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Topic: TDLFAN's 1st Impressions of new Fantasyland at MK

Sat 10/20/2012 12:58a
Well.. today, I finally made my way to the MK to check out the new Fantasyland expansion, which is still in technical rehearsal mode.
While I think it's a tad short on substance (1 ride, I meet/greet, 1 restaurant, 1 small shop, 1 small tavern), the eye candy is a most welcomed panorama in the old MK park. You know how hardcore discriminating I can be when it comes to Disney quality of show and I am horribly pleased to tell you that finally the old MK park has a little bit of that TDS quality to brag about. While we are still eons away for the MK to claim the same level of immersive excellence that is TDS, there are short burst of that themed quality in what they have done here. While it's somewhat disappointing to find the mermaid ride to be exactly the same as DCA's, the queue that preceeds it is simply stunning. Hands down the most lavish and immersive queue in the MK park. Gotta love the 3D crabs that interact with guests and the Scuttle AA.

The Be our Guest restaurant is exquisite, even if I expected it to be a little more elegant..but still, the decor is grand. I loved the snow fall as seen from inside the main dining room outside the huge windows in the background. Just glorious.

The Belle's Enchanted meet and greet is the only misfire as a show, and theme-wise it's ok. However, it's worth doing at least once just for the special effects in there and the Lumiere AA in particular is just astounding. I loved how Lumiere's base taps (like a tapping foot), just like the character does in the movie. GREAT show piece. The rest of this was painfully childish and trite.

Outside, the Gaston Tavern, Gaston/Le Feu statue fountain, and the nearby shop are very nicely themed and pleasant to visit.
I was lucky to visit at dusk and once the Sun was down, the lighting on the new buildings makes the place softly glow in the right spots. So you must make an effort to see this in the daytime as well as the night time.

Another accidental but delightfiul moment was leaving belle's meet as "Wishes" was playing. It was purely magical (I hate that word) to look back towards the small Beast castle on top of the rockwork and seeing the fireworks explode just over and behind it.

All in all...the newly opened areas make the still very new Storybook Circus look flat. But that's my opinion on the newly relocated Dumbo area, but as a stand alone Dumbo themed area it is OK. But the Little Mermaid and Beauty/Beast area have a level of sophistication that Storybook Circus can't match.
I am sure that once the Seven Dwarfs Coaster is finished, this area will look even more wonderful. As an added touch, I love love love the streaming water canal that cuts from the restaurant and into the mermaid ride building, and those waterfalls are nice kinetic touches. It all gives the newly expanded area a most effective forced perspective and depth which many areas of the Magic Kingdom park simply lack.

That is my opinion on this.. and if this is the what the future will bring to the Magic Kingdom, then bring it on baby!!! Too bad they chose not to celebrate their 40th anniversary in style as this new fantasyland expansion would have been the best marketing excuse to reek in the money. If only they had debuted a new 40th annniversary parade and fireworks and put up some 40th anniversary decorations up front on Main Street, it would have made this year at the MK even more magical (there is that dreaded word again). LOL

If there is so far one area of improvement, it would be the flat and expansive area where the old Dumbo spinner sat, just behind the carrousel and the newly built castle wall. As it is now, the area preceeding the castle wall is a huge open area of nothing but flat concrete. Considering the greatness that will be found behind those equally impressive castle walls, the flat area in front needs to be addressed. More trees or a nice park-like flower beds and benches area would be a great addition here, and throw a whimsical fountain to add to the charm. I would hope for this area to be filled with something attractive and decorative soon. Fingers crossed.

All in all.. this is a great new chapter at the MK Park, and for the first time in over a decade, I am excited about the MK again. But let's hope their attention is now turned to the rest of the park since it deserves/needs placemaking all over, except for maybe Main Street USA.

Let's keep wishing on that star...
Sat 10/20/2012 1:18a
Thanks a lot for the very detailed report. I wish I would have the time next year to visit WDW, but we decided on going to DL Anaheim.
Sat 10/20/2012 8:16a
<< Let's keep wishing on that star... >>


Thank you for the insightful report. It looks very well done and it so needed. I am happy the money and efforts were invested. I can't wait to see it in person.

The video of the meet and greet I watched made the experience feel a little awkward - but I do not have small kids. I don't think it is for me but the AA is so impressive I would do the walk thru just to see the new figures perform. I am glad they only built one of these meet and greets and not several as originally planned.

I new mine train looks to be a winner too.
Sat 10/20/2012 10:16a
Nice review. Can't wait to see it for myself this December!
A Happy Haunt
Sat 10/20/2012 12:40p
Sat 10/20/2012 6:43p
Thanks for the review...I'm glad you mentioned that now too-open space. Hopefully a few planters with flower and trees will go in at some point (they've had them in this area in the past).
Sat 10/20/2012 6:55p
I fear a stroller parking (with painted parking spot lines), will eventually go there. Imagine a mall like parking lot in front of those lovely and ornated castle walls... urgh.

BTW.. anyone planning to go in the next few days.. be awared the new areas will be closed to guests and only available to CMs as they and their families enjoy the New Fantasyland Cast Preview days. Not sure how long the Cast preview will last.
That's what I've been told..
Sat 10/20/2012 9:38p
Thanks for the review, but more than anything it was WONDERFUL!! to see you posting here again.

Mon 10/22/2012 9:20a
Great report, TDL. Funny that I have been here for maybe two years and the first thing that jumped off the page was your name, lol.
Mon 10/22/2012 10:19a
<<I fear a stroller parking (with painted parking spot lines), will eventually go there. Imagine a mall like parking lot in front of those lovely and ornated castle walls... urgh.>>

Yes, that was my first thought also. The old Fantasyland got absolutely choked with strollers during peak times. Although a place to park the ankle-biters is necessary, it would be nice to have the area landscaped to keep them out of view as much as possible. It might even be nice to have a valet type system... the guest would leave the stroller with a CM who would give them a claim ticket and park it for them.

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