While most companies are cutting back during this recession, Walt Disney plans on expanding. Big time. An expansion that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland.
The largest expansion in the history of the central Florida theme park.
Analysts believe this expansion would re-ignite travel to Orlando, which has lagged during the recession.
Besides almost doubling Fantasyland, Disney plans to update Star Tours, the Star Wars-themed ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios. That will debut in 2011. The Fantasyland overhaul will be complete by 2013.
The biggest addition will be to the Little Mermaid ride, which will include an enclosed ride that will carry guests through the underwater realm of Ariel - the redheaded mermaid.
Disney World will construct individual areas - whether a castle, cottage or chateau - where guests can interact with some of the company's best-known princesses and other characters from their movies. Children will be able to dance with Cinderella, celebrate Aurora's birthday with the Good Fairies, or play a role with Belle in a performance in the library of the Beast's castle.
Disney intends to relocate Dumbo the Flying Elephant to a new "circus grounds" that will include an interactive queue under a big-top tent to entertain children waiting in line. Disney will add a new Pixie Hollow character-greeting area, home to Tinker Bell and other fairies.
To accommodate the expansion, Disney will raze most of Mickey's Toontown Fair, the smallest of the Magic Kingdom's "lands." Gone will be both of the walkthrough country houses where guests were guaranteed to meet Disney's most famous characters: Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
But not to worry, Mickey and Minnie will get new homes near the entrance to the park.