Disney World’s New Fantasyland

The New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom continues to grow this summer. It is the largest expansion of the Magic Kingdom since it opened 41 years ago in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, Florida. New Fantasyland opened December 6, 2012. The area near Cinderella’s Castle includes the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus with more to come later this year and in 2014.

With Florida’s August daytime temperatures around 90, you may want to visit the Magic Kingdom after 4 p.m. and dine at the “Be My Guest” Restaurant in New Fantasyland. If you don’t have a reservation, our WDW resort concierge suggests being in line at the restaurant between 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. for dinner. The wait in the “no-reservations” line is around 20 minutes before 5 p.m. on a weekday during the busy summer season.

“Be My Guest” is the Beast’s castle and a restaurant about the tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” The elegant, lavish castle has French-style food, crystal chandeliers, a grand dining hall and 2 smaller dining rooms to seat 550 people. Guests can take photos with the Beast or dine in the “West Wing,” a darkened room with stormy weather special effects and the glass-enclosed rose. The menu includes appetizers, French Onion Soup and salads. Strip steak, roast pork chop, chicken, seafood and vegetarian entrees are priced from $21 – $28; dessert $4. Belle’s strawberry sponge cake, chocolate or lemon mousse cupcakes and cream puffs are served from the dessert cart. Our dinner and the service were outstanding. The restaurant offers quick-service lunches and table-service dinners at night.

Near the castle is the French village. Visitors can meet Belle, Madame Wardrobe and Lumiere at “Enchanted Tales with Belle” and experience the story of “Beauty and the Beast.” “Belle’s Village” has a statue of Gaston in a hero’s pose, Gaston’s Tavern which serves LeFou’s Brew and Maurice’s Cottage. There’s also shopping at Bonjour! Village Gifts.

New Fantasyland rides include “Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid.” Board a clam shell and travel through Ariel’s underwater world and on land. After the ride, meet Princess Ariel in “Ariel’s Grotto.”

There’s also “Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.” The new ride has doubled in size with one Dumbo going clockwise; the other counterclockwise above Storybook Circus. “Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini” is a winding, twisting roller coaster that takes riders above the circus. Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck also are here at “Pete’s Silly Sideshow” in Storybook Circus.

In late 2013, visitors can meet all the Disney princess characters at Princess Fairytale Hall. “The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” is under construction and set to open in 2014.

To see more, go to http://wdwnews.com

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