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New Fantasyland

by Meghann on November 11, 2012

After two years of peeking in on construction, stalking the Disney Blog for updates, and getting myself crazy worked up over the largest expansion project in Walt Disney World history, it’s HERE! It’s finally here! The New Fantasyland of Magic Kingdom is open for business!!

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Woo hoo!! Where are all my super excited Disney nerds at?! ;)

Technically the New Fantastyland doesn’t open until December, but I had the chance to take part in a “sneak peek preview” thanks to my annual passholder status (I renewed my annual pass in September for this very reason!).

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(side note: they’ve been working out the kinks with “dress rehearsal” sneak previews of the area for the last month or so that are open to the public. there’s no guarantee when they’ll be open or how the crowds will be, but if you have plans to visit Disney before December, there is a chance you’ll get to experience it before the grand opening.)

The original email introducing the preview was just a teaser. We had to wait a week to register (which was then pushed back another couple of days as they worked on the system). When they did open registration, the overload of so many annual passholders signing on at once crashed the system. I didn’t get a ticket on the first round, but when they reopened it a couple of hours later I was thankfully able to score a pass for the time and date I wanted (there were a handful of options to choose from).

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Disney took this preview VERY seriously. In order to register I had to have my annual pass, birthday, and ID on hand. Then when I arrived at Walt Disney today, there were two different checkpoints I had to check-in at before entering and they made it very clear if you didn’t print the ticket, you wouldn’t be let in.

I arrived about 5 minutes before my scheduled time and checked in at the ticket and transportation center, where I picked up this nifty New Fantastyland wristband

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And button.

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How cute is that button? The lady working the ticket check-in area drew it herself (and had several other options). When she told me I could pick whichever button I wanted, I almost reached through and gave her a hug!

I hopped on the monorail to Magic Kingdom and headed straight to Fantasyland.

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The rest of Magic Kingdom was PACKED. As soon as you walked past the roped entrance of the New Fantasyland you could see a noticeable difference of how many people were around. Trust me, it was still busy, but not as crazy as it was in the main area. Because of that fact, I’m so glad I had a chance to see the New Fantasyland today and didn’t wait until after the opening or try for a public sneak peek. Something tells me the crowds are just going to get bigger. It was nice to have room to breathe and take everything in. See, that annual pass does come in handy every once in a while. ;)

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As soon as I entered New Fantastyland, I was directed to Enchanted Tales with Belle on the left.

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Unfortunately this one did have a bit of a wait (40 minutes), but already knowing a little bit about the show, I knew why. This is a highly interactive show that only allows a couple of dozen of participants in the room at a time. The small, interactive shows are great for getting everyone involved and revving up that personal experience, but boy do they create lines (Olivander’s Wand Shop at Harry Potter World in Universal comes to mind as a good example). If it was 40 minutes today, I can’t imagine how long it will get during the heavier crowds – this might be a good one to FastPass in the future.

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The line wrapped around Maurice’s cottage before eventually bringing you inside.

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Gotta love Disney’s Imagineer’s attention to detail.

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Does this book look familiar? See the bite in the corner?

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I believe it’s the one that the sheep took a chunk out of in the opening sequence of Beauty and the Beast.

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Oh! Isn’t this amazing? It’s my favorite because you’ll see. Here’s where she meets Prince Charming. But she won’t discover that it’s him till chapter three.

Yes, that song was stuck in my head the rest of the afternoon (or until I went on Little Mermaid, but I’ll get to that in a minute. ;) )

Once we made it to the end of the line, we were ushered into Maurice’s workshop for part 1 of the show.

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I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say the mirror plays a huge role in this portion of the show and it does something pretty cool that I wasn’t expecting. ;)

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From there we were led to the wardrobe where we learned we would be helping Belle act out the night she and Beast met.

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There were several roles that needed to be filled and we were promised that every person would have an important part.

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But first, we needed to audition! We were instructed to do different things (march, clap, sings, etc.) for each character and a role was given based on the person’s enthusiasm. I loved seeing how excited the kids were when they were selected, they all took their parts very seriously.

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At the end, he asked if anyone who didn’t have a role wanted one, then handed out remaining parts to anyone with their hand raised (this made sure everyone was included! :) ). I wanted to take everything in, so I sat out this time around.

Once the roles were cast, we were led into the library where we all took a seat and enjoyed the show.

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Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but the show was too cute for words. I enjoyed myself as an adult, but I can tell you the kids had even more fun. Belle was amazing and really took her time personally interacting with every participating child on stage, as well as those in the audience. At the end, everyone was handed a bookmark to thank them for participating in the show. I thought the bookmark was a nice touch since it encouraged Belle to ask all of the kids what they were reading and allowed them to take pride in some of their favorite books.

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Next to Enchanted Tales was the new Be Our Guest Restaurant

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They have a quick service and sit down option (the menu below is for sit down).

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Unfortunately I didn’t get a good look inside (the quick service was open and serving lunch, there are themed rooms for the main dining that were blocked off that I kind of wanted to see – maybe next time).

I did see this little number on the wall near the exit that made me smile. :)

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Walking a little further, you’ve entered the town square.

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Where modesty is not Gaston’s strong suit.

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Gaston’s Tavern is the new quick service/ snack restaurant in New Fantasyland.

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The inside definitely had a Gaston feel to it.

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The menu already has a bit of buzz building up around it over two things: LeFour’s Brew and Roasted Pork Shank.

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LeFou’s Brew is an iced apple juice drink with toasted marshmallow that all the kids seemed to love. I would have tried it, but I’m not a fan of apple juice.

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However, I did want to try the roasted pork shank. I know a bunch of people have been comparing it to Disney’ famous turkey leg (in size and portability) and I do love me some turkey leg.

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The pork shank did not disappoint in size – this thing was huge! Way too much for one person ( or at least way too much for me). The pork was good – it was tender, flavorful, and juicy.

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I wish I had someone to share it with. I could only eat about 1/3 before I was pork-overloaded. I would order it again, but next time I would have a friend. :)

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After I had some lunch, I was ready for The Little Mermaid.

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10 minute wait? Sweet!

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(Please note the little boy in the up above photo said “Why am I in this line? I’m a boy!!” about 2 minutes after I took the photo. He was so cute when he said it, I couldn’t help but smile.)

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The queue had an interactive portion where people in line could guide crabs to help clean up.

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Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the line moved too fast to really have a chance to play.

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The line moved quick thanks to the constant flow of shell cars to hop on for the ride. The close, quick moving cars, reminded me of the ones that are in Haunted Mansion. It’s the same set-up only you have pink shells instead of black caskets.

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The ride was cute (especially if you’re a Little Mermaid lover!). It basically tells the story of Little Mermaid through the various songs. My only complaint was that I wish we got to listen to the songs a little longer!

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Oh, and the character animation was a little old school. I’m mixed with appreciating the throwback to classic animatronic design for the ride or wishing they had don’t something to give it more of a modern feel.

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That was it for the New Fantastyland thus far. Next to the Little Mermaid Ride is Ariel’s Grotto, where guests can do a meet and greet, but that wasn’t part of the preview package I had signed up for.

There’s also still a lot of construction going on next door for the new Snow White and Seven Dwarf’s ride.

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And we can’t forget the Storybook Circus area that recently opened. :)

After all the wait and hype, I’m so happy I finally had a chance to experience the New Fantasyland for the first time today. Walt Disney World has a lot of potential to grow in that area and so far I like what I’m seeing. I believe both Belle’s Enchanted Tales and the Little Mermaid Ride are going to be hits.

Have you been to New Fantastyland yet? What do you think of the new changes?

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chuck November 12, 2012 at 12:32 am

This looks awesome… I love Gaston- “When I was a boy I ate 2 dozen eggs…”

Great seeing you tonight Meghann!
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2 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale November 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

Disney really is the land where dreams come true. I’m incredibly jealous that you live so close!! Planning on heading out for the Disney Princess half-marathon in 2014 — I CANNOT wait to see the New Fantasyland, WWoHP, and all the old favourites. :D Disney nerd and true kid at heart, right here!! Hollaback, girl! ;)
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3 erica November 12, 2012 at 3:12 am

we’re going to WDW in feb! i’m so excited to see the new fantasyland! (and harry potter!)
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4 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats November 12, 2012 at 7:05 am

oh my gosh, I wish I lived by Disney. Actually, can I just live IN there? Haha okay, that might get old…
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5 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes November 12, 2012 at 7:13 am

I want to go to there. :)
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6 Amelia November 12, 2012 at 7:18 am

SO cool to get a sneak preview! Love your dress too. In the past 8 years of traveling to FL, I have NEVER been to Disney or anything associated with it. It may be time.

I wonder if it will still be nice and warm next week when we visit Kevin’s family in Vero for Thanksgiving? I want to wear a dress and Charleston is already too cold. :(

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7 Meghann November 12, 2012 at 9:04 am

It should still be warm. Right now even our “cool” weather is warm enough for a dress. :)

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8 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope November 12, 2012 at 7:53 am

You are so lucky that you got to go to a sneak preview! I’m jealous! ;) I am Disney fanatic and love all things Disney. It was great being able to read through your prospective about the part of Fantasyland. I can’t wait to see it in person. Hopefully sometime in the near future :)
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9 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 12, 2012 at 8:09 am

Looks like fun! I’m jealous that you live so close and get to go to the parks so often!
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10 Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air November 12, 2012 at 8:27 am

Eeeek, love it!! I always wanted to be Belle. So glad she’s getting her fair share of attention!

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11 Shirley @save the shrink November 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’m not a fan of Disney characters and movies but I know I used to enjoy them when I was younger. I bet you had a great time while looking into the intricate details of the place. Great pictures by the way!
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12 Jackie @ MomJovi November 12, 2012 at 9:25 am

Wish our dates had worked out so that we could go together — I would have shared the pork shank with you! To be honest, the LeFou’s Brew didn’t taste too apple juicy — it was just so sweet. Some people have said that they prefer Butterbeer to it, but I actually liked it bit. As sweet as it was, I think Butterbeer is even sweeter.

I can’t wait until the rest of New Fantasyland gets filled in — the Enchanted Forest and of course, the Snow White ride. One of these days we’ll make plans to go dine at Be Our Guest. I want to check it out more than a quick look, too!
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13 Meghann November 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

I’ll go to Be Our Guest with you – just tell me when! And I’m not a fan of Butterbeer because it’s really just cream soda and I’m not a cream soda fan either (I’m actually very picky with what I drink – ha!). I’ll have to go back with someone who’s willing to share Lou’s Brew just so I can say I’ve tried it. :)

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14 Kristin November 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

Wow, I went yesterday and wrote almost the same post about the new Fantasyland! We went yesterday and had a chance to have lunch at Be Our Guest! Probably the best quick service restaurant at Magic Kingdom!
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15 Meghann November 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

It looked really good! I wrote the post backwards – I actually ate the pork shank before I checked in on Be Our Guest, otherwise I probably would have ate there instead. What time were you there? We were probably at the preview at the same time! :)

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16 Kristin November 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

We went from the 8-11:30am slot. It was empty!! No waits and Be Our Guest was not even 1/3rd full! The rest of the park was craziness :)
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17 Natalie @ Free Range Human November 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

I am so jealous! I love Disney World, and this looks like a great addition! Between this and those milkshakes you’re always raving about, I have to plan a trip to Florida!!

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18 Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer November 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

AHHH! I love this!! I have been stalking for updates on this and I am SOOOO excited for the Beauty and the Beast experience. I have been a Belle junky FOR-EV-ER and I’m so glad she finally is getting some of the attention at Disney World instead of Cinderella! LOL
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19 natalie @ will jog for food November 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

How fun! For a second there, I was hoping Disney might have started selling REAL beer. The original snow white ride scared the crapola out of me when I was younger, I hated seeing the witch turn around.
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20 Meghann November 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

You can buy beer in Epcot! :)

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21 Krissy @ Shiawase Life November 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm

The sit-down restaurant in the New Fantasyland, Be Our Guest, is actually the first place in Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol.

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2012/09/13/news-be-our-guest-restaurant-to-serve-beer-and-wine-in-disney-worlds-magic-kingdom/
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22 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles November 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm

That looks like so much fun! I haven’t been to Disney since I was about 8. I definitely need to go again in the future. Especially with Maurice’s house..I was obsessed with Beauty and the Beast when I was a kid.
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23 Julia H. @ Live Young & Prosper November 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Oh this is SO neat. I used to go to Disney World every year in high school with my marching band, but haven’t been back since coming to college! I might have to take a trip there after I graduate :P
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24 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions November 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Oh man, this looks SO cool! I haven’t been to Disney since I was 10 — we’re talking 11.5 years! Not okay! The New Fantasyland looks like a good excuse to start saving up for a trip to Disney, though… :)
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25 Kristie November 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

LOVE the sneak peeks! We are going to WDW next month shortly after New Fantasyland opens (we didn’t know that when we booked the trip!) I’m expecting it to be all kinds of crazy but if I can just do the Little Mermaid ride, I will be as happy as a clam. LM is my absolute fave!
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26 Krissy @ Shiawase Life November 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm

We were so happy to be able to get a sneak peek into the New Fantasyland this past weekend as well – just good timing! Thanks for sharing such great photos, Meghann!!
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27 Katie November 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I was at New Fantasyland this weekend and LOVED it. We went on Saturday and they were all full for dinner reservations, but they gave us extra wristbands to come back today…so we went and had lunch at Be Our Guest. It is *amazing*. Seriously, it’s a “quick service” but it rivaled just about every Disney table service meal I have ever had. I got a hot croque monsieur and my roommate had a massive plate of pot roast/mashed potatoes/green beans for just a little more than we would have paid for a burger at a regular quick service place, we got to choose our seats, and our food was delivered to us on wheeled carts via GPS- so worth it!

Also, I agree on the Little Mermaid ride. I love a lot of what they did (Ursula was amazing) but I’m not so sure the combination of “new” animation sections and classic animatronics really works as a whole.

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28 Andrea November 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I got to experience the new Fantasyland as part of the cast member preview. I agree with a bunch of what you said. I enjoyed Enchanted Tales with Belle but I cannot even imagine how long the wait will be in the summer. The Little Mermaid Ride was a little disappointing to me. I think it’s a completely older type ride and honestly, the animatronics kind of looked creepy. But I cannot wait to eat at Be Our Guest! We have reservations on Dec 1!
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29 Meghann November 15, 2012 at 8:50 am

Jealous of your reservations! I’ll have to make some soon!

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30 Sara-Jayne June 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I love your post….We’re going in November and I cannot wait! Thank you so much for sharing!
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