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BDH Episode #50 - Disneyland's Fantasyland

Bringing Disneyland Home Video Podcast

For my special 50th Episode, I going to cover all of the Fantasyland attractions that I haven't yet covered. That's right, all in one video! It's a long one clocking in at over 32 minutes. I cover all of the Fantasyland attractions including:

Snow White
Peter Pan
Mr. Toad
King Arthur Carousel
Casey Jr. Circus Train
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Alice in Wonderland
Mad Hatter Teacups

Wow! 50…episodes! Over the 4 plus years I’ve been doing this show I’ve been rewarded with thousands of emails, voice messages, iTunes reviews and posts to my forums at the DPN letting me know how much you appreciate all the hard work I put into each video. It truly is a labor of love but it’s all those correspondence that have kept me going. So to everyone who has taken the time to write or call, I want to thanks you for the wonderful support you have given me. Also, I want to thank everyone for continuing to subscribe and download my videos even when they have been late in their release. You all have made my show one of the most popular Disneyland Podcasts out there today. With your continued support, I’ll be creating what I hope will be fun and enjoyable Disneyland videos for a long time to come. So, Thanks You All and please keep those emails and reviews coming!

Sleeping Beauty Castle was a well-known icon even before Disneyland open. Families across the country got a glimpse of this castle in the opening title of the Disneyland TV series in 1954. By design, the castle is the visual icon or anchor to all of Disneyland Park establishing a majestic gateway to Fantasyland. There’s no mistaken where you are when you approach one of the world’s most recognizable icons.

It’s been said that out of all of Disneyland’s different realms, Fantasyland was closest to Walt’s heart. It was a place where he could bring to life his beloved animated films and characters to delight children of all ages.

When the newly renovated Fantasyland was opened on May 25, 1983, all of the dark rides had a new exterior and interior improvements as well. The Disneyland original attraction "Snow White’s Adventure" received an extensive makeover to more closely resemble the Castle and includes a tower from which the Evil Queen stares down at unsuspecting guests. It also received a name makeover to "Snow White’s Scary Adventure".

By far the most popular attraction in Fantasyland is "Peter Pan’s Flight". It’s one of the original Disneyland attractions and is filled with fanciful special effects including 175 miles of fiber optics. If you have a sharp eye, you might notice the weather vane in the shape of Captain Hook’s galleon on top of the exterior clock.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is based on the 1949 animated film "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad". The 3rd of the original Fantasyland dark rides, Mr. Toad also received an extensive renovation in 1983. This madcap adventure resembles stately Toad Hall where Mr. Toad takes everyone on a wild ride across the English countryside.

"Pinocchio’s Daring Journey" is actually the third occupant in this corner of Fantasyland. In August of 1955, Walt opened "The Mickey Mouse Club Theater" featuring Disney cartoon shorts and it was the official headquarters for the Mouseketeers until 1963. In 1964 it was renamed to the "Fantasyland Theater". It wasn’t until 1983 that Pinocchio and friends moved in.

The "Storybook Land Canal Boats" attraction opened in June 1956. Guests take a tranquil voyage through lush gardens and miniature scenes from Disney’s most beloved animated features. The scenes are created in great detail and are all 1/12 scale. The gardens are complimented with living miniature shrubs, flowers and trees including over 150 year old pine trees.

When Disneyland was first being designed, it included "Alice in Wonderland". However, budget restraints delayed it’s opening until June 1958. The "Alice in Wonderland" attraction was originally slated to go in where Pinocchio is today. But it ended up on the eastside of Fantasyland. It shares a building with Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and when your caterpillar moves along the 700-foot long track and climbs to the second floor, you are actually above the Mr. Toad attraction.

Except for its location, Mad Hatter’s Mad Tea Party has remained basically unchanged from its design that opened with the park in 1955. Originally, the teacups were positioned in the Sleeping Beauty Castle courtyard where King Arthur Carrousel is today. The teacups were relocated to their current home next to “Alice in Wonderland” and reopened with the new Fantasyland in 1983.

The Casey Jr. Circus Train, narrated by Dumbo’s friend Timothy Q. Mouse, takes us on a fun-filled trip through Storybook Land. This little train that could was originally designed to be a roller coaster thrill ride. It would have been Disneyland first. But after testing, concerns were raised about its effectiveness as a roller coaster and the high maintenance that it would require.

“Dumbo the Flying Elephant” was supposed to have pink elephants with ears that flapped. This was to represent the pink elephants on parade sequence from the animated feature “Dumbo”. None of the pink elephants would be Dumbo. After flaws in the design and budget issues, Dumbo didn’t make opening day. The attraction did open in August 1955 with 10 gray elephants that had colored collars and hats and were all Dumbo.

The "King Arthur Carousel" was originally a merry-go-round built in 1875 and was located in Toronto Canada. Walt bought it and brought it to California for Disneyland’s opening. Imagineers removed animals and seats and added over two dozen horses purchased from Coney Island. Some of the removed seats are being used to this day in the Casey Jr. Circus Train.

I didn't include It's A Small World or Matterhorn because I already did a full video on those earlier. I hope you enjoy the video!