Is a girl ever too old to get giddy at the sight of a sparkling glass slipper? Princess Fairytale Hall, which debuted last month at Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World is not only the enchanting new home of Cinderella and Rapunzel, but also of the iconic slipper which made Cinderella's dream of escaping drudgery (and being whisked away to her Prince Charming's gleaming castle) come true.
Princess Fairytale Hall, located in the Castle Courtyard just outside Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, is the latest opening in New Fantasyland, a multiyear project that more than doubles the size of Fantasyland and continues the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.
An intricate tiara adorns the attraction's entryway, giving goose bumps to all the little girls arriving in their princess gowns, staring in awe at the stained-glass windows featuring images from the Disney animated film classic, Cinderella. For these young fans, only the finest royal decor could serve as a setting for the real live princesses they are about to meet. And the Royal Gallery--an airy space with stone columns, lush purple and gold trimmings, ornate chandeliers, and a high ceiling with wooden beams and peaked arches--seems to be a perfect fit.
Take it from me, even big girls might find themselves shivering in anticipation while gazing at the huge framed portraits of Disney Princesses adorning the walls. Disney Imagineers have again worked their timeless magic, because the princesses seem to literally be glowing from their portrait frames.
When it's time for your big moment with your favorite Princess, you're ushered into the royal chambers, richly paneled in wood and elegantly furnished with a large framed painting of a fairytale landscape and a table with a set of bound leather storybooks that bear the titles of fairytales in the language of the original tale.
Cinderella and Rapunzel are the two perennial choices for the meet-and-greet, but there is always another Disney Princess (possibly Aurora, Snow White, Tiana, Jasmine or Mulan) visiting each one of them. Each princess, as well as being impeccably gowned, seems admirably schooled in royal manners, graciously signing autographs and posing for photos with admirers. (Bring your own camera and autograph book, but there are also Disney PhotoPass Image Specialists capturing the event for posterity.) Rapunzel has a delightful sense of humor, as befits her sassy persona, joking with guests about the length of their hair and asking if it changes color whenever they cut it. (For some reason, she muses, hers does.)
For young girls who wouldn't dream of making a trip to Walt Disney World without stopping at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a princess-like hairstyle, shimmering makeup and a crown, this place will be their nirvana. And for their mothers who grew up watching the Disney animated classics, the Princess Fairytale Hall will be a way to relive those childhood moments of believing that dreams of happily-ever-afters really do come true.
And then there's that glittering glass slipper, sitting elegantly on a royal pillow inside a glass-enclosed golden container. Even if it doesn't give you a case of shoe envy, you're still bound to feel the storybook magic in the air.
THE FINE PRINT
Princess Fairytale Hall is only one of the new attractions wowing visitors to New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. For your chance to meet a real Disney Princess in a magical fairytale setting, purchase tickets at the official Walt Disney World site. For assistance with your WDW Resort visit, call (407) 939-5277.