After years of anticipation, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history – new Fantasyland – opened to the public on December 6th, 2012. My family attended both the media party the night before, and the official ribbon cutting and Cinderella Castle celebration on the 6th. While two parts of new Fantasyland are opening in 2013 and 2014, most of the new attractions are open now.
New Fantasyland offers a brand-new table service restaurant, Be Our Guest (see our Be Our Guest restaurant review here), which doubles as a quick-service dining location for lunch. You can also grab some quick service food at Gaston’s Tavern, which of course doesn’t serve alcohol (no alcohol is served at the Magic Kingdom, with the exception of Be Our Guest), but instead serves new signature items including LeFou’s brew (a combination of apple juice and marshmallows that tastes sweet but delicious), a pork shank, and cinnamon rolls. Snacks are also available throughout new Fantasyland, but my kids’ favorite snack stop is Maurice’s Amazing Popping Machine.
The Attractions in New Fantasyland
Although the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride isn’t opening until 2014, there are several new Fantasyland attractions open now for guests to enjoy.
Under the Sea With the Little Mermaid
Ride through Prince Eric’s castle as you relive the story of the Little Mermaid. It’s a great ride for kids of all ages – and I could watch the “Under the Sea” portion of the ride over and over again. It’s adorable.
Dumbo has been one of my children’s favorite rides in all of the Magic Kingdom, so I’m thrilled that the New Fantasyland includes two Dumbos, offering FastPass and an interactive queue. Guests receive a pager and can hang out in the big tent, playing in a fun play area, until it’s their turn to ride. I’m so glad that we no longer have to wait in the Florida heat to ride Dumbo.
One of our favorite rides from the old Mickey’s Toontown Fair is part of Storybook Circus. It’s been slightly rebranded to fit in with the circus theme, but it’s still the perfect intro roller coaster for young Disney visitors.
Enchanted Tales With Belle
My biggest regret over the long weekend was missing this attraction, where guests become part of the Beauty and the Beast story. Next time!
Ariel’s Grotto, where you can meet Ariel, has been completely redone and relocated directly adjacent to the Under the Sea attraction.
Casey Junior’s Splash and Soak
Casey Jr’s (a fictional steam train of no relation to the Casey’s quick service restaurant) Splash and Soak is a great little play space where kids can cool off. This takes the place of Donald’s Boat in the old Mickey’s Toontown Fair.
What’s Next for New Fantasyland?
Princess Fairytale Hall, where you can meet the Disney Princesses, will open in 2013, while the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride is scheduled to open in 2014. I was able to see a virtual film featuring the Mine Ride, and it definitely looks to be a fun, unique ride that will be a level below Big Thunder Mountain on the roller coaster spectrum.
Disclosure: My visit to new Fantasyland was covered by Disney as part of the new Fantasyland press event. All opinions are my own.