Mirror Disneyland: One Final Edition (Seriously)


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Disneyland Forward is so interesting to me, because how much of it will actually happen, I don't know.
It's happening. It's officially happening. Like you said, we don't know how much will happen, but it's been announced today that Disneyland Forward has been approved by the Anaheim City Council and will go through.

It's happening. It's officially happening. Like you said, we don't know how much will happen, but it's been announced today that Disneyland Forward has been approved by the Anaheim City Council and will go through.

DisneylandFoward is very interesting to me. With all that expansion and even the rumors of a 3rd park. It’s very exciting to see what the expansion will bring.


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It's happening. It's officially happening. Like you said, we don't know how much will happen, but it's been announced today that Disneyland Forward has been approved by the Anaheim City Council and will go through.

Yep! I'm looking forward to seeing what it brings, but for the most part, it has no effect on Mirror Disneyland. Mirror Disneyland has the 5,000 acres for growth, real-life Disneyland does not. So, in the mirror timeline, it isn't a necessary thing for expansion to buy out new properties and build more on top of parking lots. Also, this thing is gonna take decades to come into fruition, there is no way I'll be working on this project still ten years from now haha. At least I hope I won't be, it feels like I already have been!

It's pretty much all but hinted at that the lands they want to add with DisneylandForward are Arendelle, Wakanda, Pandora, and Zootopia. Again, these aren't confirmed, but every time Josh D'Amaro is interviewed about it, he mentions those lands/franchises specifically. They do show concept art for TDS's Neverland, but remember, OLC has an exclusivity clause on their new attractions so that they can't be duplicated elsewhere, which is a shame, but a very understandable shame. The blueprints for DisneylandForward even match Arendelle from other parks and the panther rockwork from Wakanda is seen in the space near what is currently Downtown Disney.

Personally, I'm not keen on these being full-fledged lands at DLR. I have no doubts they would be beautiful and levels of extreme quality when built, but I'm not 100% convinced that (with the exception of Wakanda) clones of lands from other parks are what we need at DLR. Since Pandora is likely part of the DCA expansion over by Pixar Place Hotel, that just takes more California out of a park already struggling to hang on to it. Were it up to me, my wish list for DisneylandForward would be:

1. Tomorrowland 2055
2. Hollywood Land Makeover
3. The Great Muppet Movie Ride
4. Avengers Campus E-Ticket
5. Western River Expedition Adaptation
6. Country Bears Added to Grizzly River Run
7. Discovery Bay at DCA

^Those have nothing to do with Mirror Disneyland. Those have to do with real Disneyland.


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They do show concept art for TDS's Neverland, but remember, OLC has an exclusivity clause on their new attractions so that they can't be duplicated elsewhere, which is a shame, but a very understandable shame.
If you don't mind me asking, when you add rides from Tokyo here in Mirror Disneyland -- Pooh's Hunny Hunt being part of your Fantasyland, for example -- is the conceit that the ride was being developed stateside at the same time as its Tokyo counterpart, thus circumventing the exclusivity clause?


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Original Poster
If you don't mind me asking, when you add rides from Tokyo here in Mirror Disneyland -- Pooh's Hunny Hunt being part of your Fantasyland, for example -- is the conceit that the ride was being developed stateside at the same time as its Tokyo counterpart, thus circumventing the exclusivity clause?

@WaltWiz1901 who proposed the water ride be like:
Me, who deduced that DisneyMan and MEW were referring to Hunny Hunt being in previous versions of MDL, be absolutely nothing like that
Me desperately feeling saddened for @WaltWiz1901 and says thinks of a response be like:

That being said, I though you were asking if The Water Ride of Pooh was going to be in the plan. Next time I’ll READ the posts to understand better.


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Original Poster
Well, that was weird. :p

Now that that's out of the way, I'll have the rest of the Central Plaza coming soon. Apologies for the delays.

@WaltWiz1901, I'm probably going with Pooh's Hunny Hunt but am for sure taking that concept art and running with it to some extent!


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Original Poster
And now, the long overdue remainder of the Central Plaza. Sorry this one took so long, folks, I really hate detailing this area more than most others but feel a natural obligation to doing so before moving on. Also, to backtrack on an initial post, I will be going into Fantasyland next since Fantasy Springs is pretty much all but revealed now.

A day at Disneyland has always been highlighted by a parade. Every day a magical procession of dreams come true takes to the streets of Fantasyland and Main Street with the help of dozens of artists and technicians, and often more than a hundred performers, changing each year and season to match the latest promotional event or offering. The Parade of Screams and A Christmas Fantasy Parade highlight the Halloween and Christmas seasons each year, but the current showing is Disneyland on Parade, climaxed by the iconic, Steampunk-inspired Maleficent, stretching 35 feet in length and 26 feet in height. Maleficent, conceived first for Walt Disney World’s Festival of Fantasy Parade in 2014, concludes the “Flights of Fantasy” finale.


Conceived as a musical salute in honor of Disneyland’s 70th anniversary, Disneyland on Parade began its run on May 2, 2025. Each land in the Magic Kingdom is represented here, with a decorative “show-float” and a menagerie of themed characters to each section of the parade. The parade begins with “Main Street Memories” set to “Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppets (2011). The Jungle Book and The Lion King represent Adventureland and its Jungle Cruise, while characters from Woody’s Roundup explore Frontierland and its big thunderous mountains. Altogether, the parade includes eight sections: Main Street Memories, Dreams of Adventure, Frontier Fun, Folktale Hoedown, Grim Grinning Ghosts, A Pirate’s Life for Me, Tomorrow Awaits!, and Flights of Fantasy, each filled with familiar characters, Disneyland landmarks, and classic attractions as stylized parade floats and rhythmic processionals.

The Main Street Electrical Parade, one of the most beautiful and unusual pageants to glitter its way down Main Street, debuted on June 17, 1972, and has become a summertime tradition for the Happiest Place on Earth. Its depiction of classic Disney film scenes, re-created in over half a million sparkling lights and over 500 miles of wiring, has dazzled guests through the work of nearly 100 artists and craftsmen through the decades. The Parade has grown bigger and brighter each summer when it returns, and even enjoyed its 50th anniversary in 2022. It never left, and probably never will.


“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” the Voice of Disneyland echoes. “In just a few minutes, the lights will be dimmed so that you may fully experience a cherished and beloved pageant beyond the boundaries of imagination: The Main Street Electrical Parade. This sparkling fantasy recreates scenes from many of Walt Disney Animation’s most memorable film classics in over half a million colorful, twinkling lights. We hope you’ll enjoy the unusual, electrifying magic and exciting fantasy of the Main Street Electrical Parade.”

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... Disneyland proudly presents our spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination in thousands of sparkling lights and electro-syntho-magnetic musical sounds - the Main Street Electrical Parade!"


When then CEO Card Walker saw the success of the Electrical Water Pageant at Walt Disney World in 1971, he commissioned the design of a similar attraction at Disneyland. Rather than borrow the same show for Disneyland’s Fantasy Lagoon, the Imagineers instead introduced the Main Street Electrical Parade. The iconic music, a remix of the song “Baroque Hoedown” by Jean-Jacques Perry and Gershon Kingsley interspersed with various Disney themes, was made famous through use of the world’s first automated show-control program. This enabled the entire route to have radio-activated “trigger zones” triggered as each float entered a zone, so that the audience would hear float-specific music as the specific float passed through. This same audio system is used by Disney Parks parades around the world today.

If you ever had a dream and had that dream come true, then you probably know a little something about the magic of Sleeping Beauty Castle.


"When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires will come to you..."

Sleeping Beauty Castle rises like a vision at the end of Main Street. Its tallest tower reaches 77 feet above its moat, but in designing the medieval structure Disney artists used “forced perspective.” Its walls and battlements are constructed of stone cut in graduated sizes, from large at the foundation to small at the topmost turrets, tricking the human eye into thinking the castle is even taller than it really is.

Sleeping Beauty Castle is a fairy tale made real, a focus for the wonder that is Disneyland Park. The architecture is a composite of French and Bavarian styles from the Middle Ages, inspired by the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Imagineer Herb Ryman first sketched the iconic castle. As he recalled, “There was a day when the part facing Fantasyland faced the front. I came in one day and I looked at it and thought, ‘That looks quite a bit like the Neuschwanstein Castle in Mad King Ludwig’s Bavaria.’ And I thought I’d experiment with it, and I turned it around, and at that moment Walt was standing behind me and said, ‘Oh! I like that a lot better!’ So that’s the way it got built!”


Sleeping Beauty Castle was established long before the release of the animated feature from which it was derived, and even before Disneyland had broken ground. The castle first debuted as an iconic part of the opening titles for the Disneyland TV series in 1954 and, along with Tinker Bell, went on to “welcome” viewers to see what Walt had been dreaming up for his up and coming Disneyland project.

It was decided that a castle would act as the visual “anchor” for the Park, and thus with it was born the tradition of making a castle the focal point of each Magic Kingdom around the world. Herb Ryman designed what would become the smallest of all the Disney castles, despite Disneyland having the blessing of size. Walt wanted simplicity and charm, and asked for it to retain that same warmth and humble nature of the small town Main Street standing before it.

“This is one of the few places where people can go and count on to be transported outside of themselves, feel happy,and be distracted from today’s often scary world.”
- Denise Meara-Hahn, former Magic Kingdom Tour Guide & Opening Day Host

Inside the castle breezeway, Imagineer Dorothea Redmond designed in 1983 a spectacular glass mosaic mural depicting the Sleeping Beauty story, told through over 10,000 individual tiles flecked with real gold. The scenes speak of romance, magic, and beautiful dreams all come true. This mosaic was first introduced with the rest of “New Fantasyland,” and was inspired by Redmond’s mosaic mural inside Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, respectively.


Sleeping Beauty Castle has become the quintessential fairy tale castle. It soars majestically toward the billowing white clouds, not a medieval fortress, but rather an imaginary conception. “When You Wish Upon a Star,” sung by Jiminy Cricket, alternates with “Once Upon a Dream,” sung by an otherworldly chorus, both which set our atmosphere as we enter through the royal portico and cross the drawbridge. As Disneyland has grown, so, too, have the castle grounds. The castle walls have grown their reach since 1955, opening up to the realms of magic and make-believe in the enchanted forests of Fantasyland.

Due to its size, Sleeping Beauty Castle does not have a restaurant, hotel suite, or gift shop inside like the other Disney castles around the world. It does, however, have not one, but two walk-through attractions.

Beginning on April 29, 1957, the once empty second-floor of Sleeping Beauty Castle was given an attraction of its own. The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through was built as a showcase of dioramas designed by Imagineer Ken Anderson, with Eyvind Earle, the production designer for Sleeping Beauty, as his direct inspiration. This version was replaced in 1977, and later closed altogether in 2001.

But, in a twist of fate, the attraction returned on November 26, 2008. The “reawakened” version contained gorgeous dioramas in the artistic style of Eyvind Earle, retelling the story of Princess Aurora in a stunning show helmed by Imagineer and Disney Legend Tony Baxter. This version remains open to visitors today.


When Fantasyland opened with Disneyland in 1955, it had six attractions. On May 25, 1983, after a year and a half of reconstruction, the land that best reflects the spirit of the classic Disney animated films reopened, with more than double the original attraction count in a new, Alpine themed setting. Sleeping Beauty Castle was originally built with an impressive basement underneath it. Intended first for breakrooms and costuming, the basement ended up being used for storage, but by the time New Fantasyland had opened to the public in 1983, it, too, had an attraction in development, one that would take three years to open its creaking doors.

Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland received two attractions designed (somewhat) concurrently: Pinocchio’s Daring Journey in 1983, and three years later, the Villains’ Mystery Tour (Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour at Tokyo). Imagineers carved an eerie labyrinth of sinister dungeons out of the former basement of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and before long, a Japanese ghost house of sorts had opened at Disneyland, U.S.A.


Brave guests are ushered into a warm foyer decorated with charming portraits of Disney Heroes and Heroines - Scrooge McDuck, Pinocchio, Snow White, Merlin, and Taran (The Black Cauldron). Just as we are encouraged to applaud for the Heroes by a butler or maid of the castle, we are interrupted by the Magic Mirror, frustrated that the Villains have been overlooked in favor of the Heroes. The portraits transform into Magica De Spell, Stromboli, the Evil Queen, Madam Mim, and the Horned King. The Magic Mirror boasts of having compiled the largest collection of villains in the catacombs below, and invites us to creep down the dark flight of stairs he has revealed and into the jagged rocks and subterranean waters of the castle basements and dungeons, bats and rats screeching all around us.

Mad Madam Mim, a scheming Jafar and Iago, the monstrous Chernabog, and the always sinister Dr. Facilier, link the Mystery Tour’s two most infamous scenes - the lair of a sleeping dragon, filled top to bottom with gold and jewels, scorched suits of armor and skeletons picked clean. The dragon stirs, but a falling skeleton activates a hidden elevator, bringing us out of the lair and into a chamber filled with ripped tapestries that retell the foreboding “Legend of the Black Cauldron.” Our host details the legend, but is interrupted when the Mirror’s voice again beckons for us to continue further, pitting us now against the terrifying Horned King as he summons his undead “Cauldron Born” into reanimation. A chosen guest (a child) is given the Sword of Light as a means of defense against the sinister forces. With the sword aimed in the right direction, the Horned King falls from his perch in humiliating defeat, with the Cauldron Born returning to death and a new passage opening to reveal a powerful message:

The host has brought us back into Fantasyland, and awards the chosen guest with a prize blue ribbon as a reward. On it is written “An official statement from Disneyland. We pay honor to the bravery, sincerity, and pure-mindedness of the hero who received power from the Sword of Light. The hero is now proclaimed a true knight and living legend of Fantasyland! GOOD CONQUERS EVIL!”

The Mystery Tour is the second member of Disneyland’s “Terrifying Trio,” three attractions considered macabre for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom: The Haunted Mansion - ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter - Mystery Tour. Despite the closure of the Tokyo Mystery Tour in 2006, the Disneyland version remains open, having enjoyed a large-scale refurbishment in 2019. Jafar and Iago replaced a scene featuring the Cheshire Cat in 1992, and Dr. Facilier replaced the Witch from Snow White in 2009.

While the Mystery Tour is considered a Fantasyland attraction, its entrance can be found in a combined thematic offshoot of the Central Plaza and Fantasyland: Fantasy Faire.


Ever since Benny Goodman first performed at Disneyland in 1961, the Magic Kingdom has played host to a variety of Big Bands. The Elliot Brothers and Les Brown are among those who have performed at Disneyland, along with other "greats" of the Swing era, including Harry James, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. Carnation Plaza Gardens opened August 18, 1956. The famous dance pavilion and bandstand hosted these legends and icons of the Swing and Big Band era. Carnation Plaza had music and swing dancing on summer evenings, seven nights a week until April 30, 2012. The dance floor and stage closed. On March 12, 2013, Fantasy Faire opened in its place.

The centerpiece of Fantasy Faire is the Royal Theatre, the original dance pavilion repurposed, with big band and swing dancing performed by night - though by day, the Royal Theatre is home to a different form of live entertainment - comical reenactments of Tangled, Frozen, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, as performed by traveling minstrels Messieurs Smythe and Jones, men of the theater and lovers of legend and lore. The storytellers present their tales as old as time with the assistance of fellow villagers and the musical accompaniment of Sir Samuel of Morocco. Anna, Elsa, Aladdin, Jasmine, Belle, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider appear onstage to help tell their own Storytelling at Royal Theatre.


Fantasy Faire shares many of the same finishes and touches found in Fantasyland’s medieval village; stone and timbered walls, chimney vents and arched windows, and tiled rooftops with steeply pitched gables. Pinocchio’s cat, Figaro can be found dozing on a windowsill near a caged bluebird, awakening when it sings. Clopin Trouillefou stars in his own mechanical marvel, Clopin’s Music Box, a turn-of-the-crank contraption bringing a musical "Topsy Turvy" to an animated diorama of Notre-Dame’s “Festival of Fools.” A bulletin board is plastered with inside jokes and references, including wanted posters for Robin Hood and Little John, an advertisement for “Air-Herc” sandals, a nose-botched wanted poster for Eugene “Flynn” Rider, and more. In the center of the faire, a 16-foot-high stone sculpture pays homage to Rapunzel's Tower. A miniature Rapunzel is seen gazing out her window. After sundown, Rapunzel’s hair periodically comes to life with a twinkling of lights and music twisting and turning down the length of the tower.


At the Royal Hall the beloved Disney Princesses gather each day to meet their guests. Fairy Tale Treasures has all the Princess-themed gifts and souvenirs, with a long corridor attached stretching into nearby Frontierland. Belle's father Maurice has invented a makeshift food cart, Maurice's Treats, where the culinary "inventions" include bread-twists in a choice of chocolate, strawberry or cheddar cheese flavors. Maurice also has a signature beverage, the "Boysen Apple Freeze," a tasteful blend of 100% apple juice with boysenberry flavor and foam. It seems fitting that Maurice set his wagon not far from another remnant of his “poor, provincial town”: Gaston’s Tavern. Of course there are antlers in all of the decorating, and a bronze fountain out front of the dashing Gaston high atop the bumbling LeFou.
A set of marble statues arrived as a gift to Walt Disney, who gave Imagineer John Hench the assignment of finding means to display them in Disneyland. The problem? Snow White was the same size as all the Dwarfs. Hench solved the scale problem with clever staging and perspective, placing Snow White high on a hill near a small deer. The Snow White Grotto and wishing well have remained east of Sleeping Beauty Castle ever since. The ethereal voice of Snow White "wishing for the one I love" echoes from deep within the well. Coins tossed in the well are donated to children's charities around the world, in particular the Children's Hospital of Orange County, a short drive from Disneyland itself.


Sleeping Beauty Castle is often the star of a firework spectacular at night. Although the firework spectaculars change year to year, season to season, this year’s production, held in time for the Park’s 70th Anniversary, is Disney Dreams. The original “Disney Dreams!” was a nighttime spectacular first seen at Disneyland Paris in 2012. For Disneyland’s 70th Anniversary on July 17, 2025, Disney Dreams “West” was at long last introduced, a successor to the original Paris production in every right, and a proper celebration of 70 years of Disneyland magic.

Featuring significant changes and additions/removals to the overall production, Disney Dreams features projection mapping cast across Sleeping Beauty Castle, Matterhorn Mountain and Main Street, U.S.A., with fireworks, water fountains, fire, lasers, searchlights, mist screens and other special effects all coming into spectacular play. Peter Pan’s shadow has spilled all the magic from the Second Star to the Right, and has embarked on a wild adventure through not only scenes and songs from iconic Disney films, but also through famous Disneyland attractions like The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Captain Hook heralds the arrival of the Disney Villains, ending in a climactic duel between the real Pan and Hook, and a restoration of magic which brings all to a happy end. The show features a “fly over” not only from Tinker Bell and Pan, but also Carl’s House from Up and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.


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Sorry it's so delayed, but these things take time! Here's Part One of Fantasyland.



Once upon a time there was a grass-covered mound of earth called Holiday Hill. “You know, Joe,” Walt said to construction boss Joe Fowler, “why don’t we make some snow and have a toboggan ride here?

Matterhorn Bobsleds is considered the world’s first steel coaster, Disneyland’s first real thrill ride, and a majestic backdrop for Sleeping Beauty Castle and Fantasyland. Walt Disney was fascinated with the real Matterhorn during the filming of the 1959 live action Disney feature film, Third Man on the Mountain. It would not be done without challenge. Imagineer Harriet Burns recalled, “The architects and engineers said it couldn’t be done because we had planter pockets; we had waterfalls; we had a sky ride that went through the middle of it; and we had two roller coasters so to speak, the toboggan rides that went in and out of the mountain. They said it would be impossible to do all that and still have it look like the Matterhorn. Walt paid no attention to them; he just smiled and went on and did it.

The mighty Matterhorn, a 1/100th replica of its Swiss namesake, is the tallest structure inside Disneyland, towering 147 feet over the Park. Vice President Richard Nixon was on hand to dedicate the attraction with Walt Disney on June 14, 1959, along with the Tomorrowland Submarine Voyage and Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System. Other distinguished guests included the Swiss Consul General and members of The Sierra Club whom Walt recruited to climb his mountain. The Matterhorn was an instant hit and remains one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland to this day.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds take would-be mountaineers on a chilling bobsled-run through icy caverns, fog banks, eerie colorful icicles and ice crystals, and a terrifying encounter with the abominable snowman, long thought to be hiding in the remote Himalayas of Asia, though, it wasn’t until 1978 that Disneyland guests caught “hide nor hair” of this mysterious cryptid. Large, unidentifiable footprints belonged to the full-size, fiberglass-and-fur mock-up of the snowman made by Harriet Burns for installation in the attraction’s first year or two, but the loss of valuable ride capacity deterred his initial debut.


The abominable snowman, named “Harold,” was the highlight of a 1978 refurbishment, one that enclosed the original lift tunnel and added Walt’s long desired labyrinth of ice caverns and show scenes that were absent from the start. New tandem bobsleds were built, effectively doubling ridership. The track was reinforced, and boosters - spinning wheels found in the center of the track - were installed to help pick up the speed. Imagineer Blaine Gibson crafted the fang-bearing, roaring face of the “mysterious, lurking snow monster,” a total of three built for the attraction.

The original snowmen migrated back to the Himalayas in 2015, and three newer creatures appeared in their stead. These new “lunging” Audio-Animatronics celebrated Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration to exhilarating result - these scenes included among state-of-the-art projections and Audio-Animatronics, a new cave filled with collected treasures from the mountain’s past, including a tribute to the late Frank Wells, who was Chief Operating Officer of The Walt Disney Company from 1984 until his death in 1994.

Traveling out along the Parade Route, also called Matterhorn Way, we come across Alpine Gardens, a clear view of Fantasyland’s most magical point: Sleeping Beauty Castle. Here, too, we find the restaurant Yeti-Haus (Yeti House). The waterfront home of a long-vanished mountain climber - whose final expedition to the Matterhorn in 1928 is documented at the Adventurer’s Club - has since become an inn for weary travelers. Edelweiss Snacks, located on the opposite side of the mountain, has Disneyland’s famous turkey legs, while the lederhosen-clad Matterhorn Polka Band entertains diners at the Yeti-Haus, though the party often leaves the restaurant and takes to the Alpine Garden walking trails surrounded by rippling waterfalls and cool, clear ponds.

Many happy memories of Tinkerbell and fireworks have come from the various viewing points in the Alpine Gardens. Such happy times are in store for the millions who visit Disneyland each year and step across the drawbridge to Sleeping Beauty Castle. This drawbridge has been raised only twice: once for Disneyland’s Opening Day Telecast, and again for the dedication of New Fantasyland on May 25, 1983.

“Here is the world of imagination, hopes and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn - and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young and the young-at-heart - to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams do come true.”

Beyond the drawbridge and past the courtyard of Sleeping Beauty Castle, classic stories of childhood are brought to life. As Walt Disney said, “What youngster, listening to parents or grandparents read aloud, has not dreamed of flying with Peter Pan over moonlit London, or tumbling into Alice's nonsensical Wonderland? In Fantasyland, these classic stories of everyone's youth have become actual realities for youngsters - of all ages - to participate in.” But the Fantasyland of Walt Disney’s time, for reasons of the construction schedule and budget, better resembled a medieval tournament and not the charming village we see today. Walt didn’t think of Fantasyland as a finished product. Some of Walt’s earliest ideas were realized at last when the Castle Village made its awaited debut in 1983.

It took the work of second-generation Imagineers to reimagine the original courtyard into a wholly detailed experience, one with cobblestone streets and Old World charm, with shutters and leaded glass windows accented with bright geraniums. Each attraction, old and new, was reimagined with detailed, three-dimensional facades. Fantasyland grew an entire forest on January 24, 1993, and the circus came to town over a decade prior on September 22, 1979. Fantasyland today has five sections: Fantasy Faire, Castle Village, Fantasy Forest, Storybook Circus, and Small World Plaza.


New Fantasyland debuted with a medieval court-inspired troupe called the Make-Believe Brass who still perform in the Castle Village to this day. The Make-Believe Brass underscores the Sword in the Stone Ceremony, hosted by the sorcerer Merlin. The anvil and stone that hold the legendary blade Excalibur is found in the heart of the Village. An inscription reads “WHOSO PULLETH OUT THIS SWORD OF THIS STONE AND ANVIL IS RIGHTWISE RULER BORN OF ENGLAND.” King Arthur has sought the clumsy counsel of Merlin in his search for a new King or Queen of England. Of course, the end result is unexpected - often comical.

The King Arthur Carrousel has always been found in the heart of Fantasyland, a nod to the inspiration for Disneyland: the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. Its 68 prancing, ornately carved, hand-painted white steeds and chariots recall the great charge of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, while classic Disney tunes play from an antique fairground organ. The carrousel is surrounded by sculpted gardens and vibrant flower beds, statues of the fanciful animals from “Dance of the Hours” (Fantasia), and nine painted vignettes on the inner rounding board above the horses that tell the story of Sleeping Beauty. Each detail is imbued with the spirit of Walt Disney's boundless hope and imagination.

The King Arthur Carrousel dates back close to a century; many of its horses were made by the Dentzel Carousel Company in Philadelphia, PA. When Walt Disney first purchased the carrousel from Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto, Canada, it featured horses, giraffes, deer, and other animals. With a desire for his guests to exclusively ride galloping horses, Imagineers scoured the country for additional antique horses to be incorporated into its restoration.
Walt Disney once said, “Until a character becomes personality, it cannot be believed. And without personality, a story cannot ring true to an audience.”


The Evil Queen sinisterly looks down at the passers-by through the curtains of her ominous gothic tower, the foreboding entrance to Snow White's Enchanted Wish. This tower of Bavarian influence holds not only an eerie dungeon of the Evil Queen within its walls, but also the charming living quarters of the beautiful Snow White. A storybook at the entrance reads: “Once upon a time, a kind and lovely princess named Snow White had a wish… But her wish was not meant to be, for the Cruel Queen, envious of her beauty, commanded she be a humble maid.

Guests traveling in wooden mine carts follow Snow White on her scary adventure through all the familiar scenes adapted from Walt Disney’s first full-length animated motion picture. One of the original Fantasyland “dark rides,” so named for their use of ultraviolet black lights and fluorescent set pieces, the original “Snow White and Her Adventures” had a sign at the entrance featuring the Witch, reminding would-be riders that the attraction inside was scary. Such warnings did not prevent most younger riders and their parents from being spooked by the early mechanical figures and plywood sets.

Imagineer Tony Baxter led the 1983 redesign of the attraction, with a new load area designed by and in Imagineer Claude Coats’ signature style. As Marty Sklar recalled, “Claude paved the way in turning sketches and paintings into three-dimensional adventures.” Coats’ diorama in the load area is no exception with its hand-painted, hand-carved backdrop in depiction of a beautiful forest and the cottage and diamond mine of the Seven Dwarfs. The Queen’s castle is fully-built here, just to the left of the inviting forest and cottage. There’s even a wishing well from which a haunting rendition of “I’m Wishing” echoes. “Snow White’s Scary Adventures” held inside of it a harrowing adventure through darker moments from the film, scenes that are magical, charming, and scary - but mostly scary.

Snow White did not appear in her own attraction until 1983, whereas the Evil Queen, transformed into the Wicked Witch for most of the ride, made more than a dozen appearances, often shrieking and taunting riders personally. One journalist wrote of the original, “Snow White is never seen because the ride is designed to make guests feel as though they are Snow White experiencing the terrors that befall her in the movie—rushing through the dark forest, seeing the Evil Queen transform into a wicked old woman, being beckoned to eat a poisoned apple. Not only does this Snow White ride not have a Snow White, there’s no sign of a prince, and the only time the movie’s lovable dwarfs are seen, they are scared out of their seven little minds.


Though “Scary Adventures” was a little less scary than its predecessor, complaints from frightened children and their parents persisted, and in 2020, a long-awaited “re-imagining” was announced on the 83rd anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White’s Enchanted Wish opened in 2021 as an enhanced attraction with all-new scenes and magic. Though enough of the scary elements were kept to retain the warning signs out front, Enchanted Wish offered a much friendlier and slightly less malevolent experience for guests of all ages to enjoy, and for the first time in Disneyland history, Snow White finally received her “Happily Ever After” in the third-dimension; though the same cannot be said for the Wicked Witch. The beautiful load area has been restored with new lighting and paint, with state-of-the-art audio and visual technology, including new music, LED black lighting, laser projections and a new animation system implemented throughout the rest of the classic attraction.

Just beyond Snow White’s Enchanted Wish and surrounding Sleeping Beauty’s Castle courtyard are four unique Fantasyland merchandise locations, a number of charming boutiques found inside some of Fantasyland’s last original architecture. With the wave of a wand, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, redesigned from the original “Tinkerbell Toy Shop,” offers head-to-toe pampering for the most regal of celebrations, while the Castle Heraldry Shoppe gives patrons the chance to research their ancestral origins, family name and crest; or for the knights at heart, purchase replica medieval daggers, swords, and shields. A beanstalk has burst through the roof of Sir Mickey’s, a simple cottage that tells the story of Mickey and the Beanstalk through murals and props from the film inside, with the Golden Harp on display and Willie the Giant peering down through a hole in the ceiling. The Villains’ Mystery Tour exits directly into the Villains Shop, an eerie hovel by candlelight, where all manner of villainous merchandise fills the crooked shelves. A glowing spell book and strange shadows are the norm in this bizarre boutique, like the Witch from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs miniaturized and sealed in a birdcage, begging and bartering for her freedom. It’s even said that the tiger Shere Khan is locked behind the rattling chains of the cellar door.


Fantasy Faire has Gaston’s Tavern, Alpine Gardens has the Yeti-Haus, Castle Village has the venerable Pinocchio Village Inn. The large restaurant maintains the small sidewalk café feeling of its Italian and Swiss roots. A wide variety of selections is available, including hamburgers, hot dogs, and assorted beverages. Guests dine amid flowers and trees in an outdoor atmosphere, which also includes on the inside a fairy tale motif based on the adventures of Pinocchio. Right next door to the Village Inn is Geppetto’s Toy Shop. This shop is themed after the famous puppetmaker’s workshop, and here assorted dolls and toys, cuckoo clocks, marionettes, and other tin and woodcraft trinkets traditional to Central and Southern Europe may be purchased. Stromboli’s Wagon outside is filled to overflowing with Disneyland souvenirs, alongside a small performance tent known for its frozen lemonade and apple juice.


Replacing the original Mickey Mouse Club Theater in 1983 was Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, one of two Fantasyland attractions designed simultaneously for Tokyo Disneyland, the other being the Mystery Tour. Based on the 1940 animated feature Pinocchio, guests board what appear to be handcrafted wooden carts for a journey through the fairy tale realm of one of Walt Disney’s most beloved characters.

Stromboli’s Marionette Theater is our entrance to the forthcoming misadventures of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. An attraction sure to captivate with its well-loved story of the lonely woodcarver Geppetto and his wish for a real son, we follow Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket as the former chooses between the right and wrong paths in life, from the fun times on Pleasure Island and a scary encounter with Monstro, to the final granting of Geppetto’s special wish for Pinocchio to become a real, live boy.


Passing above the Castle Village, as well as much of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, is the Skyway. Once inside the quaint Swiss chalet designed Fantasyland Station, on which are stenciled the words of the Dormouse from Alice in Wonderland - “Up above the world you’ll fly, like a tea tray in the sky.” - Guests board four-passenger gondolas for an unobstructed bird's eye-view of virtually the entire Resort, including a lift through the Matterhorn’s eerie Glacier Grotto, and an overhead look down to the waters of a South Seas Submarine Lagoon. From Tomorrowland, guests may also board a gondola for the trip to Fantasyland. The Skyway is the first of its kind installed in the United States, and opened on June 23, 1956. Disney Legend Bob Gurr redesigned the original buckets to become four-seat, rectangular gondolas, and still today use Gurr’s ingenious use of lightweight ABS plastic and a steel frame for carrying four passengers, the color scheme and aesthetic design remaining the same as it always has been.


The next attraction we come to is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, based on the 1949 Disney animated feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, which takes would-be drivers on a rambunctious jaunt through the madcap world created in the classic tale The Wind in the Willows. Who can resist an attraction of the sort where the rules of the road are of no concern? Completely redesigned in 1983 to match its growing popularity, the misadventure is entered through the stately Toad Hall, estate of J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. and his contemporaries. A motorcar-weathervane billows precariously on an uppermost gable. Right above the entrance is a stone statue of the dapper J. Thaddeus himself.

The original version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was 98 seconds long. This changed when the attraction was rebuilt from the ground-up in 1983, redesigned by retired Imagineer & Disney Legend Rolly Crump. Crump oversaw a plussed-up repeat of his success with the same attraction at Walt Disney World in 1971. The new Wild Ride would not only add to the content and character, but also a second track. Track A and Track B intertwined, each wreaking havoc through a number of opposite show scenes, from Toad Hall’s trophy room and a musical fortune teller’s camp along Track A, to a barnyard and weasel-filled prison on Track B. No matter which route we take, the climax always ends bumper-to-cowcatcher with a runaway train. Shall we escape our head-on fate? Or is something more devilish in store?


Situated next to the Castle Heraldry Shoppe is Peter Pan’s Flight, where in the realm of enchantment, the adventurous tales of Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys are recounted. Found inside the steepled clock tower and Tudor homestead of the Darling Family, four-seat vehicles styled after Captain Hook’s famous pirate galleon transport guests on a flight through the Darling’s nursery, then high above London town to steer a course toward Neverland. After a “splashdown” at Skull Rock, we finally come face to cutlass in a dastardly duel with Captain Hook aboard The Jolly Roger.

The four-seat pirate galleons in Peter Pan’s Flight are suspended from an overhead rail, allowing us to feel as if we’re flying. 1983 brought Audio-Animatronics figures and new scenes to the attraction, including the first appearance of Peter Pan in his own dark ride. Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary called for another renovation, and on July 1, 2015, the attraction reopened with not only the four-seat pirate galleons, but also a new soundtrack, new Audio-Animatronics figures and projections, and breathtaking new sets and scenes throughout, not forgetting a new element in which the galleons could now speed up and slow down. This effect, and many other elements from the 2015 remodel, would make their way into the Shanghai Disneyland version of the attraction, which debuted on June 16, 2016.


Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship has been a Fantasyland landmark since 1955. The ship is an interactive playground for little scallywags and a restaurant, Hook’s Galley. The current menu is a sea of savory selections, including shrimp salad and lobster rolls. The Jolly Roger is docked in a tropical lagoon amidst steep coral cliffs, lush jungle foliage, and the imposing face of Skull Rock. The Jolly Roger was rebuilt entirely in 1982 after years of wood rot, reopening with New Fantasyland made from concrete and fiberglass. Skull Rock was added to the lagoon in 1960, and, while primarily a tropical canopied dining area, stands as a mysterious network of dark caverns, crevices, and colored, thundering waterfalls. By night, Skull Rock’s “eyes” glow in a haunting green luminescence, and you’d be hard pressed to not run into Captain Hook or Mr. Smee lurking about.

When the original Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction was relocated to Dumbo’s Circusland in 1979, real estate near Skull Rock was left behind, enough for a new dark ride. For reasons of budget and schedule at the time, this dark ride would not debut until 1983 with the rest of New Fantasyland.


A suited thematic backdrop to the Castle Village arose with the arrival of Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday.

Imagineer Tony Baxter was not yet an Imagineer when he first designed the now classic attraction while a young college student. As a Cast Member at the time, he brought his concept art to work. His supervisor, impressed, brought the project to WED, and the rest they say is history. Well over a decade later, his fun school project became a full-blown attraction when Baxter himself led the Fantasyland redesign of ‘83.

A beautiful, whimsical skyline - Cherry Tree Lane - looms in the background behind King Arthur’s Carrousel. In fact, a number of smaller, less elaborate carousels appear to be galloping through the foreground of the London skyline. The horses leap off from the carousels and onto an overhead track, traveling through one of Bert’s chalk sketches (as Mary Poppins did for herself, Bert, Jane and Michael), and into the colorful scenes of the film. After seeing a fox hunt, a horse race and dancing penguins, a thunderclap washes the chalk away and onto the rooftops of London, where chimney sweeps “Step in Time.” Finally, the horses rejoin their carousel to a scene and chorus of “Let’s Go Fly A Kite.” Guests exit their jolly holiday through Admiral Boom’s Gifts, home of the Banks Family’s salty, seafaring neighbor.

In the midst of all the bustling whimsy of Fantasyland is a kingdom within a kingdom, the Storybook Land Canal Boats, opened on June 16, 1956. Its predecessor, Canal Boats of the World opened with the rest of the Park on July 17, 1955. That version of the cruise offered little more than a view of earthen embankments and underdeveloped landscaping. The addition of miniature scenes from Disney animated films and shorts transformed the attraction into the current Storybook Land Canal Boats we know today, one of the most picturesque realms in all of Disneyland, often labeled as one of Walt’s personal favorites.


The Spring 1958 issue of The Disneyland News described the finished product in vivid detail: “A kingdom in miniature, Storybook Land presents life-like re-creations of villages, castles, houses and other buildings from the pages of fabled stories—scene after scene of painstakingly detailed settings. If you’ve ever wanted to actually see, from close up, Geppetto’s Village high in the snow covered Alps; Kensington Gardens from the story of Peter Pan; the straw, stick and brick houses of the Three Little Pigs; and the Crazy Quilt Country from ‘Wynken, Blinken and Nod,’ they’re all there—along with many more—in Storybook Land. Gaily painted, picturesque European canal boats take visitors through the mouth of Monstro the Whale into this wonderful world.”

Model makers at the Disney Studio labored for six months turning artists’ visualizations of Pinocchio’s Village, and other fabled favorites into detailed buildings. On a scale of one inch to a foot, they fashioned lead hinges so six-inch doors would actually open for electricians to change light bulbs. Tiny toys were carved for the window of Geppetto’s shop, and “stained glass” and leaded windows were handcrafted and installed. When the miniature dwellings were complete, landscapers brought the village to life by the ingenious use of plants and flowers. A three-foot tall Japanese Boxwood, with gnarled trunk, was shaped and pruned to represent the oak tree where Alice entered the Rabbit Hole. A 100-year-old grapevine was uprooted and turned upside down to appear like the “terribly tortured old snag” in front of Ratty’s home from Wind in the Willows. Finally, a “magical” growth retardant was added to all the little trees and shrubs to further restrict growth to no more than one inch per year.

The Casey Jr. Circus Train has railfans boarding railroad carriages, wild animal and monkey cages, and holding on tight as the colorful little train tests his merit on the colorful slopes of Storybook Land. Passengers aboard the Casey Jr. Circus Train will cheer along as Casey proclaims, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” while he chugs and puffs his way up a particularly steep hill. Casey Jr. Circus Train is boarded in Dumbo’s Circusland, and not the Castle Village proper.

As we ride the rails and sail through the miniature countryside of Storybook Land, we catch glimpse of:

- The Dwarfs' Mine and Cottage from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- The Three Houses and the Big Bad Wolf's cave from The Three Little Pigs
- Rapunzel's Tower and the Snuggly Duckling from Tangled
- The Rabbit Hole from Alice in Wonderland
- The manicured London park and Neverland from Peter Pan
- The royal city of Agrabah and the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin
- The French village and mountain top castle from Cinderella
- Belle's Village and the Beast's Castle from Beauty and the Beast
- The snowy landscapes of Peter and the Wolf
- Christmas Town & Halloween Town from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
- A "Night on Bald Mountain" from Fantasia
- The Giant's Patchwork Quilt from Lullaby Land
- Toad Hall from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
- The Italian village from Pinocchio
- Emperor Kuzco’s Palace and Pacha's Village from The Emperor’s New Groove
- The Emerald City from Return to Oz


A major refurbishment in 1994 introduced the contemporary settings from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Return to Oz. Other scenes were added in 2015 in celebration of the Park's Diamond Anniversary. 1994 also introduced the inclusion of miniature character figures in their respective locations, a detail not found in the 1956 original, but later found in the Disneyland Paris version launched that same year.

Across from Storybook Land, we come upon The Mad Hatter, where a colorful selection of unique hats can be purchased, including, of course, the famous personalized Mickey Mouse ears. This quaint shop was redesigned in 1983 to resemble the Mad Hatter’s house and White Rabbit’s quaint little hutch as they both appeared in the Alice in Wonderland film feature.

Around the corner from The Mad Hatter is where the Mad Tea Party was relocated in 1983. As part of the New Fantasyland renovations, Disneyland built an all-new Mad Tea Party near the entrance to the Alice in Wonderland attraction.


The Mad Tea Party is reminiscent of the Mad Hatter’s dizzying celebration as described by Lewis Carroll in his original Alice in Wonderland classic tale. The attraction features 18 spinning cups and saucers which guests of all ages can control the speed and excitement of the twirling cups themselves. A madcap “Unbirthday Song” fills the air under paper lanterns of resplendent colors and sizes, while giant Audio-Animatronics figures of the Mad Hatter and March Hare toast to the joyous celebration on the long table sat in the center of the action. The grinning Cheshire Cat throws in more than one appearance in the trees and rock formations surrounding this part of the Castle Village, often found clung to large arrows and signs that point from here to there with (mostly) conflicting messages.

Directly behind the Mad Tea Party is an attraction you won’t find anywhere else: Alice in Wonderland.


Among the many undeveloped attraction concepts pitched during Disneyland’s earliest development was an intricate walk-through themed to the 1951 animated feature Alice in Wonderland. The idea was scrapped, and it was decided that an Alice dark ride would suffice. The dark ride concept didn’t make it to the Opening Day of Disneyland, but the idea would resurface again when the attraction debuted in 1958, born from a need to fill the unused real estate behind Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

“It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not. But common sense doesn’t really work here. You’re mad, I’m mad. We’re all MAD here.”

Alice in Wonderland became the first dark ride at Disneyland to occupy two-stories. The attraction’s multi-story show building behind Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride called for a descent from the second level of the attraction and back to the outdoor loading area via an elevated “slide” through colorful leaves and oversized flower petals. In 1984, a year after the rest of New Fantasyland debuted, the plywood cut-outs in the original attraction were replaced with three-dimensional characters and set pieces, with additional lighting and state-of-the-art special effects added in 2014 to better emulate scenes from the classic film.

Here guests board giant caterpillars to relive the story of the girl who pursued the White Rabbit into his Rabbit Hole and encountered many crazy characters and zany adventures along her way through the wacky world of Wonderland. All of the familiar scenes within Alice in Wonderland were inspired by Walt Disney’s animated motion picture of the same name. Down and down you go, until we come face-to-club with the Queen of Hearts, who cries “Off with their heads!


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I'm so glad that Tony Baxter's Mary Poppins ride remains a part of Mirror Disneyland. As someone who really wishes that ride became reality, to the point where I ensured that this ride opens in my Mirror Walt Disney World -- as it was meant to do before the executives decided it would be easier to just clone the California dark rides -- it's always nice to see it show up.

Also, as someone accustomed to seeing Fantasyland walk-throughs start with walking through the castle, I admit it was quite a surprise to see this particular walk-through start with the Matterhorn. It was an interesting way to go about it, though. Logistically speaking, would the Alpine Gardens sit where Pixie Hollow/Triton Gardens sit now?


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Original Poster
I'm so glad that Tony Baxter's Mary Poppins ride remains a part of Mirror Disneyland. As someone who really wishes that ride became reality, to the point where I ensured that this ride opens in my Mirror Walt Disney World -- as it was meant to do before the executives decided it would be easier to just clone the California dark rides -- it's always nice to see it show up.

Also, as someone accustomed to seeing Fantasyland walk-throughs start with walking through the castle, I admit it was quite a surprise to see this particular walk-through start with the Matterhorn. It was an interesting way to go about it, though. Logistically speaking, would the Alpine Gardens sit where Pixie Hollow/Triton Gardens sit now?

I figured starting with the Matterhorn versus the Castle would spice things up haha. I was going to ask for assistance in creating a ride-through for Mary Poppins, so if that would be something you were interested in coming up with for this project (and yours), I'd gladly welcome it! Only if you'd like to.

Yeah, Alpine Gardens is actually what was there before Pixie Hollow/Triton Gardens IRL. It took over the space once occupied by the House of the Future. Since Mirror Disneyland is bigger, there would be more space to have them be legitimate gardens and walking trails, even with little bits of rockwork and fake snow here or there. The Yeti-Haus restaurant in particular would be a Swiss chalet right out of a would-be World Showcase pavilion with legitimate views of the various ponds and streams, the Matterhorn, and Castle.

Also, Disney Parks posted a Bayou Adventure POV today. I think for terms of my version of Critter Country being Folktale Forest, I am going to go with the original idea I had come up with to maintain that theming and create my own Princess and the Frog attraction for New Orleans Square using elements of Bayou Adventure (like the song "Special Spice"). That said, if you want my opinion on what we've seen of Bayou so far, I think it has its improvements over Splash Mountain, but also its own shortcomings. I think it is good and is at about the same level as Splash overall.

*Please don't take my short review of Bayou Adventure as an opening for debate lol*


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I was going to ask for assistance in creating a ride-through for Mary Poppins, so if that would be something you were interested in coming up with for this project (and yours), I'd gladly welcome it! Only if you'd like to.
Well, from what I've seen, Baxter's original idea book came with a pretty solid ride-through of its own.

If a ride-through was to be created, it would basically be fleshing out what Baxter already laid out; adding in dialogue and lyrics and such. However, I do have an idea to have the overflow queue take guests upstairs and through the Banks' nursery, as it appeared in the "Spoonful of Sugar" sequence...and yes, a 2010s update involves that overflow getting interactive elements to make guests feel that they are changing things with the snap of a finger would be involved.


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Original Poster
Well, from what I've seen, Baxter's original idea book came with a pretty solid ride-through of its own.

If a ride-through was to be created, it would basically be fleshing out what Baxter already laid out; adding in dialogue and lyrics and such. However, I do have an idea to have the overflow queue take guests upstairs and through the Banks' nursery, as it appeared in the "Spoonful of Sugar" sequence...and yes, a 2010s update involves that overflow getting interactive elements to make guests feel that they are changing things with the snap of a finger would be involved.

That sounds great to me! If you want to and even have the time to, feel free to contribute! All I ask is that it's the backdrop to Castle Village. If we were in real-life Disneyland, it would be located exactly where Dumbo is today, directly north of King Arthur's Carrousel and, in this case, next door to Skull Rock and Captain Hook's Pirate Ship.


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Traveling from the Castle Village, we enter Small World Plaza (or “Small World Mall”), the first “Sub-Land” introduced to Fantasyland in 1966.


A myriad of pastel colors and gold accents adorn the wide promenade that is Small World Plaza. An area utilized more for parade viewing and character meet ‘n’ greets than attractions and themed restaurants, Small World Plaza is often the start (or end) of a Disneyland parade, and offers a collection of colorful, geometric souvenir stands and oddball lamp posts and snack carts along its wide stretch of pavement. If you imagined a child designing the weird and creative structures and shapes throughout Small World Plaza for their school arts and crafts project, you’d be right - Imagineers intended this for the atmosphere.

The Tower of the Four Winds was designed for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair by Imagineer Rolly Crump. Rolly’s knack for designing little pinwheels and propellers undoubtedly were behind this kinetic installation, one that came to Disneyland in 1966 with the Plaza’s namesake attraction. Of course, not wanting to dwarf the facade to the attraction itself, this Tower of the Four Winds is not the original, but rather a scaled-down replica built for Disneyland. This Tower overlooks the Four Winds Courtyard where many familiar friends of Disney Animation gather for evening and afternoon meet ‘n’ greets, one of many such locations throughout the Disneyland Resort.

No world is more universally enchanting than the world of childhood.


As we approach the entrance to “it’s a small world,” a distinct “tick-tock” can be heard coming from one of the most imaginative timepieces ever created. Inside the towering glockenspiel clock - a clock that performs the time every 15 minutes - boundaries dissolve, continents link together in the bonds of common friendship and understanding. Gears, cogs, springs, and other clock paraphernalia come to life. Drums roll, trumpets blare, doors open, and suddenly, 24 figures of internationally costumed children (one for each hour) march forth in a gala parade of toys to announce the quarter hour being signaled by colorful numerals in the clock’s doorway. From North, South, East, and West, all the world’s children come together in the “happiest cruise that ever sailed ‘round the world.”

“‘It’s a small world’ shows us that we all share so much. Although we all may look different, when you come off of that attraction you feel that you are part of something big, something beautiful. We’re all in this together.” - Carmen Smith, Imagineer

When “it’s a small world” was at last unveiled at Disneyland, Walt Disney and his staff were the happiest of guests - “small world” had at last come home from its inaugural voyage at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, having thrilled at the Fair more than 10 million children of all ages. Here the color, charm, and youthful joys of life blend into a single living adventure, capturing the fleeting moments of youth. Through the topiary gardens, past the impressive facade made of iconic world landmarks and 22-karat gold spires, gears and finials, our boat drifts down the winding Seven Seaways and into the most musical, lyrical, magical attraction at Disneyland; a fun-filled and whimsical salute to the children of the world that conveys its message of peace and harmony through the international language of music.

May 28, 1966: More than 500 children and Old World folk dancers in their native costumes were on hand to mark the occasion of “it’s a small world’s” opening, attended by councilor officials, representatives of the press, and thousands of Disneyland visitors. But as Walt recalled it best, “The very special guests were the children of many nations.” Water flown to Disneyland from the major oceans and seas were added to the Small World Seven Seaways. Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, the prolific songwriting team behind such classics as Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book, penned the world-famous anthem at the personal request of Walt Disney, and today, it is the world’s most performed song, having been played over 50 million times as of April, 2014


The sparkling exterior of “it’s a small world” reflects the same international flavor that characterizes the cast and sets inside the show. Famous architectural landmarks were chosen that would immediately identify with a geographic area. With 195 pounds of glitter and 57 gross of jewels, 320 big Styrofoam blocks and 370 yards of braid, 28 dozen tassels and gallons of glue (per week), Imagineering’s toymakers carved and sanded and painted everything inside from aerial acrobats to zany zebras.

Today, an attraction and song that speak to the international language of goodwill, the attraction became popular beyond expectation, and continues today as one of the most beloved in Disney Parks around the world. Imagineer Mary Blair designed much of the original attraction. As Imagineer Rolly Crump, who also provided significant design and inspiration for the attraction, recalled Blair's work, “I think it hit her at the right time. It was a powerful package for her. It was about children, the freedom of color, and that Walt had asked her to do it. Like she’d died and gone to heaven. It had to be the crescendo for her because I’ve never seen anything as powerful as her work. She just whipped this stuff out.

“it’s a small world” Holiday was introduced on November 27, 1997. The winter overlay highlights the holidays as they are celebrated around the world, with the attraction’s memorable theme song intertwined with two holiday classics, “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.” Each holiday season, an estimated 50,000 colored bulbs are installed on the facade, aglow with more than 300,000 watts of light. Every half hour, the surrounding lights are dimmed and the facade becomes an animated kaleidoscope of holiday colors and imagery in a light projection show unlike any other, a true and spectacular holiday sight to behold.


Disney Characters did not appear in the attraction until 2009. When word got out, the fan base erupted. Imagineer Marty Sklar, working on the project with Tony Baxter and Kim Irvine, wrote a letter that addressed these concerns. “To accomplish our objective, we decided to seamlessly integrate Disney characters into appropriate thematic scenes in the attraction, and do it completely in the distinctive ‘Mary Blair style.’ We spent many long months exploring ways to accomplish this.

We are not turning this classic attraction into a marketing pitch for Disney plush toys (rumors to the contrary). Between Tony, our chief designer Kim Irvine, and me, we represent 128 years creating Disney park entertainment and fun for literally billions of guests around the world. We are not ‘young marketing whizzes’ trying to make a name for ourselves. We were fortunate to have trained, and worked with, all of Walt’s original Imagineers.”

When the attraction reopened from a long refurbishment in 2009, the characters were thoughtfully placed and designed for their appropriate nations; Peter Pan and Tinker Bell were flying over London, Belle and the Beast waltzing in their native France, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket performing in Italy, Hercules and Pegasus in Greece, and the Three Caballeros in Mexico, among several others. Some familiar faces, like Rapunzel and Moana, have only recently joined the cruise in 2019.

The “Happiest Cruise that Ever Sailed” exits into Small World Imports, a one-of-a-kind shop that showcases the unique toys, dolls and clothings exclusive to the design and color of “it's a small world.”


Almost forty years before Frozen became the cultural juggernaut that it ultimately became, Imagineer Marc Davis brought forth an attraction that would offer relief from the heat of the California sunshine.

As columnist Jim Hill wrote, “Davis – while on a field trip to Disneyland one hot summer’s afternoon in the early 1970s (He was out at the park, scouting locations for the new sequences that he was dreaming up for Adventureland‘s ‘Jungle Cruise’) – really felt beat down by the heat. As he drove back to Glendale, Marc thought to himself: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Disneyland had a place where guests could go to escape the heat on a day like today? Someplace cool & peaceful, away from the crowds?’

The Enchanted Snow Palace rose from the waters near Small World Plaza on September 22, 1979 - once the home of the Motorboat Cruise flat ride - and overlooked the aforementioned Four Winds Courtyard and Parade Route in suited complement to the icy Matterhorn soaring above it. An enormous, shimmering ice castle of intricate ornamentation and design, the Enchanted Snow Palace had its own supporting cast of Arctic animals and creatures, mythical or otherwise, and starred the dazzling Snow Queen of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, animated in a style and tone that was undoubtedly Marc Davis.

Aboard Viking longships, guests would drift down a melted river of ice in an attraction that included seafaring enchantment set to Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.” The chilly realms inside the castle of blue and white, executed in true Davis fashion, were filled with Audio-Animatronics figures of polar bears and penguins, timber wolves and walruses, jolly trolls, frost fairies, and soaring frost giants made of ice and snow. The aurora borealis would herald the arrival of the beautiful Snow Queen, who ended the voyage in a breathtaking blizzard and sent riders down a frosty waterfall before returning to Fantasyland.

The Enchanted Snow Palace lacked the narrative of other Disneyland attractions, and often rode to half-empty boats. Dumbo’s Circusland opened the same day in Fantasyland on September 22, 1979, and the recently refurbished Matterhorn Bobsleds and newly opened Space Mountain in Tomorrowland were just bigger draws overall. The quiet attraction remained until June 9, 2015.

The blockbuster success of Frozen changed the narrative. Rumors stirred that the Enchanted Snow Palace would soon fall to the cultural phenomenon. Disney rushed to capitalize on its enormous success. To no one’s surprise, the Disney Parks Blog and The Disneyland News both announced that the Enchanted Snow Palace would be the new home of Anna and Elsa. It only made sense - Frozen was loosely based on The Snow Queen, and the foundational thematic infrastructure was already there.


On June 21, 2016, a version of Frozen Ever After debuted on both coasts, with the Walt Disney World version opening in the Norway pavilion of EPCOT’s World Showcase. In a rare instance of creating unique attractions between the two coasts at the same time, the Disneyland version told a completely different story from the EPCOT version, despite sharing the same title. The old ice castle remained - the Viking longships remained - in fact, most of the Marc Davis figures and designs remained.

“Hear ye! Hear ye! All in the Kingdom are invited to bid adieu to QUEEN ELSA & PRINCESS ANNA as they explore the unknown wilds beyond the North Mountain in search of MAGIC for a WINTER FESTIVAL. All shall be welcome to a Royal Reception following their return.”

The original longships have returned for the new attraction but with an artistic redesign inspired by the floral accents of Princess Anna’s dress, a fitted transport for our adventure. The song-filled voyage is a journey with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven - and Olaf - as they explore the untamed winter wonderland that once hid in the shadow of the ominous North Mountain, a strange kingdom that is always in winter.

Taking in the strange creatures and friendly animals of the former Snow Palace with us are our heroes, learning and discovering the magic of the many musical critters and mythical creatures. The previous plunge that ended our journey in Fantasyland now ends in a “Winter Festival” hosted by Elsa for the citizens of Arendelle, ending in a frosty firework show and an orchestra of musical penguins led by Olaf.


Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (and Sauna) welcomes travelers from near and far to its year-round “Big Summer Blowout!” “Wandering” Oaken sells any and all things Frozen, including fresh carrot-snacks and winter-wear exclusive to this mercantile. Oaken’s backyard sauna, built to resemble a small version of the Gol Stave Church of Oslo, Norway, hisses and trembles from its excess of steam inside, often accommodated by a chorus of friendly “Yoohoos!

Wandering Oaken’s is the first in several buildings found in a small village in the shadow of the ice castle. This includes Northern Delights which features a number of desserts and sweets, gift confectionery, and cooking goods, the centuries-old Tick Tock Toys with its Olaf-themed headbands and Nordic-inspired sweaters, and various Frozen Friends throughout the village front, from Oaken to Olaf. There’s even Mossie, a baby rock troll who talks, sings, laughs and blinks!

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