While New Fantasyland is far from complete, we attended the grand opening festivities on December 6th at the Magic Kingdom, featuring Ginnifer Goodwin as master of ceremonies and Jordin Sparks singing a medley of Disney classics from featured films Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Dumbo.
We would be remiss not to mention that still to come are the Princess Fairytale Hall and the as-yet-unannounced Rapunzel themed restrooms in 2013, as well as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster in 2014, which may well be the highlight of the land. A rickety mine car racing through a diamond mine? Yes please! But for now, here are our top details of the first phases of New Fantasyland:
4. The West Wing’s rose and portrait.
Be Our Guest is the most stunning restaurant in Walt Disney World. We ate there for lunch, and the RFID system to receive your food allowed us plenty of time to explore the castle before the wait staff came to find us. Each room is rich in detail and would please even the most hardcore Beauty and the Beast fans, but our favorite details were found in the West Wing. As you’ll recall, the Beast received a rose from an enchantress that he kept guarded here. It has been recreated using the Pepper’s Ghost illusion to make the petals slowly fall as you dine. The room has been darkened, and a portrait of the Beast as a young man is slashed in a fit of anger, as is nearly everything in the wing. If you have a choice, we suggest touring the other rooms and eating here to enjoy all of the effects.
3. Gaston and LeFou’s game of darts and subsequent fight.
Gaston’s Tavern is small, but rich in detail. After you get your cinnamon bun and LeFou’s Brew (frozen apple juice with toasted marshmallow flavor, topped with passion fruit-mango foam — sounds like a lot going on, but we enjoyed it), check out both side rooms. To the right, you’ll encounter a large portrait of Gaston framed with antlers, which as you know he uses in 100% of his decorating. But it’s the room to the left that we love even more. There is a dartboard keeping track of Gaston’s many victories over LeFou, and if you look around (and up!) there are darts EVERYWHERE. Seems that the inebriated Frenchmen are less than stellar at hitting their marks. And if you look at the wall to the right of the doorway, you’ll see evidence of another type of battle over darts!
2. The queue for Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid.
Where to begin? Ariel greets you at the entrance on the bow of a sunken ship, and then you are immediately greeted with waterfalls and ponds as you enter the queue — not to mention Prince Eric’s seaside castle rising above. As you continue on, there are seashells in the pavement, starfish on the water fountains, and some interactive games to play with crabs. That’s all before you get inside. We don’t want to give away everything, but there is a fabulous animatronic inside that guests will enjoy, along with a shout out to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which of course was the first water-based attraction in this space.
1. This view of the bridge to Beast’s Castle over the water.
For now, it will be rare to see this bridge as empty as it is in this photo. There are regularly long lines to get into the Be Our Guest restaurant for lunch, as well as thousands of guests seeing the castle for the first time each day. We were lucky enough to get this shot while the bridge was closed for a media event on opening day. The forced perspective effect is stunning: the castle is right out of the film, looming ominously through the snow-capped mountains of France, while the lower peaks melt into the stream below.
Whenever you get a chance to see New Fantasyland for the first time, we urge you to take in your surroundings in this this lush new corner of the Magic Kingdom. There certainly is something there that wasn’t there before, and the details are what keep us coming back.
Please subscribe to be part of my world of Disney. Be sure to look at this trove for previous updates. See ya real soon!