Disney has a talent for giving guests a reason to keep coming back to its parks – they never get old. Keeping with the classic elements of Disney while adding some fresh additions, the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland enhances the magic of Disney hallmarks.
The Enchanted Forest
The largest additions are two new castles spread out past the old end of Fantasyland. Beast’s mysterious, looming castle from “Beauty and the Beast” appears distant and lofty despite its easily accessible location, and it offers a dining experience to match the movie (see my review, “Be Our Guest Dining in New Fantasyland,” for more details). To add to Belle’s world, Gaston’s Tavern offers quick meals comparable to those found elsewhere in the park, but the small setting and careful details create an appealing atmosphere that adds to the world of “Beauty and the Beast.” This Enchanted Forest section of New Fantasyland also offers Enchanted Tales with Belle, a new version of Belle’s Storybook set back by Belle and Maurice’s cottage with crowd management and wait times so everyone has a chance to hear Belle and Lumiere up close.
The second new castle belongs to Prince Eric, an addition to the Fantasyland classic, Ariel’s Grotto. Ariel now has her own Under the Sea ride showing the Journey of the Little Mermaid – at the end of the musical attraction being carried in giant clamshells, guests can meet Ariel in a new setting.
For younger guest, New Fantasyland merges with Toon Town to create an expanded Dumbo ride – there are now two ride options (they are the same, so it does not matter which line you enter) and a line that goes under the bigtop circus tents. There are games and activities throughout so times flies for young riders, and the tedious wait is almost eliminated with this new version of a line. A tip for those who don’t want to fight the crowds for a seat for fireworks in front of the castle: an interesting and beautiful way to experience the show is from Dumbo’s ride. Flying above the crowds, the firework show is highly visible from the backside of the castle and provides a quiet, stress-free view. Circus treats and souvenirs can be found in the new big top gift shop just across from the ride, a fun stop to explore and escape the sun. Another great escape from the heat is the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, a water play area to cool down. Bring towels!
Although not a traditional attraction, a replica tower from “Tangled” stands above the crowds as an indicator for bathrooms that guests can see from all around. This is a worthwhile stop just to see the beauty of the small area with a miniature village below for the nicest bathrooms you will find at Disney. Beneath the tower itself, a small river runs and offers a scenic break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the park.
Because of the excitement of so many new attractions, the crowds have grown and become more vivacious than ever. Just be aware that there may be a bit of pushing and shoving if you don’t arrive earlier in the morning. Also, later in the evenings tend to be quieter, particularly during parades or fireworks.
During my visit, there were two more additions still underway that will be complete in the near future. Replacing Snow White’s Scary Adventures is the Princess Fairytale Hall; this will allow guests to meet their favorite princesses in an organized, indoor setting throughout the day. Additionally, guests can already see the beginnings of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, a rollercoaster carrying guests through the mines that stretches throughout the middle of Fantasyland. Take a peak to see the start of this new addition that pays homage to the classics. One again, Disney builds a reason for guests to keep coming back for more.
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