Walt Disney World celebrated its grand opening of the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland on Dec. 6 with flair, fireworks, fun and, of course, a huge dose of Disney magic. Guests can finally enjoy all the new attractions and dining they’ve been anxiously waiting for as part of the largest expansion in the Magic Kingdom’s history.
Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” Jordin Sparks, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Mickey Mouse officially cut the ribbon in front of Gaston’s Tavern, which serves up a roasted pork shank, sides of veggies, cinnamon rolls and LeFou’s Brew, a signature frozen apple juice beverage with toasted marshmallow and topped with a passion fruit/mango foam.
“Walt Disney once promised that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world,” Staggs said. “New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt’s promise. We’re thrilled to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover new worlds featuring iconic Disney characters and stories in ways that are more imaginative, more interactive and more immersive than ever before.”
Fantasyland is now double the size and consists of the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus.
Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” was present to experience the film come to life in the Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid ride. Guests go “under the sea” in clamshells and watch the story play out amid colorful characters, scenery from the movie and favorite songs. While riders wait, they can check out Prince Eric’s Castle. After the ride, guests can meet Ariel in Ariel’s Grotto.
The classic “Beauty and the Beast” film also comes to life in New Fantasyland at the Enchanted Tales With Belle attraction. Guests are able to take part in a live storytelling experience with Lumiere and Belle that includes costumes, props and interactions.
A trip to New Fantasyland wouldn’t be complete without stopping for a meal in the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Sit under gorgeous chandeliers and see a magical “snowfall” in the ballroom, or venture into the Rose Gallery and West Wing of the Beast’s Castle. French-inspired cuisine is served, as is beer and wine, a first for the Magic Kingdom. Two items you must try are the Grey Stuff (it’s delicious) and the Lasseter wine, created by the director of Disney-Pixar’s “Cars,” John Lasseter, at his family’s winery in California. Be Our Guest Restaurant offers quick-serve meals during the day and full-service table dining at night. Don’t forget to make a reservation.
Other attractions that opened earlier this year include Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, now with two Dumbos and circus-themed queue activities, and the Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini, a family-style roller coaster.Up next is Princess Fairytale Hall set to open in 2013. This will be the new home for the Disney princesses, who will be available for meet-and-greets and photos with guests in the Castle Courtyard at the center of Fantasyland. We got a sneak peak at the upcoming Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster, set to open in 2014. This will be a family-style coaster utilizing new technology in which the train cars swing back and forth as well as take you through a storytelling ride experience.