With all of the renewed interest in Fantasyland these days (due to the new Land coming to Walt Disney World over the coming months) it seemed a fantastic opportunity to look at the history of one of our own favorite spots at Disneyland! We're not really sure if it's creepy or not for a couple of grown men to enjoy this particular place so much, but doggone it, we is what we is!
Fantasyland has always been an integral part of the Disneyland experience. In fact, many have said it was Walt Disney's favorite place in The Park, and there's little doubt it was a place created to allow children who were visiting Disneyland to physically live out some of their favorite fantasies (see what he did there?) and to allow adults to pretend that they were children again, living out some of their favorite fantasies, Disney-style.
Not sure if being eaten by Monstro is an actual fantasy or not, but it sure is fun!
It's especially worth noting because unlike some of the other Lands spotting Disneyland Park, Fantasyland has been there since The Park's inception, and has always been seen (as it was by Walt) as a central (being located pretty much dead on in the middle of The Park), integral, and indispensable part of the Disneyland landscape. Can you imagine Disneyland without Fantasyland? And if you're still not convinced of its importance in Disneyland history, just take a look at some of these iconic Disney attractions that have been a part of Fantasyland since the very beginning. We like to call them our "D55s":
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- King Arthur Carrousel
- Mad Tea Party
- Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Snow White's Scary Adventure
- and Storybook Land Canal Boats
One of those D55s. Note the excessive use of skulls! Pretty darn cool and morbid for a child's attraction, but all's fair in the name of fantasy!
But the Fantasyland that is now is not the Fantasyland that has always been. Even Walt Disney himself after The Park's opening wasn't always as enthused with one might think with his favorite part of The Park, and was constantly seeking new ways to improve both the look of the Land as well as the attractions themselves. Though he never saw it in its current iteration, his drive to constantly better his first Park led to massive updates, upgrades, refurbishments and changes to the attractions beginning in 1982 including new attraction facades, Land decor, music inside and outside of the attractions, and voice-overs faithful to each film's original sound, the new Fantasyland we know today pulling into the proverbial station in the summer of 1983. The event itself was such a grand occasion (with Mrs. Walt Disney in attendance) that it marked one of only two times in history the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty Castle has been lowered (though it is in fact fully functional).
Fantasyland (and King Arthur Carrousel) shine and wait in the background
Fantasyland has since seen many changes and upgrades (such as Rapunzel's Tower) but has always managed to maintain the childlike quality about it that Walt Disney sought to infuse it with. We don't think it's without merit to say that the upgrades coming to Walt Disney World and their Fantasyland, and the enthusiasm we see in that area, which has been quite substantial, is just further proof that children will be children, and adults should do their best to be children too, and Walt Disney gave us the perfect place to do that from the very beginning. You can't look forward without looking back, and Fantasyland has been, and will continue to be, the heart of Disneyland and the childlike fantasies of us all.
Prepare for the sm... ah, you know the rest
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is "The CanaDisney Blog".
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog
2nd Stop ~ Cooking with Mickey
3rd Stop ~ Meet the Magic
4th Stop ~ Pursuing the Magic
5th Stop ~ Days in the Park
Final Stop ~ The CanaDisney Blog