Storybook Circus Phase 1

#10: Storybook Circus (Phase 1) and Fantasyland Construction (as of March 13, 2012)

Welcome to Sam’s Disney Diary Episode #10 – Storybook Circus (Phase 1) and Fantasyland Construction (as of March 13, 2012)

Much more on my first impressions below this episode of Sams Disney Diary!


Since the original announcement of the Walt Disney World Fantasyland expansion, the majority of the focus has been on the new Fantasyland Forest and rightfully so.  With the Be Our Guest Restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (See Episode #5 for a preview), Princess Fairytale Hall, and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (and that’s the highlights) how can you not be excited?

Storybook Circus Concept Model (August 2011)
Storybook Circus as seen in the New Fantasyland Model during the D23 Event (August 2011)

In my opinion, lost in the excitement is Storybook Circus.  Sure, the dual Dumbo’s with interactive queue has gotten lots of attention, but Storybook Circus is much bigger than that!!  The theme and attention to detail are just amazing.   The original concept art and map from the D23 Expo just couldn’t show the amount of detail.  We have been teased with concept art and the models for long enough, and it’s finally time to see the real thing.  Storybook Circus is much more than a new Barnstormer and relocated Dumbo!Starting with the new Fantasyland Train Station, the “Carolwood Pacific Railroad” logo can’t be missed.  CPR, of course, is a shout out to Walt’s backyard railroad.  The station is a classic railroad roundhouse with tracks running from all of the garages underfoot and, unfortunately, under construction walls (as of March 13th).

Storybook Circus Phase II Construction (March 13, 2012)
Storybook Circus Phase II Construction as seen on March 13, 2012 from the Great Goofini lift hill.

But it’s a sure tie-in to the yet to be revealed Casey Jr. Splash-n-Soak Station (part of Storybook Circus Phase II).   It will be interesting to see how the Splash-n-Soak Station area will be positioned in the roundhouse turntable.  The station also includes lots of passenger luggage and baggage, all with unique details on where the bags have been.  The roundhouse locomotive garages also include a new set of restrooms nicely hidden in the details.It’s obvious that the circus arrived at the station recently.  By the looks of the walkways and amazing details, you can see the elephant tracks and trail of peanuts leading to the new Dumbo area.   In addition, there are lots of animal tracks (some I can’t identify) leading in various directions. There are some monkeys towards the Barnstormer, and even more leading “under” the construction walls, leading us to speculate what Phase II will bring.   I have personally found it interesting that it’s the Fantasyland Train Station, but it leads you directly into Storybook Circus.  The themes work well, but shouldn’t it be the Storybook Circus Station?  Some concept art and models do have the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train running just across the patch to the Dumbo exit queue…   I’m sure the unknown details will tie it all together.  Why exactly is the circus just outside of the walls of the castle?

As you pass the train station, the Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini will be the first new attraction you see.  As we all know, this is the reimagined “Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm”.  There is a great nod to the former attraction on the back of the Great Goofini sign. It looks like Goofy “recycled” the wood from the original sign.  Yes, it’s the same kid friendly coaster, but that’s about

The Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini
Entrance to the Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini. When you visit make sure you checkout the back of the sign, notice anything “familiar” to the area?

all that’s the same.  The queue has been completely redone (in most of the space that was Donald’s boat).  You experience Goofy’s failed attempts at various circus acts. They include – Canine Cannonball, Shootin’ for the stars, Aquamaniac – All the Tricks in the Book, Wheel of Peril – Never a “Dull” Moment and Tiger Juggling – Razor Edged Thrills.   You will find signs for all of the circus acts and great interactive references throughout the queue.  How many can you spot?  (I did my best to capture them in the video).

And of course, there’s Dumbo the Flying Elephant!!  As noted back in Sams Disney Diary Episode #2 – Disneyland Fantasyland vs WDW Magic Kingdom Fantasyland, the Dumbo’s in the Magic Kingdom never had the water feature that was so popular at Disneyland.   Not only has the water effect found its way to WDW, as Disney always does… it got Plussed!  The LED lighting looks fantastic during the day and is a sight to see at night.   The music is also a perfect blend of Disney and the Circus, exactly what you would expect.  The music in the latest SamsDisneyDiary video is from the Dumbo area.  During the Soft opening, there were parts of the Goofini queue that didn’t have much in the way of music.  I expect that’s a soft opening item that will be fixed.

Though only one half of the Dumbo’s are open in Phase I, they are well worth the wait.  Having a second along with an interactive queue will be outstanding.  The big question from episode #2 was, “ There is only one Timothy Mouse,  so who will be on top of the new Dumbo?”  The short answer is, a stork carrying baby Dumbo.  But, if you step back you see much more than just a stork.  Looking at the Dumbo from top to bottom you see the entire movie play out.  From the stork on the top, to Dumbo’s mother watching carefully, to the circus graphics from the movie and the story told on the base as the Dumbo’s turn.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Dumbo the Flying Elephant as seen during the March 2012 soft opening of Storybook Circus phase 1.. Notice construction walls behind… stay tuned for much mroe.

I can’t wait to experience the interactive queue when it finally opens!!!  This will turn what once was one of my most dreaded waits (the switchback of the old Dumbo) to an interactive experience for all ages.

What I found most intriguing about Phase I is the anticipation of what is behind the rest of the construction walls.  The circus tents are coming along nicely, but what exactly is Pete’s silly side show? What characters will be in the meet and greet? What type of counter service restaurant can we expect in Storybook Circus???  And those questions are for Phase II!!!

With this much attention to detail and story in this small area of Storybook Circus, the rest of the addition is going to be an amazing transformation of Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland!!   I can’t wait!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for watching!!!

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