Hidden Gems of Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom

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Ladies and Gentlemen! Come one, come all to hear the tale of the humble beginnings and details often overlooked in Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Today we are taking an in-depth glance at the hidden gems you can find within the land reimagined and based on the Disney animated classic film, Dumbo.

Originally Storybook Circus was opened in 1988 as Mickey’s Birthdayland in honor of Mickey’s 60th birthday as a much smaller part of the park. Since it’s original opening it has been renamed, expanded and rethemed several times.

Mickey’s Birthdayland Grand Opening 1988 Photo Courtesy Disney
  • 1988-Mickey’s Birthdayland
  • 1990-Mickey’s Starland
  • 1991-Mickey’s Toyland
  • 1996-Mickey’s Toontown Fair
  • 2011-Storybook Circus

In 2011 the quant little Toontown Fair was removed and reimagined to the whimsical circus theme we see in the current day park. As a matter of fact, if you are walking around Storybook Circus you will find circus animal footprints everywhere. If you’re not careful you will also step on one of the peanut shells left from circus-goers that have been strategically placed by Imagineers who designed the land.

Two classic attractions are located in Storybook Circus, Dumbo and Goofy’s Barn Stormer. If you take a walk through the Dumbo line queue you will see inspiration from the classic film in the paintings along the base of the attraction. You will notice the entire ride has little pieces of the movie throughout, but there is one small detail you may not see in the movie.

There is a small playground for children to play in while they wait for their turn on the ride. You will find a small doghouse located inside with the name “Sport” written on it. This was a little nod to one of the Imagineers that worked on the attraction when it was built for the land. He had a dog named “Sport” and they gave him a permanent tribute at the attraction to always remember him.

Goofy’s Barn Stormer is a fun “entry-level” rollercoaster for children also located in Storybook Circus. You will find beautifully decorated posters inviting you to take part in Goofy’s many adventures including “Tiger Juggling,” “Bear Wrasslin” that all refer to Goofy animated shorts from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.

Photo: Wonderful World of Walt

If you look closely you can see a nod to Epcot on the large sign Goofy has crashed through reading: “Storybook Circus presents The Barnstormer: An Acrobatic Skyleidoscope with Goofy.” This is a reference to a show performed 30 years ago at Epcot not many would remember. “Skyleidoscope” began in Epcot in September 1985 as a 15-minute show on the World Showcase Lagoon billed as “an aerial spectacle” that “transforms the 45-acre World Showcase Lagoon into a colorful fantasy-land of purple dragons, exploding gumdrops, and whimsical flying machines.” 

Photo: Orlando Theme Park News

Walt Disney loved trains. He had trains at his home that he would ride with his family around the property and incorporated them in both his beloved parks. Currently, the train at Magic Kingdom is shut down for the construction of the new Tron coaster installation. We are hopeful that the train will begin running soon around Magic Kingdom with one of the stops being in Storybook Circus.

When you step off the train you may notice something very…curious. There is a hatbox on the platform just after you exit the station that reads: Ten Shillings and Sixpence LTD. Lewis Carroll, the writer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has an illustration in the book of the Hatter with a card tucked in his hat which stated: “in this style 10/6.” This was the pice of the hat, ten shillings and sixpence.

Photo Courtesy Disney

On very hot days in Magic Kingdom many park guests escape to Storybook Circus to enjoy the Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station to cool off. If you pay close attention to the circus cars around the splash pad you will see they are numbered. The car filled with camels is numbered 99 for the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the giraffe’s car is numbered 89 for the opening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the monkey’s car numbered 82 for the opening of Epcot, and the elephants is numbered 71 for the opening of Magic Kingdom. Disneyland is also paid tribute here in Storybook Circus! You will notice 55 featured on the red hot dog cart to commemorate the original park that started it all.