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Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Discussion Thread

p. 149 - Tiana's Bayou Adventure opening on June 28th!

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Does anyone know if the New Fantasyland attractions are going to stay open for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party dates the rest of October? Would be nice, and might even give operations a good opportunity to tweak any issues that have arisen in the first couple of soft opening.

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I've always thought that the queue and building for California Adventure's Toy Story [Midway] Mania looked a lot better than Hollywood Studios' one. Under the Sea's queue looks 100 times better at Magic Kingdom though.


I prefer the Midway Mania queue at DHS by virtue of its being indoors and air conditioned. DCA's fits the Paradise Pier area, though.


Getting back on topic, I'm really looking forward to seeing the new Fantasyland when it's all done. I think this redo will make it the best of them all.

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^I agree that the queue for each version of Mermaid has to fit in with their respective park. But I still think Florida got the better deal here. The same is true for the queues Midway Mania (out in the sun for DCA, indoors and air-conditioned for DHS).


Completely agree with you there. TSMM and LM were more side projects for the DCA expansion when compared to their main focuses (WOC & Carsland), so they probably focused a lot less on the queue detailing.

That's actually not true at all. Those attractions absolutely were part of the master plan. You go tell Disney financing that their $100 million dark ride was a "side project" and I think you'll get laughed out of the Roy O Disney building!

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^I agree that the queue for each version of Mermaid has to fit in with their respective park. But I still think Florida got the better deal here. The same is true for the queues Midway Mania (out in the sun for DCA, indoors and air-conditioned for DHS).


Completely agree with you there. TSMM and LM were more side projects for the DCA expansion when compared to their main focuses (WOC & Carsland), so they probably focused a lot less on the queue detailing.

That's actually not true at all. Those attractions absolutely were part of the master plan. You go tell Disney financing that their $100 million dark ride was a "side project" and I think you'll get laughed out of the Roy O Disney building!

I completely agree. For being the only ride outside for Carsland in the $1.1 billion expansion (Toy Story was separately financed), there is no reason why Mermaid shouldn't be pulling huge lines.

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^ Other than the fact that the ride eats through so many people, yes. I was told that the DCA version of Mermaid has the potential of 1,800 - 2,200 people per hour. On a typical operating day, that's about 21,000 people who could ride without waiting in much of a line. That's CRAZY numbers!!!


Kudos to Disney for being able to build attractions that put through so many people!

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Last Friday I along with Robb had the chance to visit New Fantasyland for its first day of "dress rehearsals." Rounding off the near-completion of the entire Magic Kingdom expansion, the soft openings included full access to Enchanted Tales with Belle ( though you've already seen TPR's earlier coverage of that here ) Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel's Grotto, Gaston's Tavern, Bonjour Gifts, the entryway to the Be Our Guest Restaurant and all of the themed surrounding areas. This leaves the Princess Fairytale Hall (2013) and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster (2014) before the entire project is finished, but what we previewed was a great indicator of the quality still to come.


So before we get into the photo-intensive trip report, here's a brief rundown of the new experiences as we saw them.


Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid: Much like its California counterpart, it is a great dark ride addition to the park and plays upon the popularity of the Little Mermaid brand. Since the development costs and processes were shared between Magic Kingdom and Disney California Adventure, the rides are nearly identical in design save for a couple of tweaks and alterations. While this ride lacks the hidden Mr. Limpet from the DCA version, it does have an enhanced lighting and fog package for the Ursula scene, as well as small set upgrades that help to tell the story. But the real stand out of this already great attraction is the queue. Originally announced as a separate offering known as Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt, this interactive queue is filled with detail (as you'll see below) along with several opportunities to help some blue crabs clear the wreckage of a recently destroyed ship. There is even an extra Scuttle animatronic figure in the queue that allows for his comedic contributions to begin even earlier in the experience. The interior queue is expansive and extremely well themed and sets the scene for a much better introduction for the ride than the one in California. Overall, a great addition to Florida's Magic Kingdom and well worth the visit.


Ariel's Grotto: A character meet and greet with Ariel. Typically holding a 25 minute wait, it is a traditional meet and greet that moves guests through fairly quickly in a neat, themed environment.


Gaston's Tavern: Disney's answer to the Hogs Head Tavern and more specifically Butterbeer comes in the form of Gaston's Tavern. And while there are no alcoholic beverages available, Red's Apple Freeze from Cars Land has been reincarnated as the signature drink, Le Fou's Brew here in Florida. A frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow topped with a mango foam, it is likely to please most tastes. The drink can be bought in souvenir mugs or on its own. The location also offers chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls (fresh from the Mainstreet Bakery), vegetables and hummus and most notably, a pork shank. The shank is a huge food offering and a great deal for the price you pay. Tastier than a turkey leg by far, the pork shank is fatty on the outside with a great layer of skin but tender and moist on the inside. Definitely worth a meal here, or at least a drink!


Bonjour Gifts: It's a nice looking gift shop with New Fantasyland merchandise... And a portrait of Phil Holmes.


And while we couldn't go into Be Our Guest yet as it was not ready to give tours, the exterior looks great in person as you'll see!


And if you haven't seen it already, here is Theme Park Review's video coverage of both Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and Enchanted Tales with Belle, both found in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom!




This was a much anticipated moment to be walking through a nearly complete New Fantasyland, and it was certainly a welcome surprise for it to all be happening at once!


Let's start by taking a look at the Be Our Guest Restaurant...


At least the entryway.


While the gates weren't open for tours yet, the outside looks stunning in person and the forced perspective works especially well from farther away.


Many were looking forward to Gaston's Tavern, and the end product has turned out to be well worth the wait... According to Gaston!


A last minute addition to the menu at Gaston's Tavern is the roasted pork shank.


The two house specialities!


They used horns in all of their decorating!


The antler chandelier looks fantastic!


There's even antlers in the stained glass window design!


Le Fou's Brew, the signature drink of the expansion is the same drink as Red's Apple Freeze from Cars Land and can be bought in this stylish Gaston mug or in a princess goblet.


In Bonjour Gifts guests can purchase themed merchandise including Be Our Guest-themed plate and stemware.


But the gem of Bonjour Gifts has to be this portrait of the Magic Kingdom's longtime vice president, Phil Holmes.


The true standout of the Fantasyland Expansion so far has to be Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. It is insanely well themed on the outside and the inside and sets the tone for a fantastic ride.


The attraction's marquee...


Let's roam into the queue.


Any 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fans out there? This tribute along with the inclusion of 'Whale of a Tail' in the background music loop should satisfy you.


Inside of the covered section of the queue is Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt, a heavily themed interactive experience that focuses on the wreckage of a sailing ship found here in the grotto.


This could be the most helpful night of my life, AND YOURS!


Once inside you are let to believe that you are beneath Prince Eric's castle (as seen outside). The vaulted queue area holds tales of monsters at sea...


The effect is similar to that found in the genie lamp booth for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. You point at the wreckage and the crab carries it away.


Oh the stories you'll hear...




Let's take a ride.


Scuttle plays the role of narrator in the ride's opening and closing scenes.


Ariel's animatronics are incredible (especially her water-flowing hair), especially the one in this scene!


The 'Under the Sea' scene is huge and feels just like the party number as depicted in the film.


Everybody Conga!


Everyone has a role in the party!


Just as in California, the 'Under the Sea' Ariel features the updated hair.


Flotsam and Jetsam beckon you into Ursula's Lair...


Ursula seriously is one of the best looking animatronics around!


Walt Disney World's version of the ride received a newer lighting and fog package that makes the scene even more ominous!


Custom animation in the style of the original film was created for this and the California version of the ride.


The famous 'Kiss the Girl' sequence.


The ending is the same as the one in California...


King Triton's beard looks a little different in Florida.


The happy couple!


And Scuttle wraps up the ride with some more witty commentary.


Time to go visit Ariel in person!


This will likely be a very different view in about a year, as seen from the queue of Ariel's Grotto.


Sea Cucumber Lighting Sconces!


The meet and greet experience in Ariel's Grotto is well worth it!


It looks like a lot of progress has been made on the backside of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster.


Back over at Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, the facade still looks incredible!


From here you can see both "zones" of New Fantasyland as are open now with Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid in frame.


Why not?


The water features around Journey of the Little Mermaid help to tie the area together.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Over in Sir Mickey's (in the original Fantasyland) you can find Little Mermaid themed merchandise like this Dinglehopper.


Another look at the the area surrounding Journey of the Little Mermaid reveals some really neat details, like this larger starfish holding up a piece of the wrecked ship to protect the smaller starfish.


The final part of Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt includes the animatronic Scuttle and three blue crabs performing several onscreen gags.


More tiny details in the queue!


Point to the mug and the crab will take it away!


The Scuttle animatronic has people entertained while they queued.


It looks so great!



It is rare to see another offering's building appear in the view of an alternately themed attraction, but the Bonjour Gifts shop seems to blend in quite well with the view from the queue at Journey of the Little Mermaid.


The lighting geek in me just couldn't stop staring at the shadow this fixture cast in the queue.


The cast members of New Fantasyland have a unique selection of wardrobes to match the specific locations they are in.


The iconic gargoyles of the entryway to the Be Our Guest Restaurant can be yours when you buy these items at Bonjour Gifts.


It wouldn't have been a proper visit to New Fantasyland without lunch... And that meant Le Fou's Brew and a pork shank!


It's huge!


No really, this is caveman meat.


Some more details to be found inside of the interior queue for Journey of the Little Mermaid.






Doesn't this look great?


More details...


Our ride mural is different from the one found in California...


I should've chosen to go to Mesa Verde!


Some amazing lighting going on in here!


Sebastien is still one of the coolest animatronic figures I've ever seen!


They're not calling this a soft opening... It is officially a dress rehearsal.


A permanent wall has been completed near the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster despite the conditions around it.


While I didn't take any restroom photos, I did find the restroom sign characters to be fantastic!


Theme a water fountain to a water pump? Brilliant!


And while we didn't get to experience Enchanted Tales with Belle today, we loved seeing it earlier!


Did you notice this Lumiere lamp?


The wait time sign is meant to be a bird house modeled after the actual Maurice's Cottage seen ahead...


See what we mean?


On the other side you can see that progress continues on the construction of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster.


Construction workers hard at work...


These pieces are likely the start of rock work supports for the eventual creation and installation of the attraction's signature terrain.


It looks so fantastic!


As you can see, New Fantasyland is currently in dress rehearsals, so if you can do so, come on down to Pinocchio's Village House to see if it is open to explore and enjoy. We highly recommend it!


Don't fret, we'll be back with more coverage of New Fantasyland soon!

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Gaston looks pretty good for a guy who plunged to his death during the climax of Beauty and the Beast. Maybe something broke his fall. I definitely want to try the pork shank.


I like the 20,000 Leagues reference in the Mermaid queue, as well. Disney is going first class with their Fantasyland makeover.

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As always, Disney attention to detail has surpassed my expectation. My two nieces are going to love this new area of the park. I can not wait to try out Gaston's. All the pictures make this new area just look fantastic.

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That all looks incredible. I'm Already thinking about a trip sometime around 2015 to see the new Fantasyland in its fullest form, Avatarland, and the expanded Harry Potter. It's a long wait, but I have to see everything.


I'm sure there will be a few people of the general public that will look at the wait time by the "Enchanted Tales with Belle" experience and assume it's a ride. I can hear the complaints now.


"That sucked! I thought this was a ride! I waited forty-five minutes just to watch robot furniture!?"

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^I agree that the queue for each version of Mermaid has to fit in with their respective park. But I still think Florida got the better deal here. The same is true for the queues Midway Mania (out in the sun for DCA, indoors and air-conditioned for DHS).


Completely agree with you there. TSMM and LM were more side projects for the DCA expansion when compared to their main focuses (WOC & Carsland), so they probably focused a lot less on the queue detailing.

That's actually not true at all. Those attractions absolutely were part of the master plan. You go tell Disney financing that their $100 million dark ride was a "side project" and I think you'll get laughed out of the Roy O Disney building!


I guess my wording was mis-interpreted a bit here. My intention was to state that compared to the huge amount of money and time poured into the Carsland part of the DCA revitalization, Little Mermaid or TSMM had less of a construction timeline and overall cost, making them less of a focus when one views the overall expansion as a whole. I wasn't saying they were side projects, I was simply saying they were not the main focus, hence why it was worded as a comparison.

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The area looks amazing! They did an incredible job with it. I can't wait to try the new restaurant! Also, thanks for trying the Pork Shank! I've been dying to see what it looks like, and it looks really good! Definitely seems to be the right proportion, unlike the frankenstein turkey legs. How was it? Also, don't forget to repent after eating it

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wow those photos look amazing that whole area looks amazing. i was there on the 2nd of this month and i wouldn't of guest that behind those walls was a master peace. last time i was 13 years ago so it looks good for a quick return back but maybe i can see avatar land aswell.

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Gaston's fake pecs sort of freak me out when I saw him on Monday. I'm sure it's tough to find guys who fit his look and can pull off his role, but they need to improve that part of his costume. The guy I saw (same as in the photo on this page) was perfect...just not so much his faux chest and eyebrows.

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That report stunk, needs more pictures (my best attempt at a backhanded compliment).


The site for the 7 Dwarfes mine ride looks larger than I previously thought it was, maybe it will be decent after all. The whole thing does look like a fantastic addition that I'm now kind of excited about seeing (was never interested previously).


Looking forward to seeing some reports of the Be our Guest Dining Experience, should be fantastic.

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This makes me more and more excited for my first WDW visit in just over a month. They did a great job with the new attractions.


I had said previously that the queue didn't really matter to me for Mermaid as I thought the ride made the argument for itself alone, but now that I see more details about it I feel like I stand corrected. The queue really adds a lot to it. I still love the look of DCA's but WDW's version looks to provide a much more immersive experience, and it just looks amazing.

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