Disneyland’s Fantasy Faire officially set to open March 12 as Tony Baxter leaves Walt Disney Imagineering

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Dateline Disneyland, Disneyland Resort

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Published on February 04, 2013 at 5:05 am with 36 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • Trumpet

    Great Update Andy

    It is amazing how soon the Fantasy Faire will open, considering hwo long there has been an exhibition at the blue sky celler. Still, it looks good, but the marquee looks abit WDW for my tastes.

    Shame aboyt Tony Baxter, as he was a great imagineer. Hopefully, he will still influence the upcoming announcements.

    Thanks Again Andy


  • michael darling

    Thank you, Mr. Baxter, for all the magic.

    I think the Faire marquee is just fine, and suitable for its purpose. It will catch attention and draw visitors to the new area…..plus: its a faire. The buildings and rooftops are just delightful. The creative tile work is the best. I think Disney does roofs like no one else.

    I do think Cinderella’s surroundings look like a corner of an old Shakeys Pizza. But that’s just a nitpick! Just a small nitpick! This place is going to be GREAT. 🙂

    Amazing how fast this went up, and our one-princess bathrooms here out east are taking forever.

    Thanks for the article.

  • WheresMickey

    nice update!

  • eicarr

    I’m trying to analyze what bugs me about the marquee ( though it might be fine in person).

    Being on the roof it seems to throw off the force perspective on even the surrounding buildings. And the shape of the building makes it look like a ticket or Kodak booth with a sign so proportionally large on it.

    Tony Baxter forever put his mark on Disneyland. DL had an even greater decline in ride “coolness” after Indiana Jones then after the late ’60’s( though DCA 2.0 brought DL back on track). But at Disneyland I apritiate the small stuff and am greatful for the small attractions and area theming i’ll be able to leasurly enjoy and escape the crowds with. And I know his talents will be strategically and sergically put to good use by DL for years to come.

  • Algernon

    Who will go to Fantasy Faire? Four year old girls? Teenagers wouldn’t be caught dead there. And how many moms want dad checking out Sleeping Beauty? Single moms with four year olds–that’s who is going to be there–as the polarization and destruction of Disneyland continues. Maybe all the changes of late are the real reason the big two are moving on–the safety railings, rides like Finding Nemo, Princess Fantasy Faire, the nettings on the Jungle Cruise–maybe it’s having a cumulative effect. Or maybe not. Maybe the Coney Island-ification of Disneyland is not processeding fast enough for the powers that be…

    • Stomper622

      LOL, wow. Talk about over dramatic. I for one like how the park is evolving. As far as the Fastasy Faire area, it’ll be a big hit. It won’t just be single moms with 4 year olds, lol. Funny.

    • WookieCookie

      Wow, looks like somebody needs some flowers.

      • TodAZ1

        HA!!! Good one. 🙂

      • heysi

        This made me smile. Nice one.

    • eicarr

      At the very least it will be a nice area to walk through. I’m glad they’re trying something for this demographic besides kiddie roller coasters and fun balls to jump into. Every kid there frees up space in the park, so I wish it success.

    • martinjbell1986


    • cyberczar

      Um, no. My wife and I have two boys (4 and 1.5), and one of the most magical moments of our trips to the Park was when they got to meet Ariel. (Of course, having her guess my son’s name – Sebastian – may have added to the magic a bit). So, even though our family of 4 contains exactly 0% 4-year-old girls, we still enjoy the princesses just as much as all of the other characters. (Okay, maybe not quite as much as Jake, but close). They’re a part of the Disney pantheon. And it’s nice to have a dedicated area for meet-n-greets, which, like it or not, is a big part of the magic of visiting the park for young kids.

      All that said, while the theming on most of the area looks great, and well up to Disney standards, that marquee is atrocious!

    • heysi

      My teenage daughter will go there and my wife is way hotter than Cinderella…so your premise is dismissed…Thank you for playing.

    • fravitmonk


      • bayouguy

        My daughter wants more pictures of her with princesses and other characters. So, I’ll be there with my daughter.

    • ayalexander

      You realize that the things that turn out in the parks are based largly off of guest demand right? Meaning fantasy fair was imagined from the foundations of the need (by guests) for a proper place to visit the princesses, have proper interaction, have snacks and entertainment and things in a single area.

    • MikkiandtheMouse

      aww don’t be grumpy.

      Most teenagers wouldn’t be caught dead in Fantasyland period, if we want to get nitpicky. “Disneyland is for babies” stage is reached at about 14, but I imagine DCA has swayed quite a few from a less grumpy on family vacation. Fantasy Faire demographic is young girls, no questions, always has been and always will be and that’s absolutely okay!

      Finding Nemo would be perfectly fine if the loading/unloading weren’t so tedious IMO. Jungle Cruise, Alice and Matterhorn have OSHA to thank for the unaesthetic/uncomfortable safety “upgrades”… can’t blame Disney there.

      • ayalexander

        eh I highly disagree most teens find Fantasyland so childish that “its cool” they have nastalgia just as much as we do. I mean what is this the 1980’s? Teens today love doing “cheesy” things.

  • sapphire

    I really wish they had posted the True Love menus last Friday (or earlier!)… Let’s call and make a reservation for the more expensive restaurants w/o having a clue what is being offered or for what price! Watch them give more info THIS Friday – by which point everything is booked. ;_;

    Re:Faire – I’m in my 30s, zero kids, and like going to see the Princesses. In fact half my reason for going during the upcoming True Love week is that I’ll be getting PRINCES! Gonna be awesome…

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  • SoarinMatt

    I’m getting sick of them using the Muppets theater to host temporary previews for movies. Why not update the attraction? It’s just really frustrating that this keeps happening.

    Fantasy Faire looks fantastic.

    And I have to say, even though the name “limited time magic” is really stupid, I am really enjoying the offerings they’ve been putting out there.

    • jcruise86

      I’m looking forward to the long OZ preview, and as a local who only likes to see the still-excellent Muppet 3D just once or twice a year, I like the expanded previews. I thought the Frankenweenie show was most excellent.

      I’m not really excited about any other Ltd. Time events. I want Circlevision classics!

  • jcruise86

    That Cinderella pictured above might appeal to more folks than just little girls.

    Tony Baxter, thanks for being so passionate for so long about a great American art form: Disney theme parks.

    And thanks, Micechat, for all the updates!

  • martinjbell1986

    Great Update!

  • TodAZ1

    Does anyone know how long that big crane will be at Big Thunder? It’s not going to be there the whole time, is it??

  • Ravjay12

    Great update! I had the honor of meeting Tony Baxter at the Cast preview of Indiana Jones Adventure. By far my favorite of all the imagineers!! He really set the standard by which all theme parks and attractions should be. Good luck to him in his new role at Imagineering as mentor and advisor.

  • majestros23


  • airick75

    I realize there’s a lot of defensive reaction to Tony Baxter’s retirement. But, let’s be clear, while clearly a fan favorite, we don’t know the whole story. I have a ton of respect for Tony Baxter’s accomplishments. But, let’s remember, his last major project was Disneyland’s “New Tomorrowland” which flopped on a scale just shy of California Adventure. Over the next ten years, Baxter’s redesign was undone and redone, and sometimes just done (ie people mover track a la Rocket Rods). I would speculate this caused considerable strife in imagineering. There are so many aspects to consider that we should offer our support and thanks to Baxter, but perhaps not be so quick to villify imagineering and corporate suits in this instance.

    • OriginalMousekteer

      Oh, come on–

      Don’t blame Tony for Tomorrowland ’98–it was a corporate cluster-F from start to finish. You simply can’t blame him for a “design by committee” project that was overrun by beancounters from start to finish (Cyntha Harriss ).

      I’m much more concerned by Indy taking away the Pirates queue (today’s extended Pirate’s queue which reaches all the way to Mansion is known infamously in NOCC as the “Kracken”) and the Pirates breakroom (now cast members hang out in a concrete and plywood space under the Pirates dispatch tower with water overflow in a wall niche and a bootleg dorm fridge and barely functioning microwave). Oh sure, Tony managed to shoehorn the queue into the old Pirates queue space and the Indy entrance which floods Adventureland with people and strollers, not to mention the show building from hell. Hardly a monument of great design in my book. Of course, if they had spent the money to excavate another 20 feet into the ground and rework the west side of Jungle Cruise it would be another matter. The whole temple entrance is a huge waste of precious space.

      My complaint isn’t that Tony was an imagineering god or a villain–it’s that he was the victim of politics and beancounters and what will come after?

      • ayalexander

        You realize the pirates cast members use the backstage breakroom located behind the old man in the rocking chair, right? Its a lovely breakroom, adorned and decorated, with a flat screen television 4 pro-microwaves and state of the art refridgerators, a sink, and plenty of space to sit. I know because I’ve been there. The little rinky dink place to which you are referring is only for people on the dispatch tower shift who like to have a bottle of water or cup-a-noodles once in a while, (hence the 1 microwave and small refridgerator) don’t act like its the only place for them to break. There’s also an outdoor breakroom underneath the mardi gras “props” visible from the Disneyland Railroad.

  • dizneydomenic

    Hopefully with some clever camouflage… trees etc, they can make the bright colors not too visible from main st in future. Sad about Tony Baxter but a big thank you to him for being a bright spot in imagineering… hopefully someone else can carry on with such creativity.

  • svonkco

    Disney in general, and Imagineering in particular, has a real brain-drain problem, perhaps caused by a problem of upper management making the place an uncomfortable or impossible place to work. Under Walt, people who were rivals or even disliked each other were forced to work together. I’m not sure about Marc Davis and Claude Coats’s relationship, but the fact that these two worked together so well on Pirates, but that they never worked together well after Walt died, seems to show the importance of having a strong but fair hand in charge. That no longer seems to be the case with the current Disney or Imagineering executives, who appear to be more focused on maintaining power and lowering overhead than in retaining Disney’s creative lead over its rivals. Do you need proof? How about the loss of Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Chris Sanders, Henry Selick, Rob Minkoff, Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, and Brenda Chapman from the animation side, and Tony Baxter, Eddie Soto, Tim Delaney, and Valerie Edwards from Imagineering, plus the selling off of MAPO and Audio Animatronics to Garner Holt. Something is rotten in Burbank/Glendale. Shame on Bob Iger, John Lasseter, and Bruce Vaughn for their short-sidedness.

    • ayalexander

      there’s a huge oversight that most disney fans don’t know about: the lack of magic at Walt Disney Imagineering. The imagineering team is slowly being down-sized because of the politics. Imagineers of today’s generation feel like gods and feel that they are superior to anyone at Disney because of the fact that they now design what is DISNEY. Tony Baxter isn’t retiring, he’s escaping, and his “offer” to be a mentor is his last scream for help saying “please take my advice, we should be more about magic than money”. When upper management gave imagineers a survey that asked about their concerns over the status of current and aging attractions, most replied quite simply “It doesn’t matter.” or “i don’t care, its built its finished, who gives a crap if it burns down” -this is not a lie. These were actual replies. It was such a shame to see the imagineering teams so ready to dismiss any completed projects. And their attitude on construction sites towards crew members and cast members is shameful. Tony Baxter is one of the last REAL imagineers with “Disney” values and knowledge, and he is escaping from “mount olympus” or “stepping down from that growing pedistal” and begging his successors to listen to humble reason. Thank you Tony, for all your efforts.

  • CandyPandora

    What is a “wandering wallflower?” My curiosity is piqued…

  • CCS

    How come Lilo isn’t a Disney Princess, hmmmm???

  • kindagoofy

    I wonder if Tony Baxter had any last say in the BTMR refurb? How fitting that would be. Wouldn’t it also be a fantastic add if the track would be expanded through the old tunnel across the walkway to Fantasyland? It’s the old tunnel that used to be used by the mine train, I think. Alas, I doubt there will be any major chances to the track.