Disney announces big expansion plan

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. --

Disney announced a whole slate of new offerings at its Orlando theme parks on Wednesday, including the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.

Walt Disney World is about to break ground on a three-year project to expand Fantasyland. Among the new features will be a separate village for each of the Disney princesses. The Dumbo ride will also double in size, and park guests will be treated to a three-ring circus and carnival games while they wait in line.

The theme park is also planning a special promotion during nights this summer. In early June, the Main Street Electrical Parade will return to the Magic Kingdom along with a new fireworks spectacular. There will also be new lighting effects and a new drop sequence at Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Disney Cruise Lines is adding two new ships: The Disney Dream will sail in 2011, and the Disney Fantasy will begin service in 2012.

One of the ships will feature an onboard watercoaster that allows guest to ride on rafts through glass tubes high above the ship. In addition, Disney will soon offer cruises that stop in the northern European capitals, as well as trips to Alaska. Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, is also getting a makeover.

Disney also announced a new partnership between its Wide World of Sports complex and ESPN. The two will work together to relaunch the complex with more interactive exhibits.

Disney's announcement of all its new projects comes just weeks before the much-anticipated opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

Disney executives wouldn't comment about whether or not they're trying to compete with the Potter attraction, but theme park analysts said that's clearly the goal.

Disney Announces Big Expansion Plan

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