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The NEW Fantasyland at Walt Disney World - A Review!

Updated on August 12, 2014

The NEW Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

The NEW Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida is officially open!

As a Florida resident, I have been anticipating this grand opening for years. My husband and I have our Annual Disney Passes, and frequent the Disney Parks at least once a month. Therefore, whenever a new attraction opens it's a really big deal for us.

Disney has been dubbed "The Happiest Place on Earth," and although some would respectfully disagree, for me it provides countless hours of fun, laughs, exercise, and much needed stress-relief. My greatest joy comes from watching families spending time together - and God knows we are a nation deprived of quality family time. So if you're considering Disney World for your next family vacation, or perhaps some grown-up fun with your spouse (as we do!) or adult friends, then come along on this brief tour of The NEW Fantasyland!

Image Credit: All photos on this lens taken myself with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150

Magic Kingdom Theme Park
Magic Kingdom Theme Park

Magic Kingdom's Largest-Ever Expansion

The NEW Fantasyland officially opened on December 6, 2012. The project took more than 5 years to develop and construct. When completed in 2014, it will nearly double in size and be the largest-ever expansion for The Magic Kingdom. Take my word for it...well worth the wait!

With Disney, one is never enough - so they held two separate grand opening celebrations. The first one in Belle's Village was on a small-scale for members of the media only. The one that followed was in true grandiose Disney style, in front of Cinderella's Castle for all park guests to watch. Both ceremonies featured special guests Ginnifer Goodwin (actress from ABC"s "Once Upon A Time"), and Jordin Sparks (from "American Idol" fame).

New Fantasyland Ribbon Cutting Ceremony... - with Ginnifer Goodwin and Jordin Sparks

Have You Visited The NEW Fantasyland?

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The NEW Fantasyland Entrance
The NEW Fantasyland Entrance

What Are the NEW Additions to Fantasyland?

So, what exactly are the new additions? Well, I counted five of them, and witnessed construction on a few more scheduled to open in 2014. Some of the areas invoke audience participation with the Disney Characters, while others feature cutting-edge animatronics in true Disney style. It's clear to me that their aim was to personalize the experience for children, while at the same time, fascinating fickle adults.

Fantasy reigns in the New fantasyland! The new attractions are all themed to "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid." I was amazed that even the new dining options are authentically themed to the movie. Both new restaurants are quite spectacular! The Disney Imagineers certainly created some elaborate scenery, sure to please even the most discriminate Disney fan.

The NEW additions:

1. "Enchanted Tales with Belle" is a new interactive storytelling section.

2. A grand-scale sit-down restaurant called "Be Our Guest Restaurant" is part of Belle's Village.

3. A smaller-scale counter-service eatery called "Gaston's Tavern" was added.

4. And, of course, my favorite addition was "Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid."

5. "Ariel's Grotto" is a meet-and-greet for autographs and photos with the famous redhead Mermaid.

An Autograph Book is a Necessity at Walt Disney World!

Disney World New Fantasyland Deluxe Princess Autographs & Photo Book
Disney World New Fantasyland Deluxe Princess Autographs & Photo Book

An autograph book is a necessity at the Disney Theme Parks. There are many Character meet-and-greet locations throughout the park!

 
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Enchanted Tales with Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle

"Enchanted Tales with Belle" is a new interactive adventure with a meet-and-greet Character location.

Although mostly for small children, adults are sometimes chosen to participate in the story. Young and old alike are magically transported from Maurice's Cottage to Beast's Library where the fairytale is told. How did we end up there? Through a magical mirror, of course! Along with Belle and Lumiere, park guests played the roles of other Characters from the movie.

This attraction does offer a Fastpass, although we didn't need one, as we went in the afternoon during the "Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade." This was the perfect time of day to visit Fantasyland, while everyone was watching the parade. Because of that, the lines were very minimal. We were able to see the entire NEW Fantasyland within 2 hours.

Photos from Enchanted Tales with Belle

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Do You Agree with Disney's Decision to Serve Alcohol in the Magic Kingdom?

Sure, all the other Disney Theme Parks offer it!

Sure, all the other Disney Theme Parks offer it!

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    • Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      @Fcuk Hub: Yes...everything in moderation! Thanks so much for your participation!

    • Fcuk Hub 4 years ago

      One Beer is good, I think.

    • Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      @CamelliaPenny: My initial reaction as well! But, as you, I've come to realize many responsible people like a glass of wine/beer with dinner!

    • Perrin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      My first reaction was NO! However, it sounds like they are doing it very responsibly . . . only in one restaurant during dinner at night. And as long as it doesn't leave the restaurant, I think it's fine.

    • Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      @Steve Martaindale: Indeed...VERY well monitored! Thanks for voicing your opinion!

    • Steve Martaindale 4 years ago

      Responsible alcohol consumption (which you make it sound is indeed the case) is not anti-family. I'm OK with it either way.

    • Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

      @oldguysrule: Yes, Disney is tops when it comes to the security and safety of their guests! Thanks for sharing your opinion!

    • oldguysrule 4 years ago

      I suppose, since all their other parks offer it (Disneyland, CA - Disneyland, Paris, and the other 3 Disney Florida Parks). Apparently, they haven't had any issues. Disney is BIG with PR - they wouldn't want any negative press! Cheers!

    No. Is nothing sacred anymore? This is a family-friendly Park!

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      • Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

        @Candygirl123466: Thank you for your participation Candygirl!

      • Candygirl123466 4 years ago

        i say no

      • Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

        @DebW07: LOL...well-spoken!!!

      • DebW07 4 years ago

        There are enough spirits at the Haunted Mansion without having to sell them in the park.

      Move Over Cinderella...

      There's a NEW Castle In Town!

      Be Our Guest Restaurant
      Be Our Guest Restaurant

      Be Our Guest Restaurant - Inside Beast's Castle

      The Flavors of France!

      The "Be Our Guest Restaurant" is located inside Beast's Castle, which stands on a hill, high above the village. You have a choice of three different dining rooms, each one with a theme straight from the movie - the West Wing of Beast's Castle, the Rose Gallery in Belle's Library, and the jaw-dropping elegant 2-story Ballroom. The latter was my favorite with gold chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows with snow gently falling outside. (Yes, even in Florida! This IS Disney, okay?) In keeping with the Beauty and Beast theme, the cuisine is French-inspired.

      For lunch they offer quick counter service where guests order from kiosks via a touch screen computer, then are given a "Rose" to sit at a table of their choice. Sure, this isn't your typical kind of rose - it's a very smart rose that informs the kitchen and wait staff exactly where you are located. I like the fact that the food was served on china plates and real flatware, instead of the usual fast-food paper products. A sampling of menu choices for lunch include French onion soup, steak sandwich, Coq Au Vin (pork roast), and tuna nicoise salad (my personal favorite!).

      At night, full table service is offered for dinner. Choices include strip steak with pommes frites (french fries to me), salmon on leek fondue (my selection), and ratatouille ( a great Vegan entree). For dessert, a rolling tableside cart is presented with three different gourmet cupcake flavors and three gourmet cream puff flavors. Save room for one...you'll be glad you did! And, you'll walk off the calories before you even leave the park.

      Also worth mentioning is the children's menu - not your typical chicken fingers and fries. Choices include Mickey (turkey) meatloaf, seared mahi mahi and whole-grain macaroni with marinara sauce.

      You won't find any prices on the sample menus outside, but prices for lunch are generally $14.99 and under, while dinner will range from $15-$35.99. And, within the three dining rooms, it can generously hold 550 guests. It's a bit pricey, but still my hands-down recommendation while in The Magic Kingdom.

      For those of you on the Disney Dining Plan, it is included for both lunch and dinner.

      I strongly recommend advance reservations (up to 180 days) as the restaurant is new and VERY popular.

      Click Here for Complete Lunch Menu ~ Including Nutritional Content

      Click Here for Complete Dinner & Beverage Menu

      Photos from Be Our Guest Restaurant

      Click thumbnail to view full-size

      Full Tour of the Be Our Guest Restaurant - Visit All Three Dining Rooms!

      Gaston's Tavern
      Gaston's Tavern

      Gaston's Tavern - In Belle's Village

      The manliest of places! But, no beer here!

      Gaston's Tavern is the perfect place to rest while grabbing a quick bite to eat. However, contrary to what the name would imply, this Tavern is "dry!" Don't be fooled by the bronze statue outside depicting overflowing beer kegs! No beer here!

      Tasty Tavern fare includes roasted pork shank, hummus and chips, mixed vegetable cup with dip, mixed fruit cup, and sliced apples with caramel sauce. Dessert includes chocolate croissant (I can never pass this up no matter how full I am), and warm cinnamon rolls (their signature dessert, served warm all day). You can imagine the sweet aroma as we approached the town square!

      You must not leave The NEW Fantasyland without trying LeFou's Brew - the Tavern's original drink. It's made with no-sugar added frozen apple juice, toasted marshmallows, and topped with passion fruit-mango foam! You can purchase the beverage only, or with a take-home souvenir stein or goblet. Oh yeah, nothing better on a hot and humid Florida day!

      Gaston's Tavern is open for lunch and dinner, and most items are $7.99 or less. It is included in the Disney Dining Plan as a snack credit.

      Reservations are not accepted here, as this is a small counter service restaurant.

      Click Here for Gaston's Tavern Complete Menu

      Photos from Gaston's Tavern

      Click thumbnail to view full-size

      Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

      Journey of The Little Mermaid
      Journey of The Little Mermaid

      Journey of The Little Mermaid was definitely my favorite part of The NEW Fantasyland . The effects were absolutely stunning. A photographer's dream. One note of caution - put your camera on "continuous shoot mode." I regret not having done this. And, once the ride begins, it's too dark to be fiddling with your camera settings.

      This ride-through musical adventure relives the tale of how one lucky little mermaid found true love...and legs! We entered Prince Eric's Castle through an underground cavern and boarded a clam shell (yes, a clam shell, as evidenced by my photos) to descend below the waves. Once we took the plunge, we floated through famous scenes from the animated classic movie. Disney has done it again! Creating special effects that really made us feel as if we were under water. Of course, as you can see from my photos, the climax was the fairytale wedding finale between Ariel and Prince Eric.

      And yes, our undersea journey included Sebastian, Flounder, Scuttle, King Triton and Ursula the sea witch!

      A Fastpass is available for this ride, and I recommend using it to avoid long wait times.

      Ariel's Grotto
      Ariel's Grotto

      Ariel's Grotto

      Meet-and-greet your favorite mermaid!

      Ariel's Grotto is a dream-come-true for any little mermaid wannabe. After completing your undersea Journey of The Little Mermaid , you must venture into this famous cave, where you will find Ariel in person. Autographs and photos are freely given to guests of any age!

      Fastpass is not available for this seaside grotto, but the wait time is prominently displayed outside the grotto.

      Photos from Journey of The Little Mermaid

      Click thumbnail to view full-size

      For Your Favorite "Little Mermaid" Fan!

      Disney Princess 2-In-1 Ballgown Surprise Ariel Doll
      Disney Princess 2-In-1 Ballgown Surprise Ariel Doll

      Your child will be amazed with this 2-in-1 doll. Watch as Ariel transforms from a mermaid into a Disney Princess! Simply fold down the gown to reveal the second (mermaid) outfit.

       
      Disney Little Mermaid Siren's Call Cuddle Pillow
      Disney Little Mermaid Siren's Call Cuddle Pillow

      Generously sized at 2-feet high! Soft and cuddly pillow!

       
      Roommates Rmk1489Gm The Little Mermaid Giant Peel & Stick Giant Wall Decal
      Roommates Rmk1489Gm The Little Mermaid Giant Peel & Stick Giant Wall Decal

      Wow...over 3 feet tall! Just peel and stick on your little princesses wall!

       

      In Conclusion...

      Time and Money-Saving Tips!

      Nothing says "fantasy" better than The NEW Fantasyland! Disney has done an awesome job of re-creating some of the most popular scenes from two of their most spectacular movies - Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.

      As with the pre-existing Fantasyland, this is definitely the most juvenile section of The Magic Kingdom Park. Understand that it is geared for younger children, therefore, doesn't have the thrill rides and "fear-factor" attractions that many are looking for.

      A FEW TIPS:

      1. Take advantage of the Fastpass system - it will save you the long waits in line.

      2. View this NEW section while the parades are in progress - the lines are MUCH shorter.

      3. It's become quite popular for children to dress up in their favorite Princess/Disney Character costume while attending the parks. It would be wise to purchase your Disney products/costumes BEFORE coming to The Magic Kingdom - it will save you TONS of money!

      4. Make lunch or dinner reservations in advance - the most popular restaurants are perpetually booked.

      5. If you are celebrating a special occasion (birthday, wedding, anniversary, honeymoon, graduation, etc.), tell the Disney Cast Members (everywhere you go), as there are "freebies" throughout the park just waiting for you!

      Does The NEW Fantasyland Live Up To Your Disney Expectations?

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      Thank You for Touring Disney's NEW Fantasyland! - Please share your comments. And...have a Magical day!

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          Glenda Motsavage 3 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Craftymarie: Never say never... perhaps one day!!! Thanks for visiting kinworm!

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          Marie 3 years ago

          Oh wow, I sure would love to go some day. Unfortunately it is a very long way away from the UK. It looks amazing :)

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          Glenda Motsavage 3 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Charito1962: Thank you, Charito, for touring the New Fantasyland at WDW. I love the new additions. In fact, I will be updating this article with the newest ride that opened in that section called the 'Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster.' I'm quite certain you would have a blast there!

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          Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

          This has got to be included in my bucket list!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Fit And Fab: I do hope you are able to reach your goal of visiting Disney within the next few years! The NEW Fantasyland should be completely finished by then. Thanks for reading my review!

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          Fit And Fab 4 years ago

          I wonder how it compares to Disneyland in Anaheim. I went to that one about 5 years ago and had a ball. I'd consider the new fantasyland and the kids want me to take them to Disneyland in a few years. I've made it a goal.

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @shellys-space: The Be Our Guest restaurant was truly impressive to me...and the food offerings are some of the best in the Magic Kingdom! I pray you are able to visit some day! Thank you for spending part of your day reading my review!

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          Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

          I haven't been to Fantasyland! Would love to see the Be Our Guest restaurant!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @takkhisa: I pray that God would make a way for you to visit the USA some day - the Disney Theme Parks are worth the trip! Thanks for taking the tour, and the SquidAngel blessing was so sweet of you!

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          Takkhis 4 years ago

          Thanks for the tour! I doubt whether i would ever visit US but have dream to visit US someday. If i do i would like to visit Disney's NEW Fantasyland. Blessed :)

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          Perrin 4 years ago from South Carolina

          When we were there in January 2012, areas (like Dumbo) were closed for renovations. We can't wait to go back and see all the great new additions to Fantasyland. Thanks for a great tour!!!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @WriterJanis2: Thank you Janis for putting on your "Minnie Ears" and taking the tour! Ariel and Belle can't wait to see you again!

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          WriterJanis2 4 years ago

          Thank you for providing such a wonderful tour. I can't wait to go back and see this. The Be Our Guest restaurant looks so beautiful. Liked and blessed.

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @DebW07: Thank you Deb for taking the NEW Fantasyland tour - appreciate your visit!

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          DebW07 4 years ago

          Looks like lots of fun!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @traveldestinations: Thanks so much for taking the NEW Fantasyland tour - and the SquidAngel blessing was "Fantasmic!"

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          traveldestinations 4 years ago

          Would like to go there. Blessed!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @air ambulance s: Thanks for taking the tour and for the very kind words! I will do updates listing additional "tips" as I get them!

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          air ambulance s 4 years ago

          Great lens! Very nice review. I can't wait to go there.

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @madvyking: Yes, Disney strives for quality in everything they create - they're never in a hurry. Five years...but worth the wait! Thanks so much for taking the tour!

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          madvyking 4 years ago

          it was destines areil and belly would ge their due and glad took while to get it right

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @ChrisLdn: You will NOT be disappointed Christine! Take your camera...and your appetite! Thanks so much for visiting - Have a Magical Day!

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          ChrisLdn 4 years ago

          Great lens! I can't wait for my next Disney trip; I've been really looking forward to the opening of Be Our Guest Restaurant :).

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @chuckiebanks: Thank you for the very kind words. Your visit and Squidlike were greatly appreciated. And...i do hope that Disney World is somewhere in your future!

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          ilovehaagendazs 4 years ago

          I havent been to fantasyland but I will put it in my plan. It's never too old to be in Disneyland!

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          chuckiebanks 4 years ago

          Amazing Review and wonderful photos.. I would love to go to Disney World someday..

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @ilovehaagendazs: You are so right! I feel like a child every time I'm there! I do pray you will get to visit it sometime in your near future!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @teach: Disney is quite addictive! I guess we're all just little kids at heart! Thanks so much for taking the tour!

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          teach 4 years ago

          Disney Land was my goal when I was 6...ok, yeah, that was a long time ago...every time I'm in LA or near Orlando I have to go! Thanks for sharing!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Mr Criminology: Thank you so much for taking the NEW Fantasyland tour. Appreciate your visit!

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          Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

          i never been to fantasyland but nicely presented lens.

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Aibrean82: Thanks so much for visiting, and for the SquidLike! I pray that God would grant your heart's desire to visit Disney World in the near future!

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          Aibrean82 4 years ago

          Wow, thanks for the tour! I would love to go there! Really good work on this lens :)

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Blackspaniel1: Absolutely! Although the Fantasyland section is the most juvenile, the creativity cannot be denied! Thanks for taking the tour - and the SquidLike was so appreciated.

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Camden1: Ahhh, so many NEW memories just waiting for your family here in the Sunshine state! Perhaps I'll see you there (that's my second home - you would think they would put me on the payroll...LOL!). Thanks so much for the visit and SquidLike!

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          Blackspaniel1 4 years ago

          Looks like another visit is in order.

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          Camden1 4 years ago

          My family is long overdue for a trip to Disney...my youngest (12 years old) doesn't even remember the OLD Fantasyland!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @Glenda Motsavage: Update: @ "oldguysrule"...just found out via my dashboard that you were also my 100th comment on all my lenses! Maybe you should get a prize!?!?!

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          Glenda Motsavage 4 years ago from The Sunshine State

          @oldguysrule: Thank you "oldguysrule" for taking my tour, and for the very kind words. Also, you get the prize for being the first person to comment on my newly published lens!...LOL

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          oldguysrule 4 years ago

          You did a great job on this lens - I felt as if I was right there! Loved the photos you took! The review was very detailed and complete. Thanks for the tour!