MK). Fantasyland itself will be cut up into sections. Here's a map you can look at to visualize it with me: Fantasyland Blueprint.

WOAH! Where did all that land come from? Well 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was a pretty huge ride. After it closed back in '94 only a fraction of its land had been used since.

Now back to the blueprint. The bottom left corner is pretty much all Fantasyland is as of now. You can see Pinochio's eating area (next to It's a Small World, not shown). The Carousel behind the castle. Where it says Castle wall, that's where Dumbo is now. So where is Dumbo going? To the upper right of the map you can see a huge area dedicated to Dumbo's circus. That seems to be what is replacing much of Toontown. According to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo guests will be able to "Fly with Dumbo high above brand new circus grounds, twice the size of the existing attraction with a new interactive, three-ring circus tent."

Another large chunk of Toontown will be taken over by Tinkerbelle and her Pixie Hollow. To the left of Dumbo shows the area for the Little Mermaid attraction (which was actually almost made at one point). This is going to be a very impressive dark ride that will send guests traveling above and below the sea. It's hard to describe, you should just watch the digitally rendered version that was included on the special edition Little Mermaid DVD released a few years back. Watch it here:

Disneyland will be getting the Little Mermaid ride in 2011. Lucky jerks.

Guests will visit their favorite Disney Princess in her castle, cottage, or chateau to share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty's birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast's castle library."

You can clearly see on the map where the princesses will be spending their time. The addition I am most excited about is the entire Beauty and the Beast area. Belle's cottage should be pleasant enough visually, as well as the Be Our Guest restaurant in which guests can "
dine in one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast's castle." Also notice to the side of the restaurant is "Gaston's Tavern." Seeing as MK is an alcohol free park I'm assuming it's going to be another quick service dining area.

Check out the bottom right of the map. Those pesky Indy Race Cars are so intrusive. Oh well. Most of the information for this blog I got from WDWMAGIC. You probably could have glanced through their site and find all this out much quicker than reading this long winded blog, so I appreciate you spending this time with me today. I am very excited about the next few years. Disney World has been suffering a bit of a drought as far as new and exciting attractions go. Don't get me wrong, Toy Story Midway Mania is incredible, but it wasn't originally intended to be the E-Ticket level attraction it has become (Disney fans know what the term e-ticket stands for, for the rest of you, why are you reading this blog? well I'll explain what it means to you sometime soon). There hasn't been many huge additions in the past few years. Darn pesky recessions.

That's all I have to say this time! See you folks around the parks!

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