I know, it’s been AGES since I posted anything outside of Wordless Wednesday photos, but life has been incredibly busy the past few months and I just haven’t been able to spend much time writing. But, now that we’ve returned from my birthday trip to Disney World, I’m hoping to have some time to catch up on things. I’ll be working on a full trip report, but thought I would start off with some info on New Fantasyland since I’m sure there are lots of folks heading down to Florida for this weekend’s grand opening events!Overall, I think the area is fantastic. The details are pretty incredible and they’ve done a great job with the transitions between original and new Fantasyland as well as between Belle’s village and Ariel’s seaside castle and surrounding caverns. I was a little surprised how huge the construction area is for the Mine Train ride. It was a little distracting, but I think it will be great once it’s complete.
We started out with a quick visit to Gaston’s for a snack before getting in line to see the princesses. It was too early to try a pork shank, but we did all have LeFou’s Brew, which was quite tasty. Colorado Boy and I both had the chocolate croissant, which was served warm. It was tasty although a bit cold in the center. Colorado Princess had the apples and caramel while Colorado Dad had the hummus and pretzels. Both the apples and hummus were in “to go” containers so were a good option to grab and go.
The theming was very well done and fit my idea of Gaston’s tavern from the movie perfectly. Even his big, manly chair was there for you to try out.
Bonjour! Village Gifts
Right next to Gaston’s is the gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir of your time in Fantasyland. A friendly castmember stood at the door welcoming everyone with a cheerful “Bonjour!” There were some neat things in here – the “couture” princess t-shirts, really nice Beauty and the Beast plates and glassware and gargoyles galore!
I was able to control myself and didn’t buy anything, but it was fun to look around.Ariel’s Grotto – Meet and Greet
The Ariel meet and greet is situated right next to Under the Sea, so it’s pretty easy to head here while you’re waiting for your Under the Sea FastPass return time. When we got there, it was about a 15 minute wait, so we jumped right in line. The area is themed like a cavern so has lots of rock work, including one wall that’s shaped like a conch shell. It’s a pretty typical meet and greet line - you wind around the queue as the castmembers allow 2 to 3 families in to see Ariel at a time. It is extremely loud, since you’re surrounded by “rock” and it’s a pretty enclosed space.
Ariel herself was great – she spent several minutes talking with Colorad Princess and even interacted with Colorado Boy who was too “cool” to actually go up and sit with her. There’s a PhotoPass photographer there to capture all the memories for you.
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
We’ve had this attraction at Disneyland for quite a while now, so I wasn’t expecting too much from this, but the queue here is a zillion times better. The line was only 20 or so minutes long, so we didn’t get to spend time looking at all the details, but I did notice they have a few interactive games to keep you entertained while you’re waiting. I actually wonder how often those games are actually going to be used. Since it’s a continuously loading ride, I can’t imagine the line will be really long very much – it certainly isn’t at Disneyland! But, if you do find yourself waiting in line, don’t forgot to look out for the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!
The ride-through itself is very well done, especially the Under the Sea room. Oh, and for you Disneylanders – we are so lucky to have the “new and improved” hair in the West Coast version. The old hair definitely looks weird
There is fastpass for this attraction, although we definitely didn’t need to use it when we were there. The machines are located at Mickey’s Philharmagic.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
The posted wait time for Belle was 40 minutes, but we probably only waited for 20 or so minutes. Currently, there is not fastpass distribution for Belle. However, there is a fastpass return line in the queue, so I’m assuming they will make use of it at some point in the future, perhaps when the new fastpass+ rolls out. The queue is mostly uncovered and I can certainly see it getting hot in the middle of summer. The wide open queue does allow for some pretty cool pictures of Maurice’s Cottage with the Beast’s Castle in the background though!
This was the one attraction I was most looking forward to seeing and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The mirror technology is pretty awesome, as are the Wardrobe and Lumiere. I really like the audience participation piece of it and the castmembers are great about making sure that everyone who wants a part in the play gets one. Colorado Princess was selected to play Maurice, locked in the dungeon. She did a great job shivering
The play is cute and it’s fun to see what the “actors” do with their parts. After the play, each particpant is introduced to the audience and Belle gives them each a bookmark before taking a picture with them. Of course there is a PhotoPass photographer there to take pictures and the audience is welcome to take pics or video as long as you don’t use a flash. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard “please, no flash photography” more than I did during our visit.
As everyone walks out, the people who particpated in the play are given a special Belle PhotoPass card. When I got home and added the card to my PhotoPass account, I was a little surprised that ALL the pictures from our session were included. I know there’s probably no good way to break them out and just give you your particular pictures, and it definitely streamlines the experience, but I don’t really care to have those other pictures, no matter how cute or funny one of the other “actors” is. Luckily, the PhotoPass site allows you to delete pictures, which is just what I did! Be Our Guest Restaurant
By the time we were done with all the New Fantasyland attractions, it was time for lunch so we headed over to the Be Our Guest restaurant. During the day, the restaurant is a quick service location, so no reservations are taken during the day. This is probably the biggest trouble spot, in my opinion. We waited for about 20 or so minutes to get inside, which I’m just not used to at all. It was even more surprising to wait that long after we got through the line and found the restaurant to be half empty! But, the detail of the entry and the queue are awesome, so I didn’t mind waiting too much.
Once you get in the building, you’ll head down a hall lined with suits of armor. Here there are screens that display all the food options, so you can get an idea of what you want to order. When you get to the end of that hallway, a castmember asks you how you’ll be paying and hands you a “rose”, which is actually one of the new RFID devices they’re using to help find you where you’re sitting in the restaurant. From there, you go to a touchscreen console where you order your food. I think this is possibly one of the spots that’s slowing the whole process down. I consider myself to be pretty tech-savvy, but I went through a bunch of extra clicks because the interface was a little confusing. Castmembers are there to help, but it’s still a pretty slow process.Once you order, you can go pick a table in any of the three dining rooms. The ballroom is the biggest room, followed by the Rose Gallery and then the West Wing. All three spaces are VERY well done and I’m excited to go back to sit in each of the rooms. We chose the Rose Gallery because I wanted to get pictures of the music box I had read about. It really is gorgeous!
A castmember brings out your food on a rolling cart and there are self-service stations for drinks and silverware. Our food came pretty quickly and everything was tasty. Colorado Dad had the Braised Pork, I had the turkey sandwich, Colorado Boy had the meatloaf and Colorado Princess had the pasta. Colorado Boy has never eaten meatloaf in his life, but he ate almost all of it, so I give the kids meals a big thumbs up! The kids also got a chocolate cupcake and I got the strawberry cream cheese cupcake. The strawberry one was really good, but I’m a chocolate girl, so I’ll probably pick the chocolate cupcake next time.There were a ton of manager-types and official-looking people watching and writing things down, so I’m sure they’re trying to figure out how things are going to work during the big grand opening. I did hear two good tips while we were waiting
- once you are ON the bridge going to the castle, it’s about a 25-30 minute wait. The line was pretty consistently t 2/3rds of the way across the bridge, so it was at least a 20 minute wait at all times. I’m sure that will eventually get better, but if your plans don’t allow you to wait for long, you might want to try for a reservation for dinner.
- Make sure your entire party is there when you get to the front of the line. If they’re not, you’ll have to wait until they all show up. We watched that happen to two families and one guy was extremely angry and VERY rude about it.
After lunch we headed back to the hotel for a break, so that was the end of our New Fantasyland adventure until later that night. We did visit Storybook Circus, but since that’s been open for awhile, I’ll just include that in the bigger TR. We definitely enjoyed our visit and I’m looking forward to going back again soon!