It seems like yesterday when we received an invitation to attend a soft opening event for the New Fantasyland. We were excited and honored to get to preview the newest addition to Walt Disney World.
We almost blew it!
We had visited the Magic Kingdom the day before the preview. While we took a break to rest on a bench somewhere near "City Hall" in the Main Street USA area, I managed to leave my folder with all of our trip plans AND the printed invitation for the New Fantasyland preview! I didn't realize what I had done until we got back to our room that evening (A Royal room at Port Orleans Riverside).
|We didn't get lost, but the signs were helpful|
|The wrist bands made us feel like "VIP's"!|
Be Our Guest Restaurant
The first thing we wanted to see was The Beast's Castle and The Be Our Guest Restaurant. They weren't serving lunch or dinners yet, but they were allowing guests to tour the place. It was impressive, and we looked forward to eating there.
|I like this place already|
|The Entry way was very regal|
|The main ballroom is very large, and quite stunning|
|This guy looks a little worried about the crowds Be Our Guest Restaurant will attract!|
Under the Sea: The Journey of the Little Mermaid
The Journey of the little mermaid was open, and was another beautiful attraction. We got in line and again, we were very impressed with it's design.
|Prince Eric's Castle is cool!|
|Oh man, I LOVE Waterfalls!|
Story Book Circus area
The Story Book Circus area of New Fantasyland had already been open, and we got to enjoy the "Double Dumbo" ride, as well as the Casey Jr. Splash n' Soak, The Great Goofini, and the new Train Station.
|The new "Double Dumbo" is a winner!|
|If you haven't been to BIG TOP SOUVENIRS - You're missing a fun place with some great snacks!|
It is a great part of the New Fantasyland area, and adds a lot of color and fun to The Magic Kingdom.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
We did the attraction and were just blown away by the whole experience!
|Grandma & Grandpa were pretty amazed|
|It's not a ride, but it's more than a show!|
An unexpected favorite
My personal, and very unexpected, surprise of the whole tour was Gaston's Tavern. The little eatery was great. Serving a Pork Shank... A PORK SHANK! A HUNK OF MEAT ON A BONE! That's what Grandpa Dan's talkin' about!
|"Grandpa Dan food"!|
The imagineers did a great job with this place. I've never even seen the whole movie, but I enjoyed hanging out here. A Pork Shank, a LeFou's Brew, and a giant Cinnamon Roll made me very, very happy! (Don't worry - I shared it with Grandma!)
|It makes me want to see the movie!|
All of the nice touches
|The Beast's castle in the background|
And there was more to come!
The main event was still being worked on as we toured. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was nothing but steel and concrete, partially hidden behind construction walls, but plenty of rails in sight to cause lots of excitement and anticipation.
|We could only imagine what this ride would be like when it's finished!|
After making the rounds a few times, we were pleased with the way things turned out. Knowing that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride would probably be ready for us when we returned to WDW's Magic Kingdom kept the anticipation going. Now, a couple of years later, New Fantasyland isn't such a big deal to most WDW fans.
|Happy "Sneak Previewers"|
It's not a mystery to anyone anymore. But we will long remember how we felt like special invited guests to get that sneak preview!