Last week my family was in Orlando, Florida to experience the Grand Opening of the New Fantasyland at Disney World. Excitement doesn’t even begin to describe what we were feeling about it! For weeks we had been watching videos online about the new area and we couldn’t wait to experience it ourselves.
Our first night at Disney World was spent in the New Fantasyland area, as a special sneak preview before it opened to the public. That in itself was a real treat, because we got to experience it without the huge crowds and the lineups. We started off in the Storybook Circus part of the park. The Dumbo ride was an immediate hit, and we headed right to it. The ride was great, but the thing that impressed me the most was the “waiting area”. While you are standing in line for the Dumbo ride (which there are two of!), you can step into a circus play area where a Disney cast member will provide you with a pager so you don’t lose your place in line. Your children can spend their time climbing in a pretend fire house, being blasted out of a canon (that is very similar to a slide) and playing in the center ring. It is an ingenious way to keep children occupied and happy while waiting for the ride.
After riding both Dumbo rides, we headed off to the Barnstormer. You can head off with the Great Goofini on a fun roller coaster ride. Griffin wasn’t quite tall enough and Kellen opted out, so Avery got to enjoy the ride twice while Mom and Dad each had a turn. It was a lot of fun! On our way out of the Storybook Circus, we were distracted by a wonderful clown show. He put on a great spinning plate show that had the right amount of audience involvement and humour.
We then moved along into the rest of New Fantasyland. We saw an opportunity to have a visit with Ariel, and Avery had to take advantage of that. From there, we went on to ride Journey of the Sea – Adventures of the Little Mermaid. In true Disney fashion, riders boarded gorgeous clam shells and were treated to a musical show with the characters from the Little Mermaid. This one will be a classic and we wanted to do it again but we were quickly running out of time to see the rest of the park.
We spent too much time playing in Storybook Circus and missed our chance to visit the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Beast’s Castle, or to see Enchanted Tales with Belle, but we were treated to an incredible show at Cinderella’s castle, followed by a fireworks display. You can watch it below, but turn down your volume because it is quite loud.
The next morning started with an incredible opening ceremony at Cinderella’s castle. I was thrilled when Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow White on Once Upon a Time) made her appearance and gave a heartfelt speech about Disney World and what it means to people. She was followed by Jordin Sparks who put on an incredible performance, and after some more great Disney entertainment, they marked the opening of the New Fantasyland with fireworks and confetti. It was an exciting experience and I’m thrilled that we were a part of it. My children gathered up some confetti to bring home to remember the day, and we headed off to see the Beast’s Castle.
The Castle was beautiful. A walk around it allowed us to see the Beast’s rose in the glass jar, the painting that he had shreaded with his claws, and a stunning dining room. The chandeliers and artwork were so intricate, and in the center of one room we found Belle and the Beast dancing in their ball gowns, like a giant rendition of a music box. It was breathtaking.
Enchanted Tales with Belle was an instant hit, which meant the wait was already at nearly two hours when we arrived. With three young children, we decided to save that experience for the next visit to Disney World, and I am definitely looking forward to it! There is so much to see and do at the New Fantasyland, that I can’t wait to visit again and see more of it all.