DISNEYANDMORE AND AL LUTZ UPDATE HAS A LOT TO TELL YOU!
May be you remember the Mice Age article posted by Al Lutz last November. In his update, called "Cars Land in Tokyo", Al was revealing that TDL was planning to bring Cars Land at TDL Magic Kingdom but at a cost: "Much of Tokyo’s “Westernland” would need to be repurposed and the Rivers of America section would be removed entirely..." although "...Big Thunder Mountain, the Country Bear Jamboree and the original frontier town buildings would remain at the front of the land, with the Western River Railroad continuing to circle the property. But towards the back of Westernland the entire Rivers of America would be leveled and turned into Cars Land."
Disney fans reactions were not specially enthusiastic at the idea to see TDL Rivers of America disappearing from Westernland, specially in a park which don't have that much spaces with water, even as Al said if "the Rivers of America takes up a huge amount of space but delivers very little in the way of attraction capacity for that crowded park". And God knows how Tokyo Disneyland can be crowded all year long. So, i suppose that WDI Imagineers had a point on this one when they did in Glendale their presentation to Oriental Land top executives, including OLC President and CEO. As Al noted in his update "additional capacity is a huge selling point for the Japanese executives" and for sure we can't blame them to try to add capacity to Tokyo Disneyland.
But i have a good news for TDL fans who were furious at the idea to can't sail anymore on Westernland Rivers of America as from what i've been told the project to build Cars Land at TDL has been cancelled. I don't know the precise reasons, may be TDL execs finally understood that the idea to remove a big part of Westernland was not that good after all, or may be it is because of the cost, or may be it is not possible to build Cars Land for technical reasons. As you may know Tokyo Disneyland was built on landfill, and the weight of Carsland rockwork may have been a cost issue in firming up the ground beneath it.
So, except if TDL execs change their mind, Cars Land won't come to Japan - at least at Tokyo Disneyland. But the story has a good ending as in exchange Tokyo Disneyland envision a major Fantasyland expansion, apparently pretty big in size, similar or almost to WDW New Fantasyland. No news yet on which attractions will be part of it but, as OLC pretty much only copy in TDL what has previously been done in U.S parks and go for cute things the most, the Little Mermaid or Seven Dwarfs coaster rides could come soon at TDL Fantasyland. Though with Mermaid Lagoon next door at TDS it's may be not sure that the Little Mermaid ride will come finally to TDL...
That said, the big question is: where these Fantasyland additions will be built? Because the problem of the available land remains the same and there is not that much spaces available at TDL. Have a look at the Google Earth screen capture above - click on the picture to enlarge it - as it will help you to understand the problem. The picture shows TDL Fantasyland with Westernland on the right, Toon Town on the bottom left with part of the parking lot, and Autopia and Tomorrowland on the top left. The show buildings in the bottom center are those of It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain.
As you can see there is not a lot of choice. Something is going to be removed to make room for these Fantasyland additions and either it will be Autopia, or it could be Toon Town, or they might take a part of the parking lot behind Toon Town. Although Westernland is close to Fantasyland i can't imagine they will build their new Fantasyland there as it will mean that we'll be back to the previous problem, i.e the disappearing of a big part of Westernland. Removing Autopia would be the logical choice, as Autopia always take a lot of land, but this will mean to reduce Tomorrowland and TDL might be interested to keep this space for a future Star Wars or Marvel lands. Another option would be to take away only a small piece of the Rivers of America near the Haunted Mansion. You could make the river loop smaller and gain some land that way, but it may not be enough. Losing Toontown might also be the easiest fix. Removing Toon Town and Autopia next to it would make available a big piece of land. On the right of Toon Town is a Small World, but i wonder if they would ever get rid of It's a Small World, the ride is almost sacred! So far, i don't have the answer so is suppose that for now all we have to do is to wait for more details about this exciting Fantasyland additions!
Pictures: copyright Disney, Google Earth
via Disney and More.