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Sneak peek: New Fantasyland's Enchanted Tales with Belle

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Guests who were disappointed when "Storytime With Belle" in the Fairytale Garden was discontinued have a lot to look forward to when its replacement officially debuts on Dec. 6 in the Magic Kingdom.

Enchanted Tales with Belle, part of New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, was open to guests during select times this past week while cast members tested the new interactive experience. This marked the first time that guests were invited beyond the new castle walls, and we were fortunate to be offered the opportunity to take a first look at the new attraction.

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After passing under the archway, my children and I walked through winding paths, eventually lining up in front of the cottage of Maurice, Belle's father. The top of Beast's castle is visible high up the mountain in the background, giving guests the impression they have stepped right into the story, Beauty and the Beast. (The Beast's castle will house Be Our Guest restaurant, which opens Nov. 19.)

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While in line, guests will notice many clever details, including a well, lanterns, wooden buckets, a wheelbarrow, wagon wheels and even chairs built into the walls of the queue. Cast members dressed as townspeople greet visitors along the way. There is a FASTpass entrance, though cast members I spoke to weren't sure where the ticket distribution will be located.

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Guests enter Maurice's cottage in the main room where they will see a cozy fireplace, stacks of books everywhere -- Belle does live here, after all -- and even a portrait of Belle as a young girl with her mother. Belle's mother never is mentioned in the story, so it's wonderful to see what she looks like. (Guests using FASTpasses will skip this room, I'm told.)

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From the hearth, guests are admitted to Maurice's workshop in groups of about 45, according to a cast member. This area has even more detailed theming, giving guests plenty to study while they wait in front of the magic mirror. Maurice's drawing board and sketches are evident, his tools are scattered throughout the space, and his creations are perched on shelves and hanging from the ceiling.

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Then the cast member announces, "Take me back to the day Belle and Beast fell in love." The lights dim, and the mirror that Beast is said to have given Maurice undergoes an amazing transformation and becomes a magic portal into Beast's castle. What appears to be a solid wall is now an entranceway into a room where Wardrobe awaits the group. A cast member explains that children and adults alike are invited to play parts in the retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which will be a surprise for Belle.

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A talking Wardrobe interacts with the group as the cast member hands out props and selects participants for the reenactment. The great thing about this experience is that there appears to be enough parts for every child in the room, so no one who wants to participate will be left out. Encourage your child to volunteer because the payoff with Belle is worth it. (More on that to come.) There are certain character roles that are filled each time -- Beast, Suits of Armor, Mrs. Potts and Chip, Dungeon Bars, Footstool, Horse, Laughing Frames. We also saw Plate and Silverware used.

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Once the parts are assigned, the actors and the rest of the group are led into one of two identical libraries. (Of course, you're not supposed to know there are two libraries, but we went through Enchanted Tales with Belle twice and happened to get the different rooms. My children are old enough to notice everything was opposite what they had just seen. Not to worry, though, because we all know they need two rooms to get all the guests in place and then Belle can go back and forth between the libraries more quickly.)

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In the library, Lumiere directs the audience to sit on benches while the actors are moved to the front of the room. The lights are dimmed, so everyone can yell, "Surprise!" when Belle enters the room. Then, cast members help the guest actors deliver their simple lines to Belle. The experience is interactive for the audience, as well, when guests are invited to howl with the wind, shiver in the dungeon and gallop with a horse. Belle then leads the actors around the room to the peppy song, "Be Our Guest."

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The play concludes when Belle dances with the guest portraying Beast. The first boy we saw in this role was very young and sweet as Beast. The second was older and easily embarrassed, which gave the audience a chuckle. My 8-year-old daughter portrayed Footstool and Horse on different visits and enjoyed every minute. Being a little more reserved, my 10-year-old son chose to just watch. He was amazed by the magic portal, but not as interested in a Disney Princess experience.

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Afterward, cast members introduce each member of the "production," and Belle presents them with bookmarks. As Lumiere says, the token "is in appreciation to mark the occasion." A Disney PhotoPass photographer takes posed photos of Belle with each individual actor (and also captures action shots during the experience.) On the way out, guests are given special Enchanted Tales-themed PhotoPass cards so they can see all the images from their specific session.

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Our wait time for Enchanted Tales with Belle was about 25 minutes, but it's sure to be longer when the attraction officially opens and word spreads about how truly magical the experience is.

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Comments (21)

Caren:

I am going to CRY this looks JUST like the movie!!!!! My fave movie of all time!!! I cannot wait to go in Feb with my daughter~!

denise byford:

Can't wait, visiting next Easter with the 4 grandchildren from the UK.

Paul:

Hi Kristin, great article!!!

Quick question...we will be in Disney World from 12/5-12/13 and already have tickets for the Xmas Party at Magic Kingdom for 12/9. Any word if this experience will be open during the party? Knowing how crowded this will be, I was hoping it would be open during the party so maybe the wait wouldn't be as dreadful. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks.

KRISTIN: Thanks, Paul. We haven't heard yet about the availability of New Fantasyland during the Christmas parties.

Joni:

Is this open now? Or did you get in for a media thing?

KRISTIN: Neither! Enchanted Tales is in a test phase last week and this week, and guests in Fantasyland have been invited to experience it. So, if you're at MK, be sure to head back to the new castle wall and see if guests are being invited inside. I'm told it will close after this week until the soft opening begins Nov. 19.

Jessica:

Is it wrong that I want to do it just for the cool Photopass card? :) And I may have to bribe my 7 year old boy to volunteer (he's kind of shy about that stuff), but it sounds like so much fun! Thanks for the great post!

Ali:

I was just curious about how long is the experience once you are in?

KRISTIN: I think it was about 20 to 25 minutes.

Andrea S.:

We were in the Magic kingdom on 9/8 and were one of the lucky families that got to experience this new attraction. I have to say that my family loved everything about it. Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite Disney movie and the attention to detail that the Imagineers created really feels like you had stepped into the movie. I can't wait to see what the rest of the New Fantasyland Expansion is going to be like.

Kem:

Hi Kristin! Thanks so much for the great info! What time of day were you there? Did the cast members mention what times of day they would be 'open for operation' during this testing phase? Was the fact that this was open posted on the 'tip board' on Main Street? Or did you just happen upon it? Just trying to figure out a way to maximize my chances of actually being able to see this too! (fingers crossed). :)

KRISTIN: We were there in the early afternoon. It was not publicized anywhere in MK, though. I had heard that during the testing period it was often open in the morning and afternoon, but not much at night.

Veronica Townsend:

Would you be able to tell me if any other new attactions would invite guests to test the week of 9/24. I will be in MK on Monday for my 3yr olds 11th trip! Yes I'm a Disney "fan"atic. Any inside advise on who to ask when I'm there.

KRISTIN: WDW doesn't usually announce testing ahead of time. AllEars.Net will let readers know when we hear (or see!) anything new, though.

Betsy:

We're traveling to WDW the last week of Sept. Any chance they will still be doing the testing? My girls would LOVE it if they were :-)

KRISTIN: I was told the test phase for Enchanted Tales ends this week.

Fonda Nass:

Loved the pictures and explanation of the new attraction. However, is this attraction limited to guests with children? My husband and I are older visitors to WDW and do not have children. I am looking forward to all the new additions in Fantasyland and would like to see this magic portal and all the effects but since we do not have any children with us, will we be out-of-place in this attraction?

KRISTIN: It definitely is not limited to children! Most of the roles in the "play" are given to children first and then adults. There are plenty of adults watching, too.

Kim:

We took my daughter to Disney this week, just before her third birthday. What a neat surprise to be able to get to participate in the sneak peak of this new attraction!!!! She was able to be a part of the show and meet Belle! Can't wait to go back for more Disney magic!

Heather:

Can the Photopass card be added to the Photopass Plus card?

Disney fan:

Hi Kristin,
Loved the report on the new attraction! However, I thought you might want to know it's Lumiere, not Luminere.

I can't wait until the new Fantasyland is complete and am so looking forward to my next visit there!

KRISTIN: Thanks for catching my typo. All fixed now!

Kaitlyn:

My family will be traveling to WDW following my high school graduation in 2013, and I am greatly anticipating visiting New Fantasyland! :D
Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite Disney tale (having watched the movie innumerable times, viewed multiple high school productions of the show, and recently went to see the touring Broadway show for my 17th birthday)!
Do the cast members also choose teens for the experience with Belle? That would make my trip so magical! :)

KRISTIN: Teens are definitely welcome to participate, too!

Cheri Palmisano:

I'm a little late but THANK YOU!! This looks absolutely amazing! I am so very excited to take my daughter there when she is old enough! (she's barely 12 weeks old now)

Dawn Smith:

I can't wait! I was tortured by problems with their phones but managed to get a reservation for the DVC preview on 11/5. Now I am even more excited!

Jen Jackson:

My husband and I experienced this attraction last week during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Holloween party just before midnight. It is amazing. He enjoyed playing a knight and the kids were excited. A definite stop on anyone's tour of the Magic Kingdom. And yes you can add the photos to your own photopass at any of the camera locations.

Stitchs Mom:

My daughter and I were at MK last week and took advantage of the "Dress Rehearsal" that was going on for the new Fantasyland attractions. Belle's cottage was very impressive but I have to say that the poor guy doing the presentation in Maurice's workshop was very nervous and watching him trying to get down the timing of when to say everything was PAINFUL...but that's what the dress rehearsal is for! It was so cool to be able to participate in this "sneak peek".

Janet Carvalho:

Had the opportunity to see this last week with an unexpected and unannounced opening. Our 8 year old granddaughter, on her first trip to WDW, got to play the part of Mrs. Potts. What a treat to share in her enjoyment!

Coteclan1:

Is there any chance I can get into this attraction for lunch around Dec 8-14 at some point? If so, how do I go about booking it?

I'm a novice at all of this. Unfortunately, we booked our trip too late and were unable to get any character dinners/lunches.

The only thing I could get was a Mary Poppins breakfast which starts very late...kinda bummed actually.

Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciateed!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 10, 2012 7:36 AM.

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