We have always loved the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” Belle was our daughter’s first princess love and as her mother, I could not have asked for a better role model in our young daughter’s impressionable pre-shool mind. We’ve always called her the thinking princess ~ smart, well studied, resourceful, and independent. But even more endearing, Belle’s ability to be herself in the face of so much criticism is a life lesson that knows no end for little girls and her boundless confidence is a priceless example of loving yourself in spite of it all.
Imagine our excitement when we learned that The New Fantasyland expansion includes both Beast’s Castle…
…and Belle’s Cottage.
I was blessed to discover both of these incredible new attractions thanks to my visit to Walt Disney World in December 2012 for the New Fantasyland Press Event. Full of all kinds of grand openings, the addition of a new castle clearly caught not only my eye but my heart as well. What’s exciting is Beast’s Castle is more than just a castle ~ its also the home of the widely acclaimed Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Its no small surprise that Walt Disney Imagineers worked with the entire organization to make sure that not a single detail was left undone. As part of the Media Education Opportunities, I attended an exclusive panel discussion and had the chance to hear directly from Chris Beatty, Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Maribeth Bisienere, VP Food & Beverage and Merchandise Operations Integration, about how the organization successfully transforms the guest experience by making you feel as if you are magically transported right into a scene from the movie itself.
So there you have it. While I knew from my days as a Walt Disney World College Program Intern that the guest experience is truly comprehensive, it was fascinating to hear from Disney executives just how hard they work to make sure that your dining experience is woven with storytelling…
Your shopping experience is transformative making you truly feel you have been placed in the midst of that story through structure and merchandise…
And that every aspect of your time in New Fantasyland is as authentic as it can be, down to the items on the menu, including alcohol just as you would find in any fine French restaurant. Of course there is no shortage of Character Meet and Greet opportunities with both Belle and Beast available during scheduled times at Be Our Guest and Belle herself starring live in Enchanted Tales over at her cottage. Much to my delight, on the first night of the New Fantasyland Event, we happened upon Gaston himself!
Often found hanging around his tavern, you can’t help but grab a snapshot or two!
I can’t say enough about how enchanting our time was discovering the New Fantasyland and all it has to offer. The Story Behind New Fantasyland Panel was an incredible opportunity to learn all about what it really takes to make sure that your time spent at the Magic Kingdom and throughout Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Parks is truly about making memories that will last a lifetime. I have goosebumps even typing that because I can promise you with every blessed trip we’ve made, that’s exactly what’s happened for my family and I could not be more grateful. Tell me…
What kinds of details do you notice most when you visit Walt Disney World?
Is it the Hidden Mickey’s, cast member costumes, detailed merchandise?
Looking for more about all the grand openings during the New Fantasyland Media Event? Check out our Disney Tips Pinterest Board, New Fantasyland Photo Albums loaded to our GO MOM! Facebook Fan page, and our New Fantasyland Playlist on YouTube (You’ll also find our Disney Vacation Planning Tips playlist there too!)
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!
Disclosure: Special thanks to Disney Social Media and PR for inviting me to attend the New Fantasyland Media Event. I was not asked to post and all opinions are entirely my own.