Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fantasyland Construction

If you are a fan of the Magic Kingdom, chances are you also enjoy your time in Fantasyland. While it is very dated, the rides are classics. With options like It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventure, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's Philharmagic, Cinderella's Carousel, Dumbo and the Mad Tea Party, Fantasyland has not had a good rehab in a while.

Per WDWMagic.com, construction has begun on the rehab/extension of Fantasyland. For you long-time visitors of Walt Disney World, you probably remember the 20,000 Leagues under the Sea Ride that has been long gone but never demolished. I am hoping that they will incorporate this in to the new construction.

From the website:

Announced at D23 Expo on 12 September 2009, Jay Rasulo outlined plans for the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom, vastly increasing the size of Fantasyland by 2013. Guests will soon be able to:

  • Visit their favorite Disney Princess in her castle, cottage, or chateau to share a dance with Cinderella; celebrate Sleeping Beauty's birthday with the Good Fairies; or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast's castle library.
  • Be Our Guest and dine in one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast's castle.
  • Fly with Dumbo high above brand new circus grounds, twice the size of the existing attraction with a new interactive, three-ring circus tent.
  • Journey under the sea with Ariel, The Little Mermaid, in her very own attraction - also opening at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim in 2011.
  • Meet Tinker Bell and her friends in the magical world of Pixie Hollow.

The new Fantasyland will be opened in phases, with the majority of the new land opening in 2012. The Pixie Hollow area will open in 2013.

What are the major components of the new Fantasyland?

  • Ariel’s Adventure - a massive, E-Ticket ride based on The Little Mermaid. It uses an Omni-mover ride system (similar to that of the Haunted Mansion). This will be the same ride that is opening in Disneyland Resort's California Adventure, however, the Fantasyland version at Walt Disney World will feature a different exterior.
  • Elaborately themed areas for Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, Pooh, and Tinkerbell.
  • New table service and counter service restaurants. The largest being the 552 seat Be Our Guest restaurant located in Beast's Castle, which will be a counter service restaurant by day and a full table service restaurant by night. The Be Our Guest restaurant will feature 3 dining rooms - Beast Ballroom, West Wing and the Castle gallery. The Beauty and the Beast area will also include the quicks service restaurant Gastons Tavern.
  • Interactive next generation meet and greets with the Disney Princesses.
  • An entire new Dumbo area based on a circus theme. The new Dumbo will feature 2 ride systems, more than doubling the capacity. It will feature a new "queueless" entry with interactive games and playgrounds, along with seating for parents.
  • An entire mini-land devoted to Pixie Hollow - featuring a huge play zone and meet and greets with Tinker Bell and the other fairies.
  • Construction of a castle wall to separate the existing Fantasyland to the new highly themed Fantasyland area. The wall will begin around by Pinnochio Village Haus and run across the front of the Cinderella Golden Carousel towards Snow White and Winnie the Pooh.
  • The existing Toontown Fair train station will be completely rebuilt to for the new theme of that area.
  • A number of shops, restrooms, and smaller food and beverage locations will be included in the area.

What will happen to Mickey's Toontown Fair?
Mickey’s Toontown Fair will be removed to make way for what will be the Pixie Hollow area of Fantasyland. It is expected that the Barnstormer (to be re-themed as part of Dumbo's Circus) will remain. The Mickey and Minnie meet and greet is rumored to be relocate
d to the Expo Hall on Main Street USA.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To Buy or Not to Buy a Refillable Mug

As soon as you check in to your Disney resort, you will see lots of Resort Refillable Drink Mugs. Guests will be toting them around and the food court will have them for sale. Is it a smart purchase?

Here are a few things to consider first. Keep in mind that the mugs can only be refilled at a Disney resort. While you can take them into all of the parks and Downtown Disney, you can not get them refilled for free at those places. Our family spends most of our time at the parks, not at the resort. If this is the case with you, you may think it is not a good deal to purchase the mug. However, consider the advantages. Anytime you are at the resort – before heading to the parks in the morning, mid-afternoon rests by the pool, and returning to the resort at night – you can fill this mug up at no cost. If you choose to have a rest day at the resort, the refillable mug comes in handy. If you are not on the dining plan, it can be used for your drink if you dine at the food court.

There are many conveniences to having this mug and not needing to pay for a drink anytime you are at the resort and thirsty. Also, it is a relatively inexpensive Disney souvenir. You get to take it home and drink from it anytime you like. My resort mug from 2007 is by my side as I type this up right now. As a matter of fact, ask any friend who has visited my home, and they will acknowledge that I always have a Disney souvenir mug within arm’s reach. When asking ourselves “to buy or not to buy?” we bought! However, we did not purchase one per family member. The first year we bought two mugs and realized that we did not really need two mugs. We were at the parks much more than at the resorts, and when we arrived back for the night, we shared. When we spent time by the pool, we were close enough to the food court to just walk in and refill it. Back at home, only I carry the mug around as if it is a security blanket! We discovered that one mug per family for each visit to the World is just right for us.

*Special thanks to my dear friend and fellow Mouseclubber, Alison, for this post!*

Don't Be Afraid to Ask!

Most people make their travel plans and go and are very happy with everything that they get. And while a trip to Walt Disney World is a dream-come-true type of vacation, you can make it even more!

For example: On a trip that I went on with my sister, we were staying at the Boardwalk Inn. We were traveling without the kids or husbands and were looking to be able to relax a little. So while we were checking in and chatting with the desk clerk, we asked where our room was. He said "First floor". We asked "What view?" and he said it was a parking lot view. We looked at each other and then at him and said "Justin, do we look like first-floor-parking-lot-view kind of people to you?" We said it lightly, but really, we were serious. It just so happened that a manager was standing near-by and heard our conversation and when he came over to investigate, he upgraded us (for free!) to a fifth floor, water view room! Could we have lived with the first floor room? Absolutely. Was the fifth floor better? No doubt!!

We had the same experience when we went two years earlier (again, just my sister and I) and stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We wanted to stay in a quiet section of the hotel. I know, big request being that most people there were traveling with children! But the desk clerk took our original room assignment and changed it and while we ended up with a much longer walk to our room, we had a corner room overlooking the Savannah! It was beautiful!

Don't be afraid to ask for what you want! Disney is more than happy to try and accommodate you wherever they can! Room requests are only one aspect of what you can ask about. On another trip where we were celebrating my birthday, I had on my "It's my birthday" pin and a cast member came over to talk to me and asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said that I always wanted to be the first rider of the day on Space Mountain (it was early in the morning at Magic Kingdom). Well, he escorted us under the rope and over to Space Mountain! I was pretty psyched!

Back in the day you used to be able to request a ride up in the front of the monorail. After an accident last year, Disney has suspended that policy but I had the opportunity to do that twice - because I asked!

Speak up! It's your vacation and you've paid a lot for it. There's no need to get greedy but if there is something that you would prefer or something that you would like to do (within reason), don't be afraid to ask. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answer!