Imagineering Awesome: Even Newer Fantasyland

This post is part of the Imagineering Awesome series

Welcome to the seventh post in the Imagineering Awesome series on Mouse on the Mind! You can access all of the posts  by clicking on the link at right. 

Today’s post takes place not too terribly distant future and was penned by the hilariously dry Keith from The Disney Hipster Podcast. Please keep your hands, arms and feet inside the ride vehicle at all times, and if you have a drink, you’d probably be best served to set it aside as we trace the history of Disney’s next big expansion … 

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When Melissa was nice enough to extend an invitation to take part in this series, I immediately had about seven ideas. Those all bored me. This idea did not. Enjoy.

Though the weather began to cool in the autumn of 2017, the same could not be said for the red hot rivalry between the dueling theme park enterprises in Central Florida. Universal Studios finally made the long-rumored phase 3 of PotterVille a reality when they announced that Godric’s Hollow, The Burrow, and the world’s first F-ticket attraction would be opening in June of 2018 (Unfortunately, they were never able to perfect the art of apperating, so the “F-ticket” billing ended up being an exaggeration). Disney immediately responded with the announcement of …

Even Newer Fantasyland

Opening spring of 2020!

And, um, some of it in late 2021.

…And then the last part sometime after that (we are hoping for Christmas of 2022 but who knows)

The initial press release and concept art included:

The long awaited return of Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!

Nothing is more “Even Newer” than old stuff, right?

An exact replica of Disneyland’s Alice In Wonderland ride!

Original plans were eventually changed to Disneyland Paris’ hedge maze.

Alice's Curious Labyrinth (photo by Shawn Slater)

A restaurant with individual dining areas and menus themed to the oft-neglected 60’s / 70’s animated films. Want Indian food? Make ADRs in the Jungle Book room! Ever dream of eating in Sherwood Forest? Perhaps the Robin Hood room can make that a reality! Curious what Dalmatian tastes like? You are seriously a sick individual!

Original plans were eventually changed to a Fox and the Hound popcorn cart.

An expansive shopping area fashioned after the street bazaar from Aladdin!

Original plans were eventually changed to a My Magic+ version 2.0 help desk

Restrooms based on the newest animated film, “Tangled 2.”

Though these facilities did, in fact, open as planned, it was only for about three months before they had to be shuttered. Why, you ask? Guests, confused as to why there were a second set of nearly identical restrooms, would ask cast members what the difference was between these and the original Tangled toilets. When CMs replied “These new restrooms are specifically for number two,” well…it got sort of weird. The space was eventually transformed into a pretty large DVC kiosk.

Tangled Toilets (Mouse on the Mind)Disney knew they had to hit a home run when it came to the crown jewel of Even Newer Fantasyland. A relatively tame, though highly detailed, roller coaster wasn’t going to do it. The proposed addition of eleven more Meet and Greets, shockingly enough, was considered “underwhelming” by guests that were surveyed upon leaving Be Our Guest in what was now called “Fairly New(ish) Fantasyland.” What they ended up going with was a highly elaborate next generation Omnimover ride based on their most recent smash hit franchise – Maleficent.

Just in case you forgot, here’s a quick recap on the sequels to Maleficent:

Maleficent 2, released in 2016, was the highest grossing film of the year. Maleficent 2 told the classic story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of King Stefan and garnered Oscar nominations for Ryan Gosling (King Stefan – best actor), Maddox Jolie-Pitt (best director) and One Direction (Prince Philip – best supporting actor).

Maleficent 3, released a mere 11 weeks later, would go on to shatter every box office record known to man while also somehow winning Best Picture 3 years in a row. It told the classic story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the spinning wheel.

Maleficent 4, still in pre-production and rumored to be the first film released exclusively as a series of Snapchats, has already won 9 Golden Globes, a Cable ACE award, and several local beauty pageants. It will tell the classic story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of, oddly enough, Russell, the dog from Up.

With stockholder’s hopes still high that the seemingly inevitable fifth gate at Walt Disney World would be a complete Maleficent Park, the suits quickly decided that this particular ride would focus solely on Maleficent Episode I. But in an interesting twist, the attraction would also honor the original Sleeping Beauty. The ride also promised some truly breakthrough innovations such as a suspended trackless ride system as well as a 3-D Bluetooth audio system that enables guests to actually reach spiritual enlightenment while at the same time completely charging their phones. Guests were really excited about the phone thing.

Fully charged, bitches! (Mouse on the Mind)

Guests would enter the ride from either side of the show building, with one track leading guests through several scenes of the classic story of Sleeping Beauty and the other track taking people through the story of Maleficent: Part One. Midway through the ride, the two tracks would converge in the only shared scene (Aurora’s christening) though the audio piped into the ride vehicles would obviously be different. For instance if you chose the Sleeping Beauty side you would hear the fairies being referred to by their rightful names of Fauna, Flora, and Merryweather, whereas those that were experiencing the Malef1cent attraction would get the fairies that were called Pushbutton, Beetelbum, and Umbrage (or whatever they were named).

The final scene on each side would feature a 100-foot high audio-animatronic dragon, billed as the most advanced audio-animatronic of all time. Learning from their past mistakes, Disney smartly built the dragons on platforms that could be lowered into the basement of the show building in the event that they needed to fix them. “The last thing we need is a pair of disco dragons,” Bob Iger was quoted as saying early on in the development stage.

Disco Dragon Concept Art (by bgrafixb of halotracker.com)

Unfortunately, during construction, an iPod was accidentally sealed into one of the shared walls behind the dragons. Double unfortunately, the iPod was plugged in at the time so the battery never died. Triple unfortunately, the iPod was set to somehow only play Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall on a loop. Fairly loudly. And, well, it did sort of look like the highly-detailed dragons were dancing, so…yeah.

The anticipation for this ride was unparalleled. People (mostly teachers) began loitering outside the queue entrance four months before the attraction was scheduled to open, hoping against hope that somehow they would be granted early admittance. Finally, on September 1, 2024, guests were allowed in. Minds were collectively blown. Gasps were audible throughout all 43 square miles. Some people’s jaws dropped so violently that they literally unhinged.

Immediately upon opening, the ride was universally hailed as the finest theme park attraction ever created. The public marveled at the perfect combination of magic and fantasy and dreams. Unfortunately, due to mounting litigation from the Jackson Estate over the iPod in the wall situation, the ride was only open for a little over two years before being shut down and reopened as eleven Meet and Greets.

The End.

Which Princess are you going to line up for in the new Meet and Greet location? Let us know in the comments below. 

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