Another new Disney Princess section has quietly opened at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom this past weekend, and it's certainly a place where a girl can let down her hair and relax. Guests who pass through the area certainly will feel as if they stepped into the pages of Tangled, the Disney story of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
Rather than a featured attraction, though, this brand-new area -- located between it's a small world and the Haunted Mansion -- offers guests various forms of comfort. The large structures may look like they could house a village restaurant, store and cottage, but, in fact, the facades hide large public bathrooms. Granted, these are perhaps the best-themed bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom. Elaborate murals decorate the walls and ceiling, patterned tile work continues the motif, and stall doors are made to look like horse stalls. In addition, soap dispensers have been upgraded to hands-free versions, and guests can skip paper towels if they choose the air dryers for their hands. The bathrooms also are quite large, unlike the new facilities inside Be Our Guest restaurant, for example.
Outside, guests will find recognizable props from the animated movie, including the famed tower where Rapunzel lets down her hair; an abundance of the beautiful lanterns released into the air; and the frying pan that Rapunzel clocks Flynn with and that he later uses as a weapon against the palace guards. Humorous "Most Wanted" posters of villains decorate the outer walls and also appear inside the men's bathroom, I'm told. In front of the buildings is ample seating and even some stroller parking. (Seasoned park-goers will remember this area was a designated stroller parking lot before its renovation.)
Farther down the walkway to the left, guests are treated to a delightful waterfall in front of the Tangled tower. This makes for a wonderful photo opportunity. On the back side of the tower is what appears to be a walkway leading up the hill to its base.
Across from the village square is a fenced area with tables and stools made from "barrels" and benches created from what look like split logs. Hidden in the upright "tree stumps" are recharging stations for electronics. Each contains four outlets. What a welcome addition! On the day we visited, however, we and other guests around us experienced intermittent difficulty with the outlets. Of course, that was only the second day the area was open, so, understandably, some bugs may need to be worked out. (A second charging station is planned for the tent that houses the FastPass machines in Storybook Circus, a cast member told me.) The area also is designed to be a respite from hot weather with misting fans, the cast member said. While we all certainly can appreciate those plans, I have to wonder about the use of misters in a section where cellphones and videocameras will be laid out while batteries are charging.
On the other hand, I do really like that thoughtful Imagineers created a scavenger hunt of sorts for guests in the Tangled area. A sign indicates that there are Pascal statues hidden in the landscaping, and we were told there are 10 to find. No doubt based on the popularity of finding hidden Mickeys, this game is a welcome distraction for kids while parents rest and recharge. A tip: Most of the Pascals are located near the seating area -- but not all of them.
The new Tangled area at Magic Kingdom is wonderfully detailed, making guests feel immersed in the story of Rapunzel. Although we have been told repeatedly that there are no plans to move the Rapunzel meet-and-greet from Town Square Theater to this new location, it's really difficult to believe after seeing the new area. Surely, this elaborate theming is destined to be more than the location of the theme park's newest bathrooms.
The previous post in this blog was Gardens of the World Tour returns during Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
The next post in this blog is Disney World, Disneyland to raise minimum age of unaccompanied kids in parks.