Friday, April 13, 2012

A Little Disneyland Fantasyland History - Magical Blogorail Blue

Welcome to those of you joining me from "Pursuing the Magic" and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 5th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

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
In fact, of the 13 attractions still inside Disneyland that are a part of the original set, 8 of them (a good percentage) have always been a part of Fantasyland, which we think lends pretty good credence to the entire "importance" aspect of this area of The Park.

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


Jennifer Lissak said...

Great post!! Love living in a land of Fantasy.. can't wait to eventually see the original park!

Crystal and Bryan - said...

We're so excited to see the original Fantasyland on our Disneyland trip!

Anne said...

I never knew this before! Thanks for giving out Disney history! Be sure not to miss the Disney Golf in your Disney adventure!

Unknown said...

Great update! Glad to see that one of my favorite sites is back. Keep up the good work guys, it's greatly appreciated!!!

Beth Green said...

great info Chad! Each time I read your blog it makes me want to go back to DL!! thanks for sharing! :)

Days In The Park said...

Thank you Jenn! Can't wait for you to get your chance! :)

Days In The Park said...

Hopefully we'll get to spend some time together there guys :) @Crystal & Bryan

Days In The Park said...

Thanks for stopping by Anne. Glad that you enjoyed it! :)

Days In The Park said...

@Unknown - Thank you! It was good to be back and we're glad that you enjoyed it! Keep coming and we promise to be better about posting in the future! :)

Days In The Park said...

Thanks Beth! I sure hope that you do someday. Roaming the Park with you would be too much fun :)

Mouse Fan Diane said...

I love learning more about Dl, so thank you for that and the fact that some of the original rides are still there at DL make me want to visit it even more..