In the summer of 2014, my husband surprised me with tickets to Disney World for our honeymoon. I was so excited, and unsurprisingly, there were a lot of happy tears. Most of the excitement was because in March of 2012 Disney expanded the Magic Kingdom Park to include New Fantasyland. The last time I had been to Disney World was in the fall of 2009 and I hadn’t experienced this new attraction and I was very excited to see it.
New Fantasyland is made up of two parts, the Enchanted Forest and the Storybook Circus. We spent way more time in the Enchanted Forest, which is inspired by Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie. I watched it over and over as a child and I can still watch it continuously without it getting old. So needless to say, walking through my all time favorite movie was extremely magical for me.
There are several Beauty and the Beast attractions in the Enchanted Forest. The first one we visited was Gaston’s Tavern. This manly eatery is modeled after the tavern from the movie. The most popular purchase at the tavern, is a drink called Lefou’s Brew. We loved it so much we went back for seconds. It starts with frozen apple juice and a splash of roasted marshmallow flavoring. Then it is topped with a mango fruit whipped cream. When served in clear, plastic cups, it looks just like a cold beer, which was quite entertaining since there were children everywhere running around with them in hand. For a few extra bucks you can get a souvenir mug or chalice. I made sure I went home with a souvenir chalice because it had a picture of Belle on it and well, lets be honest, I am obsessed with her. The tavern also serves roasted pork shank, and a few “french inspired” pastries. We had the largest cinnamon roll I have ever seen in my life, since it was still too early for lunch. I would definitely recommend Gaston’s Tavern for a light snack.
My husband’s favorite part of the Enchanted Forest, and possibly all of the Magic Kingdom, was meeting Gaston. If you only meet one character while you are in the Magic Kingdom, it should be him. He does his meet-and-greets outside of his tavern, multiple times a day. The line to meet him is much shorter than those for other characters. He is one of the most entertaining characters to interact with for both children AND adults. We laughed the entire time we waited in line. We didn’t stop talking about him the whole time we were there that day. And when people asked us how our trip was, we almost always started with our meet-and-greet with Gaston.
One of my fondest memories from the trip was getting to be apart of the Enchanted Tales with Belle show. This attraction is a show that lets a few guests be apart of the magic and tell the story of how Belle and the Beast fell in love. When the cast member asked for volunteers, my husband very eagerly raised my hand and I was picked to play Fifi, the french feather duster. My job was to say “ooh laa laa” and shake my hips. Normally I would have been embarrassed, but Belle asked me to, so I was very excited. After the show, everyone who had participated in the show got to take a picture with Belle. She saw my bride Minnie Mouse ears and my “keep calm just married” shirt and asked if my prince was there. She called him up with me and we BOTH got to get our picture with her, (after I hugged her three times like a fan girl.) I was clearly more excited than all of the little girls in the room.
But my absolute FAVORITE part of New Fantasyland was Be Our Guest restaurant. The restaurant is modeled after the Beast’s Castle. There are three different dining areas, The West Wing, The Grand Ball Room, and the Castle Gallery. You can eat there for a quick-service lunch or a nice sit down dinner. Because our trip was a surprise for me, I wasn’t involved in getting our reservations, but my husband said we got very lucky. Second to Cinderella Caste, reservations at Be Our Guest are the hardest to get. If you want to eat there for dinner be sure to call several months ahead of time. We ate in the Grand Ball Room for a romantic dinner. Service was excellent and the menu was French inspired. After eating our fantastic meal, and trying the famous “delicious grey stuff”, we walked around the castle, taking pictures of every detail. Then, after his grand entrance, we got to meet the Beast! He was huge and very polite. I would recommend Be Our Guest to everyone who visits the Magic Kingdom.
The two Little Mermaid attractions in the Enchanted Forest are Ariel’s Grotto and Under the Sea – the Journey of the Little Mermaid. Ariel’s Grottois a beautiful maze of “underwater” walls that lead guests to meet Ariel. The line was always long, but once we got to the front it was immediately worth it. Her tail was absolutely stunning. Under the Sea – the Journey of the Little Mermaid is a ride through the classic story, inside a clam shell.
We didn’t spend too much time in the Storybook Circus area for a couple of reasons. A lot of the attractions were geared toward younger children and my husband is scared of clowns, so the idea of a circus just wasn’t his speed. We did, however, go to meet Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy under the big top and they all wanted us to show off our new rings. We didn’t mind, in fact, my husband walked out feeling really proud of his ring choices.
New Fantasyland is an amazing addition to an already magical place. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect selection of attractions. It definitely gets the “Lyssa Stamp Of Approval.”