On March 12th, Disneyland's latest addition will open to the public: Fantasy Faire.
Taking the place of the former Carnation Plaza Gardens on the West side of the Hub, Fantasy Faire represents a small village attached to the castle. As a tribute to the structure it replaced, a crest with the plaza initials is found on one of the buildings.
The main structures awaiting the visiting guest are a stage venue, the Royal Theatre, and an area for princess encounters, the Royal Hall.
At the Royal Hall, a bevy of royals awaits you.
The princesses in situ will change periodically, with Belle and Snow White joining the lineup as space and time allow.
Over across the square, the Royal Theatre presents two different shows a day: Beauty and the Beast, and Tangled.
The shows are actually much more extensively produced than you'd expect if you've seen the recent Magic Kingdom attraction Enchanted Tales with Belle--even including a live pianist, Sir Samuel.
Far from being just a rote retelling of the familiar stories, they have more of a minstrel show quality about them with virtually all roles portrayed by the two main performers Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones.
Done in a style similar to that of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, the two actors are joined by the heroine (and sometimes the hero) of the piece and combine their knowledge of theatrical representation with her knowledge of her own story to tell the tale.
Fast-paced, with pop culture references to everything from Wizard of Oz to the Twilight Zone to the 1960's Batman series, the shows are entertaining and appropriate for all ages.
(Spoiler alert: Everyone deserving of it lives Happily Ever After.)
Here is some more inexpertly shot video by me, of some of the musical numbers from Tangled.
Out in the square, the architecture is intended to mirror the quasi-European Hodge-podge of the 1980's Fantasyland, with a few focal features:
An animated Figaro, from Pinocchio;
A crank music box inspired by Hunchback of Notre Dame;
And a "Tangled" maypole in the center, which will show Rapunzel's hair magically lighting up at night.
Should your visit with royalty inspire a desire for a new wardrobe, there is always the gift shop to peruse.
Within, you'll find everything a young girl needs to be a princess, assuming she provides her own stout heart and quick wit.
For people less enthused about cosplay, they can always take up the challenge to make the association between all the props on display and the movies they each reference (hint: As far as I know, the winged lion is just a winged lion.)
The cuckoo clock inside is stopped at a very particular time: 3:12, which is, of course, Fantasy Faire's opening date.
Hungry? Belle's Dad Maurice has you covered with a wagon that sells sweet and savory twisted (tangled?) pastries and the regulation specialty drink Boysen Apple Freeze.
I myself had the cheddar garlic bagel twist. By and large, I think if you enjoy the cheddar pretzels you might get at Wetzel's Pretzels, there's no reason to think you wouldn't enjoy this. The freeze was perfectly fine as well, although pretty sweet from my standpoint.
To give us even more insight into the making of Fantasy Faire, here are some thoughts from some of the creative folks that brought it into being:
In short, this is a carefully constructed area designed to provide people with increased access to some of the Disney princesses. Clearly a lot of care has been put into a lot of details which many will no doubt find delightful. There is, of course, a distinct population that was very attached to Carnation Gardens and the swing dancing that used to occur there--for them, the floor of the Royal Theatre looks to be unchanged from before, with removable benches and carpets laid down for each show. Consequently, the option does exist for them to reinstate the swing dancing/concerts there should the management decide to do so, but for now, the plans remain to keep it in Downtown Disney while Fantasy Faire establishes itself.
Annual Passholder previews take place this week, March 7-9, and Fantasy Faire opens to the general public March 12.
The previous post in this blog was Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/08/13.