Walt Disney World Resort is more magical than ever this summer and fall, with the continuation of its multiyear New Fantasyland project, the largest expansion in the Magic Kingdom 's 41-year history. The project actually doubles the size of Fantasyland, which was originally 10 acres in size. (Today's Fantasyland is 21 acres.)
Enchanted Tales with Belle is just one of the unique themed areas in the new Fantasyland, and exploring Maurice's cottage charms young and old alike. Tucked in a meadow just beyond the forest's edge, the cottage lends a European country air to the park. With a (very old-world) winding stone pathway leading the way, you're invited into Belle's intricately-designed childhood home for an inside look into her father Maurice's workshop.
An enchanted mirror is the unexpected portal to a captivating new kind of storytelling experience. As if by magic, you're transported to the Beast's library to meet Belle and Lumiere. Disney's attention to detail is nothing short of amazing--there are over 12,000 "books" in the Beast's library. (Bibliophiles will be in heaven, just imagining the luxury of such a place.)
Fans of "Beauty and the Beast" are then drawn into a "total immersion" experience of the story, perhaps even playing out the parts of key characters. Through props and costumes (courtesy of the animatronic figure, Madame Wardrobe), you can step right into the story and share in a lively, completely interactive version of the "tale as old as time."
The power of today's cutting-edge technology wedded to the gentle allure of the old-fashioned fairytale makes this a not-to-be-missed attraction. Kids adore it, but adults are fascinated, too. The special effects are completely over the top. Sometimes you'll find it hard to believe your eyes. This is not a Kids-Only experience. I went through it with three other adults, and everyone was mesmerized.
More fairytale magic will happen in the Magic Kingdom this fall when Princess Fairytale Hall opens in an annex to Cinderella Castle. Guests will come meet Disney Princesses, including Rapunzel and Cinderella herself. Like the New Fantasyland, the environment will be meticulously detailed, in the same regal style as the Castle. You'll pass through lush purple and gold trimmings to enter an opulent castle foyer befitting Disney royalty, adorned with stained-glass windows with images from Disney's "Cinderella." Then you'll enter an airy, high-ceilinged Royal Gallery filled with ornate chandeliers and portraits of the Disney Princesses. Disney Imagineers have promised that this space will take your breath away.
So now you have even more reasons to visit Walt Disney World Resort, as Fantasyland continues to reinvent itself for a new generation. Prepare to be dazzled.