Disneyland Resort's new Fantasy Faire in Fantasyland opened to the general public to great fanfare yesterday. The little princesses were pampered, the visuals romantic, the sounds pure renaissance, the treats sweet, and the new additions throughly enjoyable for those of all ages.
The main attraction is, of course, the princess meet and greet. On opening day, the wait time in the morning (after Disneyland had been open for an hour and a half) was actually not bad. The wait time sign projected a 45 minute wait, but it was closer to a comfortable 30. The line is shaded with trees before entering inside some pretty classic Fantasyland architecture that boasts fans and lamps. Once you arrive at the front of the line and it is your turn, the cast member standing there will direct you down a hallway, and there you will meet 3 princesses, each with their own mini-room that is themed to their fairytale. It is truly a Royal Hall, with a large gold crown chandelier in the ceiling as the visual centerpiece, but also colorful banners with royal symbols displayed. The day opened with Aurora (also known as Sleeping Beauty), Ariel, and Cinderella. All three heroines were kind and gracious with their time. Those wishing to meet the princesses will not be rushed. Disney's PhotoPass cast members will be there to take your pictures and hope that you will purchase from Disney to take their photos home with you, but they will of course also take your picture with cameras and cell phones if you ask them to. Try getting here earlier rather than later, as with most new offerings, the line will only get longer throughout the day.
On the other side of the courtyard is the Royal Theatre, where the stories of Tangled and Beauty and the Beast come to life with the help of a live piano player, a duo of actors, Rapunzel, Flynn/Eugene, Belle and a few ladies in waiting in the style of a mixture of renaissance and vaudeville. The shows are very interactive and fun, allowing for audience participation. The creators of the show get an extra star for teaching guests the classic renaissance terms 'huzzah' and 'fie'! Worried about your little ones from being able to see? Not a problem! Like many of Disneyland Resort's shows, there is a spot up in front of the audience seats for kids to sit down on a cushioned floor, directly in front of the stage. Guests young and old alike will enjoy this show, which provides plenty of laughs and heartfelt moments. Make sure you catch both shows, as they provide different sets of surprises! As of now, when Fantasy Faire opens in the morning, the shows begin with Tangled, but beginning at 2 p.m. Beauty and the Beast takes the stage. There are 3 shows of each per day. After each show, guests can meet and greet the characters that were performing on stage.
Watching shows and meeting princesses might leave you parched or craving a snack. Visit Maurice's Treats and you will not be disappointed! Paying homage to Belle's eccentric father who is an inventor, the cart offers twisted treats that come in a variety of flavors, and are about the length of Disneyland's epic churros. Here you will also find the delicious Boysen Apple Freeze, which you can enjoy in a stein that shows the Beast on one side and Gaston on the other, in a goblet with jewels and princesses, or simply enjoy the freeze by itself in a simple cup. The steins and goblets are a fun keepsake for you to take home.
The new princess offerings would not be complete without another princess merchandise location, and so Disneyland also opened Fairy Tale Treasures, where you can purchase all the princess dresses and accessories your little princess could want. Adults can enjoy the little details in here which pay homage to the animals that so often help princesses in the classic fairy tales. One would hope that Disney would also bring in some of the adult princess merchandise in here, but it was not to be found. However, you can find women's princess attire in other park locations and in Downtown Disney.
The courtyard on its own has plenty of appeal. Besides the classic Fantasyland architecture that has been extended into this area, a few new visual elements have been brought in, too. Figaro, the cute little cat from Pinocchio, is taking a cat nap on a ledge, but positioned next to a little bird in a cage. From time to time the blue bird tweets and awakens Figaro, and he tiredly paws at the bird before falling back to sleep. There is also Clopin's Music Box, a fun interactive element for guests. Showcasing characters from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, guests wind the box as it plays music and new characters in the box come out to play. The centerpiece of the courtyard, however, is the Tangled Tower, which is a statue of Rapunzel's tower from her film. You can see her high up, gazing out of her window, with her hair cascading down the tower. While Fantasy Faire closes at 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, the area is still accessible to guests, and you should definitely stop by. The area is beautifully lit, and the Tangled Tower has a surprise waiting for you. At all hours of the day, the area boasts a beautiful music loop of classic Disney fairy tale music done renaissance style, and it sounds, simply put, amazing. It perfectly complements the area and Disney would do well to include this new loop on an upcoming Disneyland music CD.
The courtyard also hosts a mini parade of princesses and princes, conducted by one of the players from the Royal Theatre shows and some of the ladies in waiting. They begin with teaching everyone how to behave like princesses and princes, like how to properly bow, curtsy and wave. Once everyone is up to speed, the little princesses and princes are gathered to parade through the courtyard and wave to their noble subjects. The parade may lead the children to the shopping area, which parents may want to be aware (or beware) of ahead of time. Truth be told, the attire is very much a part of the princess experience.
Overall, the new Fantasy Faire is a wonderful addition to Disneyland that will delight all princesses and princes at heart. The area is geared more towards girls of course, but there are plenty of elements that boys and adults will enjoy here too. This area is definitely a strong addition to Fantasyland and to the overall Disneyland experience. When you visit Disneyland, a major part of the magic is meeting your favorite characters, and this gives the princesses a more royal location to say hello and bring joy to their royal guests. Make sure to stop by Fantasy Faire on your next visit!