Mirror Disneyland Resort - 2021, Final Draft


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This is a question that I've been thinking about for quite some time now. In Charlie Callahan's video about the three parks that inspired DCA, he claimed that WestCOT's "New World" section would have featured The American Adventure. In your Mirror universe where The American Adventure opens on Liberty Street instead, how will you work around that?

The American section of WestCOT will be more focused on the 1600s and prior in regard to the United States.


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Going to attempt an update tomorrow; Fantasyland is next, and it's a lot bigger than the previous draft of the project, so I'm having excessive perfectionist thoughts. Fingers crossed! In the meantime, let's get a conversation going - what are you looking forward to the most or hoping for to appear in Mirror Fantasyland? Comment below.


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Going to attempt an update tomorrow; Fantasyland is next, and it's a lot bigger than the previous draft of the project, so I'm having excessive perfectionist thoughts. Fingers crossed! In the meantime, let's get a conversation going - what are you looking forward to the most or hoping for to appear in Mirror Fantasyland? Comment below.
I can already imagine that Mirror Fantasyland 3.0 will be quite similar to your past Mirror Fantasylands, but what intrigues me the most about this particular concept is this: With Disney-Universal Studios taking up residence to the west of Disneyland, that means Hollywoodland from the prior Mirror Disneyland is not built, and you already mentioned that Mickey's Toontown is built there. I wonder if this means that something Fantasyland-related will be built on that parcel of land?

I already asked if a Little Mermaid ride would be found in Fantasyland in Mirror Disneyland 3.0, and I'm sure a ride similar to that could be built on that parcel of land (IIRC, in your Mirror Fantasyland, Dumbo's Circus takes up the land once held by the Fantasyland Theatre, and I'm sure Enchanted Snow Palace/Frozen Ever After replaced the Motor Boat Cruise area, so I'm sure those ideas won't get replaced). Heck, in this Mirror universe, you could easily swap out the mediocre Omnimover ride with the two-level Paris attraction we could have had!


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Maybe Toontown can be replaced by Storybook Circus with Dumbo and TSM? I don’t know if this is the case as Mirror WDW doesn’t have it.

Mirror DL does/will have Storybook Circus! Only here it is where the Fantasyland Theater would be located IRL. @DisneyManOne is definitely onto something with the previous draft's Hollywoodland real estate now belonging to Fantasyland, as well as that double-decker Mermaid ride. Fantasyland will more than likely be a multi-part update.


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Aaaaaaaand here's an update for the week!




"The Age of Chivalry, Magic, and Make-Believe Reborn"

"When we were planning Fantasyland," Walt Disney said, "we recalled the lyrics of the song 'When You Wish Upon a Star.' The words of the melody, from our picture 'Pinocchio,' inspired us to create this land. 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."

Fantasyland represents all that makes Disneyland the "Happiest Place on Earth." Sleeping Beauty Castle transports us from turn-of-the-century Main Street, U.S.A., over the drawbridge - which has only been lowered twice, once on Opening Day, and again at the 1983 re-dedication of Fantasyland - and into the world of imagination, hopes and dreams.

Most of the attractions in Fantasyland are based on the beloved works of Disney’s animated catalogue: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan among others. When Disneyland first opened, for reasons of budget and schedule, the initial look of Fantasyland was that of a medieval joust, with bright circus tents and checkered canopies. “New” Fantasyland, which opened on May 25, 1983, was a total remodel. Cobblestone streets and lush foliage reminiscent of the Black Forest put the finishing touches to Fantasyland’s new Alpine-themed setting. Each attraction, new and old, opened with a detailed, three-dimensional facade, while technological advances and stunning special effects combined for truly memorable fantasy-adventures inside. 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 features four sections - Castle Village, Enchanted Forest, Storybook Circus, and Small World Plaza.

When New Fantasyland debuted, a medieval court-inspired troupe known as the Make-Believe Brass began performances in the Castle Village, and have remained a staple until today. The Make-Believe Brass is an underscore to the royal Sword in the Stone Ceremony, hosted by the sorcerer Merlin. The resting place of the legendary blade Excalibur, a literal "Sword in the Stone," is located in the heart of the courtyard. 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 often unexpected - or hilarious.


An Opening Day attraction at Disneyland Park, the King Arthur Carrousel is found in the heart of Fantasyland’s Castle Village, a nod to the inspiration for Disneyland - the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. Its prancing white steeds recall the great charge of the legendary Knights of the Round Table and King Arthur of Camelot, whose famous Sword in the Stone is positioned in the carousel’s foreground. The historic attraction is surrounded by sculpted greenery, vibrant flowers, and a soundtrack from its antique fairground organ, all in which set the stage for a cavalry of 68 ornately carved, hand-painted horses and chariots. From the surrounding statues of a “Dance of the Hours” (Fantasia) to the nine painted vignettes of Sleeping Beauty in the center of the carousel, each detail is imbued with the spirit of Walt Disney's living masterpiece: Disneyland.

The King Arthur Carrousel and most of its horses date back almost a century. This regal masterpiece was handcrafted by the Dentzel Carousel Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and eventually found its way to Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto, Canada in 1922. When Walt Disney first purchased the revolving menagerie from its location, it featured horses, giraffes, deer and other animals. He wanted everyone to ride a galloping horse like King Arthur, so additional antique horses were located and incorporated into its restoration.


The immediate courtyard behind Sleeping Beauty Castle contains some of the only Fantasyland architecture that has remained untouched since Opening Day. Here we find a number of charming boutiques that specialize in Disney magic. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique offers (with the wave of a wand) head-to-toe pampering suitable for even the most castle-worthy of celebrations, a royal transformation for everyday boys and girls to transform into beautiful princesses and brave knights. The Castle Heraldry Shoppe is a chance for us to investigate the history of our family name and crest, and subsequently order an item with the crest on it; or, for the knights at heart, to purchase medieval merchandise: replica daggers, shields, swords and armor. A large beanstalk climbs through the roof of Sir Mickey’s, a quaint shop that tells the story of Mickey and the Beanstalk through murals and “props” from the film, with the Golden Harp on display and Willie the Giant peering down through a hole in the ceiling.

Strong villains have always been important to Disney storytelling. Walt Disney often said that a strong villain was the key reason a hero was interesting. "Until a character becomes personality, it cannot be believed. And without personality, a story cannot ring true to an audience." The visibly displeased Evil Queen looks down through the curtains of her ominous gothic tower, the foreboding yet charming entrance to Snow White's Enchanted Wish. This tower of Bavarian influence holds not only an eerie dungeon of the Evil Queen within its queue, but also the charming living quarters of the beautiful maiden 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.


Imagineers Claude Coats and Tony Baxter helmed the 1983 version of the attraction, with a load area designed in Coats’ signature style. As Disney Legend 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 - forced-perspective scenery and a painted backdrop depict an enchanted forest and the miniature cottage of the Seven Dwarfs, a shimmering waterfall and the Dwarfs’ diamond mine on the near horizon. The Queen’s beautiful castle is near-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. We then board a mine car, named for one of the Dwarfs, for a harrowing adventure through moments from the film, scenes that are magical, charming and scary. Fortunately, Snow White does receive her "Happily Ever After," though the same cannot be said for the Wicked Witch.

The original version of the attraction, “Snow White and Her Adventures,” was an Opening Day attraction. The original attraction - and its successor, “Snow White’s Scary Adventures,” opened in 1983 - was scary. Very scary. Snow White did not appear until 1983, whereas the Evil Queen, transformed into the Wicked Witch, made more than a dozen appearances, often shrieking and taunting riders. 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 (not by much), complaints from frightened children and their parents persisted. In 2020, a “re-imagining” began, and on the 83rd anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it was announced that “Snow White’s Enchanted Wish” would open in 2021 as an enhanced attraction with all-new scenes and magic. Though enough “scary” was kept to maintain the warning signs out front, Enchanted Wish offered a friendlier and slightly less malevolent experience for guests of all ages.


Based on the 1940 animated classic Pinocchio, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey opened with New Fantasyland in 1983. Stromboli’s Puppet Theater is our entrance to the forthcoming moral misadventures of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. Posters herald the arrival of Pinocchio, the nefarious Stromboli’s new star, while a beautiful mural and village diorama looms behind the loading point of this classic dark ride.

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is sure to captivate with its well-loved story of the lonely woodcarver Geppetto and his wish for a real son. Along cobblestone roads, we follow Pinocchio and his faithful conscience as they share in fateful encounters with the wily Foulfellow and Gideon, the greedy Coachman of Pleasure Island, and mighty Monstro the Whale. Guided by the Wishing Star, we meet the beautiful Blue Fairy and ultimately share in Pinocchio’s happy ending where at long last he becomes a real boy.

The animated classic Pinocchio is notable for, among other things, its main song. “When You Wish Upon a Star” not only won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song, but also went on to become the unofficial theme song for The Walt Disney Company and Fantasyland proper. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey holds real estate once occupied by the “Mickey Mouse Club Theater.” Its Swiss and Italian-inspired facade is topped with three decorative weathervanes - a school of fish, a stork with a baby, and a monstrous whale. This “Puppet Theater” was inspired by concept art of Stromboli’s theater created by illustrator Gustaf Tenggren for the 1940 film.


Do you have a dream? Well, the patrons at The Snuggly Duckling sure “got a dream.”

The former Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant, the Snuggly Duckling that we visit today is a cozy tavern known and beloved amongst all fairytale ruffians, thugs, and outlaws. Wagon wheel chandeliers, crooked countertops and loose arrows and daggers strewn about the place create a rugged sense of warmth and familiarity befitting of a dimly lit rogue’s gallery. Feared leader of the tavern’s patrons, affectionately called “Hook Hand,” tickles the ivories of an out-of-tune piano, sharing with diners his dream of one day becoming Fantasyland’s most renowned concert pianist - of course, he is Fantasyland’s only pianist. The menu fare is mostly German, with Bratwurst and Sauerkraut sandwiches, potato pancakes and dumplings, and warm pretzels served with spiced mustard or melted swiss.

The small dwelling between Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and the Snuggly Duckling is a replica of Geppetto’s Toy Shop, just as it appeared in the 1940 animated feature. The shop is known for its handcrafted cuckoo clocks, marionettes, nutcrackers, and other handmade tin and woodcraft toys traditional to Central and Southern European cultures and styles. Stromboli’s Wagon outside is filled to overflowing with plush toys and Park souvenirs, along with a small snacking booth famous for its frozen lemonades and apple juice.


In the forested hills across from the Snuggly Duckling, a Swiss chalet with a Prague-inspired astronomical clock serves as the Fantasyland terminus for an aerial ride through the middle of Matterhorn Mountain and into Tomorrowland on the other side: the Skyway to Tomorrowland. On the exterior of the chalet 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.

The Skyway at Disneyland opened on June 23, 1956, and was the first Von Roll Type 101 aerial ropeway in the United States. Later, Disney Legend Bob Gurr redesigned the original Von Roll buckets to become four-seat, rectangular gondolas. The buckets of today still use Gurr’s ingenious use of lightweight ABS plastic and a steel frame for carrying four passengers, the color scheme and aesthetic design remaining one and the same as it has for decades before. The iconic “flight” conveniently connects Fantasyland to Tomorrowland.


Toad Hall, the Tudor estate of J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. is the entrance to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. A weathervane in the shape of a motorcar billows precariously on one of the gables, and right above the entrance is a stone statue of the dapper Mr. Toad himself.

An attraction based loosely on Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and 1949’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the original version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was simple; in fact, it was only 98 seconds long. This was later changed in 1983, when the attraction was razed and rebuilt from the ground-up, as redesigned by Imagineer Rolly Crump - a repeat and “plussing” of his previous success with the attraction at Walt Disney World in 1971. The new and improved Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride would not only add content and character, but also a second track. The new version(s) had double the sights and double the sounds - Track A and Track B, each intertwined, each wreaking havoc through a number of different scenes, from the Toad Hall Trophy Room and a musical Gypsy Camp along Track A, to a Barnyard and Prison on Track B. To travel the road with Mr. Toad is a wild ride few could ever forget. No matter which track we take, the climax has us come bumper-to-bumper with a runaway train. Shall we escape our head-on destruction? Or is something more devilish in store?


One of Disneyland’s most time-honored and beloved attractions, Peter Pan’s Flight is located a frog’s leap away from Toad Hall, held inside the steepled Tudor clock tower and homestead of the Darling family from the 1953 animated feature Peter Pan. A bronze statue of Peter - inspired by a similar statue found in Kensington Gardens, London - stands in front of the attraction’s entrance, a suited haunt for the costumed characters of Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.

In a four-seat pirate galleon, we learn to fly with the Darling children, courtesy of their bedtime heroes, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. We wave goodbye to Nana and depart for a gentle cruise over moonlit London, where Big Ben and Tower Bridge light up the night sky. Peter leads the way into Neverland between glowing volcanoes and sparkling waterfalls, the sounds of native drums and pirate cannonfire filling the air. After a “splashdown” at Skull Rock, we finally come face to cutlass with the dastardly Captain Hook. It’s a sword fight to the finish as Pan and Hook faceoff in a daring duel that leaves Hook cooked in the jaws of a ticking crocodile.

Like Mr. Toad and Snow White, Peter Pan’s Flight was an Opening Day attraction at Disneyland. In early concept designs for the attraction, guests were intended to ride on the back of Peter Pan himself. This of course changed, and a pirate ship-bound Peter Pan’s Flight went on to become Fantasyland’s most popular attraction - even over six decades later.

A major renovation in 1983 would bring Audio-Animatronics figures and entirely new scenes to the ride, including the first appearance(s) of Peter in his own attraction since 1955. For Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, the attraction was closed in February that same year for an extensive makeover. On July 1, 2015, the attraction reopened with not only new four-seat pirate ships installed, but also a new soundtrack, new Audio-Animatronics figures and projections, and breathtaking new set pieces throughout, not forgetting a neat new effect in which the pirate ships now had the ability to speed up and slow down, unlike before. This same effect - and many other additions from the 2015 remodel - would make their way into the Shanghai Disneyland version of the attraction, which premiered on June 16, 2016.

Next time we'll finish our tour of Castle Village and make our way to the outskirts of town...


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I admit, I'm surprised that the Skyway remains open in this Mirror Disneyland -- not only because past Mirror Disneylands had it close like it does in reality, but because I really do feel like the Skyway poles really ruin the immersion of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Then again, I'm sure this Enchanted Forest will be where we find Winnie the Pooh, whereas in the past, the ride was built where the Skyway station was.

And if so, I wonder if you'll be taking inspiration from what they originally intended for the ride -- either a river ride, as seen in this picture, or the system that would be used for Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin?



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I admit, I'm surprised that the Skyway remains open in this Mirror Disneyland -- not only because past Mirror Disneylands had it close like it does in reality, but because I really do feel like the Skyway poles really ruin the immersion of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Then again, I'm sure this Enchanted Forest will be where we find Winnie the Pooh, whereas in the past, the ride was built where the Skyway station was.

And if so, I wonder if you'll be taking inspiration from what they originally intended for the ride -- either a river ride, as seen in this picture, or the system that would be used for Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin?


I'm actually surprised I chose to include Skyway as well. But seeing how much love and nostalgia is out there for it, I felt as if keeping it alive in my alternate reality seemed like the right thing to do. The support beams never seemed to be an issue in the past once the Matterhorn came into play, so I won't worry about it too much.

I always forget about the intended waterborne Winnie the Pooh. I'll probably end up keeping Hunny Hunt like in the previous draft.

Today's update is short again, but let me reiterate, I'm trying to refrain myself from creative burnout. As always, feedback is very much appreciated, and always look forward to the next update! Thank you all for your patience.



Hook’s Galley is found aboard the docked galleon of the feared Captain James Hook himself: The Jolly Roger. The former “Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant” was, and still is, a Disneyland landmark north of Castle Village, though the restaurant changed its name to the current Hook’s Galley when Chicken of the Sea dropped its sponsorship in the 1980s. The galleon is docked within a sandy cove amidst steep coral cliffs, tropical foliage and the imposing shape of Skull Rock, a replication of the famous setting from Peter Pan. The Jolly Roger was rebuilt entirely in 1982, reopening with New Fantasyland as an ominous galleon made from concrete and fiberglass rather than the original timber and wood, which had rotted over the course of its 27-year lifespan. Skull Rock became a part of Disneyland in 1960, and has remained ever since. The current menu is a sea of savory selections, including shrimp salad, tuna salad sandwich, and lobster rolls. Not hungry? That’s alright. Skull Rock and The Jolly Roger are perfect standalone walk-through attractions all the same.

Canal Boats of the World opened with the rest of the Park on July 17, 1955. The cruise offered little more than a view of earthen embankments and undeveloped landscaping. The addition of miniature scenes from Disney animated movies transformed the attraction into the current Storybook Land Canal Boats, which first opened on June 16, 1956. One of the most delicate, picturesque realms in all Disneyland - Storybook Land - was always 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, the straw-stick-brick homes of the Three Little Pigs, 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. After selecting plants whose leaf size was but little more than a quarter inch, they further restricted growth by planting them in containers. 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.


Alice in Wonderland is an attraction that you won’t find anywhere else.

Among the many undeveloped attraction concepts pitched during the early stages of Disneyland’s development was an intricately detailed, Fantasyland-based walk-through attraction themed around the 1951 animated feature Alice in Wonderland. The idea of a walk-through was eventually 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 in late 1957, when Imagineers were tasked with filling 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-floors. The attraction’s multi-story complex behind (and above) 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 painted cut-outs of 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.

The Mad Tea Party was originally located where the King Arthur Carrousel sits today. The carousel was originally squeezed into the tight real estate between the Mad Tea Party and Sleeping Beauty Castle for some unbeknownst reason on the designers’ behalf. As part of New Fantasyland, Disneyland built an all-new Mad Tea Party more fittingly near the entrance to the Alice in Wonderland attraction.

Fantasyland’s iconic spinning teacups have been dizzying Disneyland guests since Opening Day. Inspired by the Mad Hatter and March Hare’s very merry Unbirthday Party from the animated classic Alice in Wonderland, this timeless attraction features the very same resplendent colors and objects of disproportionate size from the film. Madcap music fills the air as we rotate beneath a canopy of colored lanterns, while a massive teapot (inhabited by a tipsy Dormouse) in the center twirls about every which way. A wheel in the center of each teacup lets riders control the direction and speed of their spin.

The Cheshire Cat throws in more than one appearance in the trees and rock formations surrounding this part of Castle Village, often found clung to large arrows and signs that point from here to there with often conflicting messages. The Mad Hatter is proprietor of not one, but two hat shops of the same name in Disneyland, one in Main Street’s Town Square, and the other here in a quaint Fantasyland cottage. The cottage resembles the home of the White Rabbit that Alice so famously bursts through in the 1951 classic.


In the early months of 1959, a new form slowly emerged on the Orange County horizon. Residents could hardly believe that a mountain was actually “growing” in full view of the Santa Ana Freeway.

Matterhorn Mountain grew from two origins: 1) Walt Disney’s trip to Switzerland to visit the set of Third Man on the Mountain, and 2) his desire to eliminate the central support pylon of the Skyway attraction, which looked too industrial for his taste. Walt was soon making plans for a speeding bobsled run that picked up where Third Man of the Mountain left off, a chance for the audience to experience firsthand the icy slopes of a Disneyland Matterhorn.

Numerous photographs of the Swiss peak were carefully studied to create the most accurate replica possible. The final result is a perfect 1/100th scale re-creation of the famous Swiss peak. Matterhorn Bobsleds was not only the first roller-coaster-style attraction at Disneyland Park, but the first tubular steel coaster anywhere. The attraction is also one-of-a-kind - no other Disney Park can claim the Matterhorn.

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 for the press. The Matterhorn was an instant hit and remains one of the Park’s most popular attractions.


Walt had always intended for the mythical Abominable Snowman to haunt the attraction from day one, but there was never enough time or money. Imagineer Harriet Burns had gone a long way toward finishing a full-size, fiberglass-and-fur cloth mock-up of the Abominable Snowman by the attraction’s busy first year or two of operation, but at that time closing the attraction meant the loss of valuable Park capacity. It wouldn’t be until 1978 that the attraction could enjoy a true renovation.

In 1978, a total of fifty new tandem bobsleds were built, some from scratch and others from existing vehicles. The lift tunnel was completely enclosed to “keep in the cold,” with a decidedly effective special effects snowstorm, and later added in 2015, an “uphill encounter” with a digital Abominable Snowman from behind a wall of ice. Then, as the bobsleds hit the top of the lift hill and began to pick up speed, a pair of red eyes glowed with a fearsome growl in the darkness, our first encounter (pre-2015) with a “mysterious, lurking snow monster,” as Imagineers referred to their show’s new star. The bobsleds then whisk through an eerie fog bank and among ice caverns filled with glowing crystals and wrecked “mountain climbing” equipment, before beginning a high-speed trek down and around the mountain.

The grizzly highlight of the attraction post-1978 was of course the Abominable Snowman, or “Harold” for short. A total of three snowmen were built for the attraction, one for the “A” side, a second for the “B” side, and a third that was visible from both ride tracks. The original snowmen were swapped for more realistic, "lunging" Audio-Animatronics snowmen in 2015 as part of Disneyland's 60th Anniversary.

Matterhorn Mountain has its own companion restaurants - Edelweiss Snacks, an Alpine chalet selling turkey legs, pork shanks, and buttered corn on the cob, and the waterfront Yeti House. The Yeti House could be considered the “Swiss variation” on Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti Restaurant. The shoreside home of a since-disappeared cryptid hunter has been transformed into a beautiful restaurant of Swiss influence and music. The spoils and preserved artifacts of the hunter’s mysterious career are displayed in full, including the wrecked tent and supplies of the vanished Matterhorn Mountain Expedition of 1928, an ill-fated crew referenced also in the Adventurer’s Club located outside Disneyland.

Dressed in lederhosen, knee-high stockings and feathered hats, the live Fantasyland Polka Band is on hand to entertain diners at the Yeti House, though they often parade out from the restaurant and into the gardens and hills under the shadow of the Matterhorn.


Welcome to “it’s a small world,” the most musical, lyrical, magical attraction at Disneyland. Here over 300 children native to 100 different nations and areas of the world are spotlighted as they serenade boatborne guests with their meaningful song: “it’s a small world.” Brought to life first for the 1964 - 1965 World’s Fair by Walt Disney’s sophisticated Audio-Animatronics system, the starring children include ice skaters, bagpipers, mountain climbers, bellringers, snake charmers, magic carpet riders, and dancers from North America, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific. And to add a bit of local color to the whimsical festivities, “Small World” also features an entourage of pampered poodles, rambunctious goats, a bengal tiger, tired-eyed hippos, spindly giraffes, wild birds, fire-peaked volcanoes, mermaids, smiling tropical fish, a pink whale, and all sorts of strange creatures of the deep.

Outside the attraction’s palace-like home, which boasts a facade trimmed in gold and white geometric shapes and historic landmarks from around the world, guests begin and complete their cruise by sailing beneath one of the most unusual clocks in the world. Towering some 30-feet above the ground, this imaginative timepiece actually performs the time every fifteen minutes. The spectacle begins as a frenzy of sounds and activity. 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.

One of Disneyland’s most renowned and best-loved attractions, “it’s a small world,” has proven itself the “happiest cruise that ever sailed” - a salute to the children of the world that speaks the international language of goodwill. Imagineer Mary Blair designed much of the original attraction. As fellow Imagineer Rolly Crump recalled of Blair’s assignment to the attraction, “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.” Walt Disney regarded Mary’s color styles and good taste as nearly infallible.


Although the attraction opened at Disneyland in 1966, Disney characters did not debut in the attraction until 2009 - thoughtfully placed and designed for their appropriate nations. Now “world travelers” must keep an eye out for Peter Pan and Tinker Bell flying over London, Cinderella in her native France, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket in Italy, Hercules and Pegasus in Greece, Aladdin and Jasmine in the Middle East, the Three Caballeros in Mexico, Ariel and Flounder under the sea, and many more familiar Disney Friends from the world over, with some, like Rapunzel and Moana having joined the cruise as recently as 2019.

The “happiest cruise that ever sailed” exits into Small World Imports, a one-of-a-kind shop in showcase of the unique toys, dolls and clothing exclusive to the design and color of "it's a small world." Small World Plaza, unlike Castle Village, is rather a wide-open thoroughfare than a detailed, attraction-filled, medieval township. In fact, apart from “it’s a small world” and its signature gift shop, the “sub-land” is mostly utilized for parade viewing, as Small World Plaza is the entry (or exit) point for all Disneyland parades, with Main Street’s Town Square being on the other end. Geometric towers along the Plaza cleverly disguise lighting rigs and sound equipment in the Mary Blair style, while plentiful seating arrangements, gardens, and various snack carts along the route offer a comfortable viewing opportunity.

There is, however, one other attraction in Small World Plaza.

Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” Imagination went to work again on June 6, 1981.


Disney Legend Marc Davis might best be known for his magna opera: Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise and the Haunted Mansion, and later, Thunder Mesa Expedition, which had only opened in Frontierland a short five years after Davis’s death. Davis specialized in character-driven dark rides of unmatchable caliber. The fifth attraction in his legendary portfolio resided at one time in Fantasyland: The Enchanted Snow Palace.

Davis designed the Enchanted Snow Palace as an escape from the Southern California heat. With a location chosen in Small World Plaza, the attraction was built within the confines of an icy glacier melting in the middle of Fantasyland. Just as Pirates of the Caribbean has its cast of whimsical skeletons and townspeople, the Enchanted Snow Palace introduced its own supporting cast of Arctic animals and mythical beasts, with the beautiful Snow Queen of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale as the star, all animated and “life-like” in the typical “Davis” style, not to mention a suited compliment to nearby Matterhorn Mountain.

To the strains of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite,” passengers would sail down a melting waterway aboard “bateaux” (boats) and into the chilly realms of a winter wonderland. In its own form of distinguished elegance, the attraction included innumerable scenes in true Davis fashion, with Audio-Animatronics polar bears and seals capered on twirling ice-flows - timber wolves howling at the Aurora Borealis - soaring Frost Giants wielding huge icicle clubs - and the fluttering Frost Fairies of Fantasia.

True to Marc’s comical form of perfectly-orchestrated character vignettes, passengers would also sail past skating polar bears and penguins, odd “snowball men” sledding and sliding down hillsides, and an orchestra of penguins conducted by a seal in a tuxedo. Eventually, the boats entered a fanciful ice castle for an encounter with the hypnotic Snow Queen herself, who would conjure snow to fall from the twinkling heavens above in a glorious finale.

Of course, the Enchanted Snow Palace lacked the same compelling narrative that had made Pirates and the Haunted Mansion a blockbuster hit. The attraction was a little too passive; a friendly but admittedly dull ride through cute encounters and charming sets without a solid reason for being. Nevertheless, the attraction remained until June 9, 2015. The Disney Parks Blog and The Disneyland News both announced (and quietly) that Fantasyland and its Enchanted Snow Palace would soon play host to a new attraction altogether.


When Frozen became a cultural phenomenon after its global release in November of 2013, it was soon obvious that an attraction would follow. The film had dethroned The Lion King as the highest grossing animated film of all time, and became a de-facto fairytale of the 2010s, instantly cemented as a classic. The score, storyline, and gorgeous animation made Frozen a timeless film, quickly spawning a number of spin-offs, a Broadway musical and a sequel in 2019. The Enchanted Snow Palace’s days were numbered.

The new Frozen Ever After attraction would re-use the Enchanted Snow Palace and its decades-old ride system, including its seven minute runtime. The old glacier facade was reshaped into the regal stone, Scandinavian architecture and timber of Arendelle Castle; a second “life-size” castle to feature inclusion in Fantasyland. The queue inside had been brilliantly rerouted from the old attraction, too. The formerly outdoor stanchions and switchbacks were enclosed and re-purposed into the ornate halls and chambers of Queen Elsa and Princess Anna’s childhood home. The main loading area for the attraction would take after an esplanade of Arendelle Harbor at night with flickering lanterns in the town’s frosted windows.

"Hear ye! Hear ye! The Kingdom is invited to a Summer Snow Day Celebration in honor of the day that PRINCESS ANNA saved her sister QUEEN ELSA with an unselfish act of true love. All shall be welcome to a Royal Reception inside the Ice Palace."

The original bateaux 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 journey. A supernatural, frozen grotto seems magical in its own right, never mind the appearance of Olaf, an Audio-Animatronics figure that blinks, gestures, walks, jumps, and sings:


"Do you wanna build a snowman? Come on, let's go and play! Elsa wants to give us all some fun, she's making everyone a snowy summer day!"

The song-filled voyage ahead is much like the attraction it replaced, a slow-moving cruise through gorgeous, wintery scenes and characters. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven - they’re all here. In fact, some of the original animals and set pieces from the previous attraction have been cast in new roles for Frozen Ever After.

Amidst a grove of tall pines on the perimeter of Arendelle Castle, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (and Sauna) welcomes all so called “weary travelers” to its year-round “Big Summer Blowout!” The friendly “Wandering” Oaken sells any and all things Frozen, including fresh carrot-snacks and winter-wear exclusive to this Fantasyland 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!”

The Royal Sommerhus can also be found amidst the forested perimeter of Arendelle Castle. The cozy summer home of Anna and Elsa, the Royal Sommerhus is chock full of memories from the sisters' family travels from their childhoods. The house has reopened so that the sisters and their friends can relive fond memories and make new ones with Disneyland guests. Ocean bluffs near the Sommerhus mark the transition from Arendelle to the abstract Seven Seaways Canal of “it’s a small world.”



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I admit, I have wondered something about Frozen Ever After. How would it blend with the styling of Small World Plaza? Would its more fanciful elements be more pronounced to match the Mary Blair stylings, or would it serve as a thematic link connecting Small World Plaza and Castle Village? I can definitely see some of the themes of the Matterhorn being used for the surrounding Arendelle area, like maybe how the Yeti House could transition into the Royal Sommerhus.


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Original Poster
I admit, I have wondered something about Frozen Ever After. How would it blend with the styling of Small World Plaza? Would its more fanciful elements be more pronounced to match the Mary Blair stylings, or would it serve as a thematic link connecting Small World Plaza and Castle Village? I can definitely see some of the themes of the Matterhorn being used for the surrounding Arendelle area, like maybe how the Yeti House could transition into the Royal Sommerhus.

In my headspace, Arendelle Castle is hidden by trees and rock formations near Small World Plaza, not necessarily out in the wide open space of the Plaza. It is precisely a thematic link between the Plaza and Castle Village, with the nearby Matterhorn being an obvious thematic link. You're dead on with the Yeti House being next door neighbors with Royal Sommerhus and Wandering Oaken's. It just works wonderfully together.

Folks, sorry about the delay in an update! With masking and social distancing rules changing in my home state, work has been a bit hectic and I've needed some mental time away to decompress. I'll continue on with Fantasyland later next week, starting with Dumbo's Circusland, and finishing with the Enchanted Forest, an area unfamiliar to my past drafts of Mirror Disneyland, but very familiar to those who have followed my dream resort projects in the past.


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I just had a thought do you somewhat think of ways to include Soul, and the new Pixar film Luca in the parks and/or resort even if it’s part of a nighttime show or in case of Disneysea a land based off Porto Russo from Luca unless WestCot gets a Italy pavilion.


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The Mickey Mouse Club Circus “came to town” on Thanksgiving Day, 1955. Although it included the first live appearance by television’s Mouseketeers, the overall Circus did not have the uniqueness of the other Disneyland shows, and was discontinued in early 1956. Its spiritual successor, however, lives on.

In 1979, Small World Plaza welcomed a new neighbor. Dumbo’s Circusland, an original “Sub-Land” set aside from the European Village proper, is located on five hitherto undeveloped acres both inside and outside the berm adjacent to “it’s a small world.” Here circus banners herald a number of spectacle attractions, including a relocated and elevated Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Casey Jr. Circus Train.

The taller trees bordering Small World Plaza transition our walking path from the open-air promenade and into a sparkling thoroughfare of striped awnings, festive banners, popcorn lighting, and retro-circus advertisements graced with classic animated characters. The advertisements allude to such circus acts as “The Reluctant Dragon: Fire-Eater” or “Shere Khan: Man-Eater.” Circus animals have left behind their foot, hoof, and pawprints in the pavement - even the elephants have left behind their peanut shells.

Imagineer Tony Baxter designed Dumbo’s Circusland in conjunction with his now-legendary, unrealized Discovery Bay - a Jules Verne and H.G. Wells-inspired extension to Frontierland. Baxter envisioned the lands to the northwest of Disneyland, with both connected via foot and an unbuilt Skyway variation called the Western Balloon Ascent. Of course, that attraction and Discovery Bay were never built - but Circusland was.


Dumbo’s Circusland offers a home to the Disney Characters considered too “out there” for the rest of Fantasyland. This “Phase One” expansion of 1983’s New Fantasyland brought Dumbo the Flying Elephant from the old castle courtyard and into the center of Circusland, elevated high above the ground on an ornate, Art Deco platform. Dumbo is a favorite attraction for anyone who is of preschool age and younger, but parents and adults delight even more when they see the joy it brings to their little one’s eyes. Dumbo represents the true spirit of fantasy, and reminds us all to believe in our dreams and shoot for magical aspirations above the clouds. With the help of Timothy Mouse and a “Magic Feather,” we hop on Dumbo’s back for a joyful flight around the skies of Fantasyland, reliving that magical moment when the young elephant first discovered flight - the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned circus whirling by below. The gold-flecked carousel is an artistic masterpiece all its own, with hand-carved elephants and storks among its collage of color. A well-known European manufacturer of circus organs built the attraction’s vintage mechanical band; the organ, built circa 1915, weighs three-quarters of a ton. It’s circus-like music can be heard well over a mile away when played at full volume.

The Casey Jr. Circus Train was conceived as a sort of low-speed roller coaster, climbing and dropping over the “cartoon” landscape of Storybook Land. Secured in their various cages, boxcars, and cabooses, 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.

As we ride the rails and tour the miniature countryside of Storybook Land, we catch glimpse of, among other locations:

- 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
- The Gingerbread House from Hansel and Gretel
- Rapunzel's Tower from Tangled
- The manicured London park from Peter Pan
- The royal city of Agrabah and the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin
- The French village and mountain top castle from Cinderella
- The snowy landscapes of Peter and the Wolf
- Halloween Town & Christmas 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
- Belle's Village and the Beast's Castle from Beauty and the Beast
- The Alpine village from Pinocchio
- The English village and Rabbit Hole from Alice in Wonderland
- 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 version, but found in the Disneyland Paris version launched that same year.

The Great Goofini’s Motorcar Mania is a junior roller coaster on the outskirts of Circusland. The “Great Goofini” - sideshow stuntman extraordinaire - has brought to town his latest and greatest daring act: Motorcar Mania. In an effort to educate young drivers on the importance of safe driving, we climb aboard a wacky, homemade jalopy and hold on tight as we depart from the dirt road and take to the skies of Fantasyland in a staggering series of stupendous stunts, darting and soaring past airborne traffic signs and opposing traffic, before “landing” safely during the grand finale.


Big Top Souvenirs is our typical "amusement tent" filled to overflowing with merchandise in theme and brand with Dumbo's Circusland. Big Top Treats, found in the same tent as Big Top Souvenirs, has a "show kitchen" famous for its cotton candy, caramel apples, corn dogs, shaved ice and other carnival treats. At Pete’s Silly Sideshow, a custom-designed character greeting location created exclusively for Dumbo’s Circusland, we are invited to meet such sideshow stars as Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Daisy, each playing their own unique role at the circus. Donald is “The Astounding Donaldo,” the unluckiest of snake charmers. Goofy, of course, is “The Great Goofini,” the well-known stuntman and daredevil of Motorcar Mania. Daisy Duck plays the part of “Madame Daisy Fortuna,” a mysterious fortune teller, and Minnie Mouse is the “Siren of the Seine,” that Parisian poodle trainer “Minnie Magnifique.” Detailed props and settings help illustrate each of their stories and fully immerse us into the world of the circus sideshow. Ringmaster Mickey Mouse is our final stop, often joined by the first-ever meet ‘n’ greet appearance of Peg-Legged Pete himself - though here, he has a friendly smile and a colorful, circus-striped costume.

Circus Disney was the true star of Dumbo’s Circusland when it debuted in 1979. The Disneyland News described Circus Disney as “the highlight of this all-Disney themed area will be ‘Circus Disney,’ a major ride-through attraction featuring a myriad of favorite Disney characters, all brought to life through the ‘Audio-Animatronics’ process. Guests will travel through the wild animal menagerie (featuring King Louie and Shere Khan from 'The Jungle Book’) down the midway where familiar Disney stars may be seen in the sideshow, like 'The Amazing Flying Dumbo - Ninth Wonder of the World,’ through clown alley and finally into the Big Top where they will actually be 'on-stage’ as part of a three-ring show featuring such daredevil acts as 'The Flying Goofys.’


Circus Disney remains a venerable attraction today. Inspired by the success of his first circus, seen in the classic Mickey’s Circus short (1936), Ringmaster Mickey Mouse has opened Circus Disney, a nonsensical dark ride that carries the spirit of a classic Disney cartoon. In an ornate circus caravan - that has the ability to spin 360 degrees in any which way - we careen through comical obstacles and sideshow acts, with untamed man-eaters (such as Lambert the Sheepish Lion), height-defying tightrope acts (the hippos of Fantasia), an accidental dash through a clown-filled dressing room, and a grand finale in a three-ring performance filled to overflowing with known and lesser-known Disney characters - from Little John, Baloo, Brer Bear, Pooh, Lulubelle and Bongo Bear in a balancing act, to Donald Duck falling from a tremendous height and into a dunk tank, plunging the entire circus underwater.

In late 2006, the famed "Clown Restaurant" of Dumbo's Circusland closed unexpectedly. It was demolished and rebuilt from the ground-up not long after.

Its 2008 - the twinkle of lights has attracted the attention of passers-by to the allure and excitement of the Coney Island-inspired Carnival Corral, an indoor midway filled with fun house mirrors, penny arcade machines, nickelodeons and other classic games of yesteryear - Toy Story-themed. Woody, Buzz and friends have all been fit into every game, a suited backdrop for the Toy Box Playhouse. Mr. Potato Head, as a carnival barker, is the star performer here. The old "hockey puck" performs a daily musical routine in celebration of the Carnival Corral's main attraction: Toy Story Mania!


Woody's open mouth leads a magical transition from the outdoor nostalgia of Dumbo's Circusland and into the tiny world inside the toy box of Bonnie. The toy box is strewn floor-to-lid with over-sized board games, puzzles and giant toys. We then board a carnival-inspired tram, a pair of 3D glasses handy, and use a spring-action shooter to take aim at various "revisionist" games of the boardwalk. There are 5 fast-paced games to play: Hamm & Eggs, Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts, Green Army Men Shoot Camp, Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers, and Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery. The dark ride, of course, exits into Al’s Midway, a circus variation on the famous “Al’s Toy Barn” of Toy Story 2.

Though held inside the walls of a beautiful, Coney Island-inspired facade, the Roundup Rodeo Lunchbox appears to be set in Bonnie’s backyard - in fact, Bonnie has cut and taped three cardboard boxes together to create a rodeo arena with some of her favorite toys and games. Surrounded by all the rodeo festivities as well as a LEGO western town and train station, we dine on a variety of options, from a grilled three-cheese sandwich to a mouthwatering BBQ brisket melt.

The aforementioned Carnival Corral is also home to the Games of the Midway. Four classic carnival games inspired by Toy Story offer up the chance to try our luck and take home adorable and exclusive prizes:

  • Bullseye’s Stallion Stampede
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Bunny
  • Lotso’s Strawberry Toss
  • Zurg’s Villainous Tractor Beam
Walt had a miniature railroad set up in his backyard he called the "Carolwood Pacific." His pride and joy was the Lilly Belle, a hand-built model train named in honor of his wife, Mrs. Lillian Disney. The Disneyland Railroad stops in Dumbo's Circusland at the "Carolwood Station."


Walt Disney's lifelong love of trains was expressed in the Disneyland Railroad. His backyard toy had "grown up" and now he could share with the world another of his childhood fantasies. His interest dated back to his teenage years when he "rode the trails" selling candy and newspapers on trains rolling between Kansas City and Chicago.



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Out of curiosity, I seem to recall that in the real-life Disneyland, Town Square is the major meet 'n' greet location for Mickey and the gang. With Pete's Silly Sideshow, would that become their major location, or would they share locations, like they do with Town Square and Mickey's Toontown?


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Out of curiosity, I seem to recall that in the real-life Disneyland, Town Square is the major meet 'n' greet location for Mickey and the gang. With Pete's Silly Sideshow, would that become their major location, or would they share locations, like they do with Town Square and Mickey's Toontown?

Shared locations, just like Toontown! Silly Sideshow is where you'd find them in circus attire/theming as opposed to the traditional costumes they wear in Town Square.

@MANEATINGWREATH What about Mickey's MadHouse wild mouse coaster?

I opted not to include it for reasons we'll get to when exploring Disney-Universal Studios. That'll be the next park after Disneyland is inevitably finished.

I thought Midway Mania would be updated to include Bo Peep again, Forky, Ducky, and Bunny.

All of the mentioned characters will have a place in the Carnival Corral and Games of the Midway!


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Original Poster
You'll notice in this long-awaited update and finish to Fantasyland, I have left out the name of the musical show. That is because I am still working on what exactly I want to include, and will be holding off in the meantime. For now, enjoy!

In the late 1980s, CEO Michael Eisner challenged WED to design for the Disney Parks an attraction based on the Animation Studio’s then-biggest hit: The Little Mermaid. Once again, Imagineer Tony Baxter was tasked with leading the design, a true successor to the Disneyland dark rides of yesteryear. But where to put it? The Enchanted Snow Palace of Marc Davis had taken up the valuable real estate near “it’s a small world,” and Baxter’s Circusland had occupied the remainder of Fantasyland for almost a decade at that point. That’s when someone suggested, “you know, what if Fantasyland had an entire forest hidden in plain sight?” One spark of inspiration was all it took, and the Enchanted Forest was born.

According to legend, the Enchanted Forest existed long before its grand opening to the Disneyland public. As the story goes, the characters of Walt Disney’s fantasy classics - Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - retired to an enchanted wilderness hidden away from the hustle of Hollywood. Walt Disney himself knew of this forest, and chose the site of Disneyland based on its closeness to the fairytale knights, dragons and princesses of his animated canon. In fact, Fantasyland was built right next door so that his beloved characters could come and visit with guests as they pleased.

Years later, in 1990, the residents of the Enchanted Forest gathered and made an important decision - they would live in secret no longer. They decided to open the trail to their secret hideaway. Since 1993, guests of all ages have been able to explore the magic and mystery of the Enchanted Forest - an ever-changing, always-growing hamlet of tranquil beauty and Disney wonder.



Waterfalls and a river flowing with magical springwaters mark the entrance to the Forest, a short transition by foot beneath the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad, and into a kingdom near-surreal and isolated from the rest of Fantasyland. Small World Plaza behind us, we find ourselves in the shadow of beautiful, supernatural rock formations - thundering cascades, shimmering rainbows, and lush foliage accent these mysterious formations designed in the not-so-subtle image of famous Disney characters - Cinderella, Aladdin, Belle, Peter Pan - a magnificent wood awaits on the other side. At night, the waters and foliage seem to undulate in an ethereal, almost otherworldly light.

In this endless acreage of medieval ruins and trees, the orchestral sound of European wildlife follows our trail as we discover a wooded “wonderland” beyond our wildest imagination. At any moment, one might expect a chance encounter with a fearsome dragon, or a fleeting glance at a knight on his valiant steed. The crumbling arch of a former castle frames a “postcard view” of granny’s house from Little Red Riding Hood in a charming glen - is something snoring inside? The very pavement in which we walk upon tells a story - wolf tracks, wheel lines, and dragon claw prints hint at the ongoing stories of the forest.

First we visit the country estate of Cinderella, located just at the forest’s edge, where Cinderella lives with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. The Pumpkin Coach is right outside the entrance to Cinderella’s Chateau. A hands-on training session with the Fairy Godmother will help us prepare Cinderella for the Royal Ball, while also enlisting the assistance of brave young “coachmen” and “handmaidens” to retell the Cinderella story through simple props and comical costumes. Cinderella is transformed from rags to ball gown before our very eyes, and one lucky child will get to experience a magical transformation of their own. Old Mr. McGregor has hand-grown the fruits and vegetables sold at McGregor’s Produce Cart, a nod to the 1901 children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The vegetable garden nearby has been ransacked by adorable Audio-Animatronics rabbits, with Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter poking their heads in and out of various holes in the garden.

The Gingerbread House of Hansel & Gretel is home to a wicked witch - and Fantasyland’s largest candy shop. The waters of a cool river lead us to cross a cobblestone Troll Bridge. Though sorely bruised and left in an arm cast by the largest of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, the Troll still resides under his bridge, cracking jokes at passers-by. Aurora’s Cottage is on the other side of the bridge, where Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are holding a surprise birthday in honor of Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday. This magical “Sweet Sixteen” invites party guests to make birthday cards and greetings for the young Briar Rose. Although she won’t be awake for much longer, Aurora does arrive at the party, mixing and mingling for all to enjoy. Of course, Maleficent was not invited.

Both Cinderella’s Chateau and Aurora’s Cottage opened with the rest of the Enchanted Forest in 1993 as simple, well-themed meet ‘n’ greet locations with interactive elements in their queues. When Fantasy Faire opened in 2013 as another simple, well-themed meet ‘n’ greet location, the Chateau and Cottage received a fresh take - creating hands-on, interactive experiences, as opposed to “waiting in line for an hour, meeting the princess, and instantly leaving,” as one Imagineer put it. Goldilocks & Co. - with a clever store logo in the silhouette of the three bears - is found in the cottage of said bears. In fact, it appears as if the ever-invasive Goldilocks has turned the vacant residence into a pawn shop of sorts where she sells the bears’ belongings. Naturally, the “belongings” for sale are Disney Princess merchandise and the like.

One corner of the Enchanted Forest has since grown barren; a vast, endless grove of tall, narrow trees free from foliage and color. The forest trail leads our adventure into a circular grove of even taller trees, each with a massive door carved in wood. Strange… It seems as if each door represents a holiday icon - a Christmas Tree, a Shamrock, a Turkey, a Firecracker - a grinning Jack-O-Lantern… In fact, that door has been left open. Music seems to echo from within the shadows inside. Our gaze transfixed, we enter the tree, greeted by a gust of wind and flurry of autumn leaves. This the appropriately bizarre entrance to Jack Skellington’s Midnight Ride.


Based on the 1993 stop-motion classic, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington’s Midnight Ride is a flight - inside a coffin-sleigh - through memorable scenes and songs from the chilling stop-motion classic. After Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween discovers Christmas, he kidnaps “Sandy Claws” and takes over the role. Of course, things go seriously awry. The attraction, opened in 2001, was the second traditional dark ride to open in the Enchanted Forest, and the first collaboration between Tim Burton and WED. Imagineer Chris Merritt designed the attraction, with Burton consulted in all areas for approval. In a manner eerily close to Peter Pan’s Flight, our overhead-suspended coffin-sleigh carries us through a whirlwind of sights and sounds, through the land of Halloween, a firsthand look at Jack’s disastrous Christmas Eve, and into the climactic battle with the grotesque Oogie Boogie. Our flight concludes in a snow-capped graveyard where Jack and Sally, his longtime love, find true love’s first kiss.

Believe it or not, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas was not truly appreciated by Disney for years, despite the Burton pedigree. Its moderate success at the box office went largely unnoticed - it wasn’t until the film’s home video release that its cult following began. Over the course of a decade, Disney came to slowly understand what the film was, recognizing its energy and value. The subsequent dark ride opened in October of 2001, and has remained a popular addition to the Fantasyland canon ever since, being one of the first Fantasyland dark rides to introduce FastPass.

Oogie’s Boogies - an odd title for a Disneyland gift shop - lurks within the gargantuan hollow of a decayed oak tree, teeming inside with neon snakes and spiders. The bogeyman himself is the supposed proprietor of this Nightmare Before Christmas mercantile - his gleeful, cackling shadow can be seen and heard lurking through the cavernous walls of the tree, Calloway-esque jazz music an appropriate underscore to our shopping experience. The cash register is a stylized blackjack table and slot machine.


The Enchanted Forest Theatre was another Opening Day attraction in the Enchanted Forest. The first Broadway-style theater at Disneyland, the Enchanted Forest Theatre is “hidden” amongst towering trees and lush waterfalls. A scale replica of Rapunzel’s Tower (Tangled) was later added to the forested backdrop of the Theatre, adding means of attracting passers-by to the venue who might have otherwise walked by unnoticing. Both the exterior and interior of the theater were inspired by the forest - beautiful tapestries and murals celebrate the woodland creatures and forests of classic Disney Animation, from Beauty and the Beast to Bambi.

The first major production to finally appear at the Enchanted Forest Theatre was Animazement in 1998, which replaced a long-running musical revue of Disney songs, a decidedly boring and not-so-enchanting spectacle for such a spectacular venue. Animazement brought together the characters and stories of the Disney Renaissance. “It’s a daunting task bringing all these stories together. In fact, it’s ‘Animazement.’Animazement came and went, and in came Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular in early 2003. The much beloved show ran until 2016 - a run of almost 13 years! - when it too was replaced by the current spectacle: __________________.

Since 2005, the autumn leaves have brought a different (and seasonal) show to the Enchanted Forest Theatre: The Halloween Town Award Scareimonies. In theme with the theatre’s neighbor (Jack Skellington’s Midnight Ride), the cast of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has once again come to life, bringing to the audience a year-end review for Halloween’s finest categories - such as “Most Blood Drained in a Single Evening” and “Most Likely to Decay.” The show changes each season to maintain relevance with the current year, often parodying and “horrifying” the pop culture lexicon in only a way the citizens of Halloween Town could joyously mock and mangle.


Although Winnie the Pooh had been a popular character since the publication of Winnie the Pooh in 1926, and a Disney stalwart since Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966, he didn't make his debut in a Disneyland attraction until the opening of Pooh's Hunny Hunt in 2003.

Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, the first “trackless dark ride" in the world, premiered at Tokyo Disneyland first on September 4, 2000. It quickly became the most popular attraction there, with wait times no shorter than two hours at a time, even on slower days. Its success overseas led WED to petition for its addition to a vacant corner of the Enchanted Forest. Park Management agreed, and with a budget of over $130 million, Pooh's Hunny Hunt opened inside a large, building-sized storybook in the Enchanted Forest in the summer of 2003.

In vehicles fashioned to resemble honey pots, we soon learn our vehicle has no visible track - in fact, the pots move through the fully realized scenes and pages of the storybook at a constant speed, independently moving, starting, stopping, dancing, reversing direction, spinning, and holding a mind all their own. In one scene Tigger invites us to bounce - and we bounce along with him - and in another scene, Heffalumps and Woozles transform our (and Pooh’s) flight of fantasy into a colorful, whirling, twirling nightmare.

Out of bear necessity to the popularity of the character, a designated meet ‘n’ greet location based on Winnie the Pooh and Friends opened with the Enchanted Forest in 1993, a decade prior to their own attraction. Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot guarantees the appearance of Pooh and his friends from the 100 Acre Wood at any time of the day, that is of course, between Pooh’s hourly “hunny” breaks. Pooh Corner also opened with the Enchanted Forest, which was later and conveniently attached directly to the exit of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. The charming cottage is filled to overflowing with charming decor and Winnie the Pooh merchandise from all corners of the wood.

The whole reason for the Enchanted Forest being is Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid.


Imagineers at first toyed with the idea of an entire Little Mermaid land in lieu of what would become the Enchanted Forest. At Eisner’s demand for a Little Mermaid attraction, “Mermaid Lagoon” was envisioned as an “underwater kingdom” to the northern berm of Fantasyland, concealed in a black-lit “dome” with an exterior fashioned to resemble Atlantica, and the dome’s interior as a snapshot of the film’s famous “Under the Sea” sequence, with carnival flat-rides themed to cartoon marine animals, and a “C-Ticket” dark ride as the starring feature. When ideas evolved, the budget was allocated to creating an E-Ticket dark ride instead, with a whole forest and lagoon carved around it. Prince Eric’s Castle and its surrounding cliffs, lovingly pulled from the film, became the second “life-size” castle in Fantasyland (at the time), captured in a snapshot of slight ruin after years of being abandoned by its occupants. A lush, sub-tropical lagoon churns at the base of an awe-inspiring waterfall, with remnants of a sailing ship strewn along the rocks and shores, and a full shipwreck at the forefront - Ariel as the ship’s figurehead. We enter through a cavern at low tide, roaming the tunnels and ruins within the castle. One rotunda is graced with mural-like mosaics in depiction of fearsome sea monsters, including one giant octopus that resembles a certain sea witch…

A song-filled “shell-abration” awaits. In our floating seashell - an elevated ride system similar to Peter Pan’s Flight and Jack’s Midnight Ride - our underwater adventure leads us below the waves on a tour of Ariel’s gadget-filled grotto and a graveyard of lost ships. Immersive special effects and hand-drawn animation sequences recreate each unforgettable scene. Sebastian the crab conducts a spectacular “Under the Sea” sequence, followed by the sinister, eel-infested lair of Ursula before her transformation into a gargantuan, hulking kraken amidst a raging maelstrom. Of course, we emerge from the depths in time to celebrate Ariel’s happily ever after in a romantic fairytale finale.

Gadgets & Gizmos Aplenty is held in an “above-the-surface” recreation of Ariel’s famous grotto, right down to the statue of (presumably) Prince Eric, and treasures untold strewn along its rocky walls. Ariel’s Grotto itself is in the cave nearby, the all-too-appropriate meet ‘n’ greet location for the Little Mermaid herself.

We certainly have done a lot so far in our day at Mirror Disneyland. In fact, there was only enough time today to hit every attraction, restaurant and shop described in the overview thus far. We’ll have to retire to the Disneyland Hotel for the night, and come back again tomorrow. But first, let’s take a look at everything we’ve visited - even so, we’ll make mention of the offerings not mentioned in the initial tour, using a ** as an indication. Enjoy!

Main Street, U.S.A. Attractions & Entertainment

  1. The Disneyland Railroad
  2. Main Street Vehicles
  • Fire Engine
  • Horseless Carriage
  • Omnibus
  • Horse-Drawn Streetcar
  1. Hook ‘n’ Ladder Co.
  2. Dapper Dans
  3. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  4. The Disneyland /Band
  5. Main Street Cinema
  6. Penny Arcade
  7. Keystone Cops
  8. Fantasy on Parade
  9. Main Street Electrical Parade
  10. Disney Dreams
Main Street, U.S.A. Shopping & Dining
  1. Newsstand**
  2. Main Street Emporium
  3. Mad Hatter**
  4. Walt’s Hobbies**
  5. Wurlitzer Music Hall
  6. Great American Egg House
  7. Magic Shop
  8. Great American Pastimes
  9. Market House, Presented by Starbucks
  10. Main Street Flower Mart
  11. Walgreens Apothecary
  12. Candle Shop
  13. Davis, Crump, Gibson & Blair - Toymakers to the World
  14. Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant
  15. Candy Palace
  16. Sunkist Citrus House
  17. Coke Corner
  18. The Home Store**
  19. Hallmark Store
  20. Disney Clothiers Ltd.
  21. Crystal Arts
  22. China Closet
  23. Nikon Photo Supply
  24. Jolly Holiday Bakery Café
  25. Plaza Inn
  26. Little Red Wagon Corn Dog Cart
Fantasyland Attractions & Entertainment
  1. Sleeping Beauty Castle Mystery Tour
  2. Storytelling at Royal Theatre
  3. Royal Hall
  4. Snow White Grotto
  5. Make-Believe Brass
  6. The Pearly Band**
  7. Sword in the Stone Ceremony
  8. King Arthur Carrousel
  9. Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  10. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  11. Skyway to Tomorrowland
  12. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  13. Peter Pan’s Flight
  14. Storybook Land Canal Boats
  15. Alice in Wonderland
  16. Mad Tea Party
  17. Matterhorn Bobsleds
  18. Fantasyland Polka Band
  19. It’s a Small World
  20. Frozen Ever After
  21. Royal Sommerhus
  22. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  23. Casey Jr. Circus Train
  24. The Great Goofini’s Motorcar Mania
  25. Pete’s Silly Sideshow
  26. Circus Disney
  27. Carnival Corral
  28. Toy Story Mania!
  29. The Disneyland Railroad
  30. Cinderella’s Chateau
  31. Aurora’s Cottage
  32. Jack’s Skellington’s Midnight Ride
  33. Enchanted Forest Theatre: _______________
  34. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt
  35. Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot
  36. Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid
  37. Ariel’s Grotto
Fantasyland Shopping & Dining
  1. Fairy Tale Treasures
  2. Maurice’s Treats
  3. Gaston’s Tavern
  4. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  5. Castle Heraldry Shoppe
  6. Sir Mickey’s
  7. The Snuggly Duckling
  8. Geppetto’s Toy Shop
  9. Stromboli’s Wagon
  10. Hook’s Galley
  11. Mad Hatter
  12. Edelweiss Snacks
  13. Yeti House
  14. Small World Imports
  15. Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (and Sauna)
  16. Big Top Souvenirs
  17. Big Top Treats
  18. Al’s Midway
  19. Roundup Rodeo Lunchbox
  20. McGregor’s Produce Cart
  21. Gingerbread House Treat Shop
  22. Goldilocks & Co.
  23. Oogie’s Boogies
  24. Pooh Corner
  25. Gadgets & Gizmos Aplenty
Liberty Street Attractions & Entertainment
  1. The American Adventure
  2. Revolutionary History Museum
  3. Fife & Drums Corp
  4. The Muppets Present...Great Moments in American History
  5. The Voices of Liberty
Liberty Street Shopping & Dining
  1. Blacksmith Shop
  2. Paul Revere’s Silver Shop
  3. Sleepy Hollow Tavern
  4. New England Print Shop
  5. Samuel Osgood, Postmaster General
  6. Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
  7. Colonial Shoppers
After today, we will (eventually) visit Adventureland next, which will include our first ride-through of this draft - The Jungle Cruise. Stay tuned...

Also, credit is due to @monkey92514 for the Halloween Town Award Scarimonies. He invented that well over a decade ago for Disneyland Australia over at the now-defunct Visions Fantastic. Credit is due where credit is due!

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