This week, Walt Disney World officially opened the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom. New Fantasyland is an extension of regular Fantasyland (home of classic Disney rides and many, many strollers). When guests enter the Enchanted Forest, they arrive at Maurice’s Cottage — a cozy stone and shingle structure that houses Enchanted Tales With Belle. Here, a “tale as old as time” is told with the help of an impressively lifelike Lumiere, Belle herself and a few volunteers from the audience.

Just through the grove of shady trees and past the gurgling stream is a bridge that leads to the new Be Our Guest Restaurant, which is set inside Beast’s castle. The castle itself is an imposing structure situated in the nearby mountains – which are a testament to Disney’s Imagineers and their skill with forced perspective! By day, Be Our Guest is a quick-service lunch spot, while by night it transforms into a table-service dinner restaurant. Around the corner is Gaston’s Tavern — just look for the statue of the “Beauty and the Beast” villain. Here you can try a meaty pork shank, a gooey cinnamon roll or sip on some of LaFou’s Brew — a sweet concoction of frozen apple juice and toasted marshmallow topped with mango foam.

The Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland hosts the Barnstormer roller coaster, the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. There are now 2 of these soaring spinners, and time waiting for your flight into the big blue yonder can now be passed inside an air-conditioned circus tent. Parents are issued a pager that lets them know when it’s time to climb on board.

While these new additions are cause for celebration, the gem of New Fantasyland remains behind construction walls. The Seven Dwarves Mine Train — an innovative new coaster — is scheduled to open sometime next year. Sidle up to the walls and hear the clinking and clanging of the Dwarves hard at work on this new attraction.

- Bill Burke

Bill Burke is an award-winning humor columnist and writer with 20 years experience in the newspaper and magazine industry. He is the author ofMousejunkies (Travelers’ Tales 2009) and Mousejunkies: Second Edition (Travelers’ Tales 2011) –a humorous look at Walt Disney World addiction.

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Family Travel, Trends

5 Responses

  1. T W says:

    Great article ! Can't wait to get back there to try all the new things Disney has to offer. Looking forward to that new roller coaster too.

  2. Margo B says:

    After reading your article it's getting me even more excited when we get to WDW Jan 3-11, 2013. We are having dinner at Be Our Guest on our first full day in the park on the 4th. After all I have heard, I am so looking forward to it. We also are planing on trying it also for a lunch sometime during our trip.

  3. Kathy M says:

    Great review – Can't wait to go see New Fantasyland. Sounds like quite the *magical* place!

  4. angela says:

    Great writing, Bill! I really love all the descriptive words – makes it so easy to picture myself there.

  5. Mike says:

    Sounds amazing! Can't wait for our first visit next month!

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