Today is a truly magical day as I travel to the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World, to participate in the New Fantasyland Grand Opening Media Event. As a Walt Disney World College Program Alum, my childhood love for Disney became the brand that shaped my work ethic and corporate views for a lifetime. Much to my amazement, but not surprising at all, the magic that lives in this incredible place simply never fades.
For our family, this trip is particularly special. First, that I could score excused absences from our high school aged sons’ principal is miraculous but as a self described Disney fanatic, he couldn’t help but say yes as long as they are more then well prepared when they return. Next, its the first time the 5 of us have ever flown together. While we’ve taken trips separately, we rarely fly when we travel and this will be a treat for us all. And most poignantly, with college looming and all kinds of busy in the next 18 months, its very possible this could be the last time we travel to Walt Disney World together for some time. This has my Mom’s tender heart holding onto every memory we can make together before that next stage arrives and I am more grateful for this timing than you can ever know.
Wondering what all the excitement is about? Here is a snapshot from WDW News of what we’ll have the honor of discovering at the official Grand Opening tonight, December 5, 2012, which just happens to be Walt Disney’s birthday!
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major attraction where guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the film. The new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney “dark ride” with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. Adventurers will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface. Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along. The fun continues at “Ariel’s Grotto,” a meet-and-greet with the mermaid heroine herself.
The castle of the Beast stands majestically upon a hill across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. The Be Our Guest Restaurant will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery, and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. With seating for 550, this magnificent facility will offer “great food fast” service by day and full-service table dining in the evening. Nearby in Belle’s Village, guests will find the rousing Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
One of the most magical of Walt Disney World moments – meeting a Disney princess – becomes even more magical in Enchanted Tales with Belle, an all-new attraction at New Fantasyland. Here, Magic Kingdom guests are immersed into the enchanting “Beauty and the Beast” story as they enter Belle’s world through the provincial cottage of her father, Maurice, and are transported to Beast’s Castle. Walt Disney Imagineers brought Belle’s world to life, energizing a “tale as old as time.” Guests are transfixed by a magic mirror portal and furniture that springs to life. Characters, costumes and props for guests leave behind the traditional meet and greet, and immerse guests into the 1991 animated film classic.