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8 Reasons Your Family Will Fall in Love with Disney World’s New Fantasyland

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My family likes to joke that we’ve all grown Mickey ears as we’ve recently become huge fans of all things Disney. The fire was ignited a couple of years ago during a Disney Cruise and then in June with my husband’s first trip ever to Disneyland. When I was invited to cover the opening of Walt Disney World's New Fantasyland in Orlando, we knew we had to spring for the whole family. Here are eight reasons your family will fall in love with the new Fantasyland just as much as mine did!

New Fantasy Land at Disney World

Walt Disney World's New Fantasyland (Image by Disney)

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Surprising the kids with a trip to Disney World's New Fantasyland

To up the fun factor, my husband and I decided to keep it a secret from the kids and we surprised them the morning we were going to leave. Since our flight was at 7 a.m. (with a 4 a.m. wake-up), we opted to first tell the kids we were going on a trip and then do the big reveal at the airport. The good: They were fully awake by the time we told them and were ecstatic. The bad: My 8-year-old daughter kept guessing we were going to “Mexico” or “Hawaii.” Luckily, she later claimed Disney World “was even better!”

As Disney World first-timers, everything was new to us but even in our virgin state, we were blown away by New Fantasyland’s multi-year, multi-million-dollar expansion—the largest in the Magic Kingdom’s 41-year history.

New Fantasyland is comprised of the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus areas. Pictures speak a thousand words and this insider glimpse is worth volumes.

Beauty and the Beast at the Beast's Castle at New Fantasyland

The Beast's Castle, surrounded by a beautiful forest with waterfall (Photo by Amber Johnson)

1) The Beast's Castle

The Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast, is the star of New Fantasyland and the Beast's Castle is the highlight with stunning attention to detail inside and out.

New Fantasy Land at Disney World

Beauty and the Beast at the Be Our Guest Restaurant (Photo by Disney)

2) Be Our Guest Restaurant

Inside the Beast’s Castle, the new restaurant Be Our Guest offers French-inspired quick-service dining by day and fine dining by night. Be prepared: Dinner is booking out six months in advance so lunch is your best bet.

Beauty and the Beast mosaic in New Fantasyland

Beauty and the Beast mosaic at the Beast's Castle (Photo by Amber Johnson)

3) Details, Details, Details!

From chandeliers, gargoyles, and mosaics to the Armor Hallway where six suits can be heard occasionally whispering to the 20-foot ceiling that is painted with fluffy clouds, to the snow lightly falling in the French countryside—the Beast’s Castle is an enchanting replica of the movie.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle (Photo by Amber Johnson)

4) Enchanted Tales with Belle

Inside Maurice’s cottage, guests are magically transported to the Beast’s library through an Enchanted Mirror. Several children are then invited to step into the story with props and costumes as everyone falls in love with this story “as old as time.” Prediction: This will be the most popular attraction in New Fantasyland.

Gaston's Tavern, New Fantasyland

Gaston, posing outside his tavern (Photo by Disney)

5) Gaston's Tavern

Of course, egocentric Gaston has a large presence in Belle’s Village so be sure to check out his tavern (after you’ve marveled at his conspicuous bronze statue out front, of course). His sidekick LeFou has his own “brew”—a frozen apple juice concoction with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with passion-fruit-mango foam.

Prince Eric's Castle, New Fantasyland

Prince Eric's Castle (Photo by Disney)

6) Prince Eric’s Castle

In addition to the Beast’s Castle, New Fantasyland adds a third fortress: Prince Eric’s Castle from The Little Mermaid.

Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid ride

Walt Disney World's New Fantasyland (Photo by Disney)

7) Under the Sea—Journey of the Little Mermaid

Fans of this Disney classic will love this musical journey as they begin at the shoreline of Prince Eric’s Castle and plunge below the ocean’s surface in clam shall cars to view an iridescent sea world come to life.

Dumbo ride New Fantasyland

The new Big Top with Dumbo, the Flying Elephant ride (Photo by Disney)

8) Storybook Circus

This throwback to circuses of yesteryear features fun under the Big Top with Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, a ride that has doubled in size. It also features a very welcomed indoor air-conditioned, interactive waiting area to keep the kids entertained until your pager goes off.

And the best news of all is New Fantasyland is still growing and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is coming in 2014. This descent into a glistening diamond mine will feature a first-of-its kind ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth as they respond to the twists and turns of the track. Heigh-Ho, indeed!

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Which new Fantasyland attraction would your family like most? Let us know in the comments!

A Note from The Outdoorsy Travel Mama: A portion of my family's Disney World trip was provided by Disney. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Amber Johnson, The Outdoorsy Travel Mama

Amber Johnson is a fun-loving mom of two. After a whirlwind career as an adventure-travel writer and publicist in Utah’s ski industry, she married and moved to Denver where her family loves skiing, biking, hiking and climbing 14ers (14,000-foot peaks). She is the founder of The Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas, writes a regular “Family Cents” column for the newspaper and has been blogging since 2005 (you can find her at themilehighmama.com). Amber is excited to be a part of the Travel Mamas team and looks forward to chronicling her occasionally-painful but always-hilarious misadventures! You can connect with Amber on Twitter as @TheMileHighMama.

Comments

  1. What an exciting surprise for your kids! I think Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid have always been the favourite movies of my daughters so we would love to see pretty much everything in the new Fantasyland. Personally, I would love to meet Gaston – he’s such a fun over-the-top character!

  2. I had no idea that this expansion was underway. I think its neat that Disney movies provide new ideas for rides. More to explore!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Ellen – Yes, I love how Disney keeps expanding and making it a new adventure every time you visit the parks!

  3. Amber's The Mile High Mama says:

    I’d highly recommend watching Beauty & the Beast and the Little Mermaid before going. Totally made it come to life!

  4. I had no idea! How awesome, thank you! I think we will have to start saving tpfor this one!

  5. Amber's The Mile High Mama says:

    Well worth it!

  6. Sara-Jayne says:

    We’re going in November and I cannot wait!!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Sara-Jayne – So exciting! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time exploring the New Fantasyland!

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