It’s been just over a week since my family returned from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida… and we still have the magical afterglow. Oh, it’s all Disney-this and Disney-that from the boys non-stop… but you know what? It’s all good! Because I can’t stop talking about it either. #LOVEDisneyWorld
Now I know I teased you last week with a small peek into our experience – and, of course, the many misty-eyed moments I encountered – but I also promised that I would follow up with more details about the New Fantasyland. So here we go! Read on for The Facts (what you need to know) and The Fantasy (our experience and thoughts).
The New Fantasyland is the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Featuring attractions, dining, shopping, character interactions, recreation and more, the new grounds are laid out fairy tale-style amid waterfalls, grottoes, arched bridges, forests and circus big tops.
“Walt Disney once promised that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt’s promise. We’re thrilled to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover new worlds featuring iconic Disney characters and stories in ways that are more imaginative, more interactive and more immersive than ever before.”
Every inch of the New Fantasyland is perfect for young children. EVERY INCH. Reid, who is an average two-year-old at 35″ tall, was able to go on all the rides with us! (Often more than once – we had to do Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid six times just for him. OMG.) From Dumbo, the Flying Elephant to the elegant Be Our Guest Restaurant, the New Fantasyland is the perfect destination for toddlers and young families. During our 5-day stay, we spent 50% of our time at Magic Kingdom, including the Fantasyland expansion. So, for every reader who has commented “My kids are too young!” or “I have a whiny 2-year-old” – guess what? So do I… and he LOVED it.
Referenced earlier, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid is a major attraction where guests ride in clam shells (so much fun!) and travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the film. The adventure begins on land, but then guests descend below the ocean’s surface or “under the sea”.
I feel like I could write a whole post dedicated to Reid’s fascination with Ariel, but since I already chatted about his first crush in my previous post, I’ll stick to the mechanics of the ride for now. Simply put, it’s much fun for the whole family. While the kiddos are captivated by the colourful characters that reside down below, adults will bob their heads to the catchy music. I have to admit – Ryder, at 4-years-old, shuddered the first time we encountered the larger-than-life Ursula – but on subsequent rides he was waiting for her, and even hummed along to her iconic tune “Poor Unfortunate Souls”. The clam shells travel at the perfect speed for young riders and the best moments of the film are captured in glowing technicolour.
Storybook Circus invites you to explore a lively world inspired by the Disney animated film Dumbo. It dazzles with a glittering array of classic Disney characters and classic Disney storytelling. From the colorful big-top circus tents to the interactive line queues to the animal footprints that pepper the pavement, Storybook Circus offers imaginative touches at every turn. Attractions include Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini, Pete’s Silly Sideshow and Fantasyland Train Station.
Not one, but TWO Dumbo, the Flying Elephant rides? Yes please. (The difference: one goes clockwise, the other counterclockwise.) The rides feature shiny new red and gold colors (inspired by ’50s- and ’60s-era tin toys), newly-created signature illustrations and a water feature encircling the base of both attractions (very fairy tale-esque). Again, an authentic family ride that was enjoyed several times over by the boys. Soaring high above Storybook Circus, our nighttime view was almost romantic; the beautiful colours of the circus twinkling amongst the stars. And as the ride slowed to a stop, you could just hear the chorus of “Again!” ripple through the elephants.
Be Our Guest Restaurant features a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, delicate Rose Gallery and mysterious “West Wing” of the Beast’s Castle. By day, the restaurant serves up quick-service cuisine, so you can enjoy a short break from the park festivities. By night, it becomes a traditional table-service restaurant where you can reconnect with family and friends over satisfying fare.
Sample menu items:
- Sandwiches and salads at lunchtime, including the classic croque monsieur, tuna Niçoise salad, vegetable quiche and grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread—plus, of course, pommes frites
- Heartier fare at dinner, including rotisserie Cornish hen, grilled strip steak with pommes frites, sautéed shrimp and scallops, French onion soup and assorted cured meats and sausages accompanied by a selection of wine and beer that complements the French-inspired cuisine
I’m just going to let these pictures do the talking. (Source: Walt Disney World News)
I was thrilled to be a part of the New Fantasyland opening at Walt Disney World, and a special thank you goes out to the team at Disney Parks in Canada for the kind invitation. The memories we made will last a lifetime! But when I think about the rides, the attractions, the characters and more – sure, they were spectacular. In fact, they were more than spectacular – they were magical. But the ONE thing I’ll never forget?
The looks on my boys’ faces. The wonder, the awe. The smiles, the laughter. The sheer, unadulterated joy… the magic. And THAT is what Disney is all about.
Start planning your next vacation – visit www.disneyworld.ca.