Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fantasyland: Double the Fun at Disney World

By Toni Ann Buchalski                               

“It all started with a mouse” is what comes to mind when the vastness of what is Walt Disney World is discussed. On December 6th, 2012 Disney World in Orlando, Florida officially opened the expanded and highly anticipated Fantasyland. 

This new addition to the Magic Kingdom was under construction for well over a year. A large piece of Disney property was sectioned off to complete the new addition. The New Fantasyland is said to be the largest addition to the Disney World theme park over the course of its forty-one year history. After several months of planning, preparation, and construction, the newest addition to Fantasyland was welcomed by a very large and anxious crowd. The Fantasyland that was originally ten acres has now been expanded to twenty-one acres. It just so happens that the opening day of Fantasyland was Walt Disney’s 111th birthday. 

The additions to this area of the Magic Kingdom are focused mainly upon the stories of the original and most favored princesses, along with a few character favorites such as Dumbo the flying elephant. Now let’s get into the attractions.

After entering the Magic Kingdom and making your way past Cinderella’s castle, Disney guests will find themselves in a recreation of the Enchanted Forest. This is where guests will find themselves invited into the magical world of “Beauty & the Beast.” Park-goers are encouraged to participate in Belle’s experience by visiting Maurice’s cottage, spending some time in Gaston’s Tavern or even shopping around at Bonjour! Village Gifts. Beyond Belle’s French hometown is Prince Eric’s castle. As most of you may know, Prince Eric is one of the main characters from an all time favorite – “The Little Mermaid.” Prince Eric’s castle just so happens to be a sort of portal to “Under the Sea- The Journey of the Little Mermaid.” Throughout this attraction, guests, especially young girls, will be greatly entertained with the movie’s catchy soundtrack playing in the background.

In the center of the Enchanted Forest is the Beast’s castle. This castle overlooks the Enchanted Forest while standing over the Be Our Guest restaurant. This restaurant is the first of its kind for Disney theme parks. It not only serves quick lunches and formal dinners, but also happens to be the first and only restaurant in the Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol.

With the princess additions to Fantasyland, there also came additions of other characters as well. Opening in the Fall of 2014 will be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster. This will be another first in Disney’s history. The coaster will be constructed to allow the mine cars to swing from side to side while still maintaining the train’s position on the tracks. Another character who will be returning to the Disney scene is the infamous Pete. His attraction is titled “Pete’s Silly Slideshow.” Goofy will also have his own ride. “The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini” is a brand new coaster right in Fantasyland. 

A new improvement to a classic ride in Disney World is the Dumbo the flying elephant ride. To the excitement and satisfaction of many, Dumbo the flying elephant has added an extra two spinners to its technical features. This will allow for more anxious guests to enjoy the ride while at the same time allowing the wait line to move at a more efficient pace. In 2013, the Princes Fairytale Hall will be opening. This will serve as a meet and greet for the princesses and their long-awaited guests.

Overall, Disney is an exciting place. Whether you’re with family or friends, you are sure to have an amazing experience. Even if you’ve visited Disney countless times, be sure to check out the new and improved Fantasyland! The new attractions are sure to be a thrill. The hard work of the Imagineers seems to have definitely paid off. These new additions have made Disney World’s Magic Kingdom more exciting than ever before. Fantasyland is a new experience just waiting to be unraveled. Also, there is more to expect in the future, so keep your eyes opened! 

Toni Ann Buchalski is a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, New York. She is pursuing a dual degree in Communications Arts and Business Administration. She is a member of the school’s cheerleading team and the campus activities board club. Toni Ann works at two restaurants as a waitress, hostess and bus girl. She enjoys reading, going to the beach and spending time with her friends and family.

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