Hello wonderful readers, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, a good new year and that 2013 has been treating you well so far.
In the wake of various announcements and happenings around the world, I thought I'd take this opportunity to write another post.
During my last trip to WDW there were three official openings that were all crammed into one day. Deciding that opening day was not the time to visit all three I took the opportunity to experience them in previews to avoid too much craziness and for reasons that I shall reveal shortly that was probably the best decision all round.
So let's kick off with New Fantasyland, because honestly, that was by far the thing I was most excited about. While I was there they were filming segments for the Disney Parks Christmas Parade featuring the kids from Modern Family.
I can't say I watch the show, in fact at the time I thought it was just the one kid but I've since found out there were three. So while people were taking photos of people with cameras we headed into Belle's Cottage for what is, by far, the most elaborate character meet and greet that I've ever experienced. Now I'm not going to spoil any magic (although there are plenty of youtube videos online if you really want to see what happens) but the interior of the cottage completely blew my mind. The level of detail and storytelling is truly astounding and it was so nice to get to learn a little more about Belle's background and upbringing. Case in point.. the following painting which I loved.
Next up Gaston's Tavern, home to pork shanks, cinnamon buns and LeFou's Brew.
I'm told the cinnamon bun was delicious and for me LeFou's Brew was so much more enjoyable than butterbeer. This isn't a Disney bias, it's an apple juice bias. The frozen apple juice with a hint of marshmallow and topped with mango foam is certainly special, and the souvenir cup, while somewhat plasticky does feature a hidden mickey.
I much prefer the taste of an apple juice based drink to a cream soda one, although while I'm talking about it frozen butterbeer DEFINITELY tastes better than the unfrozen kind. I didn't try a pork shank although they smelt pretty good. It's the downside to visiting at 10am, you've already had breakfast but it's way to early for lunch!
Once again lots of lovely detail, the imagineers have definitely excelled themselves with the design of New Fantasyland. The Tavern genuinely feels like it's been lifted straight out of the movie.
For any of you hoping to hear about the Be Our Guest Restaurant, I'm afraid that this post will disappoint you. There was so much going on that I feel I'll have to dedicate an entire post to it so look for that soon. In the meantime here's the castle in all it's loveliness (and close up!).
Let's move on to the other castle that is new to the Magic Kingdom: Prince Eric's. Now I'm a big fan of The Little Mermaid, so I was really excited to see the new ride and the exteriors certainly didn't disappoint.
In fact they are quite breathtaking, and the exit queue even features one of the most elaborate hidden Mickey's I have ever seen in my life. I haven't uploaded the photo yet but believe me, when you see it your mind will be blown!
After walking through such wonderful exteriors and rock work, the ride proved to be a little on the disappointing side. It was good, and certainly Ursula was quite something in person, but there were things about it that just left me sad. it almost looked unfinished. My friend, who had never been to WDW before was genuinely surprised when I told her that technically the ride hadn't even opened yet. She thought it was from the 1970s. It seems like such a shame to spend so much time on some parts and then leave other sections feeling so backwards.
Opening Day featured many a Disney celebrity, including Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel), Paige O'Hara, Jordin Sparks (who I'm told helped dedicate a cruise ship) and everyone's favourite Once Upon a Time star Ginnifer Goodwin.
I've got to say I love how the powers that be keep inviting Ms Goodwin to events because she always comes across as a huge fan of the parks, to the point where she apparently tried to negotiate a membership to Club 33 as part of her OUAT contract.
Confession time. Despite owning an "I was there" opening day T-shirt I wasn't there. I spent 9 months planning to be there and then the morning of work up with the most horrendous stomach flu. I'm told that at some point I was crawling along on my hands and knees, waving a camera at my friend, telling her to go on without me. So off she went to buy merchandise and take photos and if you ask me she did a pretty good job.
The other two new attractions, I'm afraid, are without photos. Test Track has been significantly reimagined although continues to use the same track. The only way I can describe it is that the whole thing has been Tronified. The queue is a huge improvement over what was there before and I really liked the interactivity of designing your own car. I think a bit more cast member guidance would have been helpful because it wasn't always obvious what was going on, and the ride unfortunately didn't interact with our design, but we still got to play around with it in the post show which was pretty cool.
When we went to the new Captain Jack Sparrow attraction I was expecting it to be more like it's Narnian predecessors, it was similar in that it was a walkthrough attraction but it was much better than them. In fact it was probably one of the best uses of technology in an attraction that I've seen for a while. No spoilers but if you're a fan of Mr Depp then I'd head over there.
Before I go I'll just finish by talking about something that isn't new, in fact it is original, but it's been so long since I was able to see it all up close that I stopped and took some pictures. If you've never walked through Cinderella Castle and get the opportunity then I highly recommend it because it features some beautiful mosaics that feature Cinderella's transformation from cinder girl to princess. I'll let the photos do the talking. Look out for more posts about New Fantasyland and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party soon!
Oh and if anyone from Imagineering or New Fantasyland is reading this, please, please, PLEASE can someone remove the ridiculous portrait of Phil Holmes from the new merchandise location. It's not even funny to the few who know who he is. Please, invite an original proprietor for the store, have Cogsworth run it or something.