July 1955 – present
Without a doubt, Fantasyland is the most famous and heavily visited area in Disneyland. Walt Disney envisioned Fantasyland as a place for children to become part of the stories they loved, and was supposedly his favorite area in the park. Fantasyland is styled as a medieval Bavarian village, but stays generic enough to bring guests into any of the fantasy stories featured, whether it be the French town from Beauty and the Beast, or the Scottish highlands of Brave.
Fantasyland is the quintessential magic land in the park. Guests primarily enter by crossing the drawbridge and under the Sleeping Beauty Castle, and are immediately swept away into the world of fairytales and magic. Cobblestone cottages, stained glass windows, and a flowered lagoon encircle the classic carousel that is truly the center point of Fantasyland. Home to almost every dark ride in the park, Fantasyland keeps the stories that built Disneyland alive and accessible to every generation of Disney fans.
If guests want to meet and get autographs from characters, Fantasyland is your best bet. There are usually several characters walking around, and the Fantasy Faire always has a princess or two to talk to. You are almost guaranteed to run into someone if you stop by Fantasyland, regardless of the time of day.
CHARACTERS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER
- The princesses and their princes (mainly in Fantasy Faire)
- Mad Hatter
- The Queen of Hearts
- Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
- Lady Tremaine (rare)
- Anastasia and Drizella (Cinderella’s stepsisters, rare)
- Geppetto and Pinocchio (rare)
- Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather (rare)
- Peter Pan
- Wendy (rare)
- Evil Queen (from Snow White)
- Alice in Wonderland
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Disney Princess Fantasy Faire
- It’s A Small World
- King Arthur Carrousel
- Mad Tea Party
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Mickey And The Magical Map
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
- Pixie Hollow
- Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
- Sword In The Stone
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
- Enchanted Chamber
- Fairytale Treasures
- It’s A Small World Toy Shop
- Mad Hatter (Fantasyland location)
The area now called Pixie Hollow was once King Triton’s Garden. The undersea-themed oasis featured beautiful fountains, statues of Triton and other Little Mermaid characters, and much of the same botanical gardens still in place today.
The drawbridge leading to Sleeping Beauty’s castle is real! It’s only been raised twice—in preparation for Opening Day in 1955, and in 1983 after the major Fantasyland refurbishment/expansion.
There is a gold spike in the ground just inside the entrance to the castle. During construction, the spike was placed to ensure that the castle was properly aligned with Main Street USA.
Fantasyland is by far the most popular land in Disneyland, so it is also the most crowded. With the exception of lulls during parades, Fantasyland is packed from park open to park close. Your best bet for short lines would be to race to Fantasyland right at park open, but many other guests will do the same.
That being said, some attractions never have very lengthy lines. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures are generally manageable or even short lines throughout most of the day.
If I know I’m going to Disneyland when the park is crowded, I sprinkle Fantasyland in throughout the day. Use your time waiting in between fast passes to make your way through Fantasyland, and the time in line won’t feel as wasted. On days when the park isn’t crowded at all, I like to explore Fantasyland second, after I make my way through Tomorrowland.