For part one of this story, click here.
For part two, click here.
On Monday, March 12, the Storybook Circus area of Orlando's Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World soft-opened a few attractions mid-morning. The land and attractions are scheduled to open for regular business on March 31, but like most attractions, they were finished early enough to allow for testing by the ride operators AND for "soft opening" testing to the general public.
The newly-constructed Dumbo, the Barnstormer, and the train depot were all open for business. To judge by the theming of the attractions and the little details scattered around the land, Disney has a winner on its hands here. Today's update is the last of three parts, heavy on the pictures, and lighter than usual on the commentary.
The Fantasyland train station was open.
A front view of the train.
Nice theming, again.
This depot has a large building that remained shuttered – is there more line inside?
Backside of the train station. Note the Luggage. Unnecessary Theming! I love it!
There’s a curious “open” area with benches in the line that was in use, almost like a place for adults to sit and then rejoin the line later.
The themed elements here include multiple mentions of Carolwood, in honor of the backyard train that Walt maintained in his family home (he had nicknamed it the Carolwood Pacific).
The elevation continues a tradition at Disney park stations (and others, to be sure).
There’s another Carolwood reference just inside the hallway at the restrooms too.
The restrooms were impressive.
The building looks solid.
Inside is full of echoes, like a locker room.
Are there themed restrooms in the parks which surpass these? The brickwork alone is worthy of comment, to say nothing of the “roundhouse” tracks. It looks expensive.
The roundhouse tracks are my favorite (composite photo).
I like that the Storybook Circus warrants its own trashcans.
The theme is a bit cartoony and circus-like, which is simultaneously (1) the whole point and (2) the irritating “non-interesting” argument again. Walt kept trying to add an active circus to Disneyland. After the second failure he concluded people came to Disneyland to see Disneyland, and I kind of wish they axiom was held up here, but that’s not the fault of the folks who made all these details; it’s the fault of whoever decided on the theme.
But there’s more to say about the trashcans. I found a second design in at least two places in the land. This one looks like wooden planks, almost like a Frontierland design (and yes, it’s new).
Plastic and fake.
Here’s the thing: it’s a giant sticker rather than painted on. And it looks tacky and out of place, especially considering how rich and expensive everything else looks in the new area. It’s chintzy, and the one obvious dissonant note.
The walkway to Tomorrowland is open.
The only other note of dissonance is the theme mismatch hinted at earlier. If this is a circus, why is there a barnstorming opportunity? (Maybe they are common at circuses?)
Great new costumes!
There’s background music that plays softly through the land. I didn’t dwell long enough to hear it all the way through, but I can say I was in the land for 20 minutes before I noticed it. It’s understated, in theme to a circus, and not overwhelming. That just about reads like the very job description for background music if you ask me, so they did a fantastic job.
There are tracks through part of the land. These end near the water tower.
Overall they really have done a fantastic job. I may have minor quibbles about the theme selected for the land, but the execution has mostly been first-rate, and I wouldn’t want to signal that I was disappointed with the land. On the contrary, it was fabulous to welcome a new themed environment to Walt Disney World, especially one done with this much care and expense. I’m encouraged all the more now to see what the rest of New Fantasyland brings.
The tents are a bit more visible, and they appear to be empty inside so far.