As the largest expansion project in the 41-year history of the Magic Kingdom Park, it’s no wonder that everyone is flocking to see all the new and exciting things that the reinvented Fantasyland offers. New Fantasyland is the closest we’ll ever get to stepping inside a classic animated Disney film. The gateway is none other than the majestically grand Cinderella’s Castle, and passing through the archway and onto the grounds is a surefire way to instantly become that 10-year old version of yourself. As you stand in awe of all the fairytales brought to life around you, you might just miss some of the complex detail that the Disney Imagineers implemented; after all, they never do a project half-way. New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is Disney Imagineering perfection. If you haven’t come and experienced it for yourself, you simply must! This whimsical spot creates a surge of joy and wonder like no other place can do. Here are 6 amazing facts about this fantastical Land!
6. Cinderella Now Shares Her Kingdom
That’s right—Cinderella’s Castle is no longer the only castle in these parts, though she is still the only Disney princess with her own digs at the Magic Kingdom (unless you count Rapunzel’s “Tower”…which we don’t). Two other Castles now share Cinderella’s real estate—Beast’s Castle and Prince Eric’s Castle. Beast’s Castle is home to New Fantasyland’s highly popular restaurant, Be Our Guest, as well as the site of the new(ish) attraction “Enchanted Tales with Belle.” Prince Eric’s Castle, the least grandiose of the three and far less foreboding than the Gargoyle-adorned Beast’s Castle, sits atop the Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction. Have no fear—these new castles aren’t exactly competing for the role of the Magic Kingdom’s beloved icon, they are simply settings that help tell a story within New Fantasyland. Cinderella’s Castle—I think we all can agree—will always and forever be the heart and soul of the Magic Kingdom.
5. The Dwarfs Double-Take
That odd sense of déjà vu might come over you as you ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, located in New Fantasyland. That’s because Disney does a great job of recycling and reusing elements from previous closed attractions, implementing them so flawlessly into scenes that you might never guess they weren’t originally intended for that particular ride (like how Disney repurposed the Audio-Animatronic animals from the America Sings attraction and put them in the final musical scene inside Splash Mountain). The figures of Doc, Sleepy, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy from the cottage sequence in the Snow White’s Scary Adventures are now found in the final cottage scene during the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction. The partially obscured windows riders look through to see them do a good job of hiding the figures age. Also recycled are the vultures from the now-closed attraction, perched above Mine Train track at the beginning of the ride.
4. Mickey’s Birthday Hidden Mickey
Hidden Mickeys can be found all over Disney property, subtly and strategically inserted into the design of an attraction, ride, and various other locations by Disney Imagineers. Of all the Hidden Mickeys to hunt down, the best by far is the one found at the Under the Sea attraction in New Fantasyland. What makes this Hidden Mickey so great is the fact that you can only see it at 12:00pm on November 18th, Mickey’s birthday. To pay tribute to our favorite mouse, the Imagineers carved part of the rock formation in the queue to allow the sun to shine through onto a dark rock wall. On his birthday at noon, the sun’s rays are at the perfect angle to form Mickey’s three-circle head. Adding to the marvel, this formation only lasts for about 7 minutes, so get your camera ready!
3. New Fantasyland and Old Music
Pete’s Silly Sideshow is a great place for your little ones (or you!) to meet Daisy, Minnie, Donald and Goofy under a big top circus tent. The fun spin on these characters is that they are all given amusing alter-identities compliant to the whole circus theme (i.e. ‘Madame Daisy Fortuna,’ Daisy Duck as a fortune teller). To really impress the whimsical Storybook Circus theme, Disney went that extra mile and located a collector in Southern California who owned a set of antique circus crank organs. The music heard from the old-fashioned calliope in the front of Pete’s Silly Sideshow was recorded from these old authentic devices setting the perfect stage for your entrance into this colorful tent holding these creatively quirky characters.
2. Intriguing Numbers
Just to give you some pretty impressive numerical facts: New Fantasyland doubles the original size of Fantasyland, covering 21 acres of property, the library at Enchanted Tales with Belle houses 12,000 “books,” the Beast’s castle is adorned with 115 windows, and that glorious chandelier hanging center-stage inside Be Our Guest restaurant measures more than 12 feet tall and 11 feet wide (84 candles and more than 100 hanging jewels give it that added luster and shine).
1. Live Entertainment
As Disney is prone to do, they’ve added a line-up of live entertainment inside New Fantasyland, sure to draw in and captivate standing spectators with glee. Inspired by the animated classic, “Dumbo,” a group of clowns called the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang will make a host of appearances, setting out to entertain guests with their wild and wacky shenanigans. Your cheeks will hurt from smiling at the bumbling Chuckles Buffoon McMonkeyshine III and his protégés, Whinny Horselaugh and Snort, among others. The Royal Majesty Makers will also be around to engage “lords and ladies” of all ages as they offer advice in various methods of royal etiquette and impart lessons in areas such as horse riding and swordsmanship. Some of these “royal consultants” include Sir Sterling, Lady Llewellyn, squire Tobias and lady-in-waiting Bridget. These trusted royal advisors have also been known to invite eager princes and princesses to the “royal ball” at this Castle Courtyard.
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper