Walt Disney World has confirmed that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Dumbo the Flying Elephant are both set to undergo refurbishment work at the Magic Kingdom.
The Dumbo ride is set to close on January 9, 2012, and to reopen on Feburary 18, 2012. This has sparked speculation that the new Storybook Circus area could be set to open on that date, as part of ongoing work to expand the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. Side-by-side versions of Dumbo the Flying Elephant will feature in Storybook Circus, with an "early 2012" opening date having previously been mooted.
It had previously been claimed that at least one Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride would remain operational throughout the Fantasyland expansion construction period. The ride is due to be moved to a new location and joined by an identical clone in order to improve capacity. It had been reported by the Orlando Sentinel that the original would remain in place until the second was operational.
The two Dumbo the Flying Elephant rides will be joined by a large circus tent housing an interactive queue. The area will also feature an updated version of the existing Barnstormer rollercoaster. Renamed as Barnstormer - Hosted by the Great Goofini, it will receive a new theme based on stunt planes.
BIg Thunder Mountain Railroad is also due to close on January 9, 2012. The rollercoaster is set to undergo an extensive refurbishment, and will not reopen until April 1, 2012 at the earliest.