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December 10, 2012

New Fantasyland celebrates grand opening

From left, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”), pop star Jordin Sparks and Mickey Mouse cut the ribbon to officially open New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney World celebrated its grand opening of the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland on Dec. 6 with flair, fireworks, fun and, of course, a huge dose of Disney magic. Guests can finally enjoy all the new attractions and dining they’ve been anxiously waiting for as part of the largest expansion in the Magic Kingdom’s history.

Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” Jordin Sparks, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Mickey Mouse officially cut the ribbon in front of Gaston’s Tavern, which serves up a roasted pork shank, sides of veggies, cinnamon rolls and LeFou’s Brew, a signature frozen apple juice beverage with toasted marshmallow and topped with a passion fruit/mango foam.

“Walt Disney once promised that Disneyland, and by extension all of our parks, would never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world,” Staggs said. “New Fantasyland is a spectacular addition to the Magic Kingdom that delivers on Walt’s promise. We’re thrilled to take guests beyond the walls of Cinderella Castle to discover new worlds featuring iconic Disney characters and stories in ways that are more imaginative, more interactive and more immersive than ever before.”

Fantasyland is now double the size and consists of the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus.

Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” was present to experience the film come to life in the Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid ride. Guests go “under the sea” in clamshells and watch the story play out amid colorful characters, scenery from the movie and favorite songs. While riders wait, they can check out Prince Eric’s Castle. After the ride, guests can meet Ariel in Ariel’s Grotto.

The classic “Beauty and the Beast” film also comes to life in New Fantasyland at the Enchanted Tales With Belle attraction. Guests are able to take part in a live storytelling experience with Lumiere and Belle that includes costumes, props and interactions.

A trip to New Fantasyland wouldn’t be complete without stopping for a meal in the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Sit under gorgeous chandeliers and see a magical “snowfall” in the ballroom, or venture into the Rose Gallery and West Wing of the Beast’s Castle. French-inspired cuisine is served, as is beer and wine, a first for the Magic Kingdom. Two items you must try are the Grey Stuff (it’s delicious) and the Lasseter wine, created by the director of Disney-Pixar’s “Cars,” John Lasseter, at his family’s winery in California. Be Our Guest Restaurant offers quick-serve meals during the day and full-service table dining at night. Don’t forget to make a reservation.

Other attractions that opened earlier this year include Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, now with two Dumbos and circus-themed queue activities, and the Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini, a family-style roller coaster.

Up next is Princess Fairytale Hall set to open in 2013. This will be the new home for the Disney princesses, who will be available for meet-and-greets and photos with guests in the Castle Courtyard at the center of Fantasyland. We got a sneak peak at the upcoming Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster, set to open in 2014. This will be a family-style coaster utilizing new technology in which the train cars will swing back and forth as well as take you through a storytelling ride experience.

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Entertainment (114), Parks (12)

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Splitsville set to open at Downtown Disney Dec. 19

The wait is almost over for the opening of Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort. Set to open Dec. 19, Splitsville offers plenty of food, fun and games for both families and adults.

The upscale, two-story retro-style bowling venue is the largest of the brand’s locations. The 50,000-foot Splitsville boasts 30 lanes, billiards, live entertainment, a balcony bar and fine dining. Lanes and tables are nontraditionally divided up around the facility, which makes for a more social experience. There is plenty of room for large groups, as well as opportunities for a couple’s night out.

“Splitsville is a perfect fit for Downtown Disney,” said Keith Bradford, vice president of Downtown Disney. “From a new twist on a beloved sport to an impressive menu you’ve never expect to find in a bowling facility, Splitsville offers a great experience that complements our other unique offerings at Downtown Disney. I’m sure it will quickly become a guest favorite.”

For families and kids, Splitsville’s menu offers favorites such as pizza and burgers, and for those with more evolved tastes, there also is a variety of sushi, fish dishes, salads and steaks.

When it comes to bowling, there are accommodations for everyone. There are guides and gutter blockers for kids, plus shoes in all sizes. There are also lane concierges available each night to help maximize the bowling experience for guests. Splitsville will also offer adult-only evenings upstairs, which has several bars and stunning views of Downtown Disney.
The venue will also be available for birthday parties and corporate events.

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About the authors
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work.
Joy Oglesby has a preschooler...
Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s.
Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters.
Lois Solomonlives with her husband and three daughters.
Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost.
Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3.
Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.

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