By Becky Krystal The Washington Post
What’s your favorite Disney movie? If it’s “The Little Mermaid” or “Beauty and the Beast,” you may want to go to Walt Disney World in Florida more than you already did!
That’s because the Magic Kingdom park — you know, where the big castle is — just opened a new area where you can meet Ariel and Belle.
It’s called New Fantasyland. The original Fantasyland opened in 1971, along with the rest of the Magic Kingdom. Fantasyland is full of characters from lots of classic Disney movies. You can ride over London with Peter Pan or brave a stormy day with Winnie the Pooh.
In New Fantasyland, which opened in December, you can see Ariel in scenes from “The Little Mermaid” and visit the French village where Belle lives in “Beauty and the Beast.”
In Belle’s Village, there’s a silly water fountain in the center with a statue of bad guy Gaston. He’s standing on top of his goofy sidekick LeFou with water spilling out of a barrel and a few big mugs.
Sometimes Gaston stands in front of the fountain signing autographs for kids. Maybe he’s trying to not be so mean anymore.
A new favorite place to eat is the Be Our Guest restaurant in Beast’s Castle. There are all kinds of cool details. Suits of armor talk to each other while you wait in line. The waiters find you by using the “magic rose” you take to your table after you order your food. And snow looks like it’s falling outside the dining room windows. (That’s especially cool since you’re in Florida.)
Enchanted Tales with Belle is another fun activity for “Beauty and the Beast” fans. You get to visit the cottage where Belle lives with her father. Inside, you meet some of the movie characters: Wardrobe, the big purple cabinet, and Lumiere, the candleholder, are both there, And of course there’s Belle! She comes out and helps you act out the story of how she and the Beast fell in love.
A short walk away is Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. If you have to wait in line, it’s not so bad. There’s a really fun game you play with an animated crab by waving your arms to tell him what to do.
When you get to the ride, it’s very relaxing. You sit in a giant clam shell that takes you through scenes from “The Little Mermaid.”
You also can meet Ariel. She has a grotto (a cave) next to the ride.
The other new part of New Fantasyland is Storybook Circus. One of the best things about it is the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. Instead of waiting in a boring line, you get to play on a playground until a little buzzer tells you it’s your turn. It won’t be too long because now there are two Dumbo rides.