Sunday, November 18, 2012

NEW Fantasyland Overview

   The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is making more dreams come true with the largest expansion in the park's history as NEW Fantasyland makes it's Soft Opening on Monday, November 19, 2012.  The Official Grand Opening will be on December 6, 2012.  
  Move over Cinderella, we still love ya, but there are two new castles in town this holiday season.

Some of the opening stages have already happened.  Dumbo the Flying Elephant, is now newly improved and is double the size of what it was before.  It now also offers an air conditioned play area for children as it's ride queue.  One adult gets a pager like at many restaurants & it will start flashing & vibrating when it's time to ride.  During your wait, you can either stand in line or sit in the air conditioned play area while watching your kids have fun during the wait.   


This is a GREAT ride to enjoy in day AND night!  The lights & water effects are truly worth coming back after dark to check out!

 Also early opening phases included Walt Disney World Railroad's Carolwood Park Railroad Station & The Barnstormer.  

The Carolwood Park Railroad Station has truly impressed the serious Disney fan, as it goes back to Walt Disney's personal railroad in his own backyard and has many symbolic efforts to ensure that Walt would be happy with the way Walt Disney World continues to move forward through the years. 

On another personal note:  The restrooms at the Carolwood Park Railroad Station are a favorite when you're in the Magic Kingdom.  There's something about the tributes all around this train station to Walt Disney that just make it a special place...The clock, the lightning rod on top & so much attention to detail make it so much fun to take the steam train from the entrance to this stop & watch this beautiful station come into view!


After you leave Carolwood Park Railroad Station, you enter a Circus atmosphere.  The Barnstormer kiddie roller coaster came back!  It is the ride as you remember it before with the Great Goofini!  But the poor Goofini hasn't improved on his flying skills yet.  

As you exit The Barnstormer, don't miss Pete's Silly Sideshow!  Here's where you can find a Meet N' Greet with some of your favorite characters as you've never seen them before!

 In this tent you will find FUN Meet N' Greets with some of your favorite characters in costumes as you've never seen them before.
You can get your picture with The Great Goofini, The Astounding Donaldo (the Snake Charmer), Madame Daisy Fortuna (she is the all knowing, ya know) and Minnie Magnifique with her adorable poodles. 

All of the characters here are circus performers in the Big Tent and you come out into a wonderful HUGE Gift Shop named "Big Top Souvenirs" - I must admit, this particular shop is HUGE & laid out so well that it has made me reach for MY wallet.  Beware & enjoy!

 Right behind the old familiar Prince Charming Regal Carousel, you see the GRAND ENTRANCE leaving the old and entering the NEW Fantasyland.  

Note from my Hubby:  "Even if you are NOT a true die-hard Disney fan, the architecture & layout of the NEW Fantasyland is AMAZING."

You're first glance is of Beast's Castle - which is lit up beautifully at night & is a wonderful spot to watch the fireworks over Cinderella's have a wonderful view & the two castles which seem to be in a beautiful dual line with their lights at night.  

The grand walkway with it's lanterns & Gargoyles are amazing.  Then you pass the gate with the royal shield & see Be Our Guest Restaurant!  Whether day or night, the walkway is a view to behold!
Inside the restaurant, you see more unbelievable sights with Knights & spectacular Dining Rooms.  Lunch & Dinner are available at Be Our Guest.  Lunch is more of salads & sandwiches, but dinner is reserved and has a French menu.
Be Our Guest Restaurant is amazing & includes 3 unique dining rooms including:  The West Wing, which features an enchanted rose; The Rose Gallery, available at lunch only which features a larger than life figures of Belle & Beast & The Ballroom which features a beautiful dining area & even SNOW outside the window.

The view outside the castle made me feel as if I had just JUMPED INSIDE a STORYBOOK!  It is beyond words.  The picture below will make you feel as if you are no longer in Florida, but transformed into a storybook world!

 Enchanted Tales With Belle is a wonderful chance to interact with Belle!  You enter Maurice's Cottage (Belle's father).

Inside, you see a picture of Belle & her Mother, which we have never seen before, and they are reading Belle's favorite story: "Sleeping Beauty."  
You can see all of Belle's books throughout the cottage room...but be sure to look all around because you are being prepared for items that you fall in love with in the next "enchanted world"  like Mrs. Potts & Chip and you can even see Belle's Growth Chart on the wall, just as many of us had as we were kids. 

And you can even sit in Belle's special rocking chair by the fireplace, as long as you don't lose her place in her favorite book.

You enter Beast's Enchanted Castle through a mirror that tranforms into a door right before our very eyes.  I still don't know how this happens & I've seen it more than once!  Truly MAGICAL!  

Once the MIRROR transforms into the Entryway into Beast's Castle, you literally walk through the wall & mirror that you were just looking at to go into Beast's Enchanted Castle.  

Be energetic in front of the Enchanted Armoire & you may be chosen to play a part in Belle's story.  
If you are chosen, you have no lines or things to memorize, the Cast Members tell you what to do.  It's easy & tons of fun!  I have been the Dust Mop & the Pepper Shaker...and they have been truly magical moments for me! 

Once in the library, if you're a part of the story, you can get a special moment to hug Belle & she gives you a bookmark as a thank you for your participation. 

After Enchanted Tales With Belle, you enter into the village that you will remember from her story.  That does include a personal meeting with Gaston...yes, he still longs for Belle & goes to look for her, but he does take breaks to flex his muscles to admiring fans.  

He even donated a statue of himself.  The plaque tells you that it's a "Tribute to Gaston  an Extravagantly Generous Gift to the humble people of my Village  From me, Gaston" 

 In the Village, be sure to check out Bonjour Gifts & a cute little Popcorn Cart for snacks before heading into Prince Eric & Ariel's world. 

   If you are a serious Disney Fan, I  would encourage you to go into Bonjour Gifts & pay close attention to the picture in the back of the store. 
 The man in the picture bears a striking resemblance to the VP of the Magic Kingdom, but the main points for everyone to look for is The Book with the map of the Magic Kingdom, Aladdin's Genie Lamp, Peanuts from the Circus, the ring celebrating 40 years of the Magic Kingdom, the apple from Snow White, who's "Snow White's Mine Train" roller coaster is coming soon...(The track has already began.) - the future is already being built. 

There MAY be MORE "Easter Eggs" for YOU to find for yourself...but this portrait has very special additions for us to enjoy!
 Now it's off to the NEXT CASTLE in our NEW FANTASYLAND!

 Prince Eric's Castle is so beautiful!  It is surrounded by the shipwreck of his boat.  

We didn't get a good look at his castle in the movie, so Imagineers had their work cut out for them in this one.  But with the castle, rock-work, waterfalls & beautiful palm trees - you definitely know that it is a special place!  With the waterfall & rocks, this is a wonderful place to stop & enjoy if you can get a moment before others come through to ride. 

 In the queue, you even get a chance to see the canoe that Eric used in the movie when he began to fall in love with Ariel, but she couldn't speak to him.  This ride is so cute & very fun!  You'll be singing along!

 Looking at all the shipwreck parts and the details that the Imagineers put into this amazing land can be put into pictures & we see how small we are compared to all that is around us.  

The waterfalls are truly breathtaking!
After you journey under the sea, you can actually go INTO Ariel's Grotto and meet Ariel with her FINS!  This is the first time that I ever had to meet Ariel in her own clam shell & hang with her BEFORE she had her legs & she is such a joy to chat with & take pictures with in her own world!  

Prince Eric's Castle takes up a lot of land & rock work.  

It's so beautiful & when the walls come down, it looks like Prince Eric's Castle will come out in the general area of Pete's Silly Sideshow...which is where this story began of our new and fabulous FANTASYLAND!  I am in awe of the imagination, creativity, talent & work that Imagineers put into making this fantasy a reality in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! 

Always look around for the magical things that you can find in the ceilings or on the ground all around you.  Hidden Mickeys Guidebooks are available throughout Walt Disney Parks, Amazon, I Phone Apps, or your local bookstore.  There are magical secrets all around if you keep your eyes & mind open.  Horseshoe prints & peanuts are embedded in the ground in the NEW FANTASYLAND area + Hidden Mickeys all around.  Just enjoy the little things, as well as the grand!  You'll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading my Blog & I would love it if you comment whether you have been or look forward to going to NEW Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.  Also, if you enjoy my Blog, feel free to follow my blog & you'll receive notice when a new one goes up.  Thank you for your support.

Saturday, November 10, 2012



LEGOLAND FLORIDA is the newest Orlando area theme park, which opened in October 2011.  But if you've been to Cypress Gardens, you will see some familiar territory, it's just the Southern Belles that you remember are now made of LEGO.  You see, sadly, Cypress Gardens didn't seem to continue to draw visitors because of all the action-packed parks nearby.  Prepare for a 45 minute drive from Orlando or Tampa and it is well worth the trip.   LEGOLAND, in my opinion, did a wonderful job of preserving the past, while building the future.  This park is 150 acres and has fun for all ages!

Some of the rides include a 2-story carousel, some really fun roller coasters & interactive rides where you shoot with lasers in competition with your ride partner  There is even an "Island in the Sky" which allows you to sit inside and slowly brings you up 150 feet for a slow rotating view of the park from above.  This reminds me of a favorite local theme park ride as I grew up, so it had some special smiles from me!  

Daily Character Meet and Greets take place with some of their famous characters that you'll love from their 4D Theater productions.  The sound effects, lasers, smoke & strobe lighting are very cool!


My personal favorite part was MINILAND!  This area is HUGE and unbelievable!  Pictures can't even do it justice, but hopefully, you'll realize that this is something for all ages to enjoy in amazement!  

The Florida Highlights include Kennedy Space Center & Daytona International Speedway in very large special areas, but you see other cities & landmarks represented on a smaller scale.

Pirates' Shores


Washington, DC

New York 

and Las Vegas


 Brand new in November 2012,  Star Wars Miniland has just been included with all the lands, characters & transportation from the current 6 Star Wars movies. 

If you're a roller coaster fan, you'll find an old WOODEN roller coaster, which is hard to find these days.  It's leftover from Cypress Gardens, kept up well and a fun ride! 
Pirate's Cove has great shows that includes a battle for Brickbeard's Bounty featuring PIRATES & some amazing work done by some amazing LEGO CHARACTERS in a water-ski-live-action show that you won't want to miss!

You can go on a Safari with Lego Animals


Kids can go to Driving School & it's so much fun to watch them on an unguided track.  There are people out to help when kids get stuck, but what a great time to have by all!  They can also go to Boating School, Flying School & put out fires for the future firefighters of the world.  But, no worries, your children won't be flying & dealing with real fires on their own...what a great learning experience hidden in the form of fun!

There is a Water Park also, which can be added on to your ticket at this point for $12. The Water Park includes a kiddie pool, Wave Pool, water slides, & a Lazy River.  There is a fun Imagination Station where I know some kids could spend hours building a masterpiece Lego creation.  The Lazy River is the most interesting I've ever seen!  You can float down the river while picking Lego Pieces from the water & building on the sides of your raft! 

 Kids ages 2-12 will have a blast here because they can ride so many fun things, enjoy fun shows & build as far as their imagination or parent's time will allow.  I'd love to hear if you've been or looking forward to going.  Miniland was absolutely MY personal favorite, but the LEGO creations throughout the entire park are amazing!