It’s been over three years since New Fantasyland officially opened, and in May, 2016 it will be two years since the work finished. Judging from the crowds that flock to see it, the new area is a hit. There are two different sections to New Fantasyland; Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus. Enchanted Forest takes you into the worlds of both Belle and Ariel. Storybook Circus has a big top theme. There is a lot to see and do in both sections. Here are ten things that you need to know about New Fantasyland.
10. Take a Leisurely Ride
It is well known that Walt Disney loved trains. In Storybook Circus you can share his love for them by climbing aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad. The steam powered train will take you around the whole park in about 20 minutes, which can be a great break for you and your tired family. You can also use the train as transportation to Frontierland or Main Street, U.S.A.
9. The Little Mermaid
If you’re a fan of The Little Mermaid you will love Enchanted Forest. There are two different attractions based on Ariel’s story. The first is a ride. Climb into a clam shell for Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. You’ll ride through Ariel’s adventures. Audio-Animatronic figures will recreate the story for you, and you’ll get to share in Ariel and Eric’s happy ending. The other attraction based on Ariel’s “tale” (pun intended) is Ariel’s Grotto. This is a meet and greet attraction, where you can get an autograph and a picture with Ariel in her mermaid form.
8. Wet Interactive Fun
Wouldn’t it be great to find a place where the kids could cool off and burn off some extra energy on a hot day, while you sit nearby and relax? There is such a place, it’s Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station. Since the circus is in town there needs to be a circus train, and this one splashes water at the happy playing children. It’s inspired by the train in Dumbo, and there are camels, monkeys, and elephants on board to help provide the fun. If you get close when the water is on you will get soaked. If the weather is cooler the water will mercifully be off.
7. Relive Belle’s Story
Beauty and the Beast is arguably one of the best Disney movies ever made. It was so well done that it was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award, back in the days when animated films weren’t given such accolades. Enchanted Tales with Belle will allow you to become a part of the classic. You’ll start in Maurice’s Cottage and end up in the middle of Belle’s love story. Guests are given parts to play, which adds to the fun. No one is forced to participate, you can watch if you’d prefer. Enchanted Tales with Belle is a must do for romantics of all ages.
6. Big Top Souvenirs
Every circus needs to have a tent, and in Storybook Circus it’s in the form of Big Top Souvenirs. This shop is huge, it’s a great place to cool off on a hot day. There is an incredible selection of T-shirts, hats, toys, and other things that you’ll want to take home with you. There is also a place to satisfy your sweet tooth. In the center of the tent is Big Top Treats. Candy apples, flavored popcorn, cookies, and Goofy’s Glaciers are a few of the things that you can order. Big Top Souvenirs is well spread out, so it doesn’t feel as crowded as some of the other stores do, even on busy days.
“My, what a guy, Gaston!” He’s one of the most conceited characters in any Disney movie, and he is also well represented in Enchanted Forest. Gaston’s Tavern serves healthy snacks like veggies and dip or hummus, and snacks that aren’t quite as healthy, such as chocolate croissants and the warm cinnamon rolls that used to be featured at Main Street Bakery. You can also try the signature beverage, LeFou’s Brew. The statue out front is a great place for a picture, and if you’re lucky you might catch the big guy himself hanging around. The Cast Members who play Gaston are fantastic, even if you don’t plan to get a picture you’ll still want to stay for a while and watch his antics. The way that he interacts with the guests is hilarious.
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4. The Great Goofini
The Barnstormer is a family friendly coaster that was part of Mickey’s Toontown Fair. When that closed the ride was given a new theme to fit into Storybook Circus. Goofy is now The Great Goofini, and he’s a stunt pilot. After your ride you can meet him in person. Pete’s Silly Sideshow is a meet and greet area that features not only Goofy, but also Donald, Minnie, and Daisy, all as circus performers. If you’re looking to get pictures with some classics, you will want to check this out. The lines are usually reasonable.
3. Reinvented Dumbo
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is one of the most iconic rides at any Disney park. There is something special about climbing aboard the elephant’s back and flying high above the crowds. The rides for Dumbo used to be long and were in the sun. Now, there are two carousels, which means that twice as many people can ride at once. Even better is the queue. FastPass+ is offered, but since the wait is now indoors and interactive, why use it? You’ll be given a pager, so you can sit down while you wait and the kids play. They’ll enjoy it so much that they might be disappointed when they find out that it’s time to ride.
2. The Smoothest Coaster Ever
New Fantasyland Entrance
The crown “jewel” of the attractions in New Fantasyland can be found in and outside of a mine. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a family friendly roller coaster. There is a 38 inch height limit, so your kids who aren’t tall enough to ride some of the other coasters might make it onto this one. There are no lose-your-stomach drops, but it’s still a lot of fun. The ride uses new technology to simulate what it would feel like to be in a mine car, except it’s not bumpy at all. In fact, it could be the smoothest roller coaster that you ever ride. There are two small hills and great views of New Fantasyland. In the middle the ride will slow down and you’ll see inside the mine where all seven dwarfs are at work. Some elements from Snow White’s Scary Adventures (which closed to make way for Princess Fairytale Hall) have been added to the ride. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is extremely popular, so grab a FastPass+ if you can get one. If not, there is an interactive queue to keep you busy while you wait.
1. Dine Inside Beast’s Castle
The restaurant for one of the hardest reservations to obtain at all of Walt Disney World can be found in Enchanted Forest. Be Our Guest Restaurant brings guests inside of Beast’s Castle, where they’ll dine in one of three different rooms; The West Wing, The Castle Gallery, or The Grand Ballroom. All three are spectacular, and true to the movie. Be Our Guest Restaurant is so popular that breakfast is now served. Breakfast and lunch are both counter service, you’ll order when you enter and your food will be brought to your table. Dinner is full service. Reservations are accepted for all three meals, and highly recommended. The chances of walking up and getting in without a reservation aren’t great, but it has been done so it doesn’t hurt to try. The food has a French flair, and the restaurant is the only place where you can buy beer or wine at the Magic Kingdom. Breakfast features dishes such as Eggs Florentine and Croque Madame. Lunch has French-inspired sandwiches and salads, as well as Braised Pork and Vegetable Quiche. For dinner there’s steak, lamb, seafood, and other options. True to the movie, you can order The “Grey Stuff” for dessert. Be Our Guest Restaurant is the dining crown jewel of New Fantasyland.