FROM: Disney P.I. Published As Uncovered

Old Fantasyland Part 2- History of WDW Magic Kingdom

Kevin continues his look at Fantasyland history - covering everything from Captain EO to Winnie the Pooh.



Opening in the building that Mr. Toad occupied on June 5, 1999 was another dark ride, "The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh".  The attraction uses a single track to make the journey longer than "Mr Toads Wild Ride", although not quite as manic.  A painting in the "Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh" honours the former occupant of the space. The left wall of Owl’s house features paintings, one of which shows Mr. Toad handing a piece of paper marked 'Deed' over to Owl, implying a transfer of this property from Toad to Winnie the Pooh and his pals.

winnie the pooh


Next door to "Winnie The Pooh" is one of Fantasyland's stranger stories in the form of  Snow White's dark ride.

"Snow White's Adventures" not only featured a dark side, but didn't actually feature Snow White!  The rider (usually unaware) actually played the part of Snow White.

In late 1994 "Snow Whites Adventures" closed for a rehab, and reopened with many changes.  New scenes based on the Euro Disneyland version were added, and Snow White was introduced as was a new name - "Snow White's Scary Adventures", despite the new version actually being less scary than the original.


            peter pan's flight

"Peter Pan's Flight" was the final Fantasyland dark ride.  Walt himself supervised the development of the suspended ride system, which is still in use to this day.


The original "Mad Tea Party" opened on October 1, 1971 with one stark contrast to today - no roof.  The ride was roofed over sometime around 1975 due to Florida's heavy rains.  Another attraction to undergo an overhaul was "Dumbo".  As debuted on opening day, the original 10 elephants had a very plain looking hub system.  The ride was later rebuilt, adding 6 more elephants to the herd and featuring an elaborate hub system (again based on a EuroDisneyland design).


Amongst the Floridian originals for the Magic Kingdom's opening day was "The Mickey Mouse Revue".  The state-of-the-art (for 1971, anyways) production featured 60 animatronic characters signing classic songs.


Of the 1637 total animatronic figures made for the park's opening day, the Mickey Mouse Revue had the 2nd most... after Small World's 257, of course!  In the preshow theatre guests were treated to a movie featuring the history of Mickey and his friends. 


An error was made in the theatre design, however - the preshow area could hold more than the main show!  The show closed on September 14, 1980 and was dismantled and shipped to Tokyo Disneyland.


mickey mouse revue

The Fantasyland theatre at Walt Disney World was to remain empty for seven years.  Captain EO opened in Imagination's Magic Eye theatre on September 12 1986 and  the show it replaced, "Magic Journeys", headed for the Magic Kingdom.  EPCOT had a new 3D film, so the Fantasyland theatre was equipped to become a 3D movie theatre.  In Fantasyland, however, there was no "Making Memories" preshow – that remained at EPCOT.  A 3D short "Working for Peanuts" starring Donald Duck and Chip n' Dale was shown instead. "Magic Journeys" opened in the Magic Kingdom on December 15 1987.  "Magic Journeys" closed for the second time on December 1 1993.


A different show was coming to Fantasyland.  In production before the film it was based on was released, "Legend of the Lion King" was similar in concept to the studios "The Voyage of the Little Mermaid". 

Only this time, the puppets were all operated from below stage against a projection screen.  In theatre effects were fitted, as was a new sub-bass sound system.  From the holding area guests moved into the preshow theatre where a live Rafiki gave a welcome.  "Legend of the Lion King" closed on February 23 2002 for yet another new show.


Mickey Mouse and 3D were coming back to the Fantasyland theatre. The introduction of "Mickey's PhilharMagic" completely refitted the theatre: seating, lighting, sound system and new in-theatre effects were added.  Also added were two 2D screens either side of the main 3D screen.  In total, the combined screen width for PhilharMagic is a whopping 150 feet.  Three years in development, "Mickey's PhilharMagic" had its official opening on October 8 2003.  Featuring unprecedented 3D computer animation and supplementary 2D images plus a range of in theatre effects, the show takes Disney 3D attractions to the next level!



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