My daughter had an orchestra concert at Downtown Disney, so we planned to stick around a few days longer to take in all the exciting Christmas activities at the resorts and parks. We had purchased our ticket to the final Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the year far in advance and fully aware it would become a sell-out. I’ve attended other sell-out parties at Disney World in the past, but this one was just packed with people. It felt like a very busy day in the park. We know that a good plan always beats the crowds though, so we pre-planned our important activities.
On my recent visit to Walt Disney World I had the opportunity to take part in “Enchanted Tales with Belle” in the New Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. After dropping the bouncer at the gate a $20 and providing the keywords “Donald rules,” I was allowed entrance to the new area. I was excited to see what they were building on the other side of the walls with my own 4 eyes for the first time. What should I expect though? Is this going to be a show? Is this going to be another “Play and greet?” I found it to be more of the first, and less of the second. It’s more of an experience than a show though. It’s an effort to engage and interact with the guests of all ages in a very different way. Let’s take a journey behind the wall and into Maurice’s Cottage, then on to Beast’s Library. I’ll tell the story with photos and video.The area isn’t quite photo ready because the water and some more plants are yet to be added, but it is already looking quite amazing near the entrance to the area.
Because most of the small group I was queued with was already inside the cottage, my time inside the first room was quite hurried, so I quickly shot a few photos of the entry area before moving on to the Magical Mirror stage.
From this scene we are ushered into Maurice’s workshop, which is rich with blueprints (bleuprints?) and gadgets that Maurice is currently designing. Some are on shelves, while others are hanging from the ceiling.
After entering the workshop, the Cast Member quickly gathers everyone and focuses their attention on the Magical Mirror.http://youtu.be/WtH1kUB-hAU
We step through the Magical Mirror and enter the Wardrobe room. I personally like the fact that Disney is entertaining us while we wait on the final scene. It is similar to the approach of the Haunted Mansion in that they are telling us the story in pieces, rather than walking a static queue line. The Wardrobe Room is quite simple in its decor. I believe that is to focus everyone’s attention on the Wardrobe and the Cast Member who is setting the stage.IMPORTANT! If you or your child want to be involved in the story AND get a quick photo with Belle, be sure to VOLUNTEER. My brother was on of the guards on our second viewing and it added to the fun.
Here’s the full video of the Wardrobe segment…http://youtu.be/anGlKi-4uXU
After Lumiere requests our presence, we are ushered into the grand Library . The room is well done and has some nice benches to watch the show portion. Lumiere is definitely the greatest feature of this segment. I found myself watching his seamless movements while enjoying the show. I like how the Cast Members interact with the guests when telling the story and Belle does a beautiful job as always.
The guests are then used to tell the story. With each person presented at the appropriate time in the story. It’s similar to the old Storytime with Belle, but is presented in a better fashion and AIR CONDITIONING!
Here’s the final scene in all its glory in HD too!http://youtu.be/MF9uv_gXCC4
I really enjoyed the Enchanted Tales with Belle experience and I saw the glow in the eyes of small children that I look for in a great attraction. I’m sure that my daughters would like to soak it all it by viewing several times when it reopens to guests in late October. Even though Disney magic is used to reduce the line waits, it will be very popular and probably have much longer waits than the new Little Mermaid attraction that will be an omnimover and have a higher guest capacity per day.I’ve heard that Enchanted Tales with Belle will operate from open to close (or near close) once it reopens, so arrive early to avoid a longer wait.NOTE: Don’t expect this to be a “Meet and greet” with a character. There are no autographs and I noticed that only those who participated in the show are given a quick photo op. However, as attractions move from Imagineering to Operations, expect that additional changes could happen, including eliminating the quick photos in leiu of higher guest capacity. (My observation)