As I sat at work yesterday, something extraordinary was happening at the Magic Kingdom. Slowly a rumor began circulating on Twitter. Parts of the new Fantasyland were going to open sooner than later. Then it changed to open by Saturday and finally that it was opening the same day. Yesterday afternoon and evening, Twitter was going nuts with pictures and updates from the new Fantasyland.
Today, we ventured over to the new Fantasyland to see all the new additions. We started at Storybook Circus and walked all the way to Ariel's Grotto first. Ariel was actually there and the wait time was between 20-30 minutes. Despite having a Fast Pass machine located at Mickey's Philharmagic, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid was down when we first walked by. The cast members told us different stories about when it would be open again.
We passed by The Popping Machine, which is popcorn by Maurice, or at least in his honor. The popcorn cart definitely looks like something he would create. The gift shop has all sorts of collectables from Beauty and the Beast. Since this is just a soft opening, supplies of the glassware and place settings.
The bathroom area is even decked out with Disney details. The bathroom sign is unique and goes right along with the theme.
Gaston's Tavern had a long line but it moved very quickly. The cast members inside the tavern did an excellent job at getting people their food very quickly.
We had the signature drink in the Gaston and Beast mug and the signature pork shank. The pork shank was much smaller than the turkey leg but it still cost close to $10. I am sure that a lot of work has to go into preparing that so I can understand the price. The drink was awesome and the foam on top of the apple drink was so thick that the straws didn't move.
After we left Gaston's Tavern, we saw Gaston in the flesh by the fountain in his liking. He, in all his glory and chin, was signing autographs.
As I was admiring this charming and charismatic man, my husband noticed that the people camping out in front of Journey Under The Sea began to stand and go into the ride! The queue of Ariel's ride reminds me of the queue for Nemo with its long and winding path. The ride itself is also in a clamshell. The ride quickly moves from scene to scene, starting with the clamshells descending into the bubbly deep ocean. The ride and scenes are impressive.
We finished the day off with Be Our Guest restaurant. I have eaten at many Disney restaurants the last couple of years and very few restaurants take my breath away anymore. Maybe I am desensitized after seeing such grand restaurants during my first few trips to Disney world. The ballroom of Be Our Guest is the grandest I have ever seen at Disney. The floors, tables, and architecture are exquisite. The enormous chandeliers are beautiful. I can't wait until we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the ballroom.
I love the fact that it will also be a quick service for lunch. Unlike Cinderella's castle, this castle will be open to guests on any budget.
The new Fantasyland is even better than the illustrations that Disney put out on the Internet. The Disney Details that they put into the new Fantasyland are astounding. I know this is just a soft opening but it was beyond anything I could have imagined. It was exciting to ride under the sea, having the chance to see Ariel and Gaston, and drinking a foamy (non-alcoholic) beverage with my family. I can't wait until the “real” opening.