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Disney's New Fantasyland: the biggest expansion in the history of The Magic Kingdom.
an unfinished masterpiece
Parts of Fantasyland are already open, but Disneys features will not be fully built until sometime in 2014. So far, the two open areas are Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus. The Enchanted Forest is Disneys movie mashup of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Storybook Circus is a Disneys interactive classic American circus, meant to evoke the feeling of being inside the set of Dumbo.
Beginning with Enchanted Forest, celebrity characters include Belle, Gaston and Ariel. The autograph sites and shows which opened this year in Orlando include "Enchanted Tales with Belle," as well as Ariel's Grotto.
Enchanted Tales with Belle includes a retelling of "Tale as old as Time" with the Disney princess and Lumiere. The settings are the Paris cottage of Belle's home, as well as the Beast's library. Ariel's grotto is a place for guests to take pictures with the undersea princess in her classic underwater beach themed studio.
Eat in Fantasyland
The new world also includes two guest restaurants with castle and tavern themes. The "Be Our Guest" restaurant brings Beast Castle to life, allowing park guests to dine in one of three classic sets from the movie. There is the ballroom featured at the end of the film, the magic West Wing, and the Beast's Library. The lunch service is fast casual, with touch screen ordering and food delivered by waiters. The dinner service is more formal with multiple course meals. It is recommended that guests reserve a spot for the dinner service, as it is turning into a popular resort experience. American style food is served.
Gaston's Tavern is planned as a much more casual eatery. Fantasyland food covers all the bases. Guests have a chance to meet the great Gaston and eat at the tavern used in the movie. There will be autograph signings at scheduled times.
New Ride: A Fish Out of Water
A large subsection of the new Fantasyland worlds is devoted to an "Under the Sea" section, where Disneys entertainment lives up to the usual standard with a new musical animatronics ride. "A fish out of Water" portrays the familiar tale of everyone's favorite mermaid as guests ride along a track watching the show in both video and robotics. One great cast surprise is the huge Ursula robot in the ride. No need to bring swim gear or an umbrella- despite being a "sea" attraction, this is not part of Disneys water parks.
The StoryBook Circus
The Storybook Circus area of Disney Fantasyland attractions is no less an adventure. New theme attractions include a new stop on the Walt Disney World Railroad (Fantasyland Station), a water play area (Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station), and Pete’s Silly Sideshow (another autograph area). The new rides are called "The Barnstormer" and "Dumbo the Flying Elephant."
All of the Fantasyland family attractions are suitable for all ages. The station is lovely, and Disneys events in the autograph areas are a delight. There are hints that multiple characters will be found around the big top tent where Pete's Silly Slideshow is held. Indeed, the Storybook Circus is billed as a sort of classic Disney area with a lot of nostalgic pieces.
The Barnstormer ride is modeled after Goofy's stunt plane show. Guests buckle into the seats and fly above Fantasyland kingdom in the fast paced ride.
For smaller children, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a slower ride in the Circus area. It is one of the many-armed rides on which several cars (shaped like elephants) go around and up and down on long arms. Parents will remember this type of ride, but Walt Disney has put a new feature into the fantasy and guests can actually steer their car. This classic carnival book event is nothing like the coasters Disney World is famous for, and fits perfectly with the nostalgic carnival theme.
The list of featured attractions in the new areas is still incomplete. Future developments which have been confirmed by Disney are a Princess Fairytale Hall and a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Construction on Fantasyland is far from complete, look for the new attractions to open in April and March. This new story land in the Disney Kingdom is sure to make your day and maybe even your entire vacation a blast.