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Disneyland Article
A Sprinkle Of Pixie Dust
Cal Jones
"Fantasyland" is said to be Walt Disney's favorite Land. And it's tough to blame him. "Sleeping Beauty Castle" welcomes you, as both the main entrance and park icon. "King Arthur Carrousel" was built in 1875 and operated in Ontario, Canada from 1922 until 1955 when it was relocated to Disneyland. Until 1975, only one horse was white, and now all of them are. Merlin hosted a ceremony that determined which guest could pull the sword from the stone and become king for the day while King Arthur was on vacation. This lasted until 2006. Walt got the idea for the park while watching his daughters ride a carrousel and thus, "King Arthur Carrousel" was essentially the first Disneyland ride.

The Castle was also a walk through attraction that opened in 1957. From 2001-2008, it was closed due to security concerns after the 9/11 attacks. The plaque in front of the Castle marks where the Disneyland Time Capsule is buried, to be opened in 2035.

Most of the attractions are relatively tame, not needing a height minimum. "Matterhorn Bobsleds," which is also in "Tomorrowland," is the only one. "Mad Tea Party" and "Casey Jr. Circus Train" push it slightly, but not much. With the exceptions of the aforementioned rides, "Dumbo the Flying Elephant," "Storybook Land Canal Boats," and a bit of "Alice in Wonderland," the rides are indoors and rather dark, in ambiance and lighting.

The one indoor ride that is not dark in either respect is "It's a Small World" but it has the fairly creepy dolls and immensely annoying song, so I don't ride it if I can help it. The Disney Company understands that a lot of people agree with me about it, because in the game "Epic Mickey," the Clocktower has been driving me mad after hearing it for 52 years and basically becomes evil. I'm sure that could happen to anyone. Scar from "The Lion King" isn't a fan either.

"Casey Jr. Circus Train" and "Storybook Land Canal Boats" follow the same route but at different speeds. The Train's tour of the Classic Disney film scenes had no narration, unlike the Boats. In 1994, some of the locations were modernized, moving Toad Hall and replacing it with the Sultan's Palace of Agrabah; adding Prince Eric's Castle and King Triton's Palace, the latter of which is hidden partially behind a waterfall; and the village of Arendelle.

Before 1983, the Land had a Renaissance look. In '83, it became the "New Fantasyland" and the facades became more Bavarian Village.

In 1961, Tinkerbell had her first flight from "Matterhorn" to the Castle. The flight starts off the nightly fireworks display. Over the years, Tink has grown to symbolize the magic of Disney.

"Fantasyland" is the only Land with any connection to any of the films Disney had released up until the 2000s, not counting "Star Tours" and "Indiana Jones." Almost every ride has some basis in films. In general, the films gave the Imagineers a tremendous amount to work with for rides and shows. The nonsense and whimsy of going through Wonderland, rescuing Snow White with the Seven Dwarfs, or flying alongside Peter Pan, is a fantasy turned reality for kids of all ages.

Although it was Walt's favorite Land, he was never really satisfied with it. It had been built in a rush and for less money than required. In the 80s, the Imagineers felt the need to flesh out the land as a tribute to Walt.

It is a land of imagination, hopes and dreams. Magic and make-believe fairy tales come true. He dedicated the "timeless land of enchantment to those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams do come true."

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